What exactly is a click-and-pawl reel?

Click and pawl is nothing more than a retarded, or should I say semi-literate,expression for a spring and pawl reel. The pawl presses against the gear wheel on the spool, producing the "clicking" sound which has caused multitudes of internet fly fishermen to begin using the flat out wrong term of "click and pawl" reel because they apparently don't know WTF they're talking about. The spring provides tension against the pawl, which produces the resistance against the gear wheel preventing reel spool over-run. Almost sorry for being an A-hole about this, but geez, call something by its name already. It's not like it's hard or something.


Salmo g.
It's apparently caused quite a few online shops, manufacturers, dealers and auctioneers to do the same in their product descriptions. I wouldn't say it's just fly fishermen "that don't know WTF they are talking about". People are fed bad information from people who are supposed to know WTF they are talking about. :beer2: Also I stand corrected. That SA sys 1 wasn't a "click and pawl" it was a "click and crack"

Elitist A-Hole (JK) :rofl:

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Ok getting lost in all the replies, but a couple of questions:

1. Are all hardy reels CP?
2. What is the model that you would recommend and what are the price ranges, say sub 100 and over 100 dollars.
Good questions both.

To fully answer them, it'll be helpful to consider that Hardy has been in the reel business for more than a century. Up until fairly recently, all their reels were CP (sorry salmo, but I like that term as I think it better describes the reels and their unique sound as well as their design!)

To answer the first question: no, not all Hardys are CP.

Hardy was late to the disc drag party, introducing models in the early to mid-1990s. As the economics of English labor costs forced production offshore and faced with declining sales, their new owner, Sharpes Group, decided to completely revamp their reel lines, hence the new Star Wars disc drag designs pitched by the fetching redhead lass in their print ads.

Hardy still produces several lines of CP reels, notably the Bougle and the Lightweight series (Featherweight, Flyweight, etc.) Both are a nod to traditionalists who prefer the old designs with closed cages and CP drag mechanisms. Like all (well, nearly all) CP Hardy reels, they can be easily converted for left hand or right hand wind. (Some older models were only available in RH or LH wind configurations. Converting some can involve considerable effort and cost. Fortunately most are easily interchangeable.)

Given the dramatic decline in the US dollar against the British Pound, the price of all new Hardy gear has skyrocketed. The Bougle MkV I received as a gift and which cost about $375 new in 2001 now costs almost $800. As such, most US buyers find that new Hardy reels, even the 'Star Wars' disc drag models, are waaaaay overpriced when compared with more affordable domestic or Asian competitors.

To answer the second question, there are virtually no Hardy reels in the sub $100 price range.

New reels are more like $300 to $800 with spools from $125 to $250. Which leads Hardy fans to used reels.

Despite the bargain prices MikeT paid for his, most used Hardys have enjoyed a wonderful run of appreciation in the past year or two, in lock step with the decline of the dollar. The slightly-above-average condition Marquis 7 with 2 spools I paid $140 for 2 years ago, now regularly sells for $150 to $200 for the reel alone, with the spools fetching $50 or more each. A Marquis Multiplier 4 with 2 spools I bought from Marty Keene for $160 several years back has roughly doubled. Don't even get me started on how much the trout-sized Princesses or the Lightweight series have increased in cost.

While eBay and estate or private party sales can occasionally yield a bargain, the bad news is that killer deals in old Hardys are becoming increasingly rare. On the other hand, the good news is that prices continue to rise and show no signs of declining.

Unlike most of the new, whiz-bang gear most fishers here seem to favor, to own an old Hardy is to be able fish a reel that will continue to increase in value, probably pacing inflation. There are damn few reels one can buy that will let you fish them for a lifetime and then sell for more than you paid for them - in some cases far more.


Edit: For giggles, here are a couple of eBay auctions that will offer a glimpse into what the market thinks of older 2-screw Hardy trout reels.

The first is for an average looking Flyweight with 2 spools, now at $250 with 2 days still to go and just 1 bid (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=230199758124&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=013).

The second is for an average or better Princess with 3 spools still awaiting a bid at an opening price of $275 with 2 days left (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=230199779339&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=013)

The opening bid amount seems a bit high to me, especially with Christmas just around the corner. OTOH, both reels include extra spools so I wouldn't be surprised to see the serious bidders lay in the weeds until the last second before bidding them up. Who knows? We'll all find out together.


Mark Steudel
Thanks for all the info and pictures guys. Despite all this, I doubt I'll run out and and purchase one, though I now know a bit to at least appreciate them. I wondering (aka hoping) that my okuma sierra reels have melted while in storage, and I'm forced to buy new reels. While Hardy CP reels would be a nice touch, at this point in my life I think all my budget can handle are "good deal" reels. This has been a nice informative thread for me! Thanks to everyone's input.



Well-Known Member

If you'd like a Hardy because of their value and simplicity, but can't or don't want to afford one, you might want to consider a Ross Colorado. The Colorado is discontinued, but shows up on Ebay and online sources. They retailed for $105-115, and you can usually get them for less. I bought a couple a few years ago and think they're a very good value. They are machined from bar stock and anodized and have a simple spring and pawl and should last forever, or longer. I used one for bonefish a couple years ago, and they sound nice when a fish runs too.


o mykiss

Active Member
Okay, I give. Salmo and few others on this board have been extolling the virtues of spring/pawl reels for salmon and steelhead for so long that I feel like I ought to at least find out what it's all about. I have a couple cheapo Sage spring/pawl reels that I don't really use and a Sage 3200 that I use on my 5 weight for trout, but nothing big enough to use for salmon/steelhead. Sounds like I ought to be looking for something by Hardy, but I could use some help figuring out what models I should be looking for. I'm not sure which of my spey rods I'd use it for, but I don't have anything lighter than a 7 weight and my beefiest rod is a Sage 9140-4 that I think I fish a 9/10 mid-belly line on. So if you were me, which Hardy models would you be keeping an eye out for? And where other than WFF classifieds, SpeyPages classifieds and eBay should I be looking?


