Reel Optimization

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Russ Lane takes angler “tinkering” to high-tech heights!

Saying good-bye to a favorite piece of fishing tackle makes for a sad day, particularly when a favorite reel or rod are headed to retirement.

But Russ Lane, five-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, replaced the long “good-bye” to his fishing reels this past season with a “Welcome back!” greeting, fitting his favorite Shimano Curado baitcasting reels with high-performance replacement parts from HawgTech, maker of custom reel components.

“HawgTech sent me a couple of carbon fiber reel handles with reel knobs made by a company called Winn, which makes premium grips for golf clubs and now fishing rods as well,” said Lane. “Even if they get wet, they get tacky and keep your finger tips in control. Now all my reels are outfitted with these handles.”

Lane says that the size, sensitivity, lightness and feel of the handle add to his fishing comfort and performance, attributes that any serious tournament fisherman will well appreciate over the course of long and often grueling days of competition.

Another modification Lane makes is replacing stock spool bearings with HawgTech’s hybrid (ABEC-7) ceramic bearings – ceramic (Si3N4) balls within stainless steel race material. They add a free-wheeling smoothness and longevity to his reels.

Other component he has added to his reels are anodized aluminum star drag wheels and cast control caps.

Custom components can bring a host of benefits, Lane emphasizes. Not only do they bring two-and three-year old reels back to life, but they add to casting distance and accuracy, angler control when fighting fish, and overall comfort during a long day of casting and cranking.

Reel optimization has added a new dimension to the work of reel repair and maintenance service technicians, too, notes Noah Arroyo (815-474-2601), who has found a fascinating business in customizing reels with high-tech components and “automobile show” colors and finishes.

“Fishermen can’t believe what custom components can add to a reel’s capability,” said Arroyo. “And some fishermen are just as attracted to the unique colors and finishes you can bring to a reel and the rich look of premium parts.”

Upscale components are available for most of the top reel brands, including Shimano, Daiwa, Quantum, Abu Garcia, Lew’s and others.

Lane admits that optimizing tackle performance plays to his talents and temperament. But he believes that upgrading a reel with custom components can add to any serious and diligent angler’s game and his appreciation for tackle.

“HawgTech makes a lot of quality components to upgrade your reels,” said Lane. “And it’s especially nice to add them to reels you really love but are beginning to get a little age on them.”

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