Fishing Reels photo

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It seems that magnetic oil has a future in fishing-reel design. Magnetic oil? Everybody knows that oil isn’t magnetic. Then again, maybe it can be.

When oil is mixed with some microscopic ferrous particles, the resulting liquid does indeed behave with magnetic properties. Daiwa, the well-known tackle maker, has started to use that material in some of its spinning reels. First, check out the video above to see how magnetic oil works. Then read on.

Daiwa is using magnetic oil to form a waterproof seal between the moving reel rotor (which winds the line) and the stationary reel body. In most reels with such a seal, the seal itself is plastic or moderately hard rubber–a source of friction. The seal itself is a good thing in keeping dust, dirt, and water–especially salt water–out of the reel’s inner workings. But friction, in counterpoint, is bad in terms of a smoothly operating reel.

So Daiwa is using a film of magnetic oil controlled by small magnets to form a nearly frictionless seal. One result is cranking smoothness that feels almost unreal in reels such as the new Certate, which is where I first encountered the technology.

Now understand this is a very high-end reel, selling for around $400. Neither I nor most readers are going to plunk down that kind of cash. But some will. More to the point is that this is how modern reel technologies generally evolve–starting at the high-end and gradually trickling down to lower-priced models.

So is there magnetic oil in your fishing-reel future? Maybe, given enough time. Meanwhile it’s the coolest answer I’ve seen lately to the age-old question: What will they think of next?