If you're looking for a basic definition, then I suppose that a centrepin reel is a type of fishing reel consisting of a spool that revolves around a central spindle.

You could even go on to say that it is an early design, mechanically simple and lacking in the sophistication of modern reels, many of which have multiple bearings, clutches, free-spool systems, balearms, etc.

But then you'd TOTALLY be missing the point!

To those who use centrepin reels regularly, they are the essence of pure fishing, offering total control over bait presentation and, when that leads to the inevitable success of hooking a fish, they enable the angler to feel every movement as they battle their quarry to the landing net.

Don't get me wrong; there are times when a centrepin reel is next to useless and those who persevere with it need their heads testing. For example, when rain is lashing down, a gale is blowing and you insist on trotting a float down the far bank, you're a foolish angler if you think that a closed face fixed spool wouldn't do the job better!

However, on its day, a centrepin reel is impossible to beat.

The Anglers' Net Centrepin ReelMany modern reels are examples of design over manufacture. The advertising blurb will tell you how they're the best invention ever, because they've got 20 billion bearings and are made out of Kryptonite, yet they will break the first time any fish above 4-ounces tugs your line! Centrepin reels are different, as they offer elegance, simplicity and craftsmanship. Centrepin manufacturers (or should we call them artists?) don't sell you gimmicks; no, they sell you high quality craftsmanship and, dare I say it, soul. A good, usually expensive, centrepin reel has been made with loving hands and the creator of such a masterpiece takes personal pride in every one made.

To the untrained eye, there honestly isn't much to a centrepin and there isn't much different, visually, between a good and a bad one. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, though, and a the only way to experience the gulf of difference between a good centrepin and a 'normal' reel is to use one.

A good centrepin doesn't labour; it goes about its duty effortlessly and allows the angler to concentrate on the fish he or she is after. The 'pin becomes part of the angler, almost like some kind of lightweight metal hand, enabling them to channel all their effort into the fish, not their tackle.

But you probably knew all this that's why you're here. Whether you use centrepin reels for fly-fishing, fishing rivers, lakes or the sea, you'll know what makes a centrepin so special. Perhaps you're even one of that special breed of person, the one that many believe need taking away by men in white coats; the centrepin collector.

If you are, you have my admiration....and a small dollop of sympathy, as there is no known cure.