Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gear Review: Tibor Reels

Tibor Reels are the best made pieces of fly fishing tackle on earth. I got my first one almost 18 years ago from a customer who owned a fly shop in New England. He gave it to me as a tip and I've treasured it ever since.  It's the black Everglades model pictured above which I spooled up with a 9-weight line, 200 yards of 20# backing, and mounted it to a Sage RPLXi 990.  I still have this rig and it’s been my most effective saltwater combo for the past two decades.  I‘ve used it catch everything from bonefish to blackfin tuna.

Tibor Reels are still completely made in America and their shop is located in Delray Beach, FL. They're machined out of bar stock aluminum and come in several different models for rod sizes from 3 to 15 weight. You can chase everything from chalk stream trout to gulf stream marlin with a Tibor.

The most impressive thing about these reels is that they’re totally bulletproof. I’ve never once taken my old Everglades apart to clean it, and in fact I rarely even rinse it off with freshwater after a full day of fishing.  Back in 2005 I landed a nice bonefish while wading off a Puerto Rican beach and set the rod down right in the surf while unhooking the fish. When I picked it back up the reel was full of sand and would barely turn. I simply swished it around in the saltwater and kept moving the handle until the bigger pieces of sand jamming the spool where crunched up enough to free it. The reel sounded like a pepper grinder for a few moments and then went right back to clicking away like it was brand new. Even after that I was too lazy to rinse it with freshwater when I got home. I did drop it in the sink with some dishes a few days later just to get rid of the salt crust.

The company doesn’t recommend treating their products like this but it’s nice to know that you can. This kind of quality isn’t cheap. A new Tibor Everglades will cost you around $650 but this is definitely a case getting more than your money’s worth out of a piece of tackle. They also look, feel, and sound like they're worth every penny of that price. You can personalize you own nameplate and order them engraved with several different fish designs, too, making them completely unique.

These reels will honestly last a lifetime and then some. There is very little room for improvement with them so I can’t imagine ever thinking that my Tibors are obsolete. I currently own three different models and none of them has ever given me a singe problem. They’re some of the best money I’ve ever spent and if you‘re really serious about saltwater fly fishing, you need to own at least one of these reels.