Fishing small streams over many years in Central Pennsylvania, I’ve discovered that certain traditions and preferences develop. For example, most of my fishing takes place on streams that range from about four to 25 feet wide. Depth of water is usually not more than four feet. Most fishermen use open-faced spinning reels and, to a lesser degree, bait casting reels. But my preference is for the closed-faced reel, like the Shakespeare or the old Johnson Century that rarely develops backlash problems and uses a push button action making casting very simple. These reels are good for smaller streams or tight spots where you do not need to put out 20 to 60 yards of line. For short rods and small streams, a closed-faced reel is the answer. But there are two problems.
First off, the closed-faced reel has been associated with children who are just starting to enjoy the sport and most adults do not want to be seen stream-side with childish equipment. The second problem is that although the concept is very good, the majority of closed-faced reels are poorly made. I have no idea how many closed-faced reels I’ve gone through costing from $15.95 to $33.00. These reels available at Walmart and other locations are not intended for grown-ups who desire a serious and dependable reel. Until recently.
What’s nice about living in rural America is that you can enjoy the life style but also have access to a world of products online. As customers, we think we’re responsible for what we purchase but in reality it’s the buyers associated with a store or Big Box who ‘tell us’ what our choices are. Not so when we access a computer.
The good news is that in recent times the closed-faced reel has been upgraded with models that work very well but do not appear in local stores including larger outlets like Field and Stream or Dick’s. There is no reason to be intimidated by the notion that a closed-faced reel is just for children any more assuming you find such a reel useful to help make stealthy presentations without the hassle of setting the pick-up or bale with a finger and risking a backlash.
In particular, I’m referring to one such reel that I’ve tested and use, the Zebco Omega Pro 3 Spincast Reel. It sells for around $80.00 plus tax and worth the money. The drag works very well and is nicely located so you can use a thumb to roll it from low to high. I’ve also removed the line that came with the reel and replaced it with Yo-Zuri Hybrid, 8-pound test.
Although I use an open-faced salt water reel for surf fishing where there’s an ocean to cast out into or for lake fishing, this one model of Zebco performs exceptionally well for those many smaller country streams where trout call home. After all, it’s about the equipment and what works for the type of fishing you do.