My littlest reels tend to get the biggest workouts. An admitted trout and panfish junkie, I spend a lot of time wielding an ultra-light rod matched with a 25-size spinning reel and casting little lures. I commonly cast itsy bitsy jigs—1/32 and 1/64 ouncers—which are challenging to throw and ultra-sensitive to any slight hitch when you work them. What that means from a practical standpoint is that the smoothness of a reel majorly impacts casts and presentations.
Enter the Pflueger Patriarch
I got a couple of 25 size Patriarch’s a year or so ago, and I rarely visit a trout stream or spend time in a johnboat chasing bluegills without one. I’ll lay out the the technical details that help explain why Patriarch’s do what they do. First the simple and important stuff, though. They’re super light (25 size, which holds 110 yards of 4-pound test, weighs 5.6 ounces), and operate smoothly, and mine perform exactly the same now as when I got them.
I admittedly don’t get to test drag an enormous amount with the bluegills or trout I typically target with my ultra-lights. However, when an occasional bass has failed to respect that I was after their blue-gilled cousins or a bigger-than-average trout has gotten its body into a swift current, the drag has performed flawlessly.
Patriarchs are also seriously sleek looking. The fish don’t care if a reel looks good, but my guess is that more anglers than not would be lying to claim they have no concern about whether their gear looks cool. Form comes WAY after function on my priority list, but I won’t deny that I prefer reels that suit my tastes cosmetically, if all else is equal.
The Patriarch, which was introduced a few years ago, was among trend setters as a reel engineered with parts made from multiple materials, with each selected because it provides the least weight without forsaking functionality for its particular job. Materials include magnesium for the body, rotor and side plate, and titanium for the shaft. The aluminum spool has a carbon arbor. The carbon handle has EVA knobs.
Smoothness and toughness come from good engineering and from details such as a three-step coating on the magnesium parts, titanium coating on the line roller, and nine stainless steel ball bearings.
The Patriarch comes in 25, 30, 35 and 40 sizes. The largest, which holds 170 yards of 10-pound test monofilament, weighs 8.1 ounces.
Priced at $199.95, the Patriarch offers features comparable to reels that toss quite that much.
I suppose bass pro Davy Hite favors larger spinning reels than the Patriarch’s I match with my ultra-light rods, but here’s his take: