Pflueger Supreme 1576 Servicing Saga

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Paul Roberts
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Pflueger Supreme 1576 Servicing Saga

Post by Paul Roberts »

The 1576 Pflueger Supreme was an early attempt at a more modern baitcasting reel, with freespool, anti-reverse, and slip-clutch drag. The next stage in the attempted evolution of the venerable 1573. I say "attempt" bc, from the two 1576's I've brought to working condition, they don't quite make it all the way. While working on them I could imagine the Pflueger engineers, having seen the writing on the wall with the ABU Ambassadeurs, trying to come up with mechanisms that would check off that list of "modern" baitcasting reel requirements. Yes, the Pflueger design works, but just barely.


On both 1576's I own, the FS took some tweaking of the right parts to keep from snapping shut on some casts —and shearing AR ratchet teeth in the process. Even then, it has still happened, so it is something to watch for. Interestingly, I've found that these early FS Pflueger's cast virtually equally well in both FS and DD modes. This, I believe, has everything to do with the drag exerted on the system by the levelwind mechanism. Truly modern baitcasters have a LW mech that disengages from the spool, gears and crank.

Secondly, the drag on the 1576 leaves a lot to be desired. There just isn't enough washer surface area —there are only two small washers— to sufficiently clamp down on the 15 to 20# lines the reel was designed for. For lines any lighter, I'd go with a smaller lighter weight reel of which there are many good ones to choose from.

Overall, the 1576 has proved to be something of a bear to service, for me. Much of it is fairly straightforward, outside of having to line up and sandwich together all the cross pieces between the frame plates. But the freespool/drag/crank mechanism took a bit of figuring out to get back together and adjusted so it would... simply engage and work! This reel holds my personal record for the number of times I've had to disassemble and reassemble! I'll provide some bullet points to spare you some of that frustration.

When I first acquired these reels I was able to get them up and running and casting well. But the weak drags, with far too little travel, had me disassembling again. I replaced the old somewhat deteriorated washers with new greased leather ones; They are easy to make. This helped, but not enough. I then contacted Dawn at Smooothdrag to try some Carbontex washers. I had to modify one by boring out the ID, which was easy to do with rounded needle files.



Upon reassembly, I found that one of the reels would not accept the washer thickness I'd ordered. This had me looking closely at the clutch mechanism in both reels. And the two were slightly different!

Going through schematics available through the ORCA library, I was able to see that my two reels had slightly different clutch hubs.

Possibly, Pflueger modified this part over the production period (1964 to 1968)? Or, it was a later replacement? Either way, one of my two 1576's had the next generation Supreme (model 510) clutch hub. This had me going back to the leather washer, which had worked, until I measured the length of the two clutch hubs, finding they were actually the same. So, the carbon washers should work for both hubs. What's the deal?


Turned out that a tiny shim (part# 49120) had been put in the wrong place (!), either by a previous owner or service tech. Possibly this was done on purpose, as I noticed that the main (and FS clutch) gear at the bottom of the stack rubs on the inner frame plate, actually scoring the plate! (See photo). Putting the shim beneath the gear raises it a bit. However, I decided to go with the schematic's (both 1576 and 510) placement of the shim -on top of the gear. I then polished and oiled the gear face and inner plate hoping to reduce the friction there. In the end, I got both reels up and running with Carbon drag washers in place. Phew!




The Carbon washers helped a bit more compared to the fibre and leather ones, but for the heavier lines I plan to use on this reel I still have to really crank down on that star; Again, there just isn't enough travel in the mechanism to give enough bottom end power.

At this point, I can't say I wouldn't recommend the Pflueger 1576. I've yet to give it a good on-the-water workout. But, the original DD 1573 Supreme is such a capable reel that I don't see enough advantage in adding more modern tech that... doesn't quite pull it off. At this point, I'd skip this decade of "innovation", or wander into the Ambassadeur camp, the reel that had everybody scrambling back then. What ABU didn't have though...is the leaping bass relief on the side-plate!

Pflueger 1576 Supreme bullet points:

When assembling the crank, drag, and freespool controls, it is helpful to (see photos):



-Use the freespool button screw as a handle to pull up on the crank shaft, which pulls the threads up enough to thread on the handle, then drag star. Otherwise, it can be darn confusing as to just where the darn threads are for the handle, as they drop out of sight unless held up. The little screw also serves as a handle to hold the post up to thread on the drag star.



-Asterisk-shaped Key Washer mates handle to main gear post. Thread on handle tight, back off a bit, then lock in place with key washer. Check handle play after assembly to see if it's too loose (wiggles/rattles). If too tight you'll feel the handle bind some when you try to crank it, esp with the drag tightened. I mark the key washer at the right place with a Sharpie to quicken reassembly, bc I'm probably going to have to open her up again, and again.

-Drag star is easier to thread on to post with spring oriented small side down, so that end of wire doesn't pop through the drag star hole when threading on. (Photo shows spring upside down).


Finally, the FS button. And you're home free!




Voila! Might just be time to... go break out the old trusty 1573 or a Shimano Bantam! Remains to be seen. I'm hopeful I'll find these 1576's good functional fishing partners. If only for the cool jumping bass on the faceplate! Yeah, they had me with the jumping bass.

PS: Another thing: To balance the spool before casting, the faceplate spool spindle bearing can be adjusted with a screwdriver. Notice, in the photo below, that the bearing is slotted for a screwdriver. The tail side has a standard threaded bearing cap. One of my reels though had a jeweled cap on the tail side, an apparent replacement. It works just fine.
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Thu Feb 15, 2024 7:41 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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kyreels
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Re: Pflueger Supreme 1576 Servicing Saga

Post by kyreels »

Great article Paul, can't wait to tear into mine and get it properly running. You hit it out of the park on this one. Wouldn't it be nice to have this on every vintage reel? I know you are close. Thanks for your service!
Matt Wickham
Collector of Casting Weights, KY Reels and KY Tackle
Paul Roberts
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Re: Pflueger Supreme 1576 Servicing Saga

Post by Paul Roberts »

Great to hear, Matt. Happy to help. ORCA has brought me a lot of pleasure the past few years, in my original quest to obtain some old reels to fish with. The support I've received from fellow members, and the incredible library, have been an incredible resource. And the historical perspectives -the sheer amount of knowledge and expertise in this department- has been a wonderful addition I'd not fully anticipated. I'm going to stick to my beloved direct-drives for now... oh yes, and quality spinning reels too. I'm still an angler first, but... become a rather serious reel tinkerer and something of a collector too. Fishing reels are just such fascinating little machines.
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40fordflathead
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Re: Pflueger Supreme 1576 Servicing Saga

Post by 40fordflathead »

Paul, I told you you were going to be in trouble right after you joined.
Bruce Harlan
Paul Roberts
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Re: Pflueger Supreme 1576 Servicing Saga

Post by Paul Roberts »

Yes, you did. What happened? And, how did you know? :)

I know what happened... I didn't realize how many cool old reels there were to try on! Problem is, they all work, and I like them all.
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