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TIBOR reel anti-reverse review

This Website has no relationship to the manifacturer. The reel was purchased new in the free market at normal price. The herewith review is free of any commercial influence or bias, and it is based on the item in our hands.


Definition of Anti-reverse: these reels have a mechanism between the retrieving handle and the spool that allows the line to be pulled off the reel without that the handle rotates backward. There are two types of anti-reverse. The direct-drive anti-reverse allows the line to go out against the drag, but when one starts retrieving the drag is disengaged. In the second type of anti-reverse, one has to tighten the drag to take up the fly line. The Tibor anti-reverse belongs to this latter type.


This reel model was introduced by Ted Juracsik in 1975 as an anti-reverse tarpon fly reel. Up to date, there are two additional smaller models in the series: the Bonefish and the Salmon. The three of them cover a fly rod weight range from 6-12.

The Bonefish model specifications declared by the manifacturer

Weight: 8.2 oz. / 232,4 gr.
Rod Weights: 7-8-9

274 m. with WF7F
260 m. with WF8F
251 m. with WF9F
all with 20 lb. backing

Size (self measured): reel Frame and spool diameter 9,2 cm., width 4,4 cm.

This is a robust, sturdy and compact machine, made from a solid bar stock aluminum. The fact that this mechanic has been in production for more than 50 years is in itself a guarantee.

The Tibor Billy Pate Bonefish model is not excessively heavier than direct spool ones. I have been casting with it all day long on a 9-foot rod weight 9 without any strain on my wrist.

classic impregnated old-style drag. I like the fact to be able to control and set the drag with the same hand that I use to operate the reel's handle. The drag is stepless, and between completely open and completely closed there is enough room for fine adjustments. Completely closed it almost blocks the pulling out of the line. It is still possible to palm (to control the coming out of the fly line with the palm pressed on the rotating spool) the spool when required.

Small spool design:
the downside, less line gets rewound each turn of the handle.
Upside, more backing capacity

the sound while reeling in is pleasant, either entering or leaving the spool. In short, what is expected from an object of this quality

Range of use:
I have already been hit by a reel handle spinning at full speed and it is no pleasure. If this is enough reason to purchase an anti-reverse, it is a personal matter. I found the possibility to adjust the drag without having to change the hand holding the rod a nice feature. Conversly, in the beginning it may be displacing to fight a big fish with a mechanism similar to coarse reels.
This reel was conceived for saltwater. Its natural main targets are big bonefish, baby tarpon, smaller tuna, redfish and alike. Fish that can pull tens of meters off your reel in a few seconds. In European saltwater definitely smaller tuna and bonito. In fresh water, even if we won't find fish causing spools spinning at impossible RPMs, at times the reaction of a 5 Kg carp might give the feel of a bonefish run. This reel will fit for Atlantic Salmon, sea trout, pike and other large predators.

It is given as virtually maintenance-free by the manufacturer. Of course, you will have to wash in fresh water when used in the sea.
Changing the handle for left or right retrieval is possible only with a costly special tool or by shipping it to a maintenance center, thus at best it has to be ordered correctly in the first instance.

Use in the field: Anti-reverse reels represent less than 1% of the market share, spread trend likely increasing. For collectors likely an investment object. However, this is a reel made for fishing in harsh conditions. Its robustness and the smoothness of the mechanisms make it a pleasure to use it in any circumstance when an 8 or 9 fly line is required. So far I tested in fresh water. I loaded it with a weight 9 fly line and I took with me fishing for pike...

During the prolonged use, I never had the feeling of using a bulky saltwater reel. It is compact and light enough. Engaged in fight with a big fish, an over 90 cm. pike, it performed as expected. As I hooked the large fish, the drag was set quite loose, that was allowing me to extract the line during the false casts. Hence, the fish started to pull the line out of the reel. I could tighten the drag with the same hand that I was using to operate the reel. I was able to reel back the line while the drag was compensating for the fish tugs without the need for me to release the reel's handle. Even if it was the first time that I was fighting a large fish without a direct-drive reel, it all felt very natural and it went very smooth. In a few minutes I was able to land the fish, take a picture and release the pike. I will keep you posted on this page in case of any updates while using it.