Montana guide and friend Joe Willauer (check out Joe's Evolution Anglers blog - a great read) turned me on to Bozeman Reel Company. I'm all about American-made gear and if it can come from the heart of fly fishing so much the better. But what, is that an uber classic clicker in their SC Series reel? Gotta' have it.
Of course BRC didn't have any local or online dealers at the time as Dan Rice and his crew were just getting it launched. So, I got to have some nice dialogue with Dan. Super cool guy with a solid business background. After ordering the SC 325 (that's three-to-five, in case you missed the nomenclature like I did at first) and then later realizing that size was foolish, I ended up with an SC 223.
I wrote a preliminary review on the 325 a while back, but to be honest due to my own stupidity it never even got test cast. This year when I realized that I had some Summer trips to Michigan's Upper Peninsula planned and that I'd get to fish with my Dad, who's an ardent small water enthusiast, it was time for a Small Water Rig (SWR). For a while, I'd been thinking that a 2- or 3-weight would be cool for an outing on some skinny water. I've done this before with my 8'6" 4-weight Scott A3. Too much stick to be fun. So an appropriate 3-weight rod was acquired (review coming soon) and a well-matched line (yet another review...).
But I digress - back the the SC 223. As you may recall, I had a very favorable first impression of the SC 325 in my earlier write-up. Classic lines, solidly built, and some truly impactful packaging. These guys got this one right.
|Bozeman Reel SC 223 reel where it needs to be - back in the woods!|
The other cool thing about this reel is that it doesn't need to be switched from left- to right-hand retrieve. Somehow it just magically figures it out and adjusts. I'm no mechanical engineer, so I decided that BRC employs liberal doses of pixie dust and magic in all their reels. I was, however, curious about the reels inner workings. But it's so well put-together I just felt like I shouldn't take it apart. So, I asked Dan, and here's what I learned:
"Those attachment points are hidden to keep the appearance clean. The spool is then coupled with two stainless spool inserts that when working together create the shaft that the spool rides upon. Those are inserted into a set of tightly toleranced brass bushings that create the smooth movement of the reel."
Wow. That's Olde Schoole craftsmanship. It's very clear that a lot of thought went into the design of this sweet little reel. I'd asked about the reason for no clicker tension adjustment and learned that the group of purists had helped with input for this reel. These folk strongly advocated for a traditional design along the line of Edward vom Hofe. In a trout reel, I'm down with this. It's so seldom you'd actually even go to the reel, and on a 3-weight rig it's even less likely.
OK, so all this troutsturbation is interesting, what's it like on the river? How about one word? Perfect. The weight is just right. The purr of the clicker is just right. And the classic lines are just right. In short, when you wade into a small cold stream in search of tiny, beautiful brook trout, this feels like what should be in your hand.
|Bugs were kinda' thick on that first outing...|
The balance is an interesting issue. It's as though this real cold somehow sense what rod it was on and adjust density. my 3-weight is a fiberglass model
A second outing on the Fox a few weeks later brought similar joy - and some nice brookies. This second outing gave me the same reaction as the first; balance, poise, and style. I can already tell this reel will be a favorite. While it may not get a lot of use each year, as I'm some distance from the places where it excels, it will be used a lot for a number of years!
Love clicker reels? Want American-made? Appreciate fine craftsmanship? Check out Bozeman Reel Company's SC Series 223 reel. Two thumbs up!