The IR Series Reel

As a proud dad to two young daughters (a 2.5-year-old and 3-month-old), I love this take on a familiar quote.

“There’s a journey in fishing. It starts when you are young when it’s about catching as many fish as possible. Then on to bigger fish. Then the biggest.

But there comes a point when your journey takes a turn. Family comes along. Quality time on the water replaces size and quantity. Watching your children—and grandchildren—go through the same journey you did is now your ultimate prize.

At Islander, we ourselves are at various stages of that trip, but what we all agree on is that we want our equipment to be along for the whole ride.”

What Islander is About

I’ve been keeping an eye out for an IR Series Reels by Islander so when the opportunity to snag a gold, mid-arbor IR3 came up, I jumped.

Islander Reels is a Canadian company that has been making reels since 1990. They’re a division of J.S. Foster, a production machine shop located in Victoria, BC. Islander makes fly reels, mooching reels and centerpin reels in-house on Vancouver Island.

The IR Series is their click / pawl fly reel. The IR2 is the smallest — a mid-arbor 3-4wt in blue, black or clear (silver). The IR3 is the 4-6wt and the IR4 is the 6-8wt. Both the IR3 and IR4 have a large-arbor version (i.e. IR3LA) and come in blue, black, clear, or gold.

For trout anglers in search of the perfect click pawl fly reel, the IR series is it. When you hook up to a dancing rainbow, the pawl mechanism responds with a sweet song taking your excitement to a whole new level.

– Islander IR Series Product Page

The Sound

Clicks on the retrieve, louder on the run. The adjustable drag dial is like a subtle volume dial. Here’s what some runs sound like at the lightest setting.

The Design

The IR is a simple, classic ported reel with a 5-position drag adjustment dial on the frame. Swipe for 360 view.

Ours came with a standard black handle but other wood options are available.

Under the Hood

The spring tension is adjustable from the exterior dial. Turning the dial turns the black octagonal nut to 1 of 5 possible positions. Each position puts different pressure on the spring.

How to get

At the time of posting this, all models of the IR series were sold out on their website. While they have a waitlist, I reached out about it and got the following response:

The IR itself is on an indefinite hiatus. It will eventually be back but we’re just addressing some other reels before returning our attention to the IR.

– Islander, Feb 2020

Be sure to reach out to a local official dealer as they may have them on hand. Otherwise, ask the internet’s usual suspects (ebay, forums, etc.).