Product Review: Long Live the CDL

Several years back, I set up a few new spey rods with Redington's CDL reels in the 10/11 weight size. Since then, those reels have been a marvel of top-shelf performance at bottom-shelf pricing. In fact, those CDLs are the only reels I've owned and fished that haven't failed in some way during five seasons of fishing--including the top-shelf reels in my bag.  

The success of the CDLs has led me to recommend them to anglers far and wide who are looking for an economically priced reel for their new spey rod.

This winter, I began testing Redington's new Delta reel, which is a fully machined aluminum reel with a cork-teflon drag system. In the hand, this reel looks like it will live up the the CDL's performance. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

The drag system in the Deltas I own seizes whenever the air temperature drops below thirty degrees. I lost a fish one morning because of it. The drag also slips during the course of the day; it will be tight at 9 am and loose by 3 pm.

And maybe more problematic, the spools have repeatedly fallen off; one minute the spool is attached and the drag engaged, then the spool is sliding off its axel and into the river. The latest time, I was waist deep in a fast run. My only chance of retrieving the wayward spool was to pinch it between my boots and hop like the Energizer Bunny to the shore where I could bend over--my cheek touching the icy water--and grab it.

Even high-end reels have problems from time to time. But the Delta has proved itself no match for the demands of winter steelheading.

Get Your Fish On.

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