Some months ago, the pawl arrangement used by Brent came to my attention . Brent (eotr) is a prolific creator of new reel designs and a regular contributor to Rod and Reel Maker’s Forum. He is also a very helpful guy. His configuration uses a simple and short spring that appears to have no preload when the pawl is centered. By contrast, the springs in my first reels are preloaded but are more compliant so that the force on the pawl changes little with pawl rotation. A recent photo of my pawl arrangement is in the April 7, 2011 post to this blog.
I have prototyped something similar to Brent’s design on a gadget that lets me spin the ratchet and examine operation. So far it seems quite satisfactory in terms of drag.