Review of Dragon Nano Lite FD 1020i fishing reel

I am always on the look out for decent lure fishing reels. When I saw this little beauty on the UK-lures stand at the recent “Big One” fishing tackle show, I knew I had to buy it.

Before we get into the guts of the review, I will show you some pictures of the reel from different angles, so you can get a good idea of the different materials used in its construction…







Its a stunning looking reel, I think you will agree. Let’s have a look at what the official specification says about the reel…

Designed especially for light spinning, equipped with innovative spool and handle which mixes superdural with graphite. The construction was made according to so called “V“ concept. Body and rotor of the reel are made from ultralight graphite XT60C material. Its structure is based on elongated, highly processed carbon fibers. It allows to reduction of the reel weight with the comparison to aluminium about 20% and increase the stiffness of the whole construction about over 50%. The metal elements were mechanically cut out with the machine tools which were numerically controlled by the Quality Optimization System – Q O P

• Hybrid duraluminium – graphite “V“ spool
• The main gear HEG class, machined in brass and superdural
• 9 Japanese ball bearings and one needle bearing
• Hybrid handle, duraluminium – graphite
• Bail wire with durable surface
• Ceramic line roller which protect against line twisting
• Multi disc, hermetic front drag
• Waterproof drag system
• Dynamic balance of the rotating elements

That’s all well and good, but I am not sure what alot of its means, so here’s my take on the reel…

The reel is well presented, with the usual specifications on the box, and it also comes with a handy reel bag, which is a nice touch…





Starting at the front of the reel – the spool and the drag.

The spool is made from aluminium and graphite – as well as making the reel look good, it has real engineering benefits – namely strength and lightness…





The middle of the spool contains a recessed band, which is useful for securing the end of the line (or braid)…


The spool also contains a line clip, to secure the end of the line. It is neat and functional…



The spool houses a waterproof front drag system which uses multiple drag discs. The adjustment of the drag is positive, and whilst it might not be adjustable in micro amounts, it is both smooth and strong – two traits which I rate highly in a reel.

Removing the spool reveals the stainless steel shaft…


The spool itself looks solid and well engineered…



You can see the tough carbon inner shell in the image above.

Back to the spool area, and let’s take a look at the bale arm. Its a solid affair, made from a decent thickness of metal. The bale arm is not going to engage during mid cast, but when its opened, it does have a fair amount of rotation before it locks. The mechanism uses a long-life bale spring, which is good to know. The roller is very robust and when I loaded it with line, it coped with line twist really well. The roller also uses a tough ceramic material in its construction…



On to the handle – its ambidextrous, and easily switched to the other side of the reel by unscrewing the plastic cap on the opposite side…



The retrieve ratio is 5.0:1 which is perfect for me when fishing soft plastics – I am not a big fan of high speed reels for this sort of work.

The handle itself is a work of art, and reminds me of the Mitchell mag pro extreme – carbon shank and a metal joint, with a rigid rubber handle…



Taking a look underneath the reel, you can see the anti-reverse knob. The anti reverse is instant, with the handle locking the moment you engage it…



The main body and rotor are made from XT60 carbon. This has sculptured cut outs around the stem and on the rotor, which cut out a little bit of weight and add to the aesthetics of the reel. Even the Dragon logo on the top of the stem is made to look important…





The body of the reel contains 9 Japanese stainless steel bearings, but I would not be thrashing this reel around in the salt any time soon – this is a reel designed for solid no nonsense freshwater work, and that is what I will be using it for.

As for the weight…


That’s pretty impressive, when compared to other reels in the same price range as the Nano Lite (standby for the price – you will be pleasantly surprised).


The Dragon Nano Lite FD1020i is a great looking reel that packs a punch. It reminds me of the Okuma Helios, both in terms of specification and looks, but the Nano Lite is not a skeletal smooth elegant ballerina – there’s no spool venting or extreme weight measures; rather, this reel is a no nonsense pocket sized gem, which is rough, tough and solid, whilst still looking great. Sometimes when you buy a great looking reel, you feel like it has to be handled delicately and you are on edge when things get tough. This reel is asking for a damn good thrashing – and by god, its going to get one, when I’m done with it !! I can’t wait to try it out on some decent sized fish – I will let you know how it performs.

And perhaps the best thing about the reel, is the price –  £69.99 on the UK-lures eBay site…

UK-Lures Facebook page…

UK-lures will also give members of the Facebook Kayak Lure Fishing group a 10% discount on this reel. Join up now…