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Reel Review

Daddy’s Lean and Mean, the Magnesium Pflueger Patriarch Spinning Reel (continued)

Durability: As with all magnesium reels there needs to be a warning about fishing the reel in a saltwater environment. The Patriarch is coated with what proved to be a very durable finish that resisted boat rash particularly well. While not recommended as a primary saltwater reel the Patriarch will perform just fine in brackish conditions and if used in saltwater a quick rinse is definitely recommended. Even the reel’s spool is double anodized and the carbon arbor will not take any damage from contact with saltwater.

The Patriarch's main spool is aggressively ported for maximum weight reduction

The guts of the reel also held up well throughout our tests and Pflueger’s stainless steel and XCR bearings remained smooth throughout the field tests, requiring no additional lubrication even after months of use. On spinning reels the bail mechanism is also always an area of concern but the Patriarch’s “Sure-Click” bail design proved very dependable, and the audible click which signals when the bail was completely open and ready to cast is a nice addition.

To further reduce weight the handle is also made out of carbon

Sometimes it is also the little things that are important, and Pflueger shows they don’t cut any corners with the spring loaded line clip. On competing reels that simply lock in a molded clip I have snapped off this holder by pulling out my wedged line too quickly. Pflueger’s implementation not only makes it easier to get the line in and out but prevents the small plastic component from breaking. A final durability plus is that Pflueger ships each reel with a neoprene protective bag that keeps the reel protected when not in use or shipped from one fishing destination to the next.

The reel features a very durable solid aluminum bail

Price & Applications: Pflueger has long been known for their reasonable prices and the Patriarch is positioned at the very high end for a Pflueger product, retailing for $199.95. But when compared to the competition it is an absolutely killer deal. The main competition comes from the Daiwa Fuego which makes use of Daiwa’s exclusive “Zaion construction” instead of magnesium but actually weighs .7oz. more for the comparable size and also retails for a whopping 100 dollars more. Shimano’s Stradic CI4 retails for the same price as the Pflueger Patriarch and makes use of reinforced carbon fiber instead of magnesium and also weighs slightly more.

The on/off anti-reverse switch is positioned directly behind the rotor under the reel

If you want a true magnesium reel to compare with then you will discover that Shimano, Abu Garcia and Quantum don’t have competing offerings. Daiwa has the ultra refined Steez but at $549.99 a piece you can purchase two Pflueger Patriarch spinning reels and have some leftover money to cover some of the tax or to purchase two spools of line.

The Patriarch is built in China

While many manufacturers have started to move away from magnesium due to the durability concerns with saltwater and the sheer cost of the material, as well as added manufacturing costs, there is no denying that this material is still excellent when it comes to refinement. Magnesium reels of this caliber exude sophistication and exhibit just the right balance of light overall weight and tight tolerances. If you’re primarily going to be fishing in brackish water or saltwater then a carbon based reel will probably suit you better, but if you’re looking for a finesse reel mainly to be used in freshwater applications the Patriarch is an excellent choice.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Pflueger Patriarch 9530 Spinning Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Patriarch makes use of excellent materials. Starting with a complete magnesium frame, sideplate, and rotor and finished with functional carbon fiber components. 9.5
Performance Great performance overall from the fluid retrieve to exceptional refinement. The only area that we would like to see a little more is in the max drag pressure. 8.5
Price 199 dollars puts this at the high end of what you would normally pay for a Pflueger reel but when compared with the competition this is an absolutely fantastic deal! 9
Features Plenty of features in this reel including the hybrid material construction, the spare spool, EVA knob and corrosion resistant bearings. The protective cover is a nice added value as well. 9
Design (Ergonomics) Great overall ergonomics, this reel is extremely light and easy to fish with all day. 8.5
Application The Pflueger Patriarch is a good reel for just about any light to medium freshwater applications. While good for a wide range of baits this reel excels for finesse applications and pairs well with lightweight rods 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Extremely light reel - Drag is smooth but could deliver more max pressure
+ True magnesium construction (body, sideplate, and rotor)  
+ Carbon fiber elements are both attractive and effective  
+ The best Pflueger spinning reel yet  
+ Great overall value  


Conclusion: Many other reel manufacturers have moved away from magnesium as their primary choice for lightweight material for spinning reel manufacturing. Some have cited durability concerns while others have explained the sheer cost of the manufacturing process or the raw material itself is no cost prohibitive. Whatever the factors Pflueger seems to have found a formula that works as the new Patriarch is as lean and mean as they come and is now among the lightest reels on the market.


The carbon handle is just another example of how far Pflueger went to not only make this reel stand out from the crowd but also perform just as good as it looks

Boasting exceptional ergonomics and the performance to back it up we also have to praise Pflueger for their use of exotic carbon fiber materials. While cosmetically very attractive the carbon fiber highlights utilized within the reel’s spool and handle also do an excellent job further reducing weight without sacrificing structural integrity.

The Patriarch is the best Pflueger spinning reel we have seen to date and is a great deal when compared to other premium magnesium based reels

All in all the new Patriarch is not only the best spinning reel to come from the Pflueger camp but is a product that puts the competition on notice. Pflueger products are known for their balance of performance and value and the Patriarch delivers all this plus a level of refinement not normally found at this price point. When it comes to features and performance this reel rivals other magnesium and carbon composite based spinning reels costing 30-50% more, now that is impressive! This is also a spinning reel that I actually enjoy fishing with, not only is it smooth and reliable but it edges out many other offerings when it comes to both ergonomics and styling. Watch out bass, Pflueger's "Daddy" reel is as lean and mean as they come, not to mention it is one heck of a good deal. If you are looking for a magnesium based spinning reel the Patriarch is truly the “Best Value” on the market.

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