I first saw a Predator in photographs that were published in FOSAF’s Nedbank Guide series; then I spotted it in photographs posted by Fred Davis (@fjdavis13) on Feathers and Fluoro’s Instagram feed. Its unique design caught my eye and the fact that it featured in marine settings intrigued me. Beyond its superficial beauty hid a drag system that could clearly withstand saltwater corrosion and long, hard runs from bonefish.
The Mission article that featured Anton Pentz’s Predator compelled my interest in the reel. Shortly after the article was published I was fishing for yellowfish and hooked a large fish that nearly spooled me; not long thereafter I was faced with the same problem again, a large carp that ran so much backing off it came close to the last knot…The popular large arbor design applied to many modern fly reels nearly cost me fish; ironically, in the process of creating lighter and more practical reels, some of these reels would become fundamentally flawed by holding too little line for the fish we’d realistically catch on their recommended rod weights.
However, besides its obvious practical perks (line capacity and corrosion resistance), it was my appreciation of its aesthetics (the spool design with its long, slender and tapering holes – creating those iconic spokes in the spool – showing off the colours of the fly line and backing) and the fact that it was designed and manufactured in South Africa that finally persuaded me to buy a Predator. I purchased a new 6-7 wt reel and it was surprisingly small in my hands and perfectly suited for fishing with nymphs on my Sage XP 5 wt and streamers on my Sage VXP 6 wt.
I have already caught smallmouth yellowfish and Clanwilliam yellowfish with the reel and I am over the moon with its overall feel and smooth drag while fighting these fast and hard running fish. It is a fabulous machined reel (which means that although slightly heavier than a cast aluminium frame reel of the same size, the Predator has an extremely strong frame) and it is very affordable. I can recommend the Predator to anyone that either likes the look of it or feels that they require an extra hundred metres of backing for that big one that shouldn’t get away. It has certainly given me peace of mind in that regard.