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While this is the first time we’ve tested an Islander reel, they are far from new to the market. Islander has been making high quality reels in their machine shop in British Columbia for nearly 30 years. The LX is their large-arbor disc drag model, and we’re excited to see it perform.


8-Weight Shootout Full Results



8.0 ounces. About average.





Like Tibor, Islander proves that you can have a cork drag, which, when properly lubricated, has some solid performance. It’s got very little startup inertia, with 4.5lbs of max drag – almost all of which is usable. It’s also really linear, with just over 2lbs at the halfway mark. At the bottom end, it doesn’t have any sort of break with .07lbs.

One thing that’s worth noting is that the Islander doesn’t have any stop on the bottom end (the spool is removed by continuing to unscrew the drag), so we estimate that it has about 3 turns.


Drag Test Graphs




Honestly, the sound is probably my favorite part about this reel. If you don’t believe just how epic it is, you owe it to yourself to check out this reel. Of course, if you like quiet, this probably isn’t for you, but it’s got a great click on both the incoming and outgoing.


Spool & Retrieval Rate

The spool on the Islander is tiny. It doesn’t hold much backing and it doesn’t pick up line very fast. It’s another example of a classically sized 7/8 reel that really should be an 8/9.


Looks & Ergonomics

I would have preferred to review the classic gold color, but the new school blue looks great as well. Unfortunately, like the spool, both the handle and the drag knobs are both tiny.


Finish and durability



Durability isn’t the Islander’s strong suit. It didn’t hold up very well to either drops or dragging. The pot marks and scrapes were all very visible.



Lifetime to the original owner + $0.


Price: $649



The Islander LX is a classic. It’s a tribute to how the very best reels were made in the 90’s. Unfortunately, while they are still doing things much the same way, the competition has drastically changed. Still, if you’re looking for that old-school look feel, the Islander will do a great job reeling in that bonefish. And it will sound really great while doing it.




  • Sound
  • Warranty



  • Ergonomics
  • Spool design