Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

The purpose of this board is to discuss, ask questions about, and give answers concerning fly reels, their makers and their history.

Moderator: Ken M 44

Post Reply
User avatar
bprof
Guide
Posts: 127
Joined: 04/20/13 10:12

Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#1

Post by bprof »

Though I own vintage Hardy & Hardy-made fly reels & love to fish them, I am more interested in current American-made production reels in the classic "standard arbour"style. A click-check would be nice too. Abels, early Ross R reels, Peerless, to name a few can be had "preowned", but what about reels produced right now, & I certainly don't mean LAs.

When I asked the maker of Douglas Argus reels for a trout sized model, I was told that all the reels from its first production had been sold, but that a new improved click reel will be available next year (2022). I will wait patiently.

In the meantime, I'd like to find out how these reels actually perform as fishing tools. To my eye, they have classic good looks & they are made in the USA. I don't remember where I read it, but someone commented that he would not pay the Douglas prices for reels that have a plastic latch cap. If the Douglass latch cap is indeed plastic (or Delrin), that is not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps the cap is black anodized aluminium?

(For more than 35 years I have fished five Valentine Single Action #76 & #83 with many spare spools. These reels have the familiar white plastic "Pflueger style" latch covers. I have not a single issue with any cap or reel. They have been marvellous fishing tools.)

If you use any of the Argus reels, particularly the smaller trout sizes (3" & 3.25") I'd love to find out what you like & dislike about them.

User avatar
Brian K. Shaffer
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2685
Joined: 03/03/06 19:00
Location: Branson, MO
Contact:

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#2

Post by Brian K. Shaffer »

Once I got mine dialed in - I like it quite a bit.

The texture edge is nothing actually... not to me anyways, but the click is nice and the heavy beefy look floored me.
The latch cap hurt the looks in the beginning... but easy to forgive because the backside shot looks so good.

It purrs like a baby kitten too...

Image
" There's no such thing as a fly fisherman wholly satisfied with his casting performance. " ~ Jim Green (1971)
" Just once I wish a trout would wink at me. " ~ Brian Shaffer

Big bushy dry flies and bamboo with backbone.

User avatar
Caneghost
Master Guide
Posts: 649
Joined: 06/15/13 18:51
Location: Hancock, NY
Contact:

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#3

Post by Caneghost »

I nearly tried one of these several times but always held back. The reels simply screamed "CFO copy" to me, without the class or the history. As far as classically styled modern reels, I like the Galvan Standard model reels which they discontinued a number of years ago. I have four from 2 1/2" to 3.5" and all of them are superb, though I miss the "scream" of a classic spring and pawl drag. The Standards have Galvan's wonderfully smooth disc drag. Like most it can be turned up to ridiculous amounts of drag pressure, but it's art is the smoothness and the seemingly limitless adjustability on the low end of the scale. That drag is perfection for fishing tiny flies on the lightest tippets for large, hard fighting trout. Still, I only use them on new maker bamboo, reserving my vintage classic reels for my vintage classic rods.

Image
...a wink of gold like the glint of sunlight on polished cane...

brightwatercatskill.art.blog

PYochim
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 5494
Joined: 12/23/07 19:00
Location: Sheridan, Wyoming

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#4

Post by PYochim »

Caneghost wrote:
10/21/21 07:12
The reels simply screamed "CFO copy" to me, without the class or the history.
Do you have any rods that are clones? Call them what they are. Clones are copies also.

User avatar
bprof
Guide
Posts: 127
Joined: 04/20/13 10:12

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#5

Post by bprof »

Brian, is the black latch-cover on your Argus reel plastic or metal? Just curious, not that metal over plastic matters to me.

How is the general fit & finish of your Douglas reels, as compared to Hardy reels?

How are the mechanical tolerances on these reels, equal or is one make better than the other?

Has any end-play developed between the spool & the spindle on your reel?
My current LRH had to be sent to Bill Archuleta to correct a serious end-float, after only six season of careful fishing the spool's fit became very sloppy. It would click in & out.
I know that this type latch design can loosen up, even with careful handling, but some manufacturers (like old Youngs) have designed a way to take up the spool's slack.

I can only evaluate reels that I have actually worked on. In the Hardy line, since the late 1980s I have owned & fished an older Perfect with a ceramic stripping ring, a couple of Bougle V Lightweights (with petal shaped cutouts, destined for the Japanese market) & regular production Bougle V reels in 3" & 3.25" sizes, a golden St Aidan, a pair of Lightweight Princesses, a Marquis V, a pair of LRH reels, two SA 50th Anniversary System #5s, a St.Geo 3" & finally a St. Geo Jr.
I love the looks & the sound of the Hardy click-check reels, but IMO they do not seem to be as durably constructed as my "blue collar" Valentines or the couple of Youngs reels I've owned.

The Argus reels are not full framed, but designed like the Orvis CFOs, most Abels, or the Tibor Light mid-arbours. Any possible down sides to being half framed?

