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Which centrepin to choose?

Oliver Harfield

Active Member
OK, so firstly I am a complete beginner when it comes to trotting with a centrepin, but I am determined to give this a go on the Upper Trent for Chub (Barbel would be nice / hopeful) and the Dove this coming season.

I'll be using my Hi-S 15ft power float rod.

Budget isn't limited, what is the best option out there for me?

I'll add that I won't be using it for ledgering at any point.

Thank you!

Huanzhou Zhu

Senior Member
The best if no doubt the Chris Lythe's pin. But if you don't like to wait, you can contact the Garry Mill and see what he can offers you, he can make whatever you want.

If you want some off the shelf pin, go for the JW Young heritage.
My advice before splashing out a lot of cash would be to buy a less expensive pin, second hand or borrow one and see if you get on with it. They’re definitely not for everyone and spending over £300 on something that then lives in a cupboard is a little crazy.

For something less extravagant, the Okuma Sheffield is a good bet (or for the budget version of that, the Advanta Discovery). Both of those have bearings so aren’t true pins, but are great for trotting.

David Craine

Senior Member
Hi Oliver, you will probably get as many answers with different suggestions as there are hairs on a Jungle cat .
There are basicall two types of pin, either traditional centrepins , called “true pins” that run on a central pin , such as Ariels,
and a second type that run on bearings , again on a central pin. I have both types, and tbh there is not much difference in them in use , apart from the pin with bearings does tend to be slightly faster running.
Having said that there must be a list of probably 30 or more pins that are readily available .

I have a selection of old and newer designs, and do not have a favourite as they all do what it says on the tin. For trotting I use an Adcock Stanton bearing reel , or a Rapidex, which is a true pin .I also occasionally use a modern true pin that is an Ariel type copy , with a wide drum spool for trotting as well .

I also have a couple of larger pins that I use for bottom fishing so I will not go there .

The decision in the end is what do you want old traditional or a more modern reel such as an Okuma . They will all do the job .


Mike Window

Senior Member & Supporter
Oliver you will get varied and conflicting advice from our members as everyone has their own opinion as to what centrepin to use.
Even though price may be irrelevant I would still suggest you don't pay too much for your first pin. Buying more expensive models can come once you have decided if you like fishing with a pin.
I use pins for over 80% of my fishing including legering and have used a variety of makes and types over the years.
My own suggestion for a novice to trotting with a pin would be either a Marco Cortesi or one of the Okuma range of reels or if you wanted to try an older model a Speedia or a Trudex / Rapidex.
If you decide on either a Cortesi or any from the Okuma range let me know as I have a few I may be willing to sell.
I would also state that although my favourite trotting reels are J.W.Youngs Bob James pins I don't find the aerial spoke style a necessity as I very rarely bother to adjust the tension drag I just prefer the rim lever ratchet.
Whatever reel you decide on I hope you enjoy trotting with a pin.

Alex Warren

Senior Member & Supporter
Couldn’t agree more with @Mike Window’s post. I’d get a cheaper option first off, just to see if you like the general ‘vibe’ of using a ‘pin. I went for A Stillwater Severn and a old Grice & Young Avon Supreme, initially. The latter being a relatively cheap eBay purchase, which I got my money back for on the classifieds on here, once I’d decided to ‘invest’ in something a bit more upmarket.

I’ve since upgraded to a JW Bob James and JW Ray Walton Rolling Pin, again both purchased on the classifieds on here.

I’m not a fantastic with a centrepin, by any stretch, but it’s nice to be able use one when you fancy it.

Best of luck, whatever you choose.
I started using a pin last year I started with a purist with a line gaurd but got in a bit of a mess so bought the caged version which I find much better so I’d say a rapidex as a cheaper option or a purist cl
I did try a rapidex nice reel but the foot wouldn’t fit my rods

Dave Quinn

Senior Member
I might be wrong and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I am but I think the Okuma Martin bowler is the same as the Sheffield made from magnesium which makes it lighter. I think you'll not notice the difference between it and the Sheffield, and the Sheffields are about half the price and much easier to get your hands on.

