Earlier in 2018 I was approached by Preston to see if I would test the Centris reels. It was understandably enthusiastic about a new generation of reels and wanted my honest feedback after a number of months. I agreed to do the test but on the terms that I could write a “warts ‘n’ all” review when I felt the time was right.
Let’s take a look at the reels first. Preston knew that if it was to get a look in on this section of the market, they had to produce something that ticked a lot of boxes and did so with a high degree of quality. In short, they had to be exceptional!
As my fishing is 90 per cent feeder based at the moment I decided upon the 520-sized Centris NT. It’s a lovely reel size that covers feeder situations up to about 60 metres. Some guys are using them for the longer chucks, but I prefer to switch to a bigger reel in that situation.
Interestingly I have tried the smaller reels on a number of occasions and while I feel they are great for float fishing, they are a little too small for feeder work. The 420 would be fine for small commercials but in my opinion the 520 covers that anyway, making it the more versatile option.
The Centris is supplied with a single handle AND a double handle option. This is such a personal thing; I prefer single handles but I know a lot of top anglers who love the double-handled option. But the great thing here is that you have the option at no extra cost.
The reel is also supplied with a spare spool, the spools themselves feature two line clips and also have a push-button release system. This is a great feature, as the spool just pops off instantly – no more fiddly unscrewing the spools.
The double line clip is an interesting feature and one that I must admit I don’t really get. The idea is that you can use two clips for two swims, but to do so you would need to unclip anyway, which is something you can do with one clip no problem. But the feature is there and is another little extra should it be something you like. The line clip has been great and I’ve had none of those annoying instances where the line pops off the clip only to see your feeder sail into the island you are casting up to!
The guts of the reel have been what have really surprised me, and I mean that in a good way. The reel is packed with internal features such as a titanium carbon rotor, titanium shaft and Powerdrive, a slow oscillation wormshaft that gives the reel its winding power.
And this is my favourite feature by far of these reels. The 520 packs a serious punch – the winding power is simply outstanding. I do a lot of fishing where lots of fish need to be caught, fish in the 8oz to 4lb bracket, and believe me when I say you can just keep winding! The reel doesn’t miss a beat. I love it!
Any negatives? Well yes, actually. First up, the reel isn’t quite ready to go, out of the box. Like all reels it is supplied with a small packet of washers that can be added to change the line lay on the spool.
Now in my opinion reels should be perfect straight from the box. I just don’t think customers should have to add or subtract washers to get the line lay right. I have to say though, that just about every reel I have had over the past few years has been the same, so this isn’t singling out this reel, but I just think it’s something that needs addressing.
Second negative? I don’t see why, in 2018, we still need to add metres of backing line on to a spool before loading the reel with the proper line. Other companies have supplied solutions and I think this would have been a nice touch for Preston to sort out. After all, it is the master at solving this kind of issue.
All in all, I love these reels. There are a couple of minor down points but I can forgive those for all of the positives that they offer. This is a huge leap forward for Preston Innovations as far as its reel development is concerned and really puts it among the big players as far as I’m concerned.
RRP: From £154.99