A number of years ago Greys released a new centrepin onto the market the called it the Bewick and at the time it caused a minor stir, as does any new centrepin I remember reading a fairly glowing review of one on another website and looking at the picture of it and, for some reason, I reserved judgment on it. Having a slightly traditionalist heart, I was suspicious of the fact that there was no central adjusting screw and it is the contact point between this screw and the tip of the pin that is the essence of the centrepin action and I like to be able to decide how much play there should be between those two points.
When I finally got my hands on one, I really wasn't impressed. Apart from the missing adjusting screw, the reel had an unfinished feel and on the one I borrowed had sharp edges on the bars that radiate out from the center boss, which was irritating as I tend to wind in by putting my finger between the bars and winding back with one finger and aesthetically, I wasn't too keen on the handles either. Given that the reel had a price tag of nearly £200 at the time, I felt that it was overpriced.
Somebody at Greys must have been listening, as in October 06 the Bewick got a bit of a makeover and the new version, which was released on to the UK market in June 2007, is much improved.
To begin with, they have fitted it with a different front cap which contains the all important adjusting screw. This means that we can now set the reel up to our tastes and this is a big improvement.
Equally somebody has taken a good look at the quality control and on the example I have bought the bars now have no sharp edges, so winding in with just a finger is a comfortable experience and the overall appearance of the reel is improved.
I also like the new handles as they set the reel off nicely....silly, I know, but these little things add pleasure.
When you look at the reel for the first time it appears slightly diminutive and, compared to the bulk of my pins, it is a little smaller at a shade over 4” in diameter. The silver finish with the new white plastic handles is pleasing to my eyes at least, I don't hold to the idea that all reels should be black
When you pick it up for the first time, again, the first impression is how light it is, which is one of its strengths, as when fitted to a modern rod, it make the whole outfit a joy to fish with all day.
I used it with a Prestons Carbonactive Sentinent 13' float rod and the Bewick balances it beautifully.
For those whose bragging rights about their reel is that it will “spin for ten weeks with just a light flick”, the Bewick will come as a bit of a disappointment . Long spinning on a centrepin is mainly a function of flywheel effect and the very light spool of the Bewick militates against that. For comparison, the spool of the Bewick weighs in at 3.5oz and this compares to the spool on my Browning Revolver which weighs in at 5.5oz. The Okuma spool comes in at 5.5oz. The extra 2oz makes for a lot of flywheel effect.
The light spool of the Bewick has much less inertia to overcome, which makes long smooth Wallis casts a doddle. The solid drum means that line bedding in is not an issue, so in the real world of fishing it's a pleasure to cast with.
The light spool also means that it is fairly easy to trot in comparatively low flows. The smaller size of this reel would make it perfect for those who have smaller hands and also for those who regularly fish smaller streams, though I find it no handicap when grayling fishing on the River Ribble up here in God's own county of Lancashire.
The check is operated by a sliding button which, for me at least, is easy to use and it has a decent level of tension and would be ideal for those who like to ledger for barbel using their pin as a baitrunner and bite alarm combined
As with all things man made, there are some slight issues. For me, at least, the handles are set too near the edge of the spool, so some care has to be taken when launching an enthusiastic Wallis cast to avoid a rapped knuckle, but quite honestly I am nitpicking here, as the handles can easily be removed and full instructions along with instructions on the care and maintenance of your reel are supplied.
All in all, the Bewick is a nice little true centrepin actioned reel with a lot of likable elements. It is a very capable reel and one that I would recommend.
In a way I have left the best bit 'til last!!! When I was researching for some background information on the Bewick, I spoke to a very helpful chap in the marketing department who informs me that the current SRP of the Bewick is £149.99, which is a significant drop from the asking price of the original and makes the new Bewick a worthy contender for anyone's attention.
I am only surprised that Greys havn't put more effort into bringing these reels to the attention of the angling public.
Alan Roe - December, 2008
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