The TG-F1 multiplier is fast enough to power a sinker out of sight. Paul Fenech buckles up for a test run…
Appearances can be very deceptive with modern fishing tackle, especially reels boasting the performance of a Formula 1 racing car.
At first glance the TG-F1 multiplier looks like any other palm-sized beach reel, but I’m not exaggerating when I say this is a sleeping giant.
To wake it up, all you need to do is strap it to a beach rod that packs a bit of muscle, clip 6oz of lead weight to the shockleader and then step on the power.
That’s just what I did when I met its creator Tony Gittins on a beach in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Before I tell you what happened, I’ll offer a little background history leading up to the reel’s creation.
Those of you who can remember back to 1988 will recall that an oil known as TG’s Rocket Fuel appeared on the scene. Rocket Fuel was the lubricant thousands of beach anglers were dropping on to the bearings of their favourite reels to give top performance and, more importantly, faster running bearings. A reel that has its bearings running fast is the catalyst to distance casting, either on the beach or over grass.
Tony was the man behind Rocket Fuel, but his ambition was to create a high-performance reel. Twenty-two years later his dream has now become a reality.
Just like a Formula 1 racing car, the reel’s components don’t come cheap. The TG-F1 reel boasts a price tag of £345, so is aimed at anglers who want the best performance on the beach and can afford it.
First of all, the reel is made in England so in an age when the Far East is seemingly dominating manufacturing, your cash spent on a TG-F1 will hopefully be going back into our own economy.
It’s the heart of the reel that makes it extra special. The solid brass end plates are chrome plated and incorporate end cap housing. A lightweight, hard anodised super Duraluminium spool has been uniquely and rigidly centralised to a perfect tension of six Newtons.
A feature for tournament casters is the mono-mag control knob. Very easy to operate, it can be adjusted from 1 to 1.5 turns away from the end plate during the cast. If you want to fish under the mag control then it’s best to leave the adjustment knob closed, unless you feel confident to adjust it during flight.
The precision drive gear and brake block holder are locked in position with a high tempered circlip, so there is no chance of anything moving around inside. Its bronze pinion gear ensures that this reel should stand the test of time.
There are seven ABEC hybrid ceramic bearings, which will cope easily with a powerful, high speed cast, but you can also add a little extra control with carbon fibre brake blocks made by Zziplex.
The cage is a one-piece, low profile, hard anodised version, but better still the reel seat is actually part of the cage and not secured with rivets. You’ll notice there is no star drag, instead the drag, which has carbontex washers, is operated with an easier, finger controlled system underneath a comfortable, gator grip handle.
All reels are numbered and come with a certificate of authenticity, reel bag, bottle of yellow label Rocket Fuel and all stored in its own storage box. Engineering-wise, it can best be described as brilliant but would it live up to expectations on the beach?
Up and away
I met up with Tony and United Kingdom Surfcasting Federation treasurer Colin Howlett on the beach in Lowestoft. The weather was pleasantly warm with just the slightest hint of a breeze.
First I wanted to know why Tony decided to go into reel building business.
“The market seems to be flooded with reels from the Far East, I just feel anglers need the choice to purchase a British product with British engineering, using only the best components,” he said.
“Some palm-sized multipliers suffer from spindle problems and don’t have ceramic bearings. I went back to the drawing board and pencilled a brand new design from scratch, while being very conscious that only the best components will be used in its manufacture.”
Colin, who has been tournament casting and involved with competition organisation for over 27 years, was very impressed with the TG-F1.
“It just oozes quality. It looks good and casts even better,” he said. “In fact I was surprised at how easy it does cast. Quality and performance is there for all to see,” he said.
I was itching to have a cast, so Tony handed me a model fully loaded with line and a shockleader. I fastened it to my rod, fed the line through the guides and clipped on a 6oz sinker, then made my way to the water’s edge. Tony and Colin looked at each other and then looked at me, both sporting grins.
“I guarantee after just one cast, you won’t be able to stop smiling,” said Tony.
Actually, I was slightly nervous; I didn’t want to make a mess of this, particularly in front of two guys who have been involved in tournament casting for many years and would soon spot any flaws in my casting. Why I was nervous I’ve no idea because I’m actually a good caster, and I’ve never experienced the dreaded ‘oche-bottle’ that some tourney lads suffer. Today I had a little twitch that gave me some idea of how they must have felt!
I have a very easy push, pull and punch style, which many have commented how easy I actually make it look. I’ve often watched other anglers on the beach going through the motions of a full pendulum and wondered “what are you doing?”
I pushed the sinker away from me, pulled it back and turned into a fast power stroke before releasing the line. With the rod pointing to the clouds, I followed the leader as it climbed high at speed. The reel sang as line disappeared rapidly from the spool as I gently feathered my thumb over it. The sinker eventually touched down just where I expected. I was determined not to have a silly grin on my face but it was too late, it had already happened.
“I told you so,” said Tony.
Before beginning my retrieve I looked down at the spool and was overjoyed at the sight. I didn’t quite empty it, but it wasn’t far away. Reeling in is also very smooth and a 5.3:1 ratio means when fishing you can be in and out with no fuss.
The three of us carried on casting and I was getting further and further every time. I must admit to feeling quite pleased with myself, especially when the pair of casting experts said they were impressed with my casting.
It’s a super reel and will stand the test of time, whether you’re a tournament caster or an angler. The fact that it costs £345 means it is top end, so this is where Tony offers a unique opportunity. If you would like to try it before you buy it, then Tony is only too willing to oblige. A simple phone call can arrange this.
END PLATES: Solid brass.
SPOOL: Hard anodised Duraluminium.
BEARINGS: Seven ABEC hybrid ceramic.
PINION GEAR: Bronze.
BRAKES: Carbon fibre Zziplex blocks.
GEAR RATIO: 5.3:1.
Where to buy
The TG-F1 is exclusively available from Veals Mail Order, 306 Central Park, Hengrove, Bristol, BS14 9BZ, tel: 01275 892000.
Check out the reel by logging on to www.therocketreelcompany.com
To arrange a ‘try-before-you-buy’, tel: 01502 511799.