This week’s review takes a look at the unique Wychwood Truefly SLA Mk2 reel. As stated in my other blogs, this highly competitive market requires innovation in order to stand out. It’s obvious that brands are furiously competing to develop the lightest, most durable and the most visually attractive reel. Looking at a middle range reel, we think that Wychwood may have done just that.
Wychwood are still relatively new in fishing circles, despite having over 25 years of producing fishing tackle. Within the last 10-15 years they have come on strong and really began to take a share of the market, with a reputation for developing unique and visually innovative tackle with a touch of class. Check out more of their gear over at http://wychwoodgame.co.uk/
The Truefly SLA Mk 2
The key features of the Truefly SLA Mk2 are weight reduction and design.
The presentation of the product is pristine. The reel itself comes presented in an elegant premoulded cordura case, flanked by 2 of the 3 included interchangeable spools, an owner’s manual and a warranty care card. A classy touch, before you satisfy the excitement of seeing what’s inside.
So you may have seen the term SLA a few times. But what does SLA mean for the angler who isn’t aware of the jargon?Well SLA simply stands for Super Large Arbour. These reels are designed to reduce line memory and offer other benefits such as less reeling and faster line retrieval which is useful on a spool that can comfortably hold over 100 metres of backing plus fly line.
Weight Reduction- The Truefly SLA Mk 2 is a slight upgrade on the Truefly SLA reel. The reel is even lighter than the last lightweight version as Wychwood have managed to shave half an ounce or 14g for those of you who don’t work in metric. This does not seem like much but when compared with everyday objects, 14g is heavier than an AAA battery, or even better, the same weight as an empty coke can! Wychwood claim that this is the lightest reel on the market for its type.
How have they achieved this? Well a combination of the lightweight aluminium die-cast frame and the lack of unnecessary casing, obviously allows this reel to be lighter than normal. Adding to this, the spare spool is a high density polycarbonate. Lets decipher the jargon….what is a polycarbonate? It’s quite simply a moulded plastic which is highly durable and lightweight. They are often used in safety goggles so their properties are well known. This instils confidence that not only is the reel light, but it is durable. Though that wouldn’t encourage me to be rough with it!
The Design – is very similar to the last model, but this time it is available in Silver as well as Champagne and finished off with a satin effect. Unlike most reels, the side casing is more exposed which has obviously enabled the aggressive weight reduction. If this is the lightest reel in the market, then removing the side casing was a bold move, as some competitors will need to sacrifice a lot of what makes their own reels unique and by that I mean the attractive side casing which they display. I think Wychwood may be onto something here.
Other Unique Features
As well as being ultra-lightweight and it’s very own colour scheme the Truefly SLA Mk 2 has some other unique features:
Spool Release System – Regarding the Spool Release System, this is very simple feature which impressed me. A lot of modern brands tend to have a push button or a lever mechanism to release. In my head, I always have this strange feeling that if I somehow touch it or bump into anything, it will release. Despite how sturdy and dependable they may be, I am always conscious how exposed they are on reels. Well on the Truefly SLA Mk 2, it is a simple push the spool down, and unscrew the spool release system on the front and simply pull the reel apart. It cannot simply release without being unscrewed first.
Unique Dot Alignment Spool – To compliment the Spool Release System, the Unique Dot Alignment Spools, allow you to join up the red dots and lock the spool into place via the grooves and simply screw on spool release system. It gives added security that the spool is locked into the reel and just not spinning freely. Spools are incredibly cheap at around £10 (€11.50 or $13) and another good point is that if you previously owned the Truefly SLA, your spare spools will be compatible to the Truefly SLA Mk 2.
Semi Sealed Rulon Drag System – To be fair I had very little idea what the importance of the Rulon Drag System was. I spent some time in google research and discovered that it is a durable plastic “known for it’s low coefficient of friction, excellent abrasion resistance, range of operating temperatures and chemical inertness” I would therefore assume that Rulon provides the seal to the drag system which helps protect the inside, but as I say, this is just an assumption. The drag system itself is quite simply a durable twist mechanism which is concealed to the rear of the reel and functions very easily.
Wychwood have definitely spared no expense on the design and presentation of the Wychwood Truefly SLA mk 2 from packaging, right through to the reel itself. As a result they have produced with a middle range reel that looks and functions like a top of the range model. At an affordable price of £75-£90 (around $91-$117 or €83- €100) and extremely cheap spare spools, there appears to be long term value in that you only need to buy spare spools if you need additional lines.
I know some of you will be thinking, “But you can do this with all reels nowadays”. Not necessarily, I am testing one at the moment which doesn’t and it is a nightmare if you have multiple lines to fish!
Spare spools appear to freely available for purchase from most tackle dealers, unlike some other brands which do advertise them but many do not stock or sell them. I was also quite impressed with the fact the old Truefly SLA reel spools are compatible. This is a major thumbs up and an apparent nod of gratitude from Wychwood to those anglers who have remained loyal to the brand.
The spool release was one of my favourite features and as I mentioned previously, I had a lot of confidence that it was secure, based on the fact it was screw on, rather than push button.
The reel definitely looks sleek and I enjoyed the unique and attractive colour scheme. In fairness the weight of the reel did not cross my mind as I used it and it would not be something that I would look for when buying a reel. But i must say it did compliment the Wychwood RS perfectly. I was happy that the drag was easily adjusted, and sturdy enough not to move itself (I had a different brand reel a few years back that did just that, often leaving me with a spaghetti junction to untangle and absolute chaos if a fish took me while untangling!)
So how do I conclude? If you are in the market for a reel for the long term, this is for you. It’s innovative and staying ahead of the game and is in an affordable price bracket. If you are all about how good your tackle looks in the field, this is also for you. A middle price range, looking and functioning like a top of the range model, ahead of the game, I’d part with my cash for those alone.
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