We take it that a fly fishing rod is probably number one on your to-consider list if you assemble your gears and tools for fly fishing. That’s fine and we recommended that too for all the good reasons and benefits that a quality fishing rod will bring to the table. Today you are going to read our complete best fly reel review.
But a seasoned angler knows that pairing that up with one top-quality fly fishing reel would bring your fishing game and experience to the next level. There is just so much that a well thought out fly fishing reel can offer.
In this article, we shall review and discuss everything that you need to know about fly fishing. Here are some of the best fly reels you can take advantage of.
What is Fly Fishing and What is a Fly Reel?
Not everyone who will stumble upon this article is an expert and so let’s go back and discuss some of the basics of fly fishing first for the benefit of those who are just starting out. What is fly fishing? Here are a few important things that you should know.
Amongst all of the fishing concepts, fly fishing differs from traditional ways of landing your intended catch. Fly fishing at its very definition is one method of angling or fishing that usually employs a lightweight lure that’s called an artificial fly.
The very concept of fly fishing is to use these lightweight lures and make it act as if a natural invertebrate, food organism, or baitfish for fishes to go for thus giving the angler the chance to catch it in the process.
This is quite different compared to traditional ways where you just go ahead and cast out your lures or baits in the water and wait for a bite and reel them in. Consequently, fly fishing requires certain skill sets for you to develop and practice as well as gears to employ.
To some, fly fishing is way more enjoyable although sometimes pretty challenging compared to other angling techniques. It’s more aggressive rather than passive. But do take note that you will need to find some really good fly fishing spots too to be successful.
The Rod, Line, Reel, Fly, and Spot
Here are some important aspects of the experience of fly fishing that you will need to consider. Fly fishing is fun and everyone can enjoy it.
The line in fly fishing is the element that gives it weight. The sequence of the elements from rod to water should be the backing, fly line, then your leader and tippet, and lastly, the fly. The line itself is what’s responsible to give your cast some good distance.
The leader, as well as the tippet, will make sure to provide ample stealth property to your fly. Next, is your rod and reel. These two components go hand in hand in just about any type of fishing concept and fly fishing is no exception.
Fly rods should be flexible and they are most of the time made of durable graphite material. They can also be much longer than your typical fishing rod as they average about 9 feet in length.
Rods should also design that in such a way it bends when casting giving it distance as well as the ideal fly presentation to your intended catch. So, what about the fly reel? How different is it from your traditional spinning or baitcasting reel?
Fly reels are open reels as opposed to closed traditional reels. Your main hand is right at the front of your reel so that’s also completely opposite to what’s considered traditional where the hand is usually placed behind the reel.
When it comes to casting, this is why they say that fly fishing is an art form. There are also a few casting strategies involved in it with the core concept that the angler makes sure that the fly will look like the real thing for the fish to go for it.
Few Things that you Need to Know
Speaking of the fly, there are a few things that you need to know about it too. With thousands of designs that can categorize into three types: dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. Whichever type you use would be based on water conditions, type of fish, and location.
Dry flies are the most common type to mimic flies or bugs. Nymphs will just submerge superficially on the water mimicking an invertebrate. And lastly, streamers are meant to mimic leeches or small fish.
Point out Regarding Fly Fishing
The last thing we want to point out regarding fly fishing is the experience. With traditional fishing, you are often sitting on top of either your boat or a bank. With fly fishing, you are in the thick of things, literally.
You will challenge the fishes head-on and be in the middle of either a rushing stream or creek. Sound fun, right? These elements are all core concepts of fly fishing that make it enjoyable.
Now, it’s time to buy some gear. Here are some of the best fly reels.
Top 10 Best Fly Reel Product Reviews
Let’s start our best fly reel review with the strong and reliable Piscifun Fly Reel. This proud and popular brand promises nothing but the smoothest fly fishing reels made out of craftsmanship like no other.
The Piscifun reels right off the bat are one if not the most durable reels on our list. These reels come CNC-machined with the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. It is cold forged as well as tempered to offer maximum superior strength and needed rigidity.
It is also hard anodized which is for much-needed surface protection and characterized by weather-fastness and abrasion resistance that’s top of the line. These reels are guaranteed to be thrice as strong as any die-cast reels.
