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Introduction to the Best Fly Fishing Reels on the Market

Many people out there assume that when purchasing their first fly fishing rod, they should go all out and buy top of the range and then pinch pennies on other fly fishing gear. Many of them think the fly reel to be the least critical factor of their fly fishing gear and I for one would agree to a point.

They’ll sing the praises of a high – quality fly rod with great features or argue with no end in sight about the great fly for a given day, while simultaneously arguing that “any old fly reel will do”.

Even though getting a good quality fly rod is critical, buying the proper fly reel to match the robustness, toughness, strength and flexibility of your fly rod is equally as important as the fly rod, if you have the desire to catch anything.

best fly fishing reels

When you are planning on buying a fly reel for your fly rod, basically, you should keep two things in mind:

1. The fly reel should generally function well

2. The fly reel should function well with your fly rod

Choosing a fly reel with great options and features is the easier of the two criteria to match. There are a lot of options out there from which to choose.

Fulfilling the second criteria is a little harder because you really have to research the fly reel and fly rod to see if they are balanced together. So let us help you with your quest on finding the best fly fishing reels 2021 for your fly fishing rods.




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1. Ross Animas

Best Overall 

  • Impregnated Teflon Drag

  • Two Tone Anodization

  • Saltwater Friendly

  • Minimal Startup Inertia

2. Lamson -Waterworks Guru 2

Best Saltwater

  • Extra Smooth Drag

  • Light Weight

  • Sealed Drag

  • Type II Anodization

3. Orvis Clearwater

Best Beginner

  • Freshwater Only

  • Rulon Drag System

  • Cast Aluminum

  • Smooth to Operate

4. Redington Rise 

Best Mid Priced

  • Ergonomic Handles

  • Easy Retrieve Conversion

  • Exceptional Drag

  • Large Arbor

5. Redington Behemoth

Best Drag

  • Awesome Drag

  • Triangular Spool

  • Oversized Drag Knob

  • Die cast Aluminum

6. Piscifun Sword

Best Budget Friendly

  • Cold Forged Toughness

  • Concave Ported Arbor

  • One Way Clutch

  • T6 Aluminum

Things to Look Out For When Buying Your Fly Fishing Reel

First, you need to make sure that the line rating of each rod and the reel match accordingly. For example, you wouldn’t want to pair a 4 wt trout fishing rod with a 7-8 wt reel that is supposed to manage to tackle large trout and bass.

Second, you want to make sure the fly reel and your fly rod are paired together within the correct position. In case you are left-handed, it’s most likely you would want to buy a right-facing reel. However, that depends on what feels comfortable to you. Ideally, at least you need to purchase a reel that can be easily changed for the right to left and back.

For these reasons, many fly rods are sold together with the fly reel and the fly line in outfits. Purchasing this kind of bundle is great for beginners and people who are on a small budget. These outfits are great and perfectly balanced so there is no need to worry about the setup.

best fly fishing reel

However, for those that want to take the extra step and improve their gear, they should buy their fly rod and fishing reel separately. You are open to a much larger market and have more flexibility in getting the perfect setup for your type of fly fishing.

Some of the options available in fly fishing reels are; The drag system, start-up inertia and reel weight, which are all important features that you should use to measure the quality of a fly reel.

The drag system is the resistance that’s being put upon the spool to stop the line from being stripped away when the fish takes the fly. Light drag systems place little drag at the reel spool, and whilst a fish begins to take the line, the line will place no pressure on the fish and the addition on your fingers will be required to slow the stripping fish down.

On the other hand, if the excessive drag is placed on the spool, there is a risk that the leader or tippet will break. A good reel will have the ability to release drag to low and tighten up to high so you have the option within easy reach, usually a large cog on the outside of the spool.

The better quality reels have the cog nicely positioned with only a slight turn being required to loosen or tighten the drag. It takes a bit of practice to get used to what to aim for but usually fishing with it for a few weeks will let you know the right and wrong settings.

Start-up inertia is the resistance to movement that takes place the moment a fish starts to take the fly. Until the fly is taken the reel is at rest, it doesn’t flawlessly begin to spin at top speed once the fly is taken. Start-up inertia measures the drag that happens when the reel is spinning at top speed – in terms of the automobile industry, start-up inertia essentially measures the time it takes to go from 0 to 100km per hour (60 miles per hour).

I feel it’s more important that a reel’s drag does not stutter than have low startup inertia however when using fine tippet for fast taking fish like tarpon low inertia can mean the difference in the leader breaking or the hook setting.

Matching the reel weight to your fly rod is really important, now more than ever, when everyone out there wants to buy the lightest fly rod available. Even though it may seem pointless, it is not. When you cast, you lift the entire weight of the fly rod, reel and fly line.

