Unless you count whirlpools, waterspouts and polar vortices, the only things that spin in circles in and around water are the jigs tethered to coiled and twisted line—the same lures fish ignore and avoid like a coldfront.
Ice anglers would rather imitate the critters gobbled by palm-size panfish and heavyweight walleyes, all of which move in fluid hops, darts and undulations. At rest, these delicious morsels lie catatonic, in eerie suspended animation. It’s a critical observation made by Frabill ice pros many winters ago, while researching radical reel designs for ice fishing.
Having solved the vicious cycle of spinning lures— and having engineered the industry’s first true inline ice reels, the now legendary Straight Line Series—Frabill has taken the next step in the evolution of the category it helped create. Designed for precision lure delivery, the Straight Line 371 Reel melds seamless, smooth operation with arrow-straight line release.
Anglers who have spooled premium mono, fluorocarbon or superlines with other reels have been amazed by the true performance of these same lines when matched with a Straight Line 371 inline reel. Among the amazed is the designer himself, legendary ice inventor, Brian “Bro” Brosdahl.
“You can’t truly appreciate fishing with any of the best lines on the market and how well they present your lure until you’ve spooled up and fished a 371 reel,” Bro declares. “We give a lot of lip service to the direct connection to, and feel of, a tiny 1/64 or 1/80 ounce ice jig. Most ice reels work against the line, rather than with it. The Straight Line 371 works by letting line off the spool naturally; feels like fishing your jig on a vine—zero interruption between the reel, rodtip and your lure.”
Bro says another advantage of the new 371 reel is that it works in shallow and deep water, equally well. “We gave this reel a 3.7:1 gear ratio and a buttery drag system with instant anti-reverse. One revolution of the reel handle picks up nearly two feet of line. That’s huge on so many levels—presentation, fighting fish, and overall efficiency.”
Beyond precision performance and its clean, techie exterior, the 371 Reel offers interchangeability—two different reel stems accommodate different styles of fishing. A standard short stem allows for comfortable “palming” of the reel, while a bonus extended stem adds spacing for use with thick gloves and mittens.
Additionally, a push-button Ultra-Fine free spool function makes dropping tiny jigs into deep water a quick, seamless process. The reel’s extra-wide spool further ensures a direct and twist-free presentation. Five plus one ball bearings accentuate sensitivity and smoothness. This while the reel’s specialized composite exterior stays warm to the touch, even in frigid temperatures.
Newly unleashed at ICAST 2014, Frabill’s Straight Line 371 Reel is sold separately or as one of six complete Straight Line 271 Bro Series Combos, each featuring a select Bro Series Ice Rod.
Straight Line 371 Specifications
- Spool guarded to allow palm grip
- Lightweight composite construction for strength and durability
- Composite construction won’t feel cold in frigid temperatures
- 3.7:1 reel ratio with super smooth drag & instant anti-reverse
- 22” Line retrieval per revolution
- Large and balanced spool to maximize retrieval rate
- Line feeds straight off spool, eliminating line coiling and spinning of tackle
- 5 plus 1 ball bearing reel with Ultra-Fine free spooling
- Audible / silent bait alarm switch
- Long stem positions reel away from rod
- Accommodates heavy gloves
- Short stem for those who prefer the compact size to palm the reel
- Ambidextrous over-sized reel handle for ultimate control
- Frabill’s exclusive Sub-Zero lube ensures smooth operation in the coldest temperatures
- Free spool to easily drop smallest jigs
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Image courtesy Frabill