Great reel, until it breaks.
When I retired I knew I would spend a lot more time fishing and I wanted to treat myself to a really great reel. I go after a lot of panfish and find 2 lb line and a smooth drag makes it more fun and productive. A really light reel makes the tackle better balanced, and after a lot of research decided on the Patriarch in the 25X size. My first experience with the reel was all I was hoping for. The light weight, very smooth and widely adjustable drag, retrieve speed, and slow spool oscillation worked perfectly and I was a happy camper.
Then, one day on a local pond, the bail no longer would automatically close when I started my retrieve. I finished the morning manually closing the bail and headed home. Being a retired product design engineer it is not in my nature to pack something up and send it in for repair, I want to know what has gone wrong. Opening the reel I quickly found that the screw that secures the bail return ramp casting had backed out. I put the screw back in, closed things up, and resumed using the reel. After a fair bit of use, the same failure happened again. This time when I opened the reel the same screw was loose, and now the ramp had developed a small crack where the screw goes through. I did not over-tighten anything, and view the design as inadequate for the service it is called upon to provide. Screw replaced, back in service, another period of time, and it has happened again. I can't readily use a thread lock because of the heavy lubrication presence. It's back together, but I expect another failure.
I really find it inexcusable to have a problem like this with a $200 reel. Out of all I own, this is the only reel that has failed me while fishing. I'm ready to give up on it, but maybe I should try factory repair to try and salvage some of my investment. I'm afraid I will never trust the reel again, and that's sad because without the failures this is a really nice piece of gear.