Reviewed: Colton Terrapin fly reels

I WAS recently in the market for a 10 weight fly reel to tackle longtail tuna and kingfish. There are a heap of suitable reels on the market but I decided on a reel from the US that doesn’t see a lot of coverage on the Australian market. Colton reels are based in Pennsylvania and only sell via their website – It took about a week and a half for the reel to arrive in a padded box and I could not have been happier with the service or the product. I got mine during a 25 per cent discount sale that they quite often run so check out their website.

Colton spent nearly 4 years in research and design work and one year of field-testing to create the Terrapin Series. The goal was a 100 per cent sealed drag fly reel that would rival the big name manufacturers but at half the price. They tested the sealed drag assembly under various conditions that included burying the reels on a beach under the shore break for hours on end and then using them after just a quick wash in saltwater.

The Terrapin produces 14lbs of drag out of the box and it is as smooth as any drag I’ve played with. They’ve produced a reel that is light, has a slightly larger arbour and a big handle that comes to hand very nicely.

All the reels in the Terrapin series are machined from 6061 T-6 bar stock aluminium and are Type II double anodised for maximum durability. The drag surface of the Terrapin consists of stacked Rulon discs, a material rather new to the fly reel industry that has unbelievable tolerances. Rulon is rated for constant operating temperature ranging from –400*F to 550*F and has zero water absorption. Rulon is by far a better drag surface choice over carbon fibre and cork. The drag system housing itself acts as the spindle for the reel making it incredibly strong under severe stress. This system is also completely maintenance free! The drag is activated by an oversized clutch bearing which in its watertight housing is extremely reliable. This engagement system is impervious to extreme cold and extreme heat.


The Terrapin comes in three sizes that cover 6/7, 8/9 and 10/12 weight lines. The TER1012 that I purchased is 4.5 inches in diameter and holds a heap of 50 pound Platypus Bionic Braid. A few mates were doubtful about buying a reel from a website without being able to play with it first but I can tell you now this reel is as good as the top of the range names and half the cost. The quality is first class and I can assure readers it won’t be my only Colton. I’m already planning on buying a Torrent 13/15 next year for sailfish.

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