Serious tournament anglers know the value of a reel that is battle-tested and capable of withstanding the rigors of fishing day after day throughout the year. When most anglers find such a product, it becomes their go-to reel that they know they can rely on.
Kistler Rods built its reputation around crafting top-quality fishing rods, and founder Trey Kistler set out with a mission to create a reel that offered the same toughness and reliability that made his rods what they are today. When it came to the design and engineering of such a product, Trey consulted Beau Reed, who is well-known in the fishing industry as an expert in reel innovation.
In this article, we'll delve into the details of how and why Reed and Kistler created the Chromium reel. We’ll explore the details of the Chromium casting model, as well as the spinning version, which has become one of Kistler’s best-selling products.
Chromium Casting Reel
Reed worked with Kistler’s team of design experts to utilize his expertise and create one of the longest-lasting and best-performing fishing reels on the market.
“Trey informed me of his plans to build the Chromium reel and he sent me the initial sample for it so we could see how it was built and see what kind of changes we could make and upgrades we could do,” said Reed. “Essentially, just make it the highest-performing, most durable reel that we possibly could. As an owner of a rod and reel shop, I’ve worked on just about every manufacturer’s reels over the last couple decades, so I basically combined my expertise with Kistler’s engineering team and the result was the Chromium reel that we have today.”
Reed has been working for years to repair and inspect fishing reels that his customers want to have repaired. In the process of making these repairs, Reed developed a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the quality of certain parts and materials, as well as how long those specific components are expected to last on average.
“Once I got inside the reel and I noted all the modifications and upgrades I wanted to do, I pitched all that information to Trey,” said Reed. “We really started getting into what could make this Kistler Chromium a higher-performing, longer-lasting reel, and Trey was absolutely willing to use better components so we could ultimately put out a product that would be a better investment for his anglers.”
The result was an outstanding fishing reel that was built around three core tenants: performance, strength and durability.
One of the main goals Kistler and Reed had in the engineering process was the goal to increase the performance and make the reel last longer.
“We started off by using a deep spool so you have as much room to put as much line as you really want on the reel,” said Reed. “We installed two Abec 7 ceramic bearings which directly impacted this reel’s ability to free-spool. There’s always the debate between more bearings or less bearings, but when it comes down to it, the parts inside that reel are only going to turn as fast as you can turn the handle.”
The Chromium reel is made with a carbon fiber Matrix-style drag system that’s meant to be lightweight, yet capable of holding up against the hardest-pulling fish. Reed upgraded this drag system in a way that would increase the overall max drag of the reel.
“We took it from a three-piece carbon fiber matrix style drag system and cranked it up a notch by installing a three-plus-one piece free-floating full carbon fiber drag stack,” said Reed. “That took the max drag capabilities from 14 pounds all the way up to 19 pounds. Carbon fiber drag washer material seems to wear slower and fail less than a lot of your traditional drag washer materials. I’ve seen a lot of drag washer materials fail over the years and this one is designed not to fail.”
The Kistler team worked to increase the Chromium’s max drag, as well as the line capacity. In addition to this, Reed worked with the team to increase the free-spool capability of the reel. These aspects combine in a way that truly raises the bar as it pertains to the performance of this reel in a way that other manufacturers simply haven’t done.
Gear Ratio and Line Capacity
The Chromium casting reel offers a variety of gear ratios, allowing anglers to choose the one that suits their fishing style best. Whether you're aiming for speedy retrieves or more torque for larger fish, you can find the right gear ratio within the Chromium series. Additionally, the reel provides generous line capacity, accommodating a range of line weights and lengths, making it versatile for different fishing situations.
Another one of the crucial components of any reel is the ball bearings, which determine smoothness and casting distance. The Chromium casting reel comes equipped with a high number of premium-quality stainless steel ball bearings. These bearings provide a buttery-smooth operation and contribute to longer casting distances, allowing you to reach those elusive fish.
