Losing Reel Perspective? Craig Sandell © 2014 In this modern Musky era, it is easy to lose perspective regarding the extent of advancements in today’s tackle and techniques over the tackle and techniques of the past. At the top of the list are the enhancements to modern Musky reels. Taking A Look Back In the old days, reels did not have the drag mechanisms that we are using today. The only drag system that you had back then was your thumb. Hand in hand with no drag, was the lack of an anti-reverse mechanism…henceforth the reputation of older reels as knuckle busters. There was no thumb bar for free spool activation. There was no such thing as a 4.7:1 gear ratio…it was 1:1. Using the reels of the past to fish for and fight Musky, required a completely different set of skills. Because there was no anti-reverse or drag system, you could not palm the reel or hold the rod in front of the reel as many of us do with today’s reels. You needed to keep your thumb at the ready to supply drag and to prevent the mother of all backlashes.