If I compare this to the now discontinued Zane I think I can see a family resemblance … hole-shapes and patterns perhaps? But the big event, the big shift from Zane to Fortuna X is the new drag assembly. I don’t know if 32lb of drag is the highest on the fly reel market but it must be pretty close.

Take the Fortuna X3 and tighten the drag as tight as I can and I reach a point where I simply can’t pull line from the spool – fish can! Designed for playing the largest and fastest, the drag on a big Fortuna X is truly formidable.

So, I failed to attach a sailfish (or a permit) to the Fortuna X. I tried and failed! The reels were there, loaded, gleaming, ready. We found the fish, I didn’t get a shot at the sailfish, I did manage to turn a permit – which promptly dissolved!

The reel I used for bonefish, Fortuna X1, is the baby of the range, feels compact, has plenty capacity and is comparatively light. Thing is, the drag is … smooth. Butter smooth! And it stays that way as I tighten and tighten the drag. As line is pulled from the reel the carbon discs make a sort of ‘sssss’ sound. The simple sweetness of that drag convinced me I could set it higher than normal.

Fish were brought to hand faster and released sooner, which naturally made me feel better and reduced the risk of the hooked fish falling to a shark.

The drag mechanism is sealed. The handle and drag knob are usefully large. I can reverse the wind direction quite easily but that is a job for a work bench not the deck of a skiff. Build quality is excellent. This looks like a project in precision engineering, which in some ways it is, however this is also an exceptionally rugged reel, well up to saltwater fishing tasks.

Excellent reels, built to last and backed by Hardy customer service.