NAUTILUS IS SET TO LAUNCH the newest member of its popular NV reel series, and this one is appropriately called “The Monster.”
Sure, this thing is a beast at first glance. With a hefty five-inch diameter, the Monster cranks up nearly a foot and a half of line with every turn of the spool. But here’s the thing that won the hearts of voters at the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show: the Monster weighs 9.9 ounces, which is pretty much in line with what a lot of the saltwater reels designed for 8-weights tip the scales at. In other words, Monster proves that your tarpon or tuna rod doesn’t have to feel like it has a bowling ball hanging from the reel seat.
The real beastly part of the reel, however, is what you don’t see—the fully-sealed NV CCF drag system. I’ve spent a good amount of time fishing the Nautilus NVs in saltwater and freshwater (as well as tying the reels to motorcycles, ATV’s, trucks, and so forth), and the drag system has never once disappointed. It’s easily one of the best-engineered systems in fly fishing. And because the drag is impervious to the elements, salty residue, sand, and dust, the only thing you really have to do to keep the NV well maintained is to dry out your backing now and again.
Retail is $850 for the reel, and $365 for the replacement spool, and believe it or not, even at those prices, you get what you pay for.
The other new Nautilus models for 2012 are the Monster’s little brothers, the NV Spey in 400-550 and 450-750 models. Well, “little brothers” is a relative description, because they’re not all that much smaller than Monster. And they are also surprisingly light for the frame size. As light as the frame is, it has proven highly resistant to dings and dents. What’s unique about this reel is that it is designed specifically to hold new Spey lines with the ultra-thin running line sections, fat bellies, and shooting heads in a way that feels balanced on two-hand rods. And the drag is the same NV drag that gear-head anglers appreciate. Retail is $690-$790 for the reels (400-550/450-750, respectively), and $305-$335 for their spools.