You also won’t see any marks on its surface and it has quite a clean finish to it. This CNC machined reel is not only more durable but also lighter than most of its counterparts. And of course, it is corrosion-resistant.
This fly fishing reel also boasts silky smooth stainless steel drag made up of multi-disc cork systems. It’s meant for accurate adjustments and the bearings have o-ring seals for protection against corrosion.
This innovative fly fishing reel comes in 4 colors and 4 weight categories to give you a wide variety of options.
- Superior strength and reliable performance
- Good looking reels that have got accurate weight settings
- Nice grip and feel to its handle which easier to use
- Great finish and won’t get damaged easily
- Smooth drag
- The drag dial can get too sensitive
If you’re on a budget but still want to have a reliable fly fishing reel then fret not as we present the fly fishing reel. This brand knows for churning out the best fishing gear for an affordable rate.
First of all, this fly fishing reel design to be an all-around device and is quite versatile. It’s got a CNC machined construction made out of aluminum so you can be sure that it’s durable and tough.
The rotary knob system would allow for stronger resistance for your fishing line release and the large arbor design for more efficient and maximum retrieval of your lines. The versatility of this reel spans from bass, trout, or panfish fishing to name just a few.
It’s got one of the smoothest line releases and its low-profile and delicate appearance aims for no wobbling nor side play that yields smoother and easier control overall. The drag guarantee is smooth and immediate.
The fiber composite design makes sure for control while fully maximizing what this reel can do for you when out in the waters. The retrieval system is also super easy to change from left to right-hand handling.
- Ergonomic design
- Pretty great all-around performance
- Smooth drag and retrieval system
- Great value for money
- Relatively durable reel
- The spool has a tendency to pop off of this reel
Another fly fishing reel that’s got superb reviews but can be owned at an affordable rate is the max catch fly reels. Take note that this is one of those veteran brands so you are certain that they know a thing or two about fishing gears.
This reel right here characterizes by its large arbor and die-cast construction with much-needed ruggedness that can take on the toughest catch. It also takes pride in a top-quality disc drag system that can go toe to toe with more expensive units.
The large arbor on this reel design for fast line retrieval. The disc drag system is meant to put some intense pressure on your catch and eventually reeling it in successfully.
Made out of strong, durable, and reliable full-aluminum construction you can be certain that it’s got endurance. Its one way bearing feature will also make sure that you may easily switch from right to left hand configuration or vice versa.
This reel comes in 3 weight categories for all your fly fishing needs. Truly a product that’s going to give you more value than your initial investment this fly fishing reel is recommended for anglers of all skill levels beginners and seasoned fishermen alike.
- Perfect initial fly fishing reel for newbies
- Can keep up with the more expensive options and trusted by pros alike
- Relatively durable and reliable construction
- Great designs
- Very great value for money
- It does make a lot of grinding noise
What we’re looking at right now is the Okuma fly reel. These are a series of fly fishing reels that gives you everything that you need, weight, size, and design-wise.
This reel is characterized by a large arbor, very fast line retrieval, sturdy die-cast aluminum construction, and a smooth drag system made out of stainless steel. This fly reel also comes with a spool shaft that’s made out of machined stainless steel and guaranteed to be durable.
It’s got a one way bearing system and multi-disc cork with all of these elements bringing you one reliable fly fishing reel that’s meant for heavy usage and the toughest fish species that you intend to cast.
While a tad pricey than most of the reels we reviewed above this unit is a top choice by some seasoned veteran anglers. It’s guaranteed to be corrosion-resistant and will last for a very long time. It’s also quite relatively easy to wield with its lightweight design.
That’s making sure that you won’t accumulate any unnecessary strain from your fishing reel. It also holds a lot of backing and the drag operates rather noiselessly and smoothly.
This reel is perfect for fish species that are considered runners and you can be sure that it’s excellent for larger fish. It’s quite reliable and is definitely worth a few more bucks to invest in.
- Top-quality construction.
- Reliable, tough, and solid in any conditions.
- Built for tougher catches.
- Won’t corrode anytime soon.
- Smooth operation.
- the drag system is just a bit harder to adjust
If you’re looking to save more bucks then try the fly fishing reel. Now, this product is special as they promote both their line and reel to make sure to give you some perspective as to why this combination will take your fly fishing to the next level.
