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Mr. Mom
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After months of procrastinating, mainly over the LW 8/12 (perfect for now) vs. HD 11/14 (a little big right now, but more versatile down the road), I finally acknowledge my big reel orientation and ordered the HD from Ron Larson. It arrived the next day. Great service from a great guy. My immediate impression was of course "Hmmm, it's a little big..." but I knew that going in and it's still smaller than my ULA 4 :D . The HD may be a dinner plate in Sean-speak, but the ULA is a platter!

Right out of the box the drag was ridiculously tight. A quick glance at the manual, and less than a minute of work and I had the minimum drag setting exactly where I wanted it without having to go into the sealed drag at all. The two inset hex-nuts that hold the drag knob on show the level of thoughtful design that went into this reel. Most makers would only have one. Spool changes are easy, and the clicker design is pretty ingenious. Checking my logs I've never really moved much on my home river before mid july so hopefully the reel will start having some regular workouts soon.

When it was a $700 reel it was just okay, but as a $440 reel, it's may possibly be the best high end reel value going today, and it's still made in Scandahoovia! Hopefully next season I'll get to stretch it out in Mexico on some tunners and dorada.
 

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Before you tight the two inset hex-nuts that hold the drag knob it is advisable, but not necessary, to press the knob against the back of the housing. This way the drag knob o-ring (located inside the drag knob) seals the drag system more efficiently. But even if some water gets under the knob the drag system is still protected by center screw o-ring.

If you use the reel for saltwater fishing, I would personally put a trace of machine or silicone grease on drag knob o-ring to prolong a life time of the seal.
Small amount of solid salt or dirt may theoretically ( I have yet to see this) wear off the seal over long period of time, specially if you move the drag knob frequently.
 
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