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Nautilus Model 5 FW Reel

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Nautilus Model 5 FW Reel Nautilus Model 5 FW Reel

Review by Simon Young & Paul Sharman 

Appearance & First Thoughts

The Model 5 is one of the large arbor reels in the featherweight series from the USA based Nautilus Co. It is CNC machined from high grade T6 bar stock aluminium in their own manufacturing plant in South Florida, even the bearings, screws , O rings etc are the best money can buy.

The reel design is similar to the proven CCF Series and is hard anodised in either a titanium or black finish that is saltwater proof. As a purely aesthetic choice the Nautilus is hard to beat with its swept back spokes echoing the Nautilus shell logo design (also embossed in red on the front of the reel) and which create a feeling of speed before the reel even starts to turn. The quality of engineering really shows through too with little extra touches such as the knurled drag knob for extra grip in the rain or with gloves on and a comfortable tapered handle that sits easily between your fingers and just feels right whenyou are winding.

The reel comes with its own dark blue neoprene pouch which can be fastened over a rod handle to keep the reel protected either on or off the rod. It has a small drainage hole in the bottom to stop any pooling of water and a velcro fastening strip to keep things nice and easy when your hands are cold - no fumbling with buckles or studs. On the back there is a small webbing pocket which will hold a spool or two of tippet material or some spare leaders.

Performance & Opinion

Because the quick release large arbour spool is approximately 4mm larger in diameter than competitors offerings for the same size reel the backing capacity is excellent , the line will have less memory and can be retrieved more quickly , this Model 5 will take a WF-5 line with approx 140 yds of 20lb backing, more than enough for most trout and light saltwater outings.

The spool fits very snugly in its housing and there is no lateral play on the spindle, often a common fault with cheaper reels and occasionally some more expensive ones.

We tested the reel during a recent outing in search of carp on the fly. We hooked several fish in the 5lb category and the drag responded with ease. No jerkiness in the initial takeup and smooth throughout the fight it will no doubt handle fish much larger with no problems. Thanks to the anodising I would be happy to use this reel in the saltwater with a 6 weight outfit for small bass, mullet and mackerel and the larger model 7 is perfect for larger bass here in Europe and bonefish overseas.

Due to the quality of this reel it comes as no surprise that Team USA selected the Featherweight series for the 25th World Fly Fishing Championships in Sweden in 2005.


The inclusion of a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner also shows a certain level of commitment to stand behind its products and is a welcome plus for us anglers.

For even more capacity the Featherweight Plus series is available, allowing you to trim down your outfits to the lightest option possible by dropping down a reel size.

Available from: Wellard & Scott

Cost: Approx £259.00

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