Snowbee Geo 790 fly reel - the review
Snowbee has been selling some very high quality reels, starting with the XS series, and has now produced the Geo series.
The most noticeable difference between the XS and the new Geo is the weight reduction. Snowbee claims the Geo is 25 per cent lighter but its structural rigidity and strength has not been compromised.
The very attractive subtle satin pewter hard anodised finished is complemented with brushed aluminium handle, reel seat and drag control. It is smart and discrete. Although everything has been done in the way of lightening the reel including lightening slots in the handle, there is still a counter-balance, with a tippet retainer O-ring, to ensure smooth running. The handle is generously long and I did wonder whether it was a touch too long. Build-quality - CNC machined from Aerospace grade A6061-T6 Aluminium - seems first class with everything smooth and round where it should be and no rough or sharp bits to damage a line. The “clicker” can be turned-off for silent operation.
Performance and Opinion
Changing the reel from the factory-set left-hand wind to right hand, was slightly fiddly but it was one of those jobs when everything (centre one-way bearing and retaining spring) did, literally, drop into place. This is a job best done at home as it would be too easy to lose the spring or the bearing on the river bank. The change is made by removing the spool, removing the retaining spring and then turning the reel over and giving it a tap to free the bearing. The bearing is put back in the other way up and the securing spring replaced. Removing and re-fitting the spool could not be easier.
Somewhat to my surprise, I managed to almost fill the reel with a Snowbee Prestige WF5F and 50 yards of 20lb BS backing of unknown make. (I used a #5 line as I wanted to fish the reel with a #5 rod and I felt that its weight - 135g (4.8oz) - would not be too much for the rod.) Admittedly the backing was quite thick but to get the advertised 100 yards plus a #7 line would need pretty thin backing. For bonefishing gel-spun backing would be the order of the day.
I know from using my own Snowbee XS reel how well the drag system works. It is coupled with extremely low start-up inertia which protects fine tippets, although a reel designed for a #7 line is unlikely to be used with very fine tippets.
Reel weight for the Geo 790 is 135g (4.8oz) with a spool diameter of 104mm (4.1”). It is supplied with a padded reel case, the design of which is utilitarian compared to the reel and the nice round, zipped padded case of the XS. There is a twelve month guarantee. The reel costs £189 and a spare spool is £89. The range starts at £159 for the 340 weight reel and also includes the 560 for £169.
I know that for a lot of people a reel is simply a means of holding and managing your line, but this reel is a very good example of how using a piece of quality tackle enhances the whole fishing experience. Anyone looking for a new high-end reel should put the Snowbee Geo at the top of their list.