Centrepins

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Alan Cooper

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Sounds like a good topic! Also a question to Alan Rowe (and anybody else) re his reply to Alan Rounder on Barbel reels. I've read that Richard Carter reels are brilliant although I've never seen one. Are they standard "hut" bearing reels rather than ball bearing? And I have another question: What is the freeest running reel for trotting? And what should be the test of free running? As to the latter, I would suggest that it is NOT how long the reel spins for - this is more to do with the mass of the reel, but rather how many shot and of what size it takes to freely start the reel spinning from rest (moment of inertia). I have a Shakespeare Lincoln that on this test will start spinning freely with one No4 and one No6 shot.My Youngs caged lightweight (brand new however) takes 5 No 4 shot before it starts to revolve. For me, this is the real test of a trotting centrepin - what about a Carter? And where can I see one? And what do others think?
 
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Alan Roe

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Yes you have picked a good topic!!
I agree with you that the best test of a centerpin is how little pressure it takes to overcome the inertia, using shot is as good a way of testing it as any.
The classical plain bearing of a centerpin action should in theory have the lest frictional inertia to overcome providing the reel is fished in the correct manner i.e.on it's back with the handles facing upwards. Many anglers nowadays don't seem to like fishing with the reel in this manner prefering to fish with the reel down with the handles to either the right or the left according to taste, for these anglers a ball bearing reel will be the better tool as a plain bearing reel would become too ineficient if used in this manner.
Where the plain bearing reel scores is if you "Wallis" cast, in my experience there is significantly less frictional inertia to overcome with this type of reel than with even the best ballbearing reels this allows the cast to get off the mark more quickly and easily.
Richard Carter made reels of both types his handiwork was wonderful and as a result the value of his reels appears to have risen since he stopped making them.
I have two of his reels so should you wish to see what they look like feel free to get in touch with me.
I am also prepared to teach the "Wallis " style cast to anyone that is interested.
 
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Alan Cooper

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Well, Alan (apologies for miss-spelling your name by the way - must be something about the excitement of this site - I am miss-spelling and getting verbs mixed up left, right and centre!) you are saying a lot of things to interest me. I had no idea that Richard Carter no longer made reels - when did he make the last? I understand that Dave Swallow no longer makes his fine reel, so perhaps its catching. What other fine individual makers (who STILL make them) are out there - leaving aside Cliff Adcock.

You have certainly given a great deal of thought to this topic. I can't say I've ever tried a centrepin reel "upside down," so to speak, and I'm not sure I'd fancy it, but am prepared to give anything a go. I've certainly used a multiplier and used to be able to cast without birdsnesting - this was in the days before automatic systems.

I don't know where you are situated - I'm in East London, but yes, I'd love to see your Carter's and submit myself to some "Wallis tuition!". You can direct e-mail me on alcooper@cobase.freeserve.co.uk.
 

Alan Roe

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No problem with the spelling of my name Everyone spells it wrong!!
The bad news is that Richard Carter got offered a job making parts for formula one racing cars and thats what he now does needless to say his reels are fetching silly money. The reels that Dave Swallow used to make are being marketed by Relum at ?145.
The better news is that the fishing warehouse has some very good 12 spoke true centerpins made by Youngs and marketed by Browning as Their "Revolver" reel at ?188 as opposed to an rrp of ?235 I have one of these reels as well and I can vouch for them as being very good indeed They have another one as well which looks like an improved Trudex selling for ?80.There are still one or two individual craftsmen making some lovely reels but they do tend to be on the dear side and are the perogative of the wealthy collector!.
I live up in the North West in Lytham St Annes near Blackpool.
You can e-mail me alan@barbel.fsbusiness.co.uk
Cheers
 
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Philip Inzani

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Hi guys, I was really interested in your comments. I am a real beginner when it comes to pins and was hoping you may be able to help me out. Can you tell me a bit more about this "putting the reel upside down" for trotting. I have heard reference to this a couple of times but I have never really had it explained to me....is a revolving drum really more efficient on its side than on its edge or is there more to it than that ? ....again sorry if its a stupid question but I know even less about physics than about centrepins!
Thanks.
 

Alan Roe

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Hi Phillip The answer to your question is quite simple a reel with a true centerpin action has a plain bearing where the central adjusting screw touches the central pin which means that the reel is at it's most efficient when it it is used with the back of the reel parallel to the ground and the reel's handles up in the air. This is the reel up position.
Many anglers for reasons of comfort prefer to fish with the reel in the down position the reel hangs vertically down from the rod with the handles pointing to the left or right according to taste.
For those anglers a reel which runs on ball races is much better the Adcock Stanton is a reel of this type.
Both styles of reel have their advantages and drawbacks.
If you are thinking of buying a pin avoid the temptation of reels with a 'Sidecast' facillity, this idea is not new and several generations have discovered the main disadvantage of using this facillity and that is line twist.There are things you can do to alleviate the problem a little, quite honestly it is better to learn how to cast properly off the reel than use one of these reels. the two feels that have this facillity are the R.W.Rolling Pin and The Lincoln sold by Shakespeare.
If I can help any further please let me know...
 
