Fly reels

At the moment the L.H. Design fly-reel programme consists of twenty two models with a line weight-range from 2 - 12. Generally spoken all spools are slightly over-dimensioned, so for example a #5 weight might be used for a #6 line. This of course depends strongly upon how much and which type of backing is to be used.

Every reel is made almost totally of pure titanium. We use conventional machines for most parts but hand tools are frequently used both in the making process, assembling and in the finishing process. We try to create reels as functional objects but also as "works of art". The Beaver Kill series (see special projects) is the best example to illustrate this approach.

The L.H. Design reel programme is divided into the following series:

Series A (#2/3 #4 and #5)

Titanium reels with a Bickerdyke line guard, made of stainless spring steel in a traditional design. This line guard is very simple but most functional in use. Spools are put in place by means of a vacuum. To remove the spool just pull it from the central axis. Inside the spool you will see a small round locking piece which must correspond with a marking on the central axis when the spool is replaced.

Series AA (#2/3 #4 and #5)

Based upon the A series but these models are "clicker only" and can be used for both for right hand and left hand retrieve. Light all titanium reels, especially recommended for light trout fishing. Spool change: the same as with the A series.

Series B (#4 #5 #6/7 and #8)

Reels with a cage construction. Spool change: the same as with the A series. Classic looking reels. The #5 is the best selling model of this series. The #5 will hold most #6 lines and is a true "general purpose" reel. Personally I fished the #5, the #6/7 and the #8 for many years in salt water without any problems (see maintenance).

Series BB (#4 and #5)

Based upon the B series. Like the AA series these are symmetrical reels, both for right and right hand retrieve. These reels are classic looking and light.

Series C (#5/6 #6/7 and #8)

Three models of a central drive design. Manufacturing these reels in small numbers is extremely time consuming. Therefore we will offer these reels on special request. We also made a clicker- only version #5/6 with gold plated screws (see special projects). Prices will be quoted with every separate reel. These reels are true classics and have an unequalled visual impact. The spools of these reels have bearings on both sides. Changing winding direction will take a few minutes. You only need an instrument makers screw-driver. Additionally these reels are silent in the winding direction, when line is taken off the reel you will hear a discreet but clear clicker...

Series D (Sapphire #4/5)

One of our most succesful designs. In this reel we designed a spool of P.E.I., a high performance plastic with an amber colour outlook. It blends with the titanium in a very professional way. The Sapphire set consists of: 1 P.E.I. spool, 1 monoblock titanium spool, 1 frame, 2 pouches (one for the reel, one for the spare spool). No drag system. Clicker only. Light! Recommended for general trout fishing.
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A reel called Amber

When I attended the Somerset N.Y, Flyfishing Show. In the U.S.A, in 2005 it became clear to me that one specific reel might possibly be added to the L.H. Design Fly Reel programme.

Some beautiful "Classics" were displayed at the Show and a friend of mine raised the question "Why not design a "classic" with the use of modern high performance materials?". I started to analyse this possibility and found that there was an interest in such a reel, by asking a number of my customers. Some of them had actually suggested earlier that I should consider making a "Classic" but I simply had not yet considered the idea using the specific materials I use in L.H.design reels.

I realised that the production capacity of our small two person firm was too limited to incorporate this project within a reasonable time schedule. The reels I had seen at the Show were an Edward vom Hofe and a Philbrooke and Payne. Both reels are based upon a metal frame and hard rubber sideplates. I did not see myself pouring some liquid substance (hardrubber, whatever it may have been) into a mould and made the transfer to the material PEI which already was used for the spools of my Sapphire reel. The following step was easier: To make the frame from Titanium, the base material for all L.H. Design reels.

In order to get the project realized I asked my colleague and friend, reel designer, Alex Kaplun, owner of the mechanical engineering group for fly fishing (MEGOFF) to do the design and the manufacture of this reel as a jointed project. We worked together for some months intensively and with some trial and error, good communication and our collaboration on technical and easthetical design aspects we came finally to the reel that we called Amber, named for the colour of the PEI material used in the sideplates.

