Ari T Hart – for those that can afford them ?

Now, I quite like a bit of angling jewelry but this I think just goes that wee step over the line into sheer extravagance.These reels are hand carved from space age material and the website states “for those that can afford them” without giving an actual price.


I pretty much know I cannot afford them, can you? Would you want to?

Check out the site here.

88 comments to Ari T Hart – for those that can afford them ?

  • I’ve gotta say his designs started out in an interesting place, but over the years have started to look more and more like design for design’s sake – objet d’art! I’d rather look at and own a Rembrandt or a Brancusi… now they cost real money!

  • Exactly – I like a bit of jewlerry as much as the next reel fanatic but those designs….reminds me of that reel with the diamonds encrusted !]

  • Industrial bling!!

  • tom

    Looks more like a winch than a fishing reel to me !
    I’ll stick with the Battenkill for the foreseeable.

  • Tom, your right, maybe we can get them down Machine Mart for £50 😉

  • Frank

    In the day of mass produced reels, most of which are all being made in the far east, Ari Hart’s designs are innovative,beautiful and simple in design. What Ari has done is take sophisticated engineering to a level of art in reel design. Don’t be fooled by the beauty of pure design here,
    I was fortunate to have purchased one of his Rio Orbigo fly reels over twenty years ago and I’ve fished it hard ever since with no problems. I may not be able to afford one of his new designs today, but it sure is nice just to look at them!

  • Hi Frank,

    Hmmm, I am not so sure about simple in design – take a look at that second photo – too me that seems overly complicated and cluttered – but then i suppose it could have a specialised purpose!

    Someone got in contact to say the reels are around the £200 mark ($380) For a reel that is mighty expensive but then again still around the price of even the mass produced reels.

    When it all boils down to it reels are just angling jewlerry unless you are after the really big fish where you do actually need a drag and such like 🙂


    ps Saying that that though i would be happy for them to send me a reel to review properly 😉

  • Bob Bonney

    Ari T Hart reels are more than bling. Sure, they look snazzy, but they perform flawlessly. I’ve fished a S1 for 15 years, catching numerous large, strong steelhead , never a problem. I now on several of his reels, they’re awesome! You get what you pay for in this case.

  • Alistair, Frank, I’m reliably informed you can put at least a zero on the end of that figure – a Tibor or an Abel costs at least £500 so that’ll be no surprise to anyone.

    Just one thing, speaking of functionality – I’m sure Mr Hart’s reels perform very well, in fact if they didn’t they’d be follies would they not? And I know well his earlier products have provided good service. It might interest you to know that at least one of his ‘works’ holds a place in the collection of the Arts Council’s Design Museum in London.

    If one was mailed to me for review I think I’d have to mail it to Frank so he could write the review… what do you think Frank?

  • Raif ,

    Yup, now that I come to think about it I think the estimate of the price must have been waaaaaay off.

    For other bling bling reels, how about this one

    The reel “heals” itself when scratched !!


  • There you go, £5000 for a Hardy – that’s big bucks – and they have that similar ‘engineered look’ going on – I bet they’re good reels, but again they’re just not my taste. I’m reminded of the dashboard and controls of a lower price range BMW (can’t remember which model). If I was into cars I’d rather have a Volvo or a Saab, failing that a good old Zephyr Zodiac or a Mercedes of the same vintage!

    “It’s all a matter of taste!”

  • Frank

    Hey Raif, send me all the Ari T’ Hart reels you can, I’ll test it our local tackle busting Steelhead of the mighty Muskegon River in Michigan. Not sure how his new reels will match up to his vintage reel designs but I have confidence in Ari’s work that they’ll be as good or better! Don’t get me wrong,
    Ari Hart’s reels are very expensive and probably out of my checkbooks reach but as a designer by trade and a maker of custom bamboo rods I appreciate his “out of the box” designing and his impeccable workmanship and many hours it must take to make one of these beauties. We also shouldn’t forget that most of his early designs (25 years ago) were cutting edge stuff…when most reel manufactures were
    using click and palm drags Hart was designing sophisticated drags systems that were both precise, smooth and reliable! I still use my Rio Orbigo reel twenty five years later and it’s still,
    by far better than any other reel I’ve owned…and if you talk to my wife, she would
    probably tell you I have more fly reels than she
    has shoes!

  • D

    Interesting someone should bring a Hardy Reel into this conversation. Every year, at least once, Ari Hart visits the house of Hardy and helps them with their designs. Who do you think designed the Angel reel? or that Zane reel and reel seat? That’s all Ari Hart, just without his name on it. Still gets a good pay for it though…

  • Hey D,

    Yup, it was I that brought Hardy reels into the conversation as an example of overpriced bling – now it seems the same gent is involved 😉

    I see a pattern forming , or possibly not ?