The reel comes with a large arbor plus all-aluminum construction. Comes in two color schemes and that’s yellow and sky blue and while they look really simple they are actually quite slick. It also comes in multiple weight categories too to give you ample range.
It comes lightweight and you’d appreciate that as you fish for hours or the whole day. The large arbor also promotes lower line memory and the one-way bearing yields to easy left and right interchangeable design.
The hallowed frame looks almost artistic and that construction is what contributes to it being lightweight. The drag system is made out of Teflon disc as well as an aluminum alloy for smooth and immediate engagement and powerful instant stoppage when necessary.
Now, you can be certain that this reel is meant for a larger and meaner catch. The line, as mentioned, comes in nylon and PVC material with its first 30 feet designed to be heavier for casting convenience and also to fight windier conditions.
This combo is also quite beneficial for beginners. It also comes with a backing line and a leader with longer and larger butts.
- Perfect product combo for best results.
- Cast longer, easier, and smoother with this reel.
- The simplistic design makes it easier to use.
- Excellent price point.
- Perfect for kids and teens.
- Not as durable and advertised
The Redington behemoth fly reel guarantees the most powerful drag system across its category and a lot of anglers have attested to that. You can’t have that intimidating name without backing it up with some credibility, right?
Aside from a superb drag system this reel also looks really nice. It’s got a somewhat unique construction with its machined-die cast design that’s sure to be durable and reliable in any fishing conditions.
The equally durable and interlocking large arbor design is meant to give you more line at all times. The drag’s strength? Well, that is an outcome of the carbon fiber used in this reel which design for heavy-duty usage. It’s easier to adjust too compared to most fly reels.
The torque system made out of carbon fiber on this reel and mixed with friction plates will deliver a punch of torque so you can be sure to have power against your catch.
The twin molded handles have an ergonomic grip with great feedback and are perfect for pulling in larger species of fish. The oversized drag knob made out of aluminum is then meant for range and better control.
Not just powerful but also precise. Convert the setup from left to right-handed easily too. Truly a veteran in the industry and knows a thing or two about fishing gears. You won’t be wasting any of your cash with this one.
- Top of the line drag system
- Sufficient power and resistance whenever needed
- Very ergonomic design and easy to handle
- Superb ratings and reviews online.
- Relatively innovative features for its price.
- While it boasts drag and ergonomic design, it’s clearly not the most durable reel on our list
The next entry on our best fly reel review is perhaps one of the most durable on our list. We’re talking about the fly fishing reel that looks really good in its simplistic colors and nice finish.
It’s made out of a die-cast aluminum frame. It boasts accurate dimensions, sharp details, and smooth textured metal parts. This makes sure that the fly reel is not only durable but smooth enough that when you are operating it, you won’t come across any unwanted issues.
The multi-drag system is made out of self-lubricating material. This, in turn, creates varying levels of friction that would surely be beneficial for any angler as you tighten the drag knob. This makes sure that as you fight and tire your catch, your line wouldn’t break.
The reel is also designed for ambidextrous with an easily interchangeable configuration from left to right-hand operation. It comes in 4 weight categories to give you the range necessary when choosing for your style and intended catch.
It’s got precise spool shafts, one-way roller bearings, multi-disc cork, and mid-arbor design to give you more room for versatility at just the right weight. Surely one of the best on our list and worth your time to check it out further.
- The construction is definitely top 3 in terms of durability on our list
- Simple yet nice aesthetics
- Superb drag system with great power
- No worries of any line breaking with this one
- Lightweight and versatile
- It’s not really meant for very large or powerful fish
The Redington zero fly reel is the second entry on our best fly reel review and rightfully so. This was actually their original set of fly fishing reels but it was re-launched together with the Behemoth and as opposed to the latter this one has a click pawl design.
That means that if you’re looking for a more affordable fly reel from the brand but still possess superb quality then this should be on top of your list. This reel is available in two size categories, 2/3 and 4/5.
It comes in unconventional colors even for fly reels but it works fine for a lot of anglers. They are super lightweight and won’t add much strain on your set of gears which is a huge plus for all-day fishing.
This die-cast reel is solidly built and it doesn’t sacrifice much at the cost of finish and structure. It characterizes by a quick change spool and easy conversions from left to right-hand configuration.
