Why a Convertible?

This question has been asked by some and we feel obligated to spread some light on how this convertible concept has came about.  Our goal was to satisfy the needs of all fly anglers without compromising any aspect of performance.  So often we have heard people argue over which is better, direct-drive reels or anti-reverse reels.  Even more often is an argument over large and standard arbor.  Some anglers are highly opinionated in the matter.  Others wonder what is so good about either.  To the experienced angler, this subject may be a bit trivial.  However, to the average beginner, this information could be quite useful.  This page sets out to explain some of the arguments for and against each configuration.  In the end, you will see that our objective was met, and regardless of your opinion or experience, we hope that you will appreciate the ingenuity in the InterCoastal Series design .  With the InterCoastal Series from Gilmore Reel, YOU DECIDE.

Larger Arbor vs. Standard Arbor
Direct-Drive vs. Anti-Reverse
Left Hand vs. Right Hand Retrieve

Large Arbor vs. Standard Arbor

As the name implies, large arbor reels have a larger arbor diameter than a standard arbor reel.  There are several advantages to this style.  First, there is the matter of weight reduction.  Backing can load a reel up with unnecessary weight.  There may be situation where an angler never sees much more than a hundred yards of backing, leaving the remaining backing on the spool.  The backing is simply not required.

Second, there is the retrieve rate.  Typically, a large arbor reel has an overall reel diameter larger than that of a comparatively sized standard arbor reel.  For instance, a 10wt large arbor may measure 3.75 inches diameter, while a 10wt standard arbor measures only 3 inches diameter.  The reason is that each attempts to maintain the same capacity of backing and line for its particular line weight class.  Each 10 wt reel will have closely the same capacity.

Furthermore, with the large arbor, the wraps of line coils are much larger.  This significantly increases the line pickup rate, turn for turn on the spool.  Anyone can appreciate a little higher pickup ratio when reeling in 300 yards of backing.  

Finally, many argue that because the line wraps are larger on a large arbor, there is less of a "coil spring" effect on the line's memory.  This is where the line tends to "remember" the curvature of the arbor and retains that coil as it leaves the spool.  A large arbor reel reduces this effect.

However, standard arbor advocates are quick (and quite correct in a manner) in saying that the arbor dimensions on a fully loaded standard arbor reel of a larger size are exactly the same as a large arbor.  On a standard arbor, the hundreds of yards of extra backing makes up the "arbor" to be the same as any large arbor.  For instance, one could spool up an 8 wt standard arbor with 6 wt line and have the same arbor size as a 6 wt large arbor, but with much more backing.  Therefore, many people opt for the standard arbor in order to have that extra one or two hundred yards of backing for when the world record fish hits their fly and they need to play the extra line.  In doing so, they sacrifice the reduced weight of a large arbor.

In larger sized reels though, a large arbor can become quite obtrusive.  Trying to maintain 300-400 yards on a large arbor spooled with 30-40 lb backing and a hundred or so feet of 14 wt line can require extensive spool volume.  In many instances, the smaller dimensioned standard arbor reel can fit the bill by holding much more backing for a significantly smaller sized reel diameter.

So which is better?  The answer is as varied as the opinions.  Varying preferences, situations, and experience can all come into play when deciding which style is best.  Fortunately, spare spools for the InterCoastal series are only $99.  Therefore, you can carry several different spools with varying line weights for any different situation you may encounter!


Direct-Drive vs. Anti-Reverse

This topic can be one of the most opinionated and unfortunately misunderstood of all the reel style arguments.  The two types of reels will be described as they work in a Gilmore Reel InterCoastal Series reel.

A Direct-Drive reel is a reel in which the spool is directly coupled to the handle.  When the spool pays out, the handle moves at exactly the same revolutions as the spool.  This is a very traditional setup for fly-fishing.  Advocates claim that they have much more control over the reel when fighting a fish.  With a direct-drive reel, every movement the fish makes on the line can be felt on the reel handle.  When the fish runs, the handle will spin at a very high rate.  Imagine a fish swimming at 10 miles an hour away from you.  A 4 inch diameter spool will pay out line at 10 miles an hour.  That's .17 miles per minute.   That works out to about 861 RPM!   Anglers control the payout with a combination of the drag setting and a technique referred to as palming, where the palm of the hand is used to slow the spool down.

Now, many people have opted out of the traditional norm of the direct-drive scenario and discovered the anti-reverse style reel.  While direct-drive advocates proclaim that they have better control, anti-reverse proponents tout unbroken knuckles and better mechanized drag control.  This setup uses an anti-reverse mechanism that allows the spool to payout without spinning the handle.  When the handle is rotated forward, the spool reels in.  When the handle is stopped, the spool can still payout line without rotating the handle.  The argument against the anti-reverse is that the angler gives up manual control of the drag.   However, unique to the InterCoastal series design is the ability to palm the anti-reverse setup and thus maintain extra drag control.  A properly set drag will payout when called upon and thus keep the line from breaking.  A strange situation exists when trying to reel in an anti-reverse setup and the line continues to payout.  While direct-drive advocates may dislike this, the drag is actually doing its exact job.  It is allowing line to payout when enough tension is on the reel and will do so without spinning the handle or allowing extra drag from the anglers hand on the knob.  This is intentional by design.


Left vs. Right-hand Retrieve

What can we say.  You were born that way.  What hand do you prefer reeling in with?  It is up to you.  With the InterCoastal Series from Gilmore Reel, you don't have to worry about it.  Reels can be configured for either preference in just seconds.


2005 Gilmore Reel
Gilmore Reel is a division of
VPE, Incorporated
Last modified: November 20, 2005
Engineered and manufactured with pride in the U.S.A.