Chris Jones

Senior Member
If you've never used a centrepin before, try something with a reasonable price tag, decent performance and steady resale value. I'd suggest either an Okuma Sheffield or Aventa Pro. Plenty of long term centrepin hoarders, even when their tastes run to the very expensive, still have an Okuma in their hoard.

The chances of getting the "perfect" pin for you first time are rather remote. It takes a while of using centrepins to work out what you like and need, but you've got to start somewhere. Those preferences may well develop and change over an extended period of time and you are unlikely to come to the same end result as another centrepin angler. It takes time to work out preferred diameters, widths, weights, ratchet switch positions, bearings or true pin etc. I've settled on true pins of 4.5" diameter and 1" width. However, that doesn't stop me owning and using others. I've yet to find a single reel that provides every feature I'd like to have on a centrepin. At this point in time, I reckon that a three way hybrid of a Young's Atom (true pin/anodized colour), Super Lightweight (weight) and River Specialist (ratchet switch position and type) would possibly be my ideal, especially if Chris Lythe could make it for £500 in a month or two!

As you are trotting with a longer rod that's not especially light, I believe that you won't be particularly well served by paying through the nose for an Okuma Martin Bowler. The only non-cosmetic difference between that and the Sheffield is weight. You'd be paying out for a weight saving that may offer no significant benefit on a long rod. It may even leave the rod feeling a little tip heavy.

Mark Swaby

Senior Member
One thing to think about is with such a long powerful rod will a small Rapidex, Trudex or Speedia possibly feel too small for the rod. I would go for a pin with 4.25+ inch spool like you find on the newer model reels, the Okumas, Youngs already mentioned will all do the job and will also have good resale value. One thing that is worth looking at is a solid spool rather than pillers for a newcomer.

Dave Bartell

Senior Member & Supporter
Go with an Okuma Sheffield or an Okuma Aventa Pro until you decide if a pin is for you. If it's not, you will have a good resale value on it, if it is you will still have a decent pin on your hands. Okuma made good quality pins affordable when they came onto the market. The Bowler pin is a lovely reel ( and that beautiful green 😍 ) but that finish doesn't stand up to minor knocks/scratches as well as the afore-mentioned reels if aesthetics are an issue with you. I have owned them all in the past and settled on the Aventa Pro for no other reason than that it was a reliable workhorse and subtle in colour which does for me.

Tom Casey

Senior Member
I fish with pins a bit and would recommend an Okuma Aventa . A good condition second hand one will hold its value if you decide its not for you . I'm sure you'll have over runs and line wraps around the foot , it's all part of the experience . Enjoy .:)

Clive Kenyon

Senior Member
As a lad I desired owning a Match Aerial more than any other reel. When I finally got one about 40 years later couldn't get on with it. Same with the Youngs Purist bearing reel. Hated that. But they could be sold on for what I paid for them. That is the secret. Don't pay more than it can be sold for until you know what suits you.

Ben Marr

Senior Member
The okumas are all good but it can be annoying not having a quick release spool,( i wonder how many of those nuts have been dropped and lost in the river/long grass ) particularly when you are starting out.
I don't find the ratchet knob particularly commodious either, although the up side is that you will never knock it off by accident.
I do wholeheartedly agree that even though you can buy what you like it would be better to get something on the modest side whilst you are finding out if you get on with them, the amount of barely used second hand ones that come up is testament to the fact that plenty of folk don't.
Oh, and one other thing, don't book that fancy holiday just yet as if you do like them you'll soon be wanting to increase and upgrade your collection!

Paul Collins

Senior Member
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the excellent TFG classic. All the good points of the Okumas and none of the negative ie. no annoying ratchet control. It's a lot lighter too at 202 grams, the Sheffield is 280 grams. They were only £60 but sadly no longer made.
There's a new one on Ebay for £130 at the moment.
It would be a great starter reel. I'm sure there must be a few members who'd sell one. Or ask in the classifieds.
The free flow is even better if you could find one.