Lure Lore: AR-BE Reel Brake

AR-BE Reel Brake
AR-BE Reel Brake

Ah, the good old days when an angler knew he had become a true fisherman by successfully unsnarling his first backlash in the dark! For many today, the experience of a backlashed reel will never be known since advanced technology in casting reel design, not to mention the use of spin casters has pretty much eliminated this once-common problem.

Back in the days of the early casters, however, the backlash could put an end to an evening of fishing, particularly for the younger novice fisherman whose casting techniques were not as polished as that of a more experienced angler. Still, as a young lad, I remember even Dad occasionally mumbling to himself certain words which, for a youngster, I probably should not have overheard while unsnarling his own backlashed reel!

To help combat this problem, one enterprising fellow named Ray Koser of Sturdevant, Wisconsin, a tool and dye maker by trade, designed a clever gadget he called the "AR-BE Reel Brake". After World War II, Ray began working on the problem of coming up with a way to prevent backlashing and designed a tension device that worked in combination with the reel to allow casting without thumbing, yet avoid backlashing.

The AR-BE Reel Brake kit consisted of a frame with a adjustable tension arm, 2 different size brake shoes, adjusting screw, a face plate with 4 screws, and a large and small size brake drum. The size of the reel determined what size brake drum and shoe was needed.

The brake drum is attached to the reel handle using the face plate. Once attached, the handle is put back on the reel. The frame is then slide over and around the reel seat and the front 'tongue' slide under the rod's reel retainer to hold it in place.

Next, a screw on the tension arm assembly is used to adjust the brake shoe right or left to align properly with the brake drum. An adjustable screw is then threaded into a tension spring and used to adjust the tension between the brake shoe and drum. Finally, the line is threaded through the line guide arm. 

To read our full write up about the AR-BE Reel Brake check out our Lure Lore: AR-BE Reel Brake page.  See our full series of lure history pages at our Lure Lore section.


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