  • Frank

    When I first saw the new Hardy line I thought the designing looked much like Ari Hart’s handy work!
    The line should do well for Hardy.
    Has anybody heard of the Vosserler fly reel from Germany? I understand it is very well made and worth twice the selling price is. I have two on order in the DC series. More to come on these reels when they arrive.

  • Hi Frank,

    I have a Vosseler DC2 that I use with my four weight. It is a nice bit of kit although maybe a little heavy.
    Bit of a scandal going down about them in the UK acually – have a read of this

  • Frank

    Hi Alistar,
    I also heard the same news, however there is always two sides of a story, sounds like a customer service issue and not a quality issue. I know only what I’m hearing from the few folks here in the US
    that have and fish with the new Vosseler reels.
    As for the extra weight, that was my only concern. I wouldn’t mind a little weight if the
    quality is there. It’s my alternative to the ORVIS
    company for sending all (except one) of their reels to be manufactured in CHINA! which I think will back fire on them. Why they took the manufacturing out of England is beyond me! Sounds like GREED to me!

  • Yea, there is always two sides – Carl (the ex uk supplier) is renowned to be an all round good guy though. The reels are now being distrivuted by Air Flo (i will make a posting later on this) so maybe they had already decided to go with them and that is why they were not giving him enough stock ?

    But yea, its a customer service issue and all idle tackle gossip – I do like my vossler though – it is a nice bit of German bling 😉

    I think more and more products are being manufactured in China these days – I suppose they just cant compete with the low prices being offered by some ofthe lower end ofthe market companies.


  • Frank

    I guess manufactures don’t care any more about where their products are made. But I do know this, what ORVIS did to it’s customer base by sending their reel manufacturing to China will come back and haunt them. Can you imagine if Hardy were to send their manufacturing to China? I think the Queen herself would make the call. I love Hardy reels and pray they don’t pull an “ORVIS” on us all some day. The Orvis company was built around the CFO fly reel many years ago, and now to send it to China to be made. What are people thinking these days!

  • Hi Frank,

    I appreciate what you say about the Hart reels, and I know all his previous reels perform very well. Our local celeb Steve Parton uses his early reels and is definitely a fan – Steve is not a man to accept anything poor quality – he’s anexacting man that provides product development consultation to at least one of the big manufacturers.

    And on the subject of ‘moves to China coming back to haunt them’…. it already has. I’m told that Orvis may be moving back to Europe with reel manufacturing – poor die castingis has been one of the issues.

  • Frank

    Hi Raif,
    Gee!… I could of told ORVIS that before they invested all that money in China!….and to do it thinking they were going to fool their customers.
    I see a trend among us in the USA to move away from cheap goods made in China. I, like most Americans will pay more for a quality product if given the choice. But to pay the same price for goods made in China….not going to happen my friend. That’s why I bought the Vosseler reels.

  • Lots of people jumped on the China bandwagon. The problem as always is consumers will go for lower prices – that’s where the volume is. Most businesses working volume need a piece of that action. If a few big players start moving out to China because that can help hit the price point, then to an extent everyone else has to follow suite or otherwise have a radical rethink of their business model. It would be nice is more would do the latter. Of course like now, when it all starts going wrong and the product isn’t shifting or they get too many returns, or in some cases product doesn’t even make it to market then the whole prospect changes. “Fingers crossed!”

    Small businesses as you know, don’t usually work on volume, so they can stay at home and focus on low turnover, high quality and a good wage and/or margin. Maybe you work on that basis? I wonder do you make a living from your rod making….?

    Anyway, I appreciate a well designed and crafted object. As far as I know all my rods and reels, apart from a lapse into composite reels (“…the horror”) 8yrs ago, are UK and US made and some of them are very nice – a testament to the home industries.

  • Frank

    Call it how you see it but I see it as pure greed to make more profit from low cost labor in the east.
    As for my rod making business, No…I don’t make
    that many rods in one year to support a living on it, I’m an Art Director by profession and make custom bamboo fly rods as a hobby, though many have told me to do it full time. Perhaps my background in design and art is why I appreciate the ATH reels so much.
    My feelings for big business, like the ORVIS CO.
    and how they can’t compete with low cost products being made in China is pure BULL!
    The ORVIS customer has always paid top dollar for their products, what makes them think the customer base has changed to buying low cost,low quality products. Those people shop at Wall-Mart…not ORVIS, HARDY or BARBOUR

  • Wall-Mart…… exactly! Greed…… yep! Hogwash… often! And let’s not be too narrow with the subject…

    If we apply the same logic where we buy groceries and other everyday commodities, that would be good too. It might help resolve some other inequities

    Big companies are always putting the squeeze on somewhere in the chain of production, yet still everyone buys!