Naturally, you would want to lift less weight so you go out and buy lighter rods that let you fish for longer. As a result, reels have gotten lighter in order to match the rods. It is really important to check the weight of the rod first and then see if the reel matches it.

If a reel is heavy it will cause the rod tip to lift too easily causing imbalance, the same for a heavy rod and a light reel the tip will be too heavy making casting much harder than it needs to be. Ideally, you want to hold the rod in your hand in the casting position and the rod should ideally feel balanced (not wanting to tip in any one direction).

Best Fly Fishing Reels Over $150

Fly fishing reels in this price range generally have better fit and finish and most of them come with bigger spools and arbors in order that you can easily reel the fish in. Additionally, they are lightweight but without damaging the structure and integrity of the reel, plus they have smoother drag systems.

They run effortlessly without sticking – and without any form of hiccups that can be sufficient to break your tippet and lose your fly which leads to losing your fish and potentially the catch of a lifetime. They are also rust-resistant, which protects your drag system for a smooth run. The manufacturers of these reels, protect the drag system from all kinds of things, sand, grit, moisture, even impact.

Loop Evotec G4 Featherweight Fly Reel

Since its originality, the Loop Evotec G4 Featherweight Fly Reel has received timeless love and popularity when it comes to fly fishing. The reel has undergone advancements to make it as high-performing as it is. Its durable construction makes it do exceptionally well in any environment and for a wide range of fish species.

The reel has stainless components that are rust and corrosion resistant allowing for use in saltwater environs. You can give it a quick rinse with tap water if you are skeptical about its functionality in a saline environment.
The housing and spool are made from machined one-piece aluminum and gives the reel good tolerance, unlike the cast reels.

Loop Evotec Fly Reel

Designed with a power matrix drag system, it is reliable and smooth. The drag is completely sealed and the result is a waterproof and salt resistant system making it maintenance free. Retrieve can be easily converted from the right-hand side to the left-hand side and vice versa.

Do not worry about the reel’s stability when fishing, the screws used on it are well secured with the Loc Tite for firmness. The brake knob is easy to grip and allows you to be a pro fly fisher by responding to your reel as it should be.

Ergonomics are dependable because the handle is artistically designed and well finished to ensure that your palms experience zero friction and you can fish for longer sessions without getting blisters.

The G4 reel comes in different sizes with different capacities, diameters, reel width and weight. The sizes range from size 3/5 to size 9/13. An O-ring on the reel can be used to attach your tippet when you are out of the water.
Its spool is simple and quick to change.
Quite a deal on the repairs and replacement. However, this will be as per the terms and conditions from the manufacturer.

Check Opti Evotec Web Availability

Loop Opti Dryfly Fly Reel

Loop Opti Dryfly Fly Reel is a general-purpose trout fly fishing reel. Its big size allows for 4, 5, and 6 weight fly lines. In terms of weight, it is light for casting the entire day. It doesn’t matter if you like fishing streamers from your boat, sipping rainbows or drifting dry flies. This reel is the perfect fit.

The arbor is large in size which results in less reeling while greatly increasing the retrieve rate and bigger coils of the fly line getting off the reel. Machine aluminum makes the reel light in weight and has better corrosion resistance because it has undergone a special treatment-anodization- which makes it stronger and more consistent throughout casting.

Loop Opti Fly Reel

The reel has a power matrix drag system that is sealed to prevent dirt, dust, sand and water from affecting its performance. It is adjustable as well. Its brake knob is of a good size to allow for gripping and is used the same way a car’s foot brake is used. The operation is simple and easy.

This reel can be used on either side to mean conversions from the left hand to the right hand and vice versa are usable. The spool and frame are made from machined aluminum to withstand all kinds of physical impact subjected to it in the course of fishing.

Down to dimensions, the reel has a diameter of 4.02’’, a capacity of WF5 190 yards 20lbs, its width is .79’’ and it weighs 4.76 ounces which is light.

A limited lifetime warranty will take care of the repairs and replacements if need be. Its sole purpose is trout fishing so if you are not a fan of trying other kinds of fish, it will serve you diligently. Otherwise if you are experimental, adding a versatile reel in your collection will do more good. This doesn’t mean that it is unreliable.

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Waterworks-Lamson Guru Fly Reels

If you are in the market for a workhorse of a reel the Lamson Guru II is right up your street. The Torrington roller clutch provides instant torque transmission without backlash and without damaging the line and leader This series of reels are well known for presenting notable quality at an inexpensive price.

Waterworks-Lamson keeps the tradition of excellence with its Guru II Fly Reel, a slick and fashionable reel with a flavor for adventure. The C1 design group at Waterworks-Lamson has improved Guru’s big arbor spool geometry, ensuing in enhanced retrieve rates.

