I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

• Pflueger Patriarch WLP71: First Impressions

I briefly discussed the Pflueger Patriarch in my review of the Pflueger Summit WLP. That review was written prior to actually owning a Patriarch. I liked my Pflueger Summit WLP so much that I knew another Pflueger reel would be a nice addition to my arsenal. Now that I have fished with the Patriarch a few times, I can at least discuss my first impressions. A review will come later this year after I put the reel up against some more fish and different situations.

The Patriarch has 11 bearings, a 7.1:1 ratio, wide spool, weighs 8.4oz, and has line capacities of 12/160, 14/130, and 17/90. It uses a combination of centrifugal and magnetic brakes and has a carbon fiber drag system. A neoprene reel cover was also included in the box, but I have not even bothered with it. The reel is quite stunning with its titanium coating and menacing looking low profile design. The titanium finish is very reflective and both fingerprints and smudge marks were noticeable after handling the reel, but were easily wiped away. You can't help but appreciate the impressive design. This particular reel was the display model and the last one in stock, so I was a little apprehensive starting out. Too many people like to fiddle with display models and sometimes parts go missing. Everything seemed to be in tip top shape on this reel after some careful examination.

One of the first things I did was set the Patriarch and Summit side by side to compare the two. The low profile frame is smaller than the Summit. It is still a very comfortable fit, but noticeably shorter from front to back and in height. A Summit WLP sits a little higher on a reel seat. Because of the slight size difference, I felt a little awkward making a two handed cast with my left hand cupped around the sideplate. For a brief moment, I felt like the reel could slip. The projections on the star drag are also wider when compared with the Summit. Both the cast control knob and star drag have the same audible click feature. The two reels are very much alike aside from these differences.

Each cast has been easy and smooth. I was able to put a lure at my max casting distance without exerting as much effort as some of my other reels require. Casting accuracy also came easy, especially at a distance. It was nothing to put a jig, spinnerbait, or swimblade exactly where I wanted it from a distance of sixty to seventy feet. The weight of the reel seemed fine even though the Patriarch weighs 0.2 ounces heavier than the Summit WLP. Like the Summit, the braking system was straightforward and very easy to adjust. You may recall that my Summit was shipped with all brakes turned on, so one of the other things I checked before I even made my first cast was the internal brake setting. I did have to turn off two internal brakes that were engaged. The new Soft Touch Thumb Bar has not made much of a difference yet, but it's something I will have to pay attention to as I get to know this reel.

I paired the reel with my 7' MH PQL1070-IM8 rod which shifted around my reel lineup a bit. I spooled the Patriarch up with about 130 feet of 20# Gamma Copolymer and spritzed on a little Line & Lure. This reel handles 20# line just fine and casts it without a hitch. I did have one backlash where I casted into a steady breeze, but I think I had the brakes set a little too loose to begin with.

Overall, I am impressed with the improved accuracy and smoothness of this reel. I have only caught two fish so far, but both were feisty chain pickerel in the 1 1/2 and 2lb range. This reel handled both fish without any fuss. The high speed ratio and line recovery combined with a good drag makes the Patriarch a force to be reckoned with. Now bring on some bigger fish!
Best two fish so far on the Patriarch have been a 6lber and a 4lb 3ozer. Caught the 6 on a Trophy Series Scumfrog and the 4 on a 3/8oz swimblade. Read about the 6lber here and the 4lber here. The Patriarch didn't even flinch at these fish.

In my review of the Summit, I mentioned how I was a little anxious about the Patriarch's thumb screw which holds the sideplate in place. The thumb screw is no ordinary thumb screw and does require a screwdriver to loosen it. After removing the sideplate by turning the thumb screw, it's no different than any other reel. I did have to oil the bearing on the sideplate and the bearing on the opposite side of the spool to get rid of some noise during casts. Drops of oil in those spots have dealt with the same issue on other reels I've owned, so that's no big deal either. I also noticed grease on the worm gear right out of the box and a little bit smudged on the enclosure around the gear. Maybe they put too much grease on at the factory.

My real concerns revolve around some specification discrepancies. The drag pressure quoted online is 10lbs at many sites, but I've also read the Pflueger product catalog. Pflueger says the drag is 18lbs on the 7:1 versions and 20lbs on the 6.4:1 reels. I think I will go with what Pflueger says. The line capacity appears to be the same as the Summit WLP according to the box, however after spooling up with 20# line, it seems like this reel can hold more. I need to do some comparisons with line capacity.

