Each time I pulled out these reels with clients they asked, who made them. I would give them the skinny on what I knew and let the reels speak for themselves. Each client went away with a new found respect for this little start-up company. Fast forward to this week. Evan Burke from Allen, invited me out to his favorite piece of steelhead heaven, so of course I said yes. God, I love product "testing." Two whole days of grueling non-stop, casting and swinging and casting and drifting. Cast after cast, fish after fish, LOL. After fishing both reels in temps that ranged from 28 degrees to almost 60 degrees, neither reel suffered from sticking. The drag systems on these reels took on the challenge from several steelhead without problem. This is more than I can say for some other "high end" reels out there.
My final impressions on both of these reels was that they are very good reels. Their completely sealed drag system makes them impervious to the elements, and this is key for any steelheader. The Kraken 2 worked very well for a 10' 8wt rod. It held plenty of backing and line, and balanced it very well. The Alpha 3 had plenty of capacity for a 525gr Skagit head with 30lb amnesia. The Alpha was a little light for balancing the 13'6" Orvis rod but not so much that I felt fatigued at the end of the day. I think the Alpha would balance any shorter rod very well.