They’ve additionally opened the porting to reduce weight and improve line drying, integrated the counterbalance, and delivered a curved cross-section arbor for structural firmness. Fully produced within the US, the Guru II features a clear type 2 anodized finish, ensuring that this reels appearance is slick, modern and remains reliable for years to come.

Lamson Guru Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Conical drag system that gives you an extra smooth drag that has enough punch to stop a car.
  • It has a large arbor to increase the retrieval rate that you will love and offers consistent drag torque every time.
  • The machined aluminum structure and open spoke layout give great strength and styling you will be happy showing to your fishing buddies.
  • Made in the US reliability you can trust.
  • 6 sizes 3 wt to 10 wt to cover all possibilities

I know you will love the Lamson Guru II fished by many fly fishing anglers who have vouched for the reel’s good points in their reviews with a near-perfect score. Not many reels are this good at this price.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.08oz • 150yds 20lb backing • Sealed drag

Check our In-depth Review
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Ross Reels Animas Series Fly Fishing Reel

Ross Reels Animas Series Fly Fishing reel has proven features to out-perform and its Excellency to tame wild trout is undeniable. It doesn’t let the wild fish roam. On the contrary, they submit to your hand with a smooth drag system. Read more on the features of this reel below:

The one-piece frame and spool are fully machined and can hold up well against the abuse that an agile angler can dish out. Something dependable. Its Delrin 500AF drag system with Teflon is very durable and self-lubricating and is maintenance-free. The reel performs in both salt and freshwater environs.

Ross Animas Fly Reel

The quick-release spool is easily switchable when the line change is on track. Its handle is well designed, soft to touch and comfortable. It has a reverse taper which increases comfort and control when fish tries to relent. The reel can be operated on the left or on the right-hand side. Conversions are easy to make.

6061-T6 proprietary aluminum alloy is used to make the reel making it tough and durable. Being an alloy, it withstands physical impact without affecting quality and performance. Ross Reel designed these reel series with a bell-shaped ultra-large arbor which takes all the advantages of a large arbor design to extreme levels and holds all the backing well.

There is a lifetime warranty on this reel which is a juicy deal. You know how expensive repairs, servicing and worse, a replacement can drain you. Luckily, Ross Reels has this well taken care of. The series has different sizes of reels depending on the sizes: size ¾ 4.3 ounces, size 4/5 4.5 ounces, size 5/6 4.9 ounces, size 7/8 7 ounces and size 9/10 8.5 ounces.

The Animas Series by Ross Reels has a solid performance and the manufacturer’s history of producing excellent bomb-proof reels that are mid-priced makes it a go for reel.

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Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel

The rise series is Redington’s go-to, reliable fly fishing reel for consistent outcomes every time. This reel can offer the salt or freshwater fly fisher with everything they want, and the best part is that it’s able to do it at a price that won’t cost a fortune.

The Rise offers a basic, no-frills and reliable experience, with a degree of sophistication that comes from Redington.

One of the predominant benefits of this reel is its durability. It can be dropped, knocked, hit, trodden on, thrown, and abused in just about every way you think of and the machined aluminum will resist it.

An additional advantage of this reel is its price tag – Redington is a brand regarded for its reliability and affordability, and the Rise collection seems to be another example of this.

Redington Rise Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • CNC machined, anodized 6061-T6 aluminum design with quick release spool
  • Ultra-large arbor design for quick line retrieve
  • Compact and smooth carbon fiber drag system
  • Twin molded, soft-touch ergonomic handles
  • Easily adjustable drag with the large knob.
  • Convertible from left to right
  • Comes with a nylon reel case
  • Lifetime warranty – sign it up on the website to make sure though

This is a reel you may take anywhere and assume it to carry out its duty, despite the conditions. What’s even better, the rise series is protected by means of a lifetime warranty from Redington, providing you with peace of mind while doing the thing you love.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.5oz • 200yds 20lb backing • Not sealed drag

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Orvis Hydros Sl Fly Reels

The Hydros SL grants a 12% increase in line retrieval rate, has a narrow spool to dispose of line stacking and gives increased backing capacity. Additionally, it has a fully sealed drag mechanism. This means that it’s ready to move to fish on salt.

Smooth and clean start-up inertia is a trademark of the high- quality, high- end production and overall high-performance reels. The Orvis Hydros SL, can provide what it promises with this reel, and does so at a price that is only a small fragment of the price other competitors with similar performances ask for.

Further to the Hydros SL’s speedy line pickup, Orvis designed the spool with a deep, barely V-cut spool that holds a generous amount of backing and resists line stacking quite properly.

