Best Fly Reels
When looking for your best fly reels, there are four things to consider: The type of fly reel, its construction, the drag system, and its overall size.
The purpose of the average trout fly reel is to store line, provide a degree
of drag against a running fish, and provide proper balance with the fly rod.
The overall quality and size of the fly reel is important.
The last thing you
want to be fighting when you hook that fish of a lifetime is a cheap reel that
is coming apart. Good quality reels are available today at reasonable prices.
Fly Reel Types
There are four main types of fly reels:
single action fly reel is the most common and simplest.
has a one to one retrieval rate, and is very easy to change spools.
most cases they are easy to change handing from left to right.
also is very easy to maintain.
multiplier fly reel has a greater than one to one retrieval rate and has
more moving parts.
faster retrieval rate allows you to retrieve the line faster if a large
fish decides to swim toward you.
is more complicated and could be trouble if it fails while fighting a
automatic fly reel uses a trigger to retrieve the fly line.
is rarely used anymore because it is heavier.
does not allow you to change the degrees of drag.
- It does not allow you to change spools
the line is pulled out the spring becomes tighter.
The anti-reverse reel does not allow the
handle to turn when the line is being pulled out. This fly reel is used
primarily on saltwater reels where fast running fish are common. This
type of reel will not be important to us as we learn trout fly fishing
There are three common methods in constructing fly reels.
of the lower quality fly reels are stamped metal. These reels often have
gaps between the spool and the reel, which can cause the line or leader to
become pinched. They offer only a coating of varnish for protection.
next type of construction is cast aluminum. They are more reliable and
best fly reels are machined out of a block of
aluminum. They have tight tolerances between the spool and body. Most of
these fly reels offer an anodized finish to protect against corrosion. Click here to see how fly reels are made
Fly Reel Drag Systems
There are two drag systems that are most common in
and Pawl drag uses a spring to push a pawl onto a gear. This produces a
clicking sound. This drag system is used mostly in lighter trout fly
reels. Trout drag systems
drag is used in the more expensive fly fishing reels used for fighting large fish.
They use cork or Teflon that press against the spool in a smoother more
efficient way. Steelhead drag systems
Both systems can have an exposed rim so you can slow the rim
with the use of your palm and are adjusted by a simple knob.
Fly Reel Size
The fly fishing reel comes in several sizes.
small trout reel with a standard size arbor, which is used mostly to store
mid-arbor size is compromise between the two sizes. May be more common is
the mid-weight reels.
large arbor fly reel most common where you need to retrieve line fast.
More common when a large fish turn toward you after a run.
Which is the Best Fly Reels?
Your best fly reels again depends on what you will be fishing
- For small mountain streams, a small single action reel
machined out of a block of aluminum with a click and pawl drag should be fine. Also see our pages on buying used fly reels and cheap fly reels.
- Larger trout and steelhead calls for a large arbor single action reel
with a disc drag. The reel becomes more important with the larger fish.
- In both cases make sure you buy an extra spool at the
same time that you buy your reel and you can change it easily. This is just fly
fishing basics. You will need it.
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