As some of you will be aware, I've been a fan of DAM reels for many years, and in fact bought my first one in Germany as a teenager in the 60s. When I received the latest DAM catalogue, the Futura 600 series immediately caught my eye. I'd been looking for a reel to match a new light spinning rod, but it had to have the guts to handle bonus pike.
In fact lure fishing, especially for pike, is one of the toughest tests you can give a reel. You're constantly casting and retrieving and, believe me, even retrieving some pike plugs puts tremendous pressure on a reel! If a reel passes these tests it'll easily cope with less arduous tasks such as barbel angling and match fishing.
There are seven sizes in the Futura 600 series to cover all types of fishing, and I elected to field test the 630 model. This takes 100 metres of .30mm line or, if you prefer, approx. 200 yards of 8lb nylon. There's also a match version, the 632, which takes 100 metres of light line, and the spools of the 630 and 632 are in fact interchangeable.
The first thing that strikes you about the Futura is how far the spool and flyer move away from the body. This is because the reel incorporates a worm drive, which not only makes for very smooth running but also allows the spool to be extra long. The result, especially with the metal lip on the spool to reduce friction, should be longer casts as the spool empties more slowly. This is exactly what my field tests showed, with very long casts being achieved despite the small size of the reel. This long casting ability means that you can use a smaller, lighter model (the 630 weighs only 340gms), which is both less tiring and also retrieves more slowly - a great advantage for lure fishing in the winter. The sensible gear ratio of 5.4 to 1 also helps here, and is also better than a fast retrieve for pumping in heavy, hard-fighting fish.
One important feature is the infinite anti-reverse, which is useful for all sorts of fishing but to my mind essential for lure fishing. Without it, the handle can move backwards on striking, which all too often results in a missed take.
Lure fishing is one of the few times when I use a clutch on a reel, and the Futura 630 incorporates a rear drag which is nice and smooth and also sealed to prevent dirt getting in. Those of you who prefer to backwind will be pleased to hear that you can exert finger pressure on the back of the flyer without getting your fingers broken!
Other features include a counterbalanced one-touch folding handle, an anti-twist line roller and a spare spool, again with a metal lip.
My only gripe was the colour scheme. Like many UK anglers, I much prefer matt black reels with the minimum of bright chrome, which could possibly scare fish.
Whether or not the Futura will last as long as the Shimano Super GTs I've used for many years on my other lure rods, only time will tell. So far however I've been very impressed, and the Futura does seem to be very well built with 6 stainless steel ball bearings and a stainless steel main shaft. Certainly at only Â£48.50 for the reel and a spare spool, plus a sensible Â£5.00 for further spools, the Futura represents excellent value for money. Whether you're looking for a high quality new reel for lure fishing, barbelling, feeder or match fishing, you just have to put the Futura 630 on your short list.
Copyright Steve Burke, January 2001.