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ICAST: the brake technology that ‘has eliminated backlash in baitcasters’


A reel brand from Europe will arrive at ICAST with a simple message to visitors: ‘We have solved one of the biggest problems in fishing, and if you don’t believe us, come meet us at the casting pool and see the evidence for yourself.’

Svivlo from Sweden says it has eliminated backlash in baitcasters thanks to a patented brake technology, making them as easy to use as spinning reels and opening up huge new markets in the process. It will be in Orlando to seek distributors in the US bass market just as the first big orders for its groundbreaking reels are being fulfilled across Europe, only months after it started signing up trade partners.

After securing production and surviving Covid, Svivlo began taking orders for its reels in November, from retailers and distributors who were convinced about the technology not because of an expensive trade marketing campaign but instead thanks to word of mouth amongst anglers fortunate to try the reels at consumer events.

“This is why buyers need to experience it at ICAST,” says Svivlo CEO and Co-Founder Patrik Zander, a man who knows he has something special on his hands but which needs to be seen to be believed. “We’re not saying the technology will completely eliminate backlash, but anglers are saying that under normal conditions, fishing as you normally would, it makes backlash impossible. They are telling us it is magical.”

Zander says that Svivlo’s ‘unfair advantage’ is that it has the technology that makes ‘the most challenging part of fishing easier for everyone.’ So, what is it? Put simply, Svivlo has patented a brake system called CastGuard™that detects changes in rotational speed and then applies brake force to prevent line overrun and backlash.

“In short, if the lure is pulling the line, CastGuard does nothing. But as soon as it stops pulling, CastGuard instantly reduces spool speed. Due to the unique design of our brake, it allows enough brake force throughout the entire cast. That is why you don’t need to use the thumb during the cast or at the end, even with the spool tension brake completely off.”

Zander (pictured) adds that all other current technologies, such as centrifugal and magnetic brakes including digital brakes, use spool speed only as an indicator of potential problems. “That type of technology can never be aware of when the lure stops pulling the line, which is the only time you can get a backlash.

“Our technology also removes the need for fine-tuning of the baitcaster. This is a tedious process for anglers every time there is a change of lure, wind direction or casting force, which can be many times during a fishing trip.”

Zander’s words have the backing of anglers who have prompted orders from distributors and retailers from Svivlo’s native Sweden plus Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy, all within a matter of months. Svivlo has specifically booked a booth near the casting pond at ICAST and Zander and his team are ready to meet allcomers at the show.

On show will be the second incarnation of its backlash-eliminating reel. After introducing the Genesis ONE last year, which is particularly suited to pike and zander, Svivlo has now launched the smaller-sized Draken ONE for bass and perch. As befitting its name – it’s Swedish for ‘dragon’ – it promises to be an awe-inspiring incarnation of the Svivlo principles. “This is the one that retailers say they are waiting for,” says Zander, while also promising any distributor that the technology is still in its infancy.

“We can improve upon it. The current reels work great but my engineers say they have barely started. There is room for improvement, and so much potential for the Svivlo business.”

That potential stretches to markets where other brands are struggling to make a lasting impact. Svivlo’s specific goal at ICAST is to find at least one major distributor to take its reels into the bass market. But thanks to their ease of use, reels with CastGuard technology directly appeal to beginners, youngsters and women, opening up huge sales opportunities.

“It’s not an entry level reel, but it does feel comfortable for new anglers looking to use a baitcaster because it works first time in the hand with no working out what you need to do with your thumb. Same for youngsters.

“And we are outstripping the market ratio for females interested in our product by 2:1. If I understand the figures, 11% of anglers are women, but 20% of those asking for details on Svivlo are female. My theory is that they like the simplicity of Svivlo. They can go out and use our reels without having to master any mechanics.”

So why has it taken an outsider to crack the code on backlash? And where has Svivlo come from? The answers to both questions stretch back more than 30 years, says Zander, to when his father, a watchmaker by trade, decided there had to be a solution to the problem of backlash.

“My dad applied his problem-solving skills from his watchmaking trade. He didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas about what anglers wanted, he came at it from a new and fresh perspective. When I joined the company much later, it was from sales and marketing in software, so again, no ‘baggage’ from the angling industry. The focus was purely on problem solving.

“At Svivlo we develop solutions that anglers need and not what they think they want. If we asked them what they wanted, they would say more ways of adjusting the baitcaster, reducing line friction or reducing spool weight. We came at it from a different angle.”

It has taken years to get to this point, says Zander. His father, Sten-Thore, came up with his brake solution in the 1980s but found no supporters in the angling trade. Instead the company diversified into other industries. The wait to enter angling went on until Patrik became involved in 2015, convinced by his father that he really did have something special on his hands.

“We got our first approved patent in 2017 and now have 20 patents in all major markets including USA and Japan,” explains Zander. “After Covid, we restarted development in the Summer of 2022 and started manufacturing in January 2023.”

The first sales arrived in November 2023, to anglers purchasing from the Svivlo webshop, the first ever reel going to an angler in California.

Only now is the first major supply of 1500 reels going out to trade partners across Europe, helped by overwhelmingly positive reviews by journalists, influencers and YouTubers.

“We wanted to match sales to the pace of production,” says Zander. “But we are ready for that next step now. Any distributor in the States that we partner with will have reels ready to go within a few months of ICAST.”

The message to potential partners as he prepares to hit Orlando in a few weeks’ time? “We have everything in place, all you need to do is come and see the magic for yourself. We have solved the problem that has had reel makers beaten. Come see that we are telling the truth.”

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