The line recovery specs are not consistent with what I've read. Different sites and stores give me different numbers. The Summit WLP was advertised as having a 30-inch line recovery and the regular Summit took in 28 inches. That being said, a Patriarch should also take in 30 inches, but several ads quote a 28-inch line recovery instead. Same WLP spool size. Same line capacity. Same ratio. I would think the line recovery would be the same too. According to someone I spoke to at a booth selling reels at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic Expo, the Patriarch does in fact have a 30 inch line recovery.

In addition, I've only encountered one significant problem. The numbers for the magnetic brake settings rub off over time. I'm not sure what kind of paint they used, but it has not been very durable. I have to keep track of my mag brake settings in clicks now, not numbers. Disappointing for such a fine looking piece of equipment.

Related Posts:
Pflueger Summit WLP Review
Pflueger Summit: Some Casting Comparisons
Pflueger Reels: Remove the handle
Remove a Pflueger Patriarch Sideplate


Anonymous said...

I have a Patriarch and use it for salmon fishing on our rivers in the north west it has been a great reel and i also spooled it with 20lb line no problems.I put some braided on it for fishing one of the bigger rivers and the reel didn't like that. The braided line has a dust like residue that comes off it and gets into the spindel shaft and bearings and greatly reduced the casting distances. other than that this has been a great reel. the biggest salmon to date was 27 lb's. happy fishing

BassFishingDem said...

I've since added a 64WLP and recently purchased the XT.

Anonymous said...

I also own this same model Patriarch paired with a 6'6" All Star Rod (about a $300 combo). Unfortunately mine will not cast maximum distance. It is as if something is putting severe friction on the spool and slowing it down even with the break knob loosened 100%. I did once have braid on it so maybe its what the previous post said. Not sure but if you have any advice i'd love to know because its disappointing to buy a $200 reel and it not function properly.

BassFishingDem said...

The deal with Pflueger reels is, they ship with brakes in the on position inside the reel. I mentioned this important point in the section above titled Casting. Flip them off and you should be able to cast a lot further.

Anonymous said...

Okay, i checked and mine came with two brakes off and 4 on, is this how you use yours? Also, i emailed the tech guy who told me it probably needed oil?

BassFishingDem said...

I turn all of my brakes off, adjust the knob on the side based on the weight of the lure, and only tinker with the magnetic settings as needed. I usually keep the magnetic brakes on 10, dropping to 6 or 8 from time to time. As for oiling, I put a drop or two in the one bearing inside the removable sideplate, in the bearing under the centrifugal brake knob, in the bearing located on the spool, and if you need to mess with more, I'd suggest familiarizing yourself with baitcaster schematics first.

I'd also recommend reading the Baitcaster 101 link in my sidebar under Fishing Links. That should answer other questions you may have in terms of casting and brake settings.


navyblueaubie said...

Does anyone know how to remove the sideplates and disengage the brakes on the Pflueger Patriarch? The one-page manual Plueger gives you says absolutely nothing about how to do this, and I can't find an explanation on how to do this on the internet. I wasn't born knowing this, and I don't want to push, pull, bend, or hammer on various parts of my $200 reel without having a good idea about what I'm doing.

BassFishingDem said...


It depends on the model you've got and the side you want to open up.

If you're talking about the latest version, the handle comes off using a screwdriver and is fairly straightforward. If you're talking about the older models that have the previous kind of handle, you have to tighten the drag down, push the drag star in towards the reel frame until you hear a pop, and then turn it counter clockwise. I have a Youtube video showing how to do that.


For what you're asking, you don't need to mess with that side of the reel. That's for when you want to do some more involved maintenance.

The palm side requires that you take a screwdriver to the thumb screw at the front of the reel. Once you loosen it enough, the palm sideplate can be turned clockwise/up and pulled out away from the reel.

Once you open that sideplate, you have access to the internal brakes. Pflueger tends to ship their reels with the brakes engaged, so when the red tab is pulled out away from the center, it's on. When it's pushed in, it's off.

I may write up a post with photos in the near future because you're right. It's not an obvious chore.

navyblueaubie said...


Thanks for the reply! It was simple once you explained it. I did buy the new 71WLP based in part on your review. Looking forward to trying it out soon on Lake Eufaula on the AL/GA border.

BassFishingDem said...

No problem. Glad my review helped in your decision. This reel offers a lot of control, but lets you cast a good 110 to 120 feet. I honestly feel like it's an overlooked option on the market given all the competition. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

THANK-YOU for writing this piece! I was VERY disappointed with my Patriarch ...darn thing couldn't cast with a darn. I couldn't figure out to get to the breaks.

When I followed your instructions I found that all of my breaks were on! No wonder it wouldn't cast very far.

Now I LOVE this reel!