Finally, if I cannot wait till the next release of Douglas reels, where can I find a 3 or 3.25 inch reel from the last production. (I have lost my confidence in Ebay, so not there), but then, where else?
I have not seen them offered for re-sale. Are owners hanging onto them because they are that good?
Last edited by bprof on 10/21/21 14:06, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bprof
Guide
Posts: 127
Joined: 04/20/13 10:12

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#6

Post by bprof »

Caneghost, I didn't realize that Galvan also made standard reels. By the time Galvan was on the radar for me they were already LA reels, so when were your reels built? Would love to see a frontal image of your Galvan.

User avatar
Brian K. Shaffer
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2685
Joined: 03/03/06 19:00
Location: Branson, MO
Contact:

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#7

Post by Brian K. Shaffer »

I bet you can yourself one by posting an ad in the classified section here on this forum.
Jim Adams had all sizes... but now has only the 3.75 listed on his site.

Mine is hiding from me at the moment. Pictures to follow soon.
" There's no such thing as a fly fisherman wholly satisfied with his casting performance. " ~ Jim Green (1971)
" Just once I wish a trout would wink at me. " ~ Brian Shaffer

Big bushy dry flies and bamboo with backbone.

User avatar
Caneghost
Master Guide
Posts: 649
Joined: 06/15/13 18:51
Location: Hancock, NY
Contact:

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#8

Post by Caneghost »

Galvan Standards, clockwise from the top: 2.5, 3.0, 3.25 and 3.5
Image

"Clone" implies duplication, "copy" less so to my thinking. A copy of a Payne 102 certainly doesn't have the class or the history of an original, now does it? If made by Walt Carpenter it would be much closer to the mark. If made by another amateur maker it might fish very much like the original though it would not rank on the class or history scale. There is nothing wrong with Douglas reels to my knowledge, I simply passed up several opportunities to buy one as they did not raise more than casual interest. Certainly there are those who would clamber over one another to get ahold of one now, particularly if they are sold out.
...a wink of gold like the glint of sunlight on polished cane...

brightwatercatskill.art.blog

User avatar
Flytackle
Guide
Posts: 164
Joined: 11/10/05 19:00
Contact:

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#9

Post by Flytackle »

The spool latch on the Argus series is aluminum. I have fished an A275 and an A300 with unported spools for 3 or 4 years now and am happy with them The tolerances are excellent. My only complaint with the reels is that it took over a year to get an unported extra-spool. (I ordered the extra spool at the time of purchase, pre-pandemic).

User avatar
Brian K. Shaffer
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2685
Joined: 03/03/06 19:00
Location: Branson, MO
Contact:

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#10

Post by Brian K. Shaffer »

The reel is still missing from where I thought it was - but the photos were found by me today.

When I first got the reel, I called in Douglas to tell them what a smash hit they had.
A real home run.
That was 2014.

Lovely backside :
Image

Different but very easy to change over from Left to Right :
Image

Image

Image

Image

This is not a CFO clone.
Last edited by Brian K. Shaffer on 11/11/21 15:33, edited 2 times in total.
" There's no such thing as a fly fisherman wholly satisfied with his casting performance. " ~ Jim Green (1971)
" Just once I wish a trout would wink at me. " ~ Brian Shaffer

Big bushy dry flies and bamboo with backbone.

User avatar
BigTJ
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 3573
Joined: 06/04/06 18:00

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#11

Post by BigTJ »

Latch cover plate is dreadful. Makes a $300 reel look like something around $39.95. No way I’d ever get over that at any price. Hope that gets addressed in the next production.

User avatar
Brian K. Shaffer
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2685
Joined: 03/03/06 19:00
Location: Branson, MO
Contact:

LATCH CAP

#12

Post by Brian K. Shaffer »

It shouldn't be such a big deal - but it really is in this case.

Agreed - dreadful.
_______________________________________________________

I could change it - but yesterday the fish told me they do not care.
" There's no such thing as a fly fisherman wholly satisfied with his casting performance. " ~ Jim Green (1971)
" Just once I wish a trout would wink at me. " ~ Brian Shaffer

Big bushy dry flies and bamboo with backbone.

User avatar
BigTJ
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 3573
Joined: 06/04/06 18:00

Re: LATCH CAP

#13

Post by BigTJ »

Brian K. Shaffer wrote:
11/11/21 15:35
It shouldn't be such a big deal - but it really is in this case.

Agreed - dreadful
I’m feeling less insecure it’s not just me :skoal

User avatar
cappy
Guide
Posts: 137
Joined: 08/23/17 04:09

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#14

Post by cappy »

There is nothing to dislike IMHO. They are top notch reels to say the least, and far from a CFO clone.
I had one and sold it. Reason for sale is I've moved to LA reels. If it were LA reel I would not have sold it. Galvan Brookie replaced the Argus.

User avatar
cappy
Guide
Posts: 137
Joined: 08/23/17 04:09

Re: Thoughts on Douglas Argus reels......?

#15

Post by cappy »

bprof wrote:
10/21/21 11:35
Finally, if I cannot wait till the next release of Douglas reels, where can I find a 3 or 3.25 inch reel from the last production. (I have lost my confidence in Ebay, so not there), but then, where else?
I have not seen them offered for re-sale. Are owners hanging onto them because they are that good?
Try Trident Fly Fishing I believe they have all the small sizes in stock.

Post Reply

Return to “Classic Reels”