Active Member
I'm another fan of the Ross Colorado. I have a couple of Colorado 1's which (along with my Hardy LRH Lightweights) are my favorite trout reels. I bought one when they were first introduced and experienced a few problems with it. The pawl tended to have a bit too much friction if it was lubricated with grease (as opposed to oil). As a result, the pawl would rotate to a point where it was out of contact with the gear and stick there, resulting in a freewheeling spool. I called Ross and sent it back to them, they fiddled it a bit and sent it back.

It seemed to work fine until I hooked a strong fish at Lenice one day which hit so hard that the triangular pawl flipped over onto its side and (again) allowed the reel to go into freewheel mode. Again, the reel went back to Ross with an explanatory letter and when it came back the plate covering the pawl had sprouted a couple of little pins to limit the amount of rotation allowed to the pawl.

I wrote them a letter thanking them for having allowed me to be a part of their research and development program along with some thoughts on field testing a new design before putting it on the market. Since that time, however, the reel performed so satisfactorily that when they were discontinued I was happy to pick up another one at the closeout price. I've used both of them for much of my trout fishing for the past six or seven years.
In my experience (however limited), click drag reels have a little more initial resistance before they begin turning than a smooth disk drag reel. This probably only matters when fishing for large fish on very light tippet. I experienced this when fishing for very large trout in a well-known Montana spring creek. The guide insisted we use 6X and even 7x for the PMD hatch, and the only times I lost fish to break offs occured right at the beginning of their runs. I feel reasonably sure that if I had been using a disk drag reel with smooth start up I would have broken off fewer fish. In the "real world" of daily fishing I never go so light on the tippet.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I'm surprised that no one mentioned the Orvis orginal CFOs.
Until recently, I believe that the CFOs were all made by Hardy.

In my experience (however limited), click drag reels have a little more initial resistance before they begin turning than a smooth disk drag reel.
I think you're right about the initial resistance. But I've found that the resistance on a CP reel seems to be more even, making for fewer breakoffs rather than more, at least for me.

o mykiss,
There are several Hardy's suitable for a spey rod.
For your 7-wt, you could look at the Marquis Salmon #1, Perfect wide drum 3 3/4", or a 4" Bougle.
For a 9-wt. you'd want to go bigger: Marquis Salmon #2 or Perfect wide drum 4". I don't know if the 4" Bougle is large enough for a 9-wt.; it's probably too light regardless of capacity.
The Marquis reels are easier to find, and you'll see them on EBay a lot, especially from sellers in Europe. The Perfects are pretty common too, but very expensive.

You'll probably have a hard time finding a good Marquis Salmon reel for under $200. The Perfects are probably going to run $450++.

For less money you might want to look at a JW Young Pridex or Beaudex in salmon size. The Beaudex has a (somewhat) adjustable check; the Pridex does not. I believe they were both made in 3 3/4" and 4" wide drum models. Prices ought to be around $100+ for the JW Youngs.



Active Member
I believe the CFOs were made by that mysterious outfit (owned until recently by Orvis, I believe) called British Made Reels. They also made reels for SA, Cabela's, Snowbee, Farlow and probably others. A few years ago it seemed like every large-arbor reel I picked up was one of their products. They were responsible for the English-made Orvis Madison series, another spring-and-pawl (OK, Salmo) reel that I've always been partial to and, in fact, marketed a reel identical to it in England as the Dragonfly.

Unfortunately, I guess economic realities moved Orvis' production to the Orient and BMR was sold. I have no idea whether they are still in business.

John Hicks

Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits
Google any of the 'older' Hardy Reels. No drag .... just the worlds best sound with a running fish. Main thing (imho) is the pawl part is to prevent 'over runs' as these reels have no drag system.

Oh yes the sound of a Hardy is something you will never forget. I'm not a purist by any stretch of the word but I do love the sound of my Hardy reel, as a hot rainbow peels line.


Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I believe the CFOs were made by that mysterious outfit (owned until recently by Orvis, I believe) called British Made Reels. They also made reels for SA, Cabela's, Snowbee, Farlow and probably others.
Earlier Orvis CFOs predating the Orvis-BMR connection were indeed made by Hardy. Those early Hardy-made CFOs can be identified by the exposed rivets on the backside of the frame. The rivets hold the inside pins on which the pawls pivot and the springs mount. Later Hardy-made CFOs are indistinguishable from the BMR-made ones.

Here's part of a post on that subject in a recent thread on another forum: ". . . because despite popular opinion, Hardys kept churning out CFOs well into 1997 and then again, albeit briefly, in 2000. Disregarding the latter date, if you do the math this is approximately, seven or eight years after those cherished die-cast CFOs (introduced in 1972), the reels with the exposed rivets, were discontinued." (The entire thread is at http://clarksclassicflyrodforum.yuku.com/topic/8719)

Hardy also manufactured reels for Scientific Anglers' early 'System' models, many of which were identical to and interchangeable with the Hardy Marquis and Lightweight lines.