The reel is clicker only to keep the weight under a limit of 175 gram. Besides the clicker an overrun protection is used to achieve a subtle, appealing clicker's sound. The sideplates give the reel some translucency: actually I'm still experimenting and fine tuning the degree of translucency This is a matter of time and finally we can say: "Amber reel will be available from the second half of 2008 on a limited production run of 25 reels annually".
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The Amber Salmon

During the spring of 2010 this stunning salmon reel was developed in a joint project between L.H. Design and Megoff.

The use of PEI sideplates had already been experimented with in the Amber Trout reel and we were curious if the PEI was rigid and stable enough to be applied as sideplates in a larger salmon reel. The use of artificial materials in fly reel manufacture is, of course, very old: so-called HARD RUBBER and BAKELITE were used in reels during the first half of the 20th. century (and even later). So the use of PEI is based upon a historic use of materials; however there are some important differences.

Firstly: PEI is a very modern "high performance plastic". The use of plastics has had a bad name at times, for some applications (and it still has) because of the unreliable quality of the more common materials in daily use. This reputation was connected to cheap mass produced goods that frequently had to be repaired or replaced. The new generation of space age artificial materials, however, is completely different and provides greatly improved strength, reliability and stability and offers exciting opportunities both in terms of experimental design and weight reduction.

Secondly: PEI has a stunning transparent appearance and a specific Amber colouration and shine that in my opinion forms a perfect combination for reels in terms of a technically and aesthetically exciting design, whilst still being reminiscent of the historic classic salmon reels of old. The Amber Salmon reel has developed into a classic looking reel with the most sophisticated material applications.

The spool is machined from a solid block of Ti. whilst the frame is totally constructed from high grade Ti. The S-crank handle was designed after the well known "Serpentine" handles, yet is subtly different to find that specific balance between Classic and Modern design. The drag block features an even, smooth, precise and progressive build up of drag force in 3.5 turns over a sounded traject. The reel's capacity is designed to suit all situations of fishing for wild, powerful Salmon and is rated at 10/12 Wt.
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The Highland Reel

A second challenge for both L.H. Design and Megoff was the realization of a hubless reel with the simplest construction possible. The key problem in reels of this type is always the bearing. The bearing that we found is actually the heart of this reel. It has a diameter of 60 mm and width and thickness are both some 3 mm.!! The weight of it is only 11 grams!

Then we chose to make both the frame and the spool from solid blocks of Ti. using the "Monoblock" construction method. Now the following occurred: When the reel was assembled we found that the "starting inertia" was exactly the drag force required to control a large fish in its first run. This in combination with the ability to apply drag by "hand palming" the spool rim, meant that, somewhat unexpectedly, we could decide to simply leave the reel this way, with no further addition except a distinguished clicker.

We developed this reel during a fishing trip to Scotland, where we were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Leggett who live at CROSSMOUNT HOUSE, on the southern shore of DUNALASTAIR WATER, which is famous for its HUGE trout. Mr. Leggett suggested that we give this reel a name to reflect the spirit of the place where it was conceived, and so The Highland Reel was born. The first one of these reels is embellished with a stunning design of an endless CELTIC knot. This freehand engraving is by Mrs. den Braven from Zwolle, in The Netherlands, who is the artist responsible for creating all of the beautiful, high quality freehand engravings on the L.H. Design reels. This reel is rated 7 Wt. It should, in my opinion, be fished in combination with an 8 or 9 Ft. L.H. Design bamboo rod, preferably on a Scottish loch or river.

Some info about its use: I used this reel during a full week's sea trout fishing in Denmark in the spring of 2010. While fishing I dropped the reel from a height of 1 meter into the sand, because I was curious to see if the sand would disturb the reel's performance. This was done repeatedly, at different times every day. Surprisingly there was no change of any kind, that could be determined; even after the reel had been "washed" by submerging it in salt water. Though I have not cleaned or maintained the reel since my return from this week's fishing it continues to function as brand new. This reel was shown to the Public for the first time at the British Fly fair International, November 2010. Also during this show the Amber Salmon and the Arrowhead reels were launched.
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The Arrowhead Reel

Yes, 2010 was the year of innovations.

