The click & pawl drag reel has been around since waders were made of tweed, fly rods of tree and your transport to the river ate hay.
Whatever the historical baggage, I like click drags for their solidity and simplicity and don’t mind the nod towards traditional even though the rods I mostly put them on are up to the minute carbon fibre canons.
I also like the noise they make when they work hard – particularly fishing in company.
No, a click drag reel, like your horse vs. a tow truck, will never have the outright stopping power of a modern disc drag, but if we’re honest, most trout don’t have the outright grunt to challenge one anyway.
All my New Zealand friends, even though I agree with them, are now taking a break from sending me hilarious emails about how awesome Australian rugby hasn’t been this season and switching to angry ones about Australian trout vs. NZ trout for pulling power.
Okay, I have suffered through being thoroughly cleaned up by a couple of big New Zealand fish in big fast water that I might have kept on the line with a heavier duty drag, but never here in Australia and never on a rod under a 5 weight anywhere.
Besides, it’s cool with me if sometimes the fish occasionally wins even if my rugby team can’t.
Sage’s take on the traditional click pawl drag reel is the very obviously named ‘Click’ and it’s as modern in materials and design as any of their rods while maintaining some click & pawl drag old-school cool.
The look is very refined, with thin 3 way arms on the spool and frame and small counter balances opposite the handle.
In a steam-punk style, the pawl is situated on the frame and clicks through an exposed gear that’s part of the outer rim of the spool.
I couldn’t tell you if this is in anyway better than a traditional gear around a centre axle, but it sure looks good and certainly works.
The drag’s tension can be adjusted and though it has more scope than some other reels, it’s still limited.
The real party trick of the Sage Click is weight, or lack thereof and they’re incredibly light for any reel starting at just under 2.5 ounces in the 0/1/2 size and only 3 ounces in the largest 4/5/6 size, making them a good counter-balance on a super-light rod.
The build quality, like all things Sage, is brilliant.
I’ve always used the smallest size Click on 3 weight rods as I don’t need a lot of backing and don’t mind cutting a fly line back 10 or 20 feet for small stream fishing to keep size and weight down.
On the shorter 3 weights, like 7’ and under this has always balanced well and looks good in pictures.
In Arbour size, the Click is marginally bigger than a traditional reel, but not clown sized like some stuff out there and they run from a little over 3 inches in diameter in the 3/4/5 size to a little under 4 inches in the 4/5/6 model.
Photographic side note: Even if It’s made of a rare Aluminium – UnObtainium alloy lovingly machined by unionised unicorns after midnight and cost two grand, if your reel is the size of a plate it will make your fish, even the horses, look piddly in photos and that erases any other cool qualities it might have in my book.
The Click comes in 3 hard anodised colours, Lime, Bronze and Stealth. (Black)
The retrieve is easily changed from left to right-hand.