This is especially welcomed when putting the Hydros SL on a double-handed rod. In particular, whilst fishing cumbersome Skagit heads which can consume up the head area on a spool and make it prone to stacking line.

Orvis Hydros SL Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Large arbor reel
  • 12% increase in line retrieval from the previous Hydros thanks to super large arbor
  • Fully sealed drag-clutch bearing
  • Narrow spool for less line stacking and increased backing capacity
  • Ergonomically designed asymmetric drag knob
  • 3x stronger drag with zero start-up inertia

The whole lot of the Hydros SL’s design and production seems first-class. The reel’s bar stock aluminum is beautifully anodized in a black colour, the body and spool have tight tolerances and the reel’s drag handle of is ergonomically designed, smooth-to-take hold turns very smoothly.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.9oz • 100yds 20lb backing •  Sealed drag

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Ross Evolution LT Fly Reel

The Ross Evolution LT Fly Reel is an upgraded version of the unique Ross Evolution collection which is definitely one of the best fly reels ever produced. The Evolution LT’s massive arbor fly reel is a machining masterpiece and the lightest in its category.

The Evolution LT is equipped with an aluminum spool cap, aluminum drag knob and aluminum escapement cover.

To preserve the heaviness in check with these enhancements, they have additionally delivered airflow and ventilation to the spool and the frame, bearing in mind that the addition of steel components wouldn’t add a significant weight growth.

Ross Evolution Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Fully machined, 1 piece frame, 1 piece spool – manufactured on automated CNC machining centers
  • The drag mechanism is made out of aluminum impregnated with Teflon
  • Very good ventilation and balance frame and spool
  • The spool width in is perfect ratio with the arbor diameter
  • The retrieve direction change is pretty easy to do.
  • The transition between the line- in and drag engagement is seamless
  • Can be used in all freshwater, saltwater and warm waters.

The Ross Evolution LT collection is designed for those fisherman who respect art and features. You will love the slick design, innovation and precision workmanship of the Evolution LT series. Its uniqueness and sensitivity can keep any type of tippet protected and without risk of damage.

To show their clients that they are a dependable manufacturer the Evolution LT series has designed a drag system with triple redundancy, coming up with three backup systems to make certain reliability is maintained under the most hostile conditions.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 4.8oz •  150yds 20lb backing • Sealed drag

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HARDY Ultralite MA Reel

Coming from the 2016 range, the Hardy Ultralite MA DD (mid arbor disc drag) fly reels are powerful and designed to do the job they are supposed to do. Offering a medium arbor spool for a bigger capability for specialist fly line tapers, this fly reel is wonderful in innovation and layout.

This fly reel is a lovely two-tone anodized, bar stock aluminum layout, completed off in a sleek titanium color with gold coloration accents.

One of the newest functions on the MADD reel is the brand new 340-degree color-coded drag system. This precise machine permits you to, without problems, set the drag you want with just one easy flip of the knob.

The colored dots indicate the settings among a heavy drag (pink-colored dots) or a light drag (green colored dots) and give you easy, impeccable manipulation over your reel. You will be able to see how your drag is placed without ceasing and obstructing your fishing.

Hardy Ultralite Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Precision cut from Aluminium Bar stock 6061
  • Anodised for a two tone effect
  • 340 degree colour coded drag
  • Mid arbour design for high line capacity.
  • Captive spool release so it doesn’t get lost
  • 4 models covering lines from 3  to 11 weight

The mid arbor spool offers fisherman extended capacity for switch style fishing, Pike, Salmon and Trout experts fly line tapers or permits extra room at the spool for reserve backing.

The machined alloy spool has machined holes in the spool body to assist your line drying and reduce the weight of the reel. Whilst you need to load your lines on alternate spools, the Hardy Ultralite MA DD has a screw captive spool release.

This has been neatly designed so the cap does not come all of the way off so it reduces your possibilities of losing it and holds your spool a lot more securely.

The awesome and groundbreaking Hardy Ultralite MA DD fly reel comes in Titanium coloration and diverse 4 model sizes that you could choose from.

Spec: Size 7-8 •  5.6oz •  140yds 20lb backing • Sealed drag

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Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel

The Liquid Reel replaces the trusted Konic and even though it is available at a decreased price, it has numerous design upgrades. The Liquid is made from pressure die-cast aluminum which allowed Lamson to create compound curves and zero-radius interior corners for a unique fit and finish not available in other die-cast reels.

A one-piece frame adds strength and a slim big arbor design with a concavely incurved spool holds the line with great backing ability. The stealth black finish won’t scare away the fish with undesirable flashes and provides sturdiness and abrasion resistance.

With the drag device, Lamson did not cut corners at the Liquid. Their CNC-machined drag cassette is the same primary layout as determined on their high-end reels and has smooth fish-stopping energy that is without problems adjusted with a massive drag knob.