By chance, while clearing away things in my workshop I found a little pulley wheel which had been used in top of the mast of our old sailing boat (my wife Ella and I used to be competition sailors). The material was a cotton fabric soaked in phenolic resin and pressed/heated to make one of the most durable composite materials existing. It is an old material but still used frequently in winches and blocks on sailing boats.

I immediately felt that something should be done with this stuff in a flyreel in combination with Titanium. After some experimentation I found that the combination of these materials had exactly the professional outlook that I had hoped for. The triangular design of the backplate is not especially new but I tried to incorporate a functional & aesthetic design element, which has ultimately resulted in the name ARROWHEAD.

While bending the backplate in order to create the platform for attaching the reel foot it was apparent that the whole bending area would have deformed in a way that I did not like. To avoid this two notches were created on either side of the bending area, separating it from its surroundings and allowing bending to be achieved without any unwanted deformation; leaving the backplate perfectly flat and without any optical disturbances. The shape that came into existence in this way triggered me to call the reel THE ARROWHEAD.

The first four reels of this type feature a BICKERDYKE line guard, like all reels of the L.H. Design A series of reels. The drag block produces a silky smooth, progressive and precise build up of drag force. The clicker produces the finest clicker sound ever heard and is made from a piece of material from our lawn trimmer (You know; that plastic wire that has to be made longer now and then). It is indestructible, cheap, easy to install and produces exactly the sound wanted in combination with a PEEK tusk wheel. This reel was launched at The British Fly Fair International 2010. I will fish one of these reels in salt water during the next years. The ARROWHEAD comes in 4 Wt. and 5 Wt. versions.
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Pike Reel

Fly fishing for pike is booming all over Europe and this reel was made for one of our customers in the UK.

The hand engraving from a pike seizing the streamer is a stunning piece of art, achieved by Mrs. den Braven fom Zwolle, the Netherlands. Beginning 2013 she will engrave a set of three saltwater reels which will come in a presentation box. These reels will be engraved in the same style with a bone fish (7/8 Wt.), a tarpon (#8/9 W.) and a black marlin (/12 Wt.) in full action.

Do not hesitate to contact us for information about if and when these reels (and also the next Pike Reel) are available. The Saltwater series will be built only a couple of times. I expect to build not more than five sets at the maximum over the next years. The Saltwater series will be a timeless "Piece de resistance" which will probably serve more than one generation.
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Amber Lightweight Reel

During 2015 it became clear that there was a customers interest for a clicker only lightweight reel in the more affordable price level. I made the choice to design this reel in a combination of Titanium and High Performance Plastic technology and the result is the Amber Lightweight.

I have now started production of this new Amber Lightweight Series 4/5 Titanium and PEI reels which weigh just 110 grams. The reels have a non adjustable clicker overrun protection and come with a choice of spool; a standard spool or one with a palming rim. Reels come in an amber coloured pouch which matches the colour of the PEI perfectly and spare spools have a black fleece pouch. I have planned to produce 3 reels per month and the first batch of 3 reels have already been sold.

The next batch will be available sometime around July/August. I anticipate that these reels will go quickly but if you'd like to reserve one they are available to pre-order. To place an order a 50% deposit will be required with the balance due when your reel is ready to ship. Please contact us to place reserve one of these reels or if you want to know more.

Prices:
Reel with Standard Spool: €595,- *
Reel with Palming Rim: €615,- *
Spare Standard Spool: €165,- *
Spare Spool With Palming Rim: €185,-*
* Plus shipping costs
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Maintenance

L.H. Design reels are all constructed from pure titanium. Since all parts of all our reels are totally corrosion resistant they can be used in salt water without any problem. However we always advise to clean the reels with fresh water after salt water use.

If you want a reel to keep its original look even after years of fishing, clean it with warm water (40 degrees C.) with a small quantity of a light detergent, then let it dry. When dry rub a small quantity of light machine oil onto the outer surfaces with your fingertips. If treated this way your reel will look like new.

Specifications

In 2006 the lighter models up till #6//7 still feature the SYNTEX drag system, developed by L.H. Design about 15 years ago. From #8 wt. and up our new central drag system, that is based upon a package of carbon and stainless steel washers, will be implemented.
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