I am sure I am not alone when I see those high end fly fishing reels and their astonishing designs and think, “Wow! imagine owning one of those?”
Pushing the boundaries and design elements are what really matters to me not only as a small business owner but as a designer and avid fly fisherman myself. Thinking back to the moment that we as a brand decided to embark on the challenging aspect of building a top end fly reel but at a realistic price point I can only feel pride and joy. I am all for the more traditional cork and cog style drag systems but they really are getting on a bit now, and have not changed much for the past 15 years! – just think how advanced cars are now in comparison to 15 years ago, and you will start to understand why we looked at redesigning the “fly wheel” so to speak!
Fly fishing guides are incredibly hard on their gear as they use it nearly daily year round come rain or wind, picking their brains as to what is important and what needs to be addressed to reduce their down time is where the APEX was born.
The first element that we began to recreate was the drag system, we knew that it would need to be completely sealed to eliminate the need for redressing, oiling and servicing. This change would require a new set of materials that could handle high heat, low friction and powerful stopping power. The journey lead us to carbon fiber lattices, which offer these parameters in heaps. Utilizing different weaves and directions of the carbon fibers allows the drag pressures to be customized and adjusted for each of the model weights. The decision to have different pressure drag systems for each weight makes sense in more way then one, for example a Trout specific reel would not need the same extreme top end stopping power of the heaver weights as the tippets are your limiting factor as well as general fish size and speed. Adjusting the friction carbon fiber plate in the stacked drag system means we can adjust how smoothly the drag system starts up in order to further protect light weight tippets. This approach is something that sets the APEX range apart from any other fly reel in South Africa.
We looked at the drag system as the root or backbone around which the rest of the reel would be built, and having decided and worked with our leading manufacturer in this regard we could then move ahead with the design aspect. The design aspect take us back to the first line of this article, “imagine owning one of those”, that is what we wanted to achieve when creating a desirable aesthetic design. We knew that we wanted a fully open no hoop design spool that was large arbor but with a width for capacity. After countless initial ideas and designs we settled on two final overall styles, being too hard to choose between them we settled on the two designs that would later be known as the APEX and APEX Light. The APEX would be the absolute epitome of design and features whereas the Light version would be a stripped out reduced weight equivalent.
Combing all of the designs, elements and test took us just over a full year. We then tested the final products a further 3 months before releasing the APEX and APEX Light in December of 2019. They were first featured in the GEAR BAG section of the Complete Fly Fisherman in February 2020 and have since become a firm favorite to customers all over the world. The first batch was bought by our long term guide and gear partner down in Plettenberg Bay , Deon Stevens who now uses both the APEX and APEX Light for his guiding operations, be sure to checkout Tidal Loops for the details and world class guiding on the
Garden Route as well as New Zealand.
“The APEX range really captured my heart through the design process and as biased as it may sound now is my go to fly reel when I head down to the Garden route to chase Leeries and Grunter and I am so proud to say that ,”Not only is it a reel that I desire but loved designing and testing”
Below is an advert that we put together to really show off every angle of our APEX 7.8.9 fly fishing reel.