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Alan Cooper

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Just to add my bit to Alan Roe's last comments re Sidecasters. I have a Shakespeare Lincoln. Personally, I find I can't be bothered to use the facility at all. One thing I will say about this reel is that it is incredibly free running. A couple of years ago Improve Your Coarse Fishing (IYCF) did some tests on centrepin reels (included was the useless and silly test of how long it spins for) - the Lincoln came out pretty well then (3 No4 shot) on the "inertia test" (see entries above). My more recent Lincoln, however, beats every single reel in that IYCF test series (one No4 + one No6 shot). Where the Lincoln falls down, in my opinion, is the lack of lineguard and, more important, the lack of a check facility.
So, I would agree with Alan in foregoing sidecasting, but consider the Lincoln in terms of sheer free running. The drawbacks are the other things.
 

Alan Roe

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One small point re the use of line guards. If you wish to use the 'Wallis' style of casting a line guard is a nusiance and I for that reason do not have one on any of my reels.

The check facillity is however a most useful tool to have.
Another useful tip if you wander up and down the bank is to put an elastic band on the rod but which you can loop over the handle of the reel and stop it paying out line as you walk along!!!
Cheers Alan
 
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Alan Cooper

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Just to move the debate on - and besides that I think the question is interesting - what do people think re the "bites to hits" ratio when trotting with a centrepin in contrast to a fixed spool? One day I'll have to actually measure this - but my subjective impression is that I hit more than 100% more bites with a centrepin than I do with a fixed spool. In fact, I think it is well over 100%.
 

Alan Roe

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The odds are that you will hit more bites on the pin I would suggest that this is for two or three reasons.
Firstly that in the normal course of trotting your thumb is never more than a millimeter or two from the spool so the physical response time is neglegible when striking.
Secondly because fishing the pin is a little more demanding of the angler it is very probable that you are liable to be concentrating just a little bit more.
The third reason is that because fishing the pin when done with any degree of proficiency gives the angler more control over his tackle so the link between rod tip and float is liable to be a straighter line which adds to the efficiency. In the same way the long pole short line technique is an efficient way of hitting bites.
I also find than I can land fish more quickly and loose less fish in snags when fishing the pin
 
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Goose Ganderton

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Interesting stuff gentlemen. I have been looking to buy a centre pin over the past few weeks. I like the young range and my local tackle shop is offering the swan rebadged as a relum for ?100 but could you tell me what the line guard does and is it a good idea to buy a reel with one already fitted. Also what are your thoughts on using braid on a centre pin for trundling baits. Does any one reel have more features than any other, as I am looking to spend between ?100 and ?300 I want to get it right.
 

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Alan Roe

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Hello Goose.
If you are looking for a really good current centerpin have a look in the fishing warehouse which you can get to via the links from the home page of this site They are currently doing the Browning "revolver" at ?188 as opposed to the rrp of ?235 this is a superb reel I have one and I recommend it. The reel is made by Youngs for Browning.

Centerpins have essentially four additional features the first is a lineguard these can be handy in stopping your line blowing round the back of your reel in windy conditions but if you "Wallis" cast they get in the way so I take mine off.


The second feature is a check or ratchet these are useful and are always worth having. Some reels provide a sort of drag instead of a check these are not as useful a check is better.
The third feature found on some centerpins is a form of drag which allows you to be able to adjust the speed the reel pays line out according to current, this feature looks nice but most of us tend to leave it on it's loosest setting and use our thumbs which are much more sensitive!.
The fourth feature found on some reels is a sidecast facillity which allows you to turn the spool through 90 degrees and be able to cast in the manner of a fixed spool reel. This feature is best avoided as it causes line twist in short order!!!.

Re the use of braid for trundling the lack of stretch allows for faster bite detection though the same lack of stretch causes me to suggest that you use a rod with a gentle through action to act as a shock absorber.
A better all round solution might be one of the newer copolymer lines Shimano do one which has a low stretch factor and will cast better than braid.
If I can help you in any way feel free to e-mail me direct on alan@barbel.fsbusiness.co.uk
Cheers Alan
 
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Alan Cooper

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Some interesting questions Goose! I think part of the answer to your overall question is contained in your questions re braid and the matter of "trundling" baits.

I think with respect to trundling, rolling or freelining - all the same - is the question of how far you need to cast with a very light bait. However, most barbel fishing, for example, is done on fairly swiftly flowing streams where some extra weight is required. It is a matter of "how much" weight and "how far" do you have to cast?

If you have to cast a distance with little weight then you will need to consider a sidecaster, line twist or not. Line is fairly cheap and is easily replaced (even braid). I find sidecasting a nuisance - but this is personal taste.

