The Matt Hayes Adventure range is huge. A lot bigger than most people realise, in fact. The reason you will never see it all, I think, is that it is designed to be suitable for so many different shops that you won't see it all in any one specific stockist. There's stuff designed for 'proper' tackle shops, other bits that fit better in the department store-style shops, such as The Range, and even other bits that are more likely to appear in catalogues, gift shops and even seaside shops. This is because Matt and Fladen have joined forces to ensure that the Fladen motto, 'Anyone Can Fish', becomes a reality. They're striving to make fishing fun and affordable for as many people as possible. They should be applauded for this. I've seen some people giving them stick for it online, but don't really see why. Yes, a pink telescopic rod with a pink reel and a 'Piggy' keyring isn't for me, but it was never meant to be. I bet my 6-year old daughter would absolutely love it, though!
Anyway, this review isn't about the entire range, it's about the Matt Hayes Adventure 4BB reels, of which there are two; a 30 and a 40 at £34.99 and £35.99 respectively.
Obviously, these reels look very similar in appearance. In fact, they were so similar that I tried swapping the spools over, just to check they weren't the same reel with a different spool! I'm happy to report that they're not; the FD40 is slightly bigger than the FD30. I'm a suspicious so-and-so sometimes, but 1-0 to the Matt Hayes reel.
These reels are sold as 'spinning' reels. However, that term is a bit dated now and we tend to use reels for a multitude of fishing situations, so don't think of them as spinning reels. Think of them as float and leger reels, too.
The handles are the 'single' type and can be swapped from side-to-side, as not everyone fishes in a right-handed manner. I'm pleased to say that swapping the handles does not result in little washers falling out – I swapped mine over and everything is well sealed in there, so no lost parts!
Retrieval is smooth, which you'd expect with a four ball bearing system. It is also speedy, with both reels retrieving at a 5.2:1 ratio.
For those who like to backwind, the lever at the back will enable this and reverse winding is equally as smooth. No jerky movements here...which should mean no lost fish!
The reels come with just the one spool each, which are quite deep and appear to be made of both metal and some kind of composite material, and these hold 190yd of 10lb line for the FD30 and 160yd of 12lb for the FD40. Each spool has a standard line clip.
The bale-arm contains a pretty powerful spring, it would seem, and there's a decent size line-roller, to prevent line twist.
The front drag has a lot of 'adjustability' in it, so you really can set the reel up precisely prior to casting and/or tweak things when playing fish.
With its black, gold and silver appearance, this is a good-looking reel that performs straight out of the box. It's reasonably priced and I'm sure you'll find offers on it, if you shop around. I would happily use it myself and would recommend it to someone looking for a versatile, compact freshwater fixed spool reel. Use it for lure fishing, float fishing or a bit of 'tip' fishing.
If I had to pick one fault, it wouldn't be with the reel itself, just the fact that I would like to have a spare spool, but that's just my own preference.
As mentioned above, the Matt Hayes Adventure FD30 Spinning Reel is £34.99 and the FD40 is £35.99. They are available from all good Fladen stockists, as well as Amazon – CLICK HERE.
Elton Murphy, November 2012