The original MGE reels are robust, efficient and fit for every purpose except one – deep technical diving.
This has now been addressed with the latest all-black MGE Tec 100 model. However, like its siblings it needs a little work to make it into the perfect tool for the job, so, in the best Blue Peter tradition, have your scissors ready.

The Design
The all-black MGE Tec 100 reel is loaded with 100m of fluorescent yellow 1.4mm diameter polyester line with a 40kg breaking strain. The reel body and line-spool is made from durable plastics, with stainless-steel components for the axle, line-guide and release trigger.
The Tec 100’s design is a mirror of MGE’s original reel models (if it isn’t broken, why bother to fix it?) with a simple lock-on, lock-off ambidextrous line-release trigger, and also features a chunky winding handle. The reel is self-lubricating under water.

Improving the Design
You’ll need some 5mm-diameter shock-cord (bungee), a stainless-steel split ring and a standard piston-clip, plus those scissors and a cigarette-lighter to make this reel into the perfect tool for DSMB stowage and deployment.
Cut a 90cm length of the shock-cord and tie a small overhand loop in the middle. Thread the ends through the two holes either side of the reel-handle and, after tensioning the cord to ascertain the correct length, tie a figure-of-eight knot at each of the ends to lock it in position.
Trim the excess with the scissors and burn the tips with the lighter-flame to stop them fraying. Attach the split-ring and piston-clip to the reel-handle using either of the holes, and the job’s done.
The DSMB can be rolled up, attached to the line clip and laid over the top of the line-spool. The shockcord is then pulled over the buoy and rests neatly under the spool to hold everything in place.
The small loop aids in releasing the buoy prior to deployment. The piston-clip can be used to attach the whole package to a suitably positioned D-ring on your BC and, voila, we’re good to go.

In Use
The new MGE Tec 100 reel behaved exactly the same as my tried, tested and much-loved older models. It was easy to grip with either hand, and the trigger mechanism was smooth and easy to operate, with the T-bar nestling nicely between my middle and index fingers even when wearing thick neoprene gloves.
The line-guard, positioned centrally, kept the line from spilling off the edge of the spool, as it has with some other reels I’ve tried.
The winding-handle was chunky enough to be gripped firmly, and the diameter of the spool the perfect size for fast, resistance-free re-stowing of the line on ascent.
The supplied plastic spring-clip attached securely to the webbing strap on my DSMB. It looks up to the task, but I’d be inclined to go all belt-and-braces and tie the line directly to the buoy for total piece of mind.
The reel is virtually maintenance-free, needing only a dunk in the rinse-tank after each dive to keep it in tip-top shape. If my old reels are any guide, it should give year after year of trouble-free service.

Conclusion
With the addition of the bungee-strap and piston-clip, this reel proved perfect for the job in hand. The modifications aren’t rocket science – they’re cheap as chips and easy to perform, which only leaves me wondering why MGE doesn’t do this to each of its reels before they leave the factory.
Either way, once you’ve modified these reels there’s nothing to dislike, they’re lo-tec, robust, and work like a charm. With the Tec 100 reel the range now covers all the bases.

SPECS
COST: £52
LINE: 100m of yellow 1.4mm polyester
COLOURS: Black
SIZE: Body 19 x 15cm. Line spool, 6 x 11cm diameter
WEIGHT: 592g
RACHET: No, locks in both directions and free spool
ORIENTATION: Ambidextrous
CONTACT: www.cpspartnership.co.uk
DIVER Guide 9/10