Kingpin Centerpin Imperial
Fine European Wizardry meets the U.S.
Often when looking for advantages in the fishing world many of us in the United States look towards Canada when it comes to Salmon and Steelhead, especially float fishing. They seem to be years ahead of us and have mastered their techniques.
But when it comes to the finer pieces of engineered equipment our minds think of Europe. Fine European engineering has always been something we look for in automobiles and watches, but fishing equipment? Oh you betcha! In fact the Europeans have been using centerpins longer than the Canadians, dating back to the 1800’s.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Imperial is the extreme good looks. They are like a work of art coming in many unique and custom colors. Stuart Ward, Owner of Kingpin designed a custom Imperial for me including a titanium spool with an outrageous orange color that is absolutely mystifying, along with engraving on the backplate to personalize it just for me. I get stopped all the time on the river by those admiring the extreme good looks of this reel.
But good look aren’t what makes a reel worth the purchase, it has to work exceptional. Before spooling up I was playing around with the spool and was simply amazed at how balanced and effortless it was to spin. It was if the spool would go on forever, not quite but you get the point. Comparing it to my other centerpins, well, there is no comparison. The Imperial truly stands out.
A nice beefy clicker is included to make sure the reel does not spin when not intended. Disengaging the clicker is a snap and your fingers can rest on the spool with extreme comfort from the rolled edges of the back plate. The spool fits so snug into the plate that you can barely see a gap.
When casting, simply amazing. The line flows off the reel like none others I have experienced. A drag free float is the result and of course is what we’re looking for with any reel. Either using my fingers to control the spin or palming when a fish is running, both were comfortable and a thrill to say the least.
The fine custom handle is easy to find while battling a fish and they’re set in enough so no knuckle busting when a fish decided to cut loose.
This reel is almost too beautiful and well-engineered that you almost want to put it on your shelf to admire it. But, take it out on the river where others can admire it as well. This is one investment in European wizardry that you’ll completely fall in love with.
UPDATE: February 8, 2012
I fished Forks with my good friend Mike Zavadlov. We both used Kingpin Reels and I must say we had a stellar day. We went 10 for 12 on steelhead and these reels were a blast. These are truly a fine work of art and when fishing them they make it a true pleasure.
Casting was effortless and when one of the fish decided to run we just kept pressure on the spool with our fingers across the reel and never had a worry of a backlash. I'm already thinking a need another Kingpin as a backup. What a fantastic experience each time I fish these reels.
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