Lamson Liquid Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Lamson’s conical drag system
  • Fully sealed drag keeps debris out
  • Premium CNC-machined drag-system components
  • Rugged, lightweight pressure-cast aluminum construction

The Waterworks- Lamson Liquid Fly Reel affords maximum structural integrity and sturdiness whilst minimizing weight, matters commonly found on reels with a lot higher price tags.

The reel includes the validated conical drag system with top class CNC-machined components. a completely sealed drag to continuously protect it from sand, dust, snow, water and other particles out, to make sure reliable, perfect operation even after seasons of tough use and abuse.

Pressure-cast aluminum construction is lightweight and attributes to the durability of the drag. You may even customize the appearance of your drag canister by way of adding a colorful Lamson sleeve.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.49oz •  200yds 20lb backing • Sealed drag

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Best Fly Fishing Reels Over From $100 to $150

There is not really a big difference between the reels between $100 to $150 and the ones that go above $150. The most noticeable difference is that when you buy a more expensive reel, you are 100% sure that it will serve you for years to come. With the cheaper ones about half the time, you buy them based on luck.

You might buy a reel that will serve you for years, but on the other hand, you may get a reel that will break down after a couple of months. Furthermore, with reels in this price range, you can’t get as big of a catch as with the high-quality ones.

You must set the drag lightly at the beginning and whilst the fish gets in line with the reel, you need a clean transition out of your hand to the drag on the reel. If you set your drag too tightly, you increase the risk of breaking it off. So while that is possible let’s look at some of the best possibilities.

Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor

It is a solid aluminum big arbor fly fishing reel that is lightweight enough for balancing properly with your favorite fly rod and without a doubt the best quality-price fly reel around. Years spent in layout and improvement and with an effective inline, Rulon to stainless, stacked disc drag which can hold its ground against the high-performance machined reels.

The all-new Clearwater Large Arbor charges appreciably less than its machined counters, however, it doesn’t have only the look, but the guts of a higher-priced model. IT can transform without problems to both left- or right-hand retrieve, the Clearwater fly reel has a positive click drag knob for stable settings each time.

Orvis Clearwater Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Powerful inline, Rulon® to stainless, stacked disc drag
  • Easily Interchangeable from right to left
  • High performance, affordable price
  • Cast aluminum machined
  • Large-arbor for speedy line pickup
  • Click drag knob feels positive

Whether or not you’re seeking out your first huge arbor, fishing on a budget, or need a spare or two inside the bag, you will love the brand new Clearwater big-Arbor can deal with anything a machined reel can and absolutely changes the competition in die-cast reels.

This price range is great for beginner to intermediate fisherman but experts and advanced might want to continue shopping.

Size 7-8 • 6.3oz •  100yds 20lb backing  • Not sealed

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Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

The unique design of the Redington Behemoth Fly Reel is not a mistake. Its aesthetics combined with durable construction makes the reel capable of doing great in the water. This reel works well with 4 and 5 weights and has enough strength to wrangle all types of fish.

This reel has a carbon fiber drag system which so far is the most powerful and effective in its class. It is adjustable too. With a large arbor, it quickens the retrieve rate and greatly reduces line memory to give you the best experience as you fish.

Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

Its drag knob is designed to be bigger than the usual size for easy adjustment and a good grip. Conversions from the left-hand side to the right-hand side and from the right-hand side to the left-hand side are not complicated. Unmachined Die-Cast construction is a unique feature and makes the reel durable despite the conditions it is exposed to.

The V-spool is deep. This attribute increases the backing capacity of the reel. Ergonomics is on point with the handles twin molded and finished to give you comfort when holding the rod. The handle is safe and gentle on your hands.

The reel has a diameter of 3.4 and a backing of 125 yards 50lbs. It is not heavy and weighs 5.2 ounces. You can find this reel in O.D green, black, gunmetal or desert. Redington includes a nylon reel case that can be used for storage and protection against environmental effects like sand and dirt or exposure to water when not in use.

You get a lifetime warranty upon purchase that caters for all the servicing, repairs and replacement. Count on this reel for reliability, strength, performance and is suitable for any angler. It is an all-season reel and its stunning look is a bonus to it.

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Piscifun Platte Fully Sealed Drag Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel

The Piscifun Platte Fully Sealed Drag Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel Fully is fully sealed with carbon alloy. It doesn’t require much maintenance except simple rinsing after use. The sealed drag is protected from sand and small gravel and has an ample drag strength.

Requiring no preservation besides simple rinsing for each clean and saltwater fishing.

Sealed drag and near machining tolerances-Sand and small gravel couldn’t locate its way into the reel.

