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October 27, 2010

The Benefits of Anti-Reverse

All about how anti-reverse mechanisms boost reel performance

Okuma anti-reverseBretza explains that you don't see two-speed lever-drags using an OWC because these reels need a certain amount of free play to properly shift between high and low gears under all drag pressures.

Okuma developed a proprietary silent anti-reverse for its Makaira and other trolling reels. "We designed this function because our lever-drag trolling reels are silent retrieve and we needed to eliminate the vibration and noise from the anti-reverse pawls," Bretza says. "Featuring dual pawls for increased strength and durability, our system works on a sliding basis. As you turn the handle forward, the pawls slide away from the ratchet to ensure a frictionless and vibration-free retrieve. This innovation also eliminates one of the common flaws in standard trolling reels, which is anti-reverse or dog-spring failure, because the slider system uses no springs."

Sizes and Systems
When I asked Littau about the special considerations that go into designing anti-reverse mechanisms for different types of reels, he summed up the ­challenges as follows.

Free movement and reduced noise gain priority in spinning reels. The clutch is normally keyed to the pinion gear in a spinning reel, so it turns at high speeds and is more sensitive to stiffness and noise. The load the clutch bears is a direct ­component of, but not equal to, line tension.

In bait casters the OWC is normally situated on the drive gear, so the clutch speed is lower than a spinning reel's, and therefore it is less sensitive to noise and stiffness. But line tension on the spool must go through the gear system, so torque on the clutch is multiplied by the gear ratio.

A trolling reel's anti-reverse is usually located on the spool. Torque on the system doesn't get multiplied by the gear ratio like a bait caster's, but the line loads are much higher.

Bretza fields another question: Why do spinning reels frequently have an on/off switch for the anti-reverse when other reels don't?

"In Northern states, walleye fishermen often turn off the anti-reverse function and back reel rather than use the drag system. Some anglers feel this technique offers more control in landing the fish; however, with today's drag Fin-Nor anti-reversesystems, it really shouldn't be an issue," he says. "Yet every time manufacturers try to delete the on/off selector from a spinning reel, they meet opposition because it is not the norm. Okuma offers a few reels that do not feature this device, and we always hear complaints from a few anglers. The advantage of not having an on/off selector switch is that the roller bearing always remains engaged, which makes for a more stable anti-reverse function."

And while we're asking, can forceful, cross-his-eyes hook-sets damage the anti-reverse?

"Any strain on the anti-reverse can cause it to fail, although it's very rare. The rod and line absorb a lot of the shock from hook-sets," Lambert says. "When an anti-reverse goes out, the most common culprit is applying much more drag than the reel was designed to withstand. To generate that amount of drag, the reel has to be tweaked and tuned with aftermarket parts. Anti-reverse failure will most likely happen in the middle of a fight, not from a hook-set."