Steelheader Centerpin Float Reel

Last Update: 06/05
Tackle Type:
Over all score:
Centerpin / Float Reel
Randy G.
Manufacturers Description:
"Smoooth is the only way to describe the Islander Steelheader Centrepin float reel. Just grab the handle and spin the spool. You'd swear it was powered by batteries. No batteries, just precision machining, bearings and balance.

The Islander Steelheader, with its mirror like centre-pin screw to its flawless finish, performs as good as it looks."

  • All major components machined from solid bar stock aluminum and stainless steel
  • Free-spool button
  • Super rugged design
  • 2 Super smooth sealed stainless steel bearings
  • 2 year warranty
  • Available in Anodized Gold or Hardcoat Anodized Black
First Impression:
First impression of the Islander was one of great satisfaction. The reel was head and toes above my first pin, quality and looks of the reel impressed me. After spooling it up and fishing with it, the reel impressed me even more.

Ratings: (out of 10)
CriteriaRating # 
Performance:  8
Construction/Quality:  8

Very good. I was impressed by how easy the reel starts spinning. This became it's downfall when I started to learn the Wallis cast. For this particular cast I would prefer a bushing reel. But overall the reel casts like a dream and again easy start up.

For a mass produced reel it's a bit on the pricey side. But then again we're dealing with a high end reel so a high end price should be expected.

In the 5+ years I've had this reel I've had no mechanical problems with it. The construction of the reel is one of very high quality. The finish on my reel is a durable gold anodizing. Islander also makes a black finish if the spook factor is of a concern. The tolerances between the back plate and spool aren't very tight considering reels in the same price range appear to have tighter tolerances. The reel also has high quality sealed bearings which set it apart from other mass produced reels. Anti-fouling handles would be nice on the reels the handles on it now seem to catch line at the most inopportune times and a line guard option would have been nice on those windy days.

The ratchet mechanism engages easily and holds the spool in place when moving from spot to spot and while setting up. I also feel the spool is too deep for the rivers on the lower Great Lakes tributaries. A spool depth roughly half of what is now would be ideal but I guess that's why they make backing. The only draw back to that is the line bedding in makes Wallis casting harder to do because the line is bedding in to the line under it.

A classic looking reel with not too much porting. The reel has just enough porting to lighten up the reel and not too much to let debris in. I think the only draw back of the porting is on the back plate. When dirt eventually enters the reel it usually enters from the bottom porting on the back plate. Overall a very well designed reel.

Plus / Minus:
Price (could have been higher) Price
Ease of MaintenanceBackplate Porting
Classic LooksHandles
Quality Construction and ComponentsNo Line Guard

I've been using this reel for 5+ years during all four seasons with absolutely no problems. It is vital to follow the manufactures instructions for maintaining the reel to keep it performing like new. The reel has met and exceeded my expectations and I would recommend this reel to any one wishing to up grade or to add to their float fishing arsenal

Where to Buy:
Check out Islanders Dealer Locator page for a shop near you.

Manufacturers Information:
Check out for this reel as well as their line of fly reels.

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