The click drag and retrieve provides accurate and repeatable drag settings making a very subtle click in and outgoing. The drag system has a larger working surface for more easy adjustment while fish is on the line and better dissipation of heat and smoothness.

Piscifun Platte Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Solid CNC-machined aluminum alloy construction provides increased corrosion protection
  • Multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system
  • Clicker Drag design offers accurate adjustment
  • Sealed o-ring screw cap resists dirt and grit and lost as well
  • Hard anodized finish offers long-lasting performance for abrasion resistance
  • Large-Arbor Design reduce line memory while also facilitating lightning-quick line pickup.
  • Fully sealed carbon to stainless drag system resists dirt and grit.
  • Knurled Drag Knob for easy gripping
  • Quick, easy left/right conversion
  • Manufacturer’s a lifetime warranty

The Piscifun fly reel has strong and yet lightweight, well ventilated spool for drying the line and reducing weight. With the large arbon design the retrieve rate is increased, holds more backing and pics up fast to give you the edge you need to reel in your catch.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 7.9oz •  125yds 20lb backing • Sealed drag

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Sage 2200 Fly Fishing Reel

Sage’s 2200 Fly Reel features dependable Sealed Carbon Drag technology with a steel clutch-bearing design, making sure you have got all the fish-stopping strength you need alongside the smoothness required to protect the sensitive tippets.

One-revolution numbered drag knob helps you to set the drag efficiently and quickly. Powder-covered, machined die-cast aluminum with exacting tolerances presents a more finished appearance than the competitor’s die-cast reels.

Extra-big, concave arbor affords extraordinarily rapid line pickup. Lightweight production. Converts without problems to opposite hand retrieve.

I suppose changing the spool is in the fiddly aspect. In preference to a button or release knob, you push the spool out from the lower back of the reel with your thumbs. A rubber o-ring holds everything in place while you push it back.

Essentially, you push the spool off from the back and not pull from the front, in any other case you danger dislodging or impairing the o-ring.

Sage 2200 Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Un-sealed Carbon Drag and stainless steel clutch-bearing design
  • One-revolution, numbered drag knob
  • Powder-coated, machined die-cast aluminum construction
  • Extra-large, concave arbor provides extremely fast line pickup

By default the Sage 2200 series are set up for left hand retrieve, but in case you are left handed and want to retrieve the line with the usage of your right hand it’s exceptionally easy to change the retrieve direction.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 6.62oz •  200yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

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Pflueger Trion Fly Reel

The outsized ball bearing makes the Pflueger® Trion an easy operator, and a one-way clutch bearing helps you to easy retrieval in spite of the drag being tightened. The mid-arbor spool takes up the line in a snap and reduces line coil, whilst a patented center disc-drag system guarantees total drag manipulating. The frame and spool are built of machined, anodized aluminum, and an easy-release transfer makes it easy to alternate spools. Those fly reels have a totally easy center disc drag device with a sturdy one way clutch for smooth winding. The clutch is reversible for left / rind hand wind.

Trion Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Machined ,forged aluminum frame and spool
  • Anodized frame and spool
  • Mid-arbor spool design
  • Oversized ball bearing and 1-way clutch bearing
  • Features a center-disc drag system for total drag control
  • Convertible left/right hand retrieve
  • Large rosewood knob
  • Easy-release spool switch

Pflueger Trion Fly Reels sets the standard for less expensive exquisite machined fly reels. These reels are mid-arbor designed and are drastically ported to reduce weight. Trion fly reels are beautifully machined and include a protective cordura case.

Spec: Size 7-8 •  6.6oz •  100yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

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Orvis Battenkill Fly Fishing Reel

Easy layout and wonderful creation make this the right click-and-pawl fly reel for almost any freshwater fishing scenario. A minimalist’s dream, the all-new Battenkill features a classically styled, yet technically more advantageous, four-position click on-and-pawl drag system. This system is adjusted internally and is designed to work in tandem with the palm of your hand on the scorching screechy runs. Designed with a slender spool for less line stacking on retrieving and a larger spool diameter for faster line retrieval. The extremely-lightweight fly reel design balances and matches accordingly on shorter rods. Machined from heavy-duty bar-inventory aluminum for added resilience. It adjusts from left or right retrieve without problems.

Orvis Battenkill Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Four-position click-and-pawl drag system
  • Classic styling
  • Narrow spool means less line stacking
  • Large spool diameter for high retrieval rate
  • Ultra Lightweight design balances with shorter rods
  • Easily adjustable left- or right-hand retrieve
  • Laser-engraved logos
  • Machined from heavy-duty bar-stock aluminium

This newest Battenkill Disc version is true to its predecessors in looks and performance, but updated with the newest design enhancements and an appreciably more effective drag. Under the mid sized arbor is the identically sealed drag machine found in the Hydros SL including six combining carbon and steel drag surfaces. The positive click drag is simple and easy to alter and adjust to the fishing situation.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.9oz •  125yds 20lbs backing•  Sealed drag

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Best Fly Fishing Reels under $100

These reels are probably the cheapest you will find. In this price range, you cannot expect great durability as you can expect from the more expensive types of reels. They do not give you great backing capacity or drag as smooth as you would want it to be.