The strength of the Kistler Chromium reel was a major focus for Reed and the design team. The reel features a powerful multi-disc drag system with carbon fiber washers. This allows you to apply consistent and reliable drag pressure, ensuring that you can handle a wide variety of fish species without fear of the line breaking. The smooth drag action also helps you avoid unnecessary stress on your fishing line and tackle.
“When we started considering the strength of this reel, we wanted more bite and more consistency in the drag system, as well as stronger gear sets,” said Reed. “That way you can really power down on the reel without having to worry about some cheap aluminum gears breaking, pitting and going bad. We wanted to take it back to the good ole days of, if you’re turning the handle, the reel’s doing its job.”
The team optimized the components inside the reel in such a way that each part would work together with the other parts more efficiently and more effectively. Choosing material like brass as opposed to aluminum is one of the ways Kistler and Reed worked together to produce a reel that won’t fail after being used for a year or two.
“We went with brass instead of aluminum gear teeth because, eventually you’re going to get stuff inside there and brass will always be stronger than aluminum,” said Reed. “That brass main drive gear and brass pinion gear really will last a lot longer than if we had used other materials.”
The Kistler Rods Chromium casting reel is constructed with precision and durability in mind. The reel's frame is made of lightweight yet robust aluminum, which ensures that it can withstand the rigors of heavy fishing while keeping the overall weight manageable. This is particularly essential for anglers who spend long hours casting and retrieving.
Reed advised the Kistler team to use a stainless steel spool shaft and worm shaft, which gives you increased strength and increased resistance to corrosion. This greatly extends the life of the reel over the course of many years of use.
Kistler also placed protective coverings over some of the most vulnerable inner components of the reel as a safeguard against rust and corrosion.
“One of the main reasons why this reel is going to last longer than many others is because we designed each individual component to work together with one another in a way that achieves longevity,” said Reed.
Reed notes that many of the popular fishing reel brands today utilize aluminum parts for the sole purpose of achieving a lightweight feel, yet sacrificing durability in doing this.
We even went as far as to put a hardened-brass handle retainer nut, which might seem like an insignificant and unnecessary part, but something like this serves a great purpose overall,” said Reed. “If anyone has had fishing reels long enough, you’ll reach a point where your handle begins to feel wobbly and not secure like it was when you first got it. In most cases, that’s caused by wear-and-tear developing on the threads of the crankshaft and the threads on the inside of the handle retainer nut. By pairing brass with brass, we deliver a stronger thread on both ends of the equation.”
Innovative Brake System
The Chromium casting reel boasts a unique braking system that enhances casting accuracy and control. The adjustable brake system enables you to fine-tune your casting to perfection, making it a favorite among those who demand precision when targeting specific spots in the water.
Advantages of the Chromium Casting Reel:
The Kistler Rods Chromium casting reel's adaptability is one of its standout features. It's an excellent choice for various fishing techniques, including flipping, pitching, and throwing topwater frogs, as well as a variety of baitcasting applications. This versatility makes it a valuable tool for anglers looking to expand their fishing skills and explore new techniques.
With its high-quality materials and precision engineering, the Chromium casting reel is built to last. Anglers can trust that it will perform reliably, even in the harshest of conditions. Its resistance to corrosion ensures that it remains in excellent condition even after exposure to saltwater.
The Chromium casting reel's smooth operation, aided by its high-quality ball bearings and drag system, makes it a joy to use. Anglers can enjoy fatigue-free fishing, even during long days on the water.
The adjustable brake system and well-designed spool contribute to pinpoint accuracy in casting. This is crucial when targeting specific fish species, especially in freshwater scenarios where precision is key.
Superior Design + Advanced Technology = Reliability
The Kistler Chromium casting reel stands out as an exceptional product thanks to its superior design and advanced technology. This precision-crafted reel offers anglers a perfect balance of sensitivity and power with the durability you should expect in a premium product. The Kistler Chromium casting reel is ideal for bass or any other species, delivering unparalleled sensitivity and casting accuracy, which makes it a go-to choice for serious anglers.