It’s got a large arbor design that’s meant for fast and easy line retrieval as well as decreasing line memory. It’s actually very ergonomic and easy enough even for beginners to utilize.
- Very affordable fly reel from the brand
- Easy enough for beginners but still works for more seasoned anglers
- Ergonomic design
- Quick spool operation
- Very lightweight construction
- You get what you pay for in terms of durability
The penultimate entry on our best fly reel review is also the second entry from the popular Piscifun brand. This time, let’s take a closer look at the Piscifun fly reel.
Perhaps one of the smoothest fly reels on our list plus it comes with a sleek design that would blend right in. this reel comes at a black and blue aesthetic and 3 weight categories. And, as expected from the brand, this is one affordable fly reel especially if you look into its features.
One such feature is the ease of changing and retrieval of the fishing line. The spool is ergonomically designed with a release button and a couple of screws to secure everything in place.
The cork disc drag system is all wrapped up in a fully machined frame to make sure for much-needed drag power and also silent line retrieval. It’s got an oversized handle and a mid-sized arbor that’s sure to decrease line memory and give way for quick line pick up.
The overall construction quality and material? Well, it’s made by Japanese Brother and CNC machined. This is one die-cast spool that’s going to give great value back for your buck.
- Great value for money
- Decent quality construction
- Easy to handle and fast line retrieval
- Silent operator
- Smooth and powerful drag resistance
- Sizing is a bit off
We’re down to the last entry for our best fly reel review and we won’t disappoint you at all with the innovative fly fishing reel. Not with everything on our list made out of either the durable stainless steel or die-cast, this reel is made out of graphite.
It’s got a large arbor design that’s not only strong but also very lightweight for all the benefits that that brings. Durability, as well as corrosion resistance, are guaranteed with the polymeric material. And the large arbor is meant for more backing capacity and quick retrieval.
The central disc drag system is rugged enough and can provide the needed resistance and power if your catch wants to put some fight. It’s also designed to work well on varying conditions especially when it gets quite rough.
The drag system also operates rather smoothly and at low noise for quieter fishing sessions that won’t spook your intended catch away. And of course, the one-way bearing system makes for easy switching from left to right-handed operation.
This fly reel is quite affordable, maybe amongst the lowest price point on our list but we do think it’s one of the best-rounded units as well. It’s an underdog for sure but that’s what these reviews are all about. Finding gems out of the multitude of reviews online.
- Great value for money
- Best for beginners
- Easy to operate
- Smooth and silent drag system
- Powerful and reliable in any weather conditions
- Not for serious fishing
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Top 10 Best Fly Reel Buying Guide
Now that you’ve read our reviews on various leading fly reel products then it’s time you take into consideration these important aspects should you indeed go ahead and purchase one. Following these guidelines ensure that you get the best value out of your money.
Fly Reel Retrieval System
The first thing that you need to consider is your fly reel’s retrieval system. Your reel is not only meant to store your fishing line but also retrieve it once you’ve caught a fish. And this retrieval system comes in a few ways.
You can either go with single-action, multiplying, or automatic retrieval reels. Single action being the most conventional of the types, one crank equals one turn on your spool. Multiplying reels are, of course, composed of gears that give more turns per cranking.
And as you might expect, auto reels store tension as you release the line, and then once you want to retrieve it, you just trigger it to pull the line back in. Your choice would depend on how complex, intense, or lengthy your fishing sessions will be.
Single action reels will be adequate for basic fly fishing with longer runs requiring multiplying reels, and for deeper water fly fishing, auto reels would be best.
The wheel that holds all of the lines down or the arbor is also something that you should consider. This aspect by itself will alter the overall performance of your fly fishing rod and we need to make sure that it “alters” it in a good way or to our preference.
Lucky for us, it’s pretty straightforward. Lighter smaller arbors are of course more affordable than larger ones. Also, you’d most likely need smaller arbors than you’d need larger ones. The former is easier to manage simply because it’s easier to wield a lighter rod all day.
But of course, if you’re intended catch is notorious for making a run for it then you’d need more line and naturally, reels with larger arbors will hold more line for you. Also, they will retrieve more lines fast.
Consider the Weight of the Line and the Spool Size
If you talk about arbor size then you should also consider the line weight as well as the spool size. Heavy lines meant for larger arbors. And as far as the spool size is concerned, you just need to know that it helps with the consistency of your drag system.