    Now take milk for instance, where I used to live the farming communities are falling apart because they get so little for their produce. It’s dreadful; in fact, it’s worse than dreadful, if you think of earlier ‘depressions’ you’ll realise lives are at stake, its horrendous!

    People shop at the local grocery giants all the time, maybe you do. When you look at a pint of milk, what do you see, what goes through your mind, do you think of these issues?

    By the way, I hope this doesn’t come across as antagonistic, that’s certainly not my intension. It is an interesting subject that warrants debate, though in truth I think we are all here the converted.

  • Hi all,

    We appreciate all the conversation in regards to Ari ‘t Hart reels. In regards to some of the discussions: all Ari ‘t Hart reels past and present have been battle tested without any returns or maintenance repairs over the past decade.

    While the price might seem high, all the reels are limited edition as well is an established name for over half a century in the industry. Keep in mind you are paying for quality not quantity.

    We welcome you to visit worlwide exclusive rights holder of Ari ‘t Hart designs. Feel fee to sent us comments and or questions and we will be happy to respond.

  • caimi

    Hi all,

    I just stumbled upon this website today and found this interesting conversation about Hart and Orvis reels. I’ve bought and sold a lot of fly reels over the years but the one I miss most after selling in the Hart Traun F1. As good looking and well made a fly reel as any I’ve ever fished and and less expensive than many others I’ve purchased. I keep looking for a used one to buy to correct my error


  • Frank

    I was wondering when there was going to be a new web site, very nice!
    There are many of Ari’s reels pictured on the new site, will they all become available for purchase?

  • Thank you for the positive comments. The pictures you have seen on the website are designs that Ari has made and are not necessarily going to be available. However we are release some designs in the 4th quarter of this year. We are thinking about #16, but this is not set in stone.

    If a prototype will be released it will be a limited amount.

    We are open to any suggestions!

  • Frank

    The Astrid is one of my favorite designs of Ari’s.
    Please don’t change the reel seat or the color if you choose to make this reel next at all. As a designer myself, this reel is pure perfection in design. I’m making on a cane rod blank right now that would love to meet up with the Astrid some day.
    What will the size be on this reel?…the smaller the better.

  • Frank,
    We were planning on taking a couple of prototypes including #16, to the show in Denver, Colorado in September. Our plan was to let the audience make a pick of the new model coming out.

    We are very interested in the combination of a rod and reel, so if you are interested why don’t you send us some pics of your rod and we will take a look at it.

    We have 1 at the museum so we will have to get back to you on the size. I am thinking it is a 4 or a 5.

  • Frank

    Please send me your email address and I’ll send a few photos of my cane designs. My email address is:

  • Gives me a warm glow inside this does – I should get a commission 😉

  • Frank

    Alistair, send me your email;

  • So has anyone got one ? 😉

  • Yes, we have sold a lot actually!

    Next stop will be the show in Denver in September!

  • Frank

    Just picked up a new ATH S2 reel off Ebay via Germany, what a deal!!

  • How much was it ?

    £600029283635 ?


  • Hello all,

    I have read some of the comments and encourage anyone to post or send us your opinion. We are very proud of Ari’s reels and while we understand the price is not for everyone, we choose to limit the production to control inventory and supply. In short, it makes for an easier company to run! Second, for all those fans, the ASTRID is currently in production and will be available in January or February at the latest. Thank you all for the comments.


    Exclusive Reels Ltd.

  • Frank

    Any chance will see any of Ari’s fly tying vices in the future? Had a chance to buy one from Ari some twenty years ago at a TU banquet in Chicago but purchased an F2 Rio Orbigo instead….ran out of cash! I remember the vise being a travel vice with all the tools fitting into this real sweet case with the vice. I’m still looking but these are impossible to find now.


  • Hey Frank – I looked up that reel and it looks like a sweet bit of kit – is it heavy ?

  • Frank

    Hi Alistair,
    It’s a large reel but it should be just fine for salmon and steelhead fishing on my home rivers of Michigan.
    I purchased a new Vosseler DC4 reel for salmon fishing last year and I absolutely disliked the reel!
    I lost more fish on that reel because the fly line has a tendency to wrap it self around the back of the reel. There is no bottom pillar on the reel to hold the line to the spool. Great quality reel but poorly designed. The line would also get hung up on the large wooden handle that acts like a hook, clearly someone wasn’t thinking when they added the handle to this reel….I’m going to sell it.
    I know my new ATH S2 I purchased will out perform the Vosseler Hands Down!

    Merry Christmas,

  • Hi Frank,

    Yikes, sounds like you have had a bad experience – would you still buy the ATH S2 if it cost £1000 ?

