“This reel review first appeared in the 2020 Gear Guide, now on sale at bookstores and fly shop nationwide, and also at osgnewsstand.com".
Jack Charlton designed his first carbon-fiber sealed-drag fly-fishing reel in 19931993. He eventually sold his original company, started a new one, and passed away in 2011. Mako reels are the most recent evolution in that heritage. The Mako 9550 is lighter than Charlton’s original reels (4.5" diameter, 13.85 oz.), but many of the design elements are familiar, with Taperloc quick-change spools, and a three-ball-bearing spindle assembly. A single reel can take spools sized for 8/10 lines or for 10/12 lines. The one-turn, lock-to-lock drag knob is calibrated to consistently produce the same amount of line tension at each position. According to Mako, the sealed drag is engineered so that the clutch pressure plate positions itself at the correct height even if the plate becomes thinner due to decades of wear. The result is that your grandson will get exactly the same drag tension decades from now. $1,290 | makoreels.com