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The PCS Blogosphere

Alan's Workbench
Offset handle grips
Alan's Workbench
Jun. 15 2009, 8:36 AM - 1 Comments
The fish's interface with the reel is the drag system.  Once you upgrade your drag washers to greased carbon fiber, the fish will probably not be able to tell the difference between your $90 Ambassaduer and your $350 Calcutta.  Your interface with the reel is the handle grip.  In between the handle grip and the drags is a reel with single or two speeds, leverdrag or star drag, graphite or aluminum frame, level wind or no.  Once you're on a fish, your reel may as well be a black box.  It's you on the handle grip and the fish against the drag.
 

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Alan's Workbench
It's Been A Brutal Winter...
Alan's Workbench
May. 26 2009, 2:48 PM - 1 Comments
...But fishing season is finally here!  I just love the ocean and I pretty much limit myself to ocean fishing only.  I fish inshore during most of the May to November season.  Right now that means only rock cod and ling cod.  In Northern California, our salmon fishery has collapsed, halibut has always been spotty, and white sea bass are like ghosts (you don’t find them, they find you).  In late summer months, we may or may not get a shot at albacore.  Last year they hop scotched right over us and landed in Oregon.  


 

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Alan's Workbench
Bearing Sleeves to Increase Freespool Time
Alan's Workbench
May. 18 2009, 3:19 PM - 0 Comments
Most of you are familiar with this process by the name "Blue Printing" from Cal Sheets.  Since last summer, I've been cutting bearing sleeves on a small scale for a few lever drag reels.  The purpose of the bearing sleeve is to prevent pressure from building up on the inside races of the spool bearings.  An axial load on these bearings will decrease the freespool time in a lever drag reel and decrease your casting distance.  Using thin walled brass tubing from your local hobby shop, you can cut a bearing sleeve yourself.  The results can be dramatic! 

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Alan's Workbench
What Makes a Great Kayak Reel?
Alan's Workbench
May. 15 2009, 12:02 PM - 0 Comments
Bushings!  That’s right, not bearings.  Bushings.
 
There is a small group of fishermen here in Northern California that fish the inshore waters for rockcod, halibut and lingcod.  They tend to be young, physically fit, well educated and fanatically dedicated to their sport.  When I am looking to fill an open spot or two on my boat, I will often go to their website with an invitation.  I have always had good success in finding hardworking deckhands.  There is not a whiner in the bunch.  After all, these guys normally fish from a 14-foot-long piece of Tupperware.  They have to launch through the breakers, paddle one to five miles and sit in a cold wetsuit for hours. 

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Alan's Workbench
Servicing a Bearing
Alan's Workbench
Apr. 27 2009, 1:39 PM - 1 Comments
You’re serious about fishing. You’re serious about your gear. You can strip down and rebuild your reels in your sleep. Sometimes you do. The drags in your reels have all been upgraded to greased carbon fiber, the internal surfaces have a light coat of grease, and you even have some custom handle grips. Bearings, however, have been that last little item that have continued to plague you. You would like more free-spool to improve your casting distance. Adding different lubes have increased your free-spool times, but you can’t seem to break the 60-second barrier. You would like to pack other of these bearings with grease to protect them a little better. Well, it's time to open them up.

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Alan's Workbench
Superlubes
Alan's Workbench
Apr. 20 2009, 10:08 AM - 1 Comments
There are four different lubricants that I use in fishing reels. A one-size-fits-all approach will work in some situations, but not this one. This continues to be a work in progress. As of this writing, April 2009, here are the four lubes that I’ve settled on:

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Alan's Workbench
If I Was Going to Make a Reel . . .
Alan's Workbench
Apr. 3 2009, 3:40 PM - 0 Comments
… what would it be like?  Hmm, now that would be interesting.  I would want a set of three reels.  The first would be my 30-pound-class reel, holding 300 yards of 50-pound spectra and a 50-yard topshot of 30-pound-test mono or fluoro, capable of delivering an easy 15 pounds of drag.  The second would be a 40-pound-class reel, holding 300 yards of 65-pound spectra and a 50-yard topshot of 40-pound test mono or fluoro, capable of delivering an easy 20 pounds of drag.  The third would be a 50-pound-class reel, holding 300 yards of 80-pound spectra and a 50-yard topshot of 50-pound mono or fluoro, delivering 25 pound of drag.  Yes, these would be very small reels!

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Alan's Workbench
The wand picks the wizard, Mr. Potter
Alan's Workbench
Apr. 1 2009, 9:53 AM - 0 Comments
It’s common on Internet boards to see a guy say that he as a reel and wants to match it up to a rod.  It’s difficult because rods will typically give you a line weight rating.  Just like with reels, I would rather see them list a drag range.  I believe that using a drag range is the most reliable way to establish a proper rating for a rod.  Experienced fishermen all have a “feel” for what is well balance, but have probably not thought it through in an OBJECTIVE manner.  Yeah, there’s that word again!  Here’s the procedure that I go through. 

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Alan's Workbench
A Different Point of View
Alan's Workbench
Mar. 31 2009, 3:33 PM - 0 Comments
If you’ve been reading these blogs, then it means you have to be as obsessed with fishing as I am. You remember the fish you’ve caught. You also remember the fish you’ve lost. Fine-tuning our art is often just a matter of eliminating those weak links in the chain that result in lost fish. That means taking a hard critical look at everything, from the handle grip to point of the hook. So let’s do just that, but this time let’s start with a different point of view.

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Alan's Workbench
Fishing Reel Drag Systems
Alan's Workbench
Mar. 27 2009, 11:18 AM - 0 Comments
There are several different drag systems that are commonly used in reels today. Their smoothness, this lack of “start up,” can sometimes be the difference between landing a fish or not. I service an average of about a thousand reels a year, and I think I’ve pretty much seen every drag material that’s ever been used. Remember, I would define a “smooth drag” as having less than 10 percent “start up.” If you have a weight that is equivalent to your drag setting and hang that weight on the reel, a smooth drag would allow that weight to drop one foot every five seconds. A “reliable drag” would then be a smooth drag that would never become sticky as the reel ages. Simple enough, so let’s see what’s out there.


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