The Galvan Brookie Fly Reel – Simply Beautiful

The advent of the disc drag in fly reels changed how anglers fished forever. There was no more need to palm the reel. The days of the archaic spring and pawl fly reel screaming out of control
succumbed to technology, coming to an inglorious end.

The same technology that brought about a polar shift in reel design and construction is responsible for the new age in spring pawl reels led by my favorite light reel, the Galvan Brookie.

The Brookie Look

Galvan has its own style and the “Galvan” look has always been sleek with functional design leading to some of the most aesthetically pleasing fly reels around. The Brookie might well be the new standard bearer for the prototypical Galvan look. Beauty aside, it is the simplistic design and functionality that are the true foundation of this great reel.

I ditched my spring and pawl reels with the advent of the first disc drag reels to hit the market. There was too much upside to an adjustable, low starting inertia

A Galvan Brookie fly reel with a Wulff line on it
The Galvan Brookie

drag that actually slowed a running fish. Most of my friends and myself went all in on the new technology. But things go full circle and modern reel technology and material have been integrated perfectly in Galvan’s take on the classic spring pawl design.

Picking up a Brookie 3/4 for the first time several years ago the first thing I remember besides the great look was the weight. Weighing less than 3 ounces because of the finely machined aluminum materials, I could barely feel it in my hand. After popping the spool off and trying to find the tell-tale springs and pawl I was pleasantly surprised when there was no room for these cumbersome components. Galvan had gone a whole new direction with the drag design of the Brookie that makes it light and almost incapable of malfunctioning. Galvan calls this drag a Tension Spool system.

The drag on the Brookie is controlled by a set

screw at the base of the spindle that is easily adjusted with the included Allen wrench. Lots of fishermen who have never fished with this reel knock the two things that make the Tension Spool system so different than other lightweight reels. The first is the drag adjustment since it isn’t readily accessible. To be honest, I adjusted

A Galvan Brookie Fly Reel taken apart
Simplistic and beautiful

mine the day I got it and haven’t touched it since. The second characteristic that was weird getting used to is that the tension of the drag is applied to the reel during retrieval. After a few fish this is forgotten.

I fish my Brookie on a Winston 3wt GVX that I had used with a Ross Evolution LT for years. The Evolution is a wonderful reel in its own right but the lighter weight of the Brookie changes the casting dynamics of the GVX even better. It has less mass anchoring the pivot point of the cast made for a much more accurate and delicate presentation. This was true on several other 3wt rods I tested the reel on. Older, heavier rods didn’t perform as well, particularly bamboo, due to the lack of balancing mass.  Most anglers casting rods constructed with today’s materials will love the feel of the Brookie on the rod.

The fun part is when there is a fish on the little reel. Originally I intended it to be a piece of my small stream arsenal

A man fly fishing a mountain stream in Idaho using a a Galvan Brookie reel
The Brookie is perfect for small streams

but I have started using it on some local lakes. It helps make effortless, relaxing casts that turn to sudden excitement when a fishing starts peeling line off the uniquely designed Galvan Brookie that should be the 21st Century replacement to all of the spring and pawl reels that emerge every spring with the advent of fishing season.

Author: Sean Johnson

Sean was raised in Northeastern Oregon in the Wallowa Valley. It was there that he learned to hunt and fish. After receiving his history degree from the University of Oregon, Sean guided fishermen from Alaska to Chile. There were a few interludes where he sailed as a crew member on a ship and even worked in the craft brewing industry.Eventually he found his love in writing about the outdoors. His articles and fiction stories have a unique style and voice that conveys his love for the natural world. Currently he is the main writer for Always A Good Day, freelances and is working on a book of fiction.

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