This is for smoother operation and to prevent any line snapping from happening. Take note that the spool size’s affectivity does not change in parallel to the size of your arbor.
Since we’ve already mentioned it, it’s time we talk about the drag system of your fly fishing reel. Certainly one of the most important aspects of reels, your drag system is oftentimes the make or break factor for you successfully catching that fish.
Your modern fly reel will have one of two common drag systems, the click and pawl system, or the disc brake system. The click and pawl system employs some gear mechanism with the help of springs to operate. This drag system is what older models for fly fishing reels employ.
On the other hand, disc brake systems create friction tightening the tension for your line like what brakes do for cars to halt it successfully. The drag system offers more drag settings than the click and pawl system but both still work relatively well.
Given that fly fishing is the more aggressive type of angling and you’d have to traverse the water standing all the time while trying to land some fish, you’re going to have to think about the strain the whole process can do to your body.
And so, weight considerations should be in place. Just a reminder, this should not only be a consideration for your fly fishing reel but all of your gears as well. Most especially the stuff you wield from rod to fly.
This is also where you consider if it’s really worth it to go buy larger thus heavier gears for your fishing trip rather than just getting smaller more lightweight ones. There’s a formula to weight considerations and we need to talk about everything on board.
Make sure your gear or setups counter checked for weight classes by your intended catch and fishing spots.
Take note of these formulas from the rod, line, reel, leader, and fly. 1 to 3 weight setups are best for small trout on tiny streams. 4 to 6 weight ones are best for smaller bass or larger trout at freshwater quarries.
Those that fall within the 7 to 9 weight class are best for bonefish, larger bass, and salmon. Larger than this weight class suited for tarpons or even wahoo.
Of course, it’s all going to boil down to the sturdiness of the build and materials used for your fly fishing reel. The cheaper ones that are less durable and heavier are made through a process called metal stamping. Consider this if you’re on a budget and plans to only fly fish for fun.
Die-cast fly reels are of better quality. Mid-tier quality and best suited for a lot of anglers for leisure fishing but still want to catch a decent amount of fish.
Machined metals are probably the best types of fly fishing reels. Durability like no other, good weight, and reliable performance.
You should also consider the finish or color of your reel. Make sure you choose the ones that are suitable to the environment you are in so as not to spook any fish with it. Safe choices would be to go with chrome or black matte ones.
Add some flair to your gear with beautifully colored reels.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are other Fishing Reel Types?
You should be wary of other types of fishing reels. With proper and wide knowledge of these concepts, you can be sure that you’re always on top of your game. You have the spincast fishing reel, spinning fishing reel, and the baitcasting fishing reel.
Spincast reels are easier to use suited for newbies. They are cheaper and offer no backlash to the angler. Spinning reels are very popular but slightly more expensive. Characterized by a fixed spool, great line capacity, and that it hangs right below your rod.
You may cast farther with these reels but they require a little bit of a learning curve. Baitcasting reels are the more advanced type of reels and are mostly utilized by seasoned anglers. They are more expensive but are more accurate and have a nice feel and balance to them once mastered.
What are some External Factors that I should Consider When Fly Fishing?
Aside from your gear, you must consider a few external factors to get your fly fishing game going especially when you’re trying to determine which fly fishing reel to buy.
Consider the species of your intended catch as they will have different tendencies. You also need to consider your location to prepared for anything that may happen. This is also a safety consideration with your access to all things relevant in mind like transportation or clothing.
And lastly, consider your experience always.
Any Suggestions for Fly Fishing Newbies?
When new to fly fishing or angling in general, please always consider asking the locals especially in shops about the dos and don’ts and what, when, and where’s of the local fishing scene.
Make sure to learn the basic techniques or bring a mentor or friend with you. Also, consider the color of your fly as it is very important relevant to the fish you are trying to catch. Practice common techniques and learn to switch up on your flies if the fish aren’t biting.
Whether you go fly fishing for fun or to catch a haul, you’d need these best fly reels to better your experience and make it worth your while. These products are from the best brands and offer the best quality.
When fly fishing, you need reliable, tough, and ergonomic reels that are going to aid your already innate skills and techniques to reel those fishes in. These reels are also meant for all skill levels so don’t be intimated if you’re just starting out.
So take your pick and go catch a haul!
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