Additionally, under some pressure the strength will probably fade and most of all, in it’s not a sealed drag system, saltwater will damage it. Another thing that will protect your reel is if it’s anodized or not. Needless to say, the higher the quality of the reel, gives you a better-anodized surface.

The very important thing is even though most of them are lightweight, they are not as light as the higher- end ones are. Finally, when you want to clean it from saltwater, you can’t take them apart and put them back together as easily as the more expensive ones.

Redington Zero Reel

Speaking of the layout, the reel holds a ported spool for weight reduction and to help keep your backing and line dry. Along with this porting, the face of the reel has a unique minimalistic design which could only be done by using the use of die-casting instead of CNC, the usual approach used in the fly reel industry.

The handle counterbalance is part of the spool, in place of a small aluminum button at the reel’s face, this doesn’t only aid in weight reduction but also compliments the aesthetics of the reel.

The primary part it plays is as a river reel that is available in sizes for 2-3 wt lines and 4-5 wt lines. The drag is a simple spring-loaded clicker. One of the large selling factors of the reel is the weight. The 4-5 is only 3oz. It does feel distinctly light within the hand making it the lightest available in its class and price variety.

Redington Zero Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Lightest reel in its class
  • Super-lightweight design with quick-change spool
  • Unique die-cast construction
  • Large arbor design speeds retrieve and reduces line memory
  • Spring loaded, clicker drag system

Besides all the great features it has, users have been complaining for quite a few things. It is quite discouraging that you cannot adjust the drag setting and the default is a little too weak.

Additionally, when pulling the fly line to quickly, it will cause a backlash that could result in a cut if you are not being careful. Other than that if you are careful the fact it is really light you will love it on a small river outfit searching for wild trout etc.

Spec: Size 4-5 • 3oz •  100yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

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Wright-McGill Dragon Large Arbor Fly Reel

There are four size editions that can be chosen from regarding this reel. even as a few online marketplaces which include Amazon regularly sell just three, starting from the small to the medium one, the website of the manufacturer also sells a large variety. Nonetheless of the dimensions, you come to be deciding on, the critical factor to bear in mind is this line features a graphite disc drag device and an extremely good huge arbor design. Moreover, any of the sizes have been carefully machined from bar stack 6061 aluminum. Even this model’s handle has been made with machined aluminum.

Different people who have bought this version claim that they have encountered a minor inconvenience, as there had been no instructions concerned to switching the reel over to the left hand. In consequence, they had to figure out the problem by themselves. Precision machined from bar stock 6061 aluminum.

Wright & McGill Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Graphite disc drag system for smooth, reliable power
  • Super large arbor design
  • Storage case protects the reel
  • Machined aluminum handle

The Wright-McGill Dragon Large Arbor Fly Reel is a good deal in comparison to other items inside the same line of production. With fly fishing reels, the problem is especially easy. If you have 400 dollars to spend on a model, you’re probably going to get one that goes with truely any kind of fish. However, in case you’re planning to capture a few trouts, 100 dollars is more than sufficient.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.15oz •  125yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

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Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel

Offering a long-lasting and light-weight creation, it isn’t always tough to perceive why this is considered one of the best fly fishing reels. The frame is made from strong aluminum that is unyielding against rust and corrosion. Seeing that there aren’t any sharp edges at the reel you don’t have to worry about it snagging or cutting your line.

One of the most important advantages of this fly reel is its great drag system. The steel roller bearing ensures the drag moves in a single direction, and the brass bushings provide you with a nice and effective performance. The drag is extraordinarily easy to set and modify with the small wheel, and the washers are made from steel to provide you with easy casts and retrievals.

Okuma SLV Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Multi-disk cork and stainless steel drag washers
  • Roller bearing allows the drag to engage in one direction only
  • Precision machined brass bushing drive system
  • Precision machined stainless steel spool shaft
  • ALC: alumilite diecast aluminum frame
  • Diecast super large arbor spool design
  • Non-slip positive grip rubberized handle knobs
  • Easy to change left to right hand retrieval conversion

Even though some of the clients who bought this reel have noted that the big arbor can sometimes get in the way throughout retrievals, most of the clients agree that being able to keep extra line is a bonus, specifically while you are going after faster fish. The capacity to maintain large quantities of line helps you to cast for a wider variety of species, which is a bonus on any fishing journey.