The two main sidecasters available are Shakepseare's Lincoln (?40) and Ray Walton's Bruce & Walker (?300+). The Lincoln looks awful and feels rotten,has no check (very useful - can leger and bait run with it) and no lineguard (useful if clumsy like me or in a wind - but sidecasters cannot have lineguards!)but by Jove, the Lincoln is a VERY free running reel.

If you are not having to cast far with very light baits (I mean a ball of meat) then the question of "free running" becomes paramount. The remarks above from Alan Roe and myself on the "inertia test" are really key.

Remember, that it isn't just a question of the "end tackle" pulling the line from a spinning reel - there is the reel inertia to overcome PLUS there are all the rod rings adding friction as well. Therefore, this question of how much "pressure" does it take to start the drum revolving is crucial.

My advice is that no matter how beautiful the reel, no matter how wonderful to the touch the reel might be (and my Young's reel IS lovely to look at and feel), get the tackle dealer to load a bit of line on the reel and start adding shot (No4). If the reel isn't spinning freely when you have added just TWO no4 shot to the line (spinning from being completely at rest) then DON'T bother - look for another one.

Fishing with a centrepin is harder work - but as Alan Roe has said, you hit more bites,lose less fish and playing a fish is a million times better. You are in much "closer touch" with the end tackle with or without braid.
 
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Alan Cooper

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Just to add a warning re the Lincoln reel - the reel seat is very large and may have to be cut down a little with judicious application of a hacksaw. Just as well it doesn't cost ?200+. Also, my remarks re my Young's reel apply to my "caged lightweight" which is not the same Browning (Youngs) reel as Alan Roe is advocating.
 
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Carp Angler

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When you test the reels with split shot, what diameter line are you using? How much line is on the reel drum? Is the line dry? I'd like to test my pins but would need to know this as they all would vary the 'weight' of the drum and effect my results...
 
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Carp Angler

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BTW, I've got an Allcocks Aerial Match and a Lewtham Engineering 'Leeds' which is the smoothest running reel that I've ever encounterd....
 
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james hunt

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i have a free spirit centrepin which i bought from special;ist tackle.
ive had the reel for about 18months . i recently decided to have a line guard fitted as i was getting a few tangles . i now seem to get more tangles than ever. the lineguard dont seem to come to the edge of the spool and the line travels around the back and wraps itself around the screws on the mounting bracket. is this normal for the lineguard knot to go past the edge of the spool.
 

Alan Roe

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When testing the reel I would suggest that you use the line that you would normally use for the type of fishing that you intend to do. I would go on to suggest that in order to maintain some element of repeatability that you test with the line dry. Most of my reels have a 41/2" drum with the old Trudexes having a 4"drum. It is inevitable that there will be some variation in drum weights however the most imortant facet is how much load is required to overcome the inertia inherent within the reel. The easier it is to overcome the lighter you will be able to fish effectivly when you have to.
Having said all this though don't go overboard with it...the best test of any piece of angling equipment is how it feels and handles in use on the river.
To James I would suggest that you take the lineguard off your reel for now and e-mail me direct and we can arange to meet up and I can perhaps put you right in preventing the tangles in the first place

.
 
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Alan Cooper

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I agree with Alan Roe re your "testing" should be comparative with respect to the kind of fishing you do. Certainly the line should be dry.
My own "testing system" is simply to take the reel (not on rod) and just let a foot or so of line "dangle" from the reel. I then add No4 shot non-lead split shot as this was the test used in the IYCF test series. Obviously, the least the amount of split shot (or even smaller than No4) the lower the moment of inertia of the reel and the more "free running" the reel actually is. Furthermore, this simple test will translate to "on the bank" situations. The how long it spins for test, the "spin test", as I call it, is all to do with the weight of the reel (technically, its mass) and is a function of the angular momentum of each part of the reel. If you imagine a small piece of the rim of a heavy reel (the Leeds for example), then put that piece into motion, its "weight" will carry it continuing forward (this is not technically correct but it makes the illustration clearer - spinning) for a longer time - and as long as the bearings are reasonably good) than a comparable "piece" on the rim of a lightweight reel like the Lincoln. Hence, the Leeds will spin for a far longer time overall than the Lincoln, but it is NOT anywhere near such a free running reel as the Lincoln. I am not saying that the Leeds is a bad reel by any means - but the more free the reel is, that is, the LOWER its intertia - the easier and better it is to trot or freeline. As for James, I agree with Alan again. Sounds as if something is not quite right with the lineguard to me. They do not stop tangles completely, but they do and should cut them down. Mind you, when I am fishing well with my Lincoln (no linegaurd) - I also avoid the tangles! Just one more note: I amended my last contribution to this debate - Ray Walton's "Rollin' Pin" is made by Bruce & Walker and costs about ?350.
 

Alan Roe

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I entirely agree with Alan Cooper in that the "How long will it spin for mister"test is simply a measure of flywheel effect and has no validity in assessing how good a reel will be in practise.
 
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