Sep 7, 2012

Saracione Islamorada Fly Reel - Lever Action Drag

Saracione Introduces the Next Generation of Specialty Big Game Fly Reels


Speaking with Joe Saracione for the first time would be like finally meeting the Wizard of Oz. As a long time admirer of his line of precision machined, high quality fly reels, this was not an opportunity to pass up. Surely this guy must look like a wizard, he must radiate some magical energy field and he must speak in rumbling, guttural tones.

But we were not in OZ, we were in Reno. And this particular road led to a small, rather plain-looking booth at the IFTD trade show, tucked away in the corner of a giant convention center. And much to my surprise, there stood Joe: A friendly, unassuming looking man of slender build holding one of the most beautiful reels that I have ever seen.

You can tell when someone is interested in what they do. They don’t have to speak in loud, boisterous tones or get overly animated to exude this. With Joe, you could just see it in his eyes and hear it in his soft-spoken voice as he willingly talked at length about what constitutes his passion, his livelihood and his latest gift to big game, saltwater anglers: The Islamorada Fly Reel.

These new reels have a lever-lock drag adjustment. Now you just don’t see this in a quality fly reel, but Joe has broken this barrier in astonishing fashion. The idea behind the lever (kind of like a gear-adjustment handle on and older-style ten-speed bicycle) is to give you the ability to change your drag tension very quickly and precisely. The lever allows you to cover a broad range of settings, while the smaller knob allows for fine tuning.

Fishing is so situational. While hunting big fish, there are times when you want a very light drag and there are times when you want it really cranked down. When peeling line off your reel for a cast you would prefer that the line came off easily. However, while presenting a fly to say a Tarpon or Giant Trevally, you had better be sure that you’re cranked up to deal with the impending battle. The lever can get you from one end to the other in no time. Furthermore, after learning the exact setting you need to be on for each situation, you can go there and rest assured that it is accurate.

The Islamorada has an open drag assembly stacked with floating carbon fiber and anodized aluminum discs. Joe is a firm believer in Carbon Fiber and its ability to stay smooth and true even while wet. These discs equal out to a lot of surface area, which is why they have such big-time stopping power.

Joe explains the advantages of carbon fiber

The look of Joe’s reels just scream “collectible”. I might add elegant, classic and soulful. Saraciones just seem the perfect intersection of fine art and function and it certainly helps that the hands of the chief designer are never far away. All parts are machined in Joe’s Oregon shop where only the finest materials are used in the process.  Actually, I think it's best just to let Joe talk about it...

The Islamorada comes in three sizes. Click on one of the reels below for the full tutorial.

Islamorada #8 Fly Reel
Islamorada #10 Fly Reel
Islamorada #11 Fly Reel

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