Spec: Size 7-8 •  5.5oz •  145yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

Check Our Indepth Review
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Piscifun Blaze Fly Fishing Reel

At the moment, mid-arbor reels are the most usual layout, and for very good reasons. With a mid-arbor, you get extra line capability more than a large-arbor reel and a respectable line retrieval rate in a pretty lightweight reel. The concave form of the spool gives the reel its strength and gives extra line capacity more than a level arbor spool.

The Piscifun Blaze has an identical drag system found on every different entry-stage Chinese- made reel. It uses cork and steel drag washers. Other than this slowing down a running fish, it’s prone to be sticky at times. You need to get a fiber washer to get perfectly smooth drag one of the drawbacks of getting a cheaper reel is the use of cork. It also calls for giant startup inertia and is prone to jamming.

The drag at the Piscifun Blaze is completely unsealed, this means that water, dust, grit, and filth can enter the drag housing and harm the system. So, if you should use the Piscifun Blaze in saltwater make sure to fully clean it out afterward.

To change retrieve direction you need to remove the spring clip internally. You must pull this off as well as flipping the bearing it holds to change from right to left hand retrieve. It pretty easy to do as long as you don’t lose the clip.

Piscifun Blaze Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Solid CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy construction provides increased corrosion protection
  • Multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system with one-way clutch bearing provides smooth operation most of the time
  • Click Drag design offers accurate adjustment
  • Sealed o-ring screw cap resists dirt and grit
  • Hard anodized finish offers long-lasting performance for abrasion resistance
  • Mid-Arbor Design reduces line memory while also facilitating lightning-quick line pickup.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Blaze is that it looks as if it’s a high-end reel. Plus, it’s made with the same machining era that’s used to make high- end reels. The body and the spool are fabricated from 6061-T6 aluminum that’s cold forged and tempered for accelerated strength and pressure.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 6.1oz •  125yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

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Goture Fly Fishing Reel

Goture’s waterproof fly fishing reel is a precision-machined model with an aluminum CNC body. The main shaft is fabricated from stainless steel, facilitating both power and corrosion resistance. This version has two ball bearings and a one-way bearing machine for smoother performance.

The aluminum handle guarantees that your outdoor fishing adventure is fun. The spool release configuration, ball bearing system, and the robust drag system work collectively to nice overall performance.

Goture Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Lightweight design: Reduction in reel weight by using the U-Shaped Spool design
  • Stainless steel/non-asbestos disc drag system with one-way clutch bearing
  • Made of ultrahard aerospace aluminum alloy; Cold forged for improved strength and rigidity.
  • Anodized surface for corrosion resistance.
  • Easily changeable to opposite hand retrieve; ergonomic handle.

However, some of the people who bought it have been complaining about the arbor size. They comment that only the center is larger than usual and the reel itself is the same size as a traditional reel so it actually accepts less line than usual.

The customers praise the aesthetics of it, the craftsmanship and being a nice looking reel with nice components. On the other hand, some are having trouble with the drag system. The issue they’ve been having is that the drag system is inconsistent.

They have took it apart, cleaned it, lubed it and then re-assembled but after few days of casting it goes back to being inconsistent. Also they comment that the drag is pretty restricted between the line and high starting point of the drag.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.53oz •  90yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

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Piscifun Aoka Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel

The fly fishing reels from Piscifun Aoka is remarkably designed with aluminum body and cork disc drag system. They’re remarkable value for money fly reels and feature a mid-arbor layout that minimizes line memory and aids in quick, immediate pickup.

The Teflon drag system assures easy drag with the help of a click-drag and with a silent retrieval. The frame of the reel is strong and full machined. The Frame is fully machined alongside oversized handle and die-cast spool.

As far as the drag system goes, it includes cork or Teflon for smooth drag aided by a one-way clutch. The line memory is reduced and ensures that there is an instant line pick up with mid arbor design.

For a quick and efficient spool release, the release button is easily reached. On the other hand, the factory settings are done for left-hand retrieval and making the change to a right hand it’s quite a hassle as you have to unscrew two screws on the release button first.

The drag is extremely smooth, but in order for that to work, you need to set the adjustment just right. There is also an integrated click-drag with a silent retrieve.

Piscifun Aoka Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Cork/Teflon disc drag system with one-way clutch bearing
  • Mid-arbor Design – Reducing line memory and quick line pickup.
  • Silent Retrieve and quick spool release with moderate conversion to opposite hand retrieve
  • Cast spool and oversized handle

Some other clients comment that after a few weeks of use some internal parts started coming loose every few times out. This damaged the reel such that it wasn’t doing its job as it should. Another problem that might occur is that there can be a gap between the line spool and reel frame that “grabs” the fly line as