  • Frank

    That’s a very good question…no,I could not buy it.
    Nor could I buy the new line of ATH reels. Notice I said “could not” rather than would not. My limit on buying a new fly reel is about $500, which will buy you a very fine quality fly reel. I think above that price range fly reels are purchased for different reason by different people. I buy my reels for one reason and only one, to fish with, not to impress with. Which brings me to the new line of ATH reels. The two reels thus far introduced are both beautifully designed and I’m sure, are 110% quality. Are the reels worth $2,000.-$3,000?…ONLY if you can afford them. Will they fish any better than a reel that costs $500?…doubtful. So why are the new ATH reels so expensive?…because they can sell them for that price, period! Do the reels actually cost that much more to manufacture then a $500. reel, doubtful. Look, I’m a designer by profession, is it right for me to charge a large corporation $5,000. for a new logo design that takes me me a few hours to design?
    Only if I can get it and they can afford it.

  • Jim

    I’ve just found and read through this. While I’ve been an admirer of Ari T Hart reels for almost as long as I’ve been fly fishing I just can’t see myself shelling out around £1000 for an Astrid then getting a rod built around it (beautiful though it may be). £2000 for the Trilogy set…. again well out of my range and I’d rather have 3 reels than a set of spools. That said, if I was a man of means and money was not an issue then yeah! I’d buy an Astrid.
    While you might not strictly “need” a top quality reel for Trout fishing with regards to drag etc I’ve always thought of them as more than just something to hold your line. I like using good equipment as it enhances the enjoyment of the day and fishing for me is all about enjoyment so I’ll use the best I can afford.
    Right now I’m in the market for an ATH Remco or F1 Traun to go with the cane rod I’m getting built so if I’m lucky enough to find one in my price range I’ll be using one of Ari’s reels next year, albeit an old one.

    $330 for an S1….. I’m waaaay off being any kind of judge on that but is that not around half what they’d usually go for? Sounds like a great deal you got there… Well done. The same guy wasn’t selling an F1 was he????? ha-ha-ha


  • Hi all,

    The prices for our reels are for two reasons, one we produce a very small amount (less than 200) of reels which increases production cost.second, they are produced with the highest standard in a country where costs are very high. Most often our reels sell to collectors but plenty are used for fishing. It is my opinion that there are plenty great reels for a good price but there are very of our reels which lies in the same relationship as a toyota and a mercedes. There are far more toyotas than mercedes but some people don’t mind spending the money. That is why we produce no more than 200 reels.

  • Frank

    You hit it right on the head, the new ATH reels are
    just too expensive for us common folks. Again, that
    said, I will admire and cherish any ATH reel I can afford to buy. The ATH reel I just purchased was a
    new S2, and your correct, that’s half of what a new one would of cost me here in the States. Good choice on the F1 Traun, I picked mine up again on Ebay for just under $300. It was used
    but by looking at it you would think it never saw the water. I have mine on a 7ft. 4 wt. bamboo rod I built and it balances out nicely.
    I had my eye on a ATH Remco 2 earlier today on Ebay but the price shot up beyond my interests.
    I think it sold for $420. The F1 is my favorite of all my ATH’s. If you see one out there for sale,
    buy it, because I have seen only two or three out there for sale in the last several years. The reel is worth every dollar of $400+ seeing how rare they are now, but if I here of one out there, I’ll let you know as I’m looking for the smaller Remco to match a cane rod I’m building now.
    How can I contact you if I see a Traun F1 become available?

  • Jim

    Hi Frank,
    I’ll send a mail to the address you have listed above, if you are not using that any more (and therefor don’t get the mail) clicking on my name will take you to my website, what there is of it, at the bottom of the page is a contact link. Thanks very much for your offer of help.

    Thanks for starting this, it’s great to read about ATH reels and stoke my fire and great to read the opinions of the Company President building the new ones. If I can track one down helped by anything I’ve read here then I’m in your debt…. of course we’ll have to discuss commision as I may be poor after buying the reel.. … Ahem .. Cough….



  • I should get a free reel for this or something – although I would probably sell it and buy a car !

    Only kidding 😉

  • Just a note for all of you. If you shop on Ebay, be very careful. We have found several fakes out of Sweden, Norway or Denmark. We are not sure when they were made or how many there are. The Traun and Rio were very popular models for ATH which led to copies showing up. I don’t know if there is a way to tell from pictures etc. and my eyes can’t tell but Ari knows. I was in holland and a fishing store there actually had a new one on the shelf! If you want one really bad, go after the shops that don’t have an internet presence. Use yellow pages or 411 and call these guys in Holland or even the States and see if they have any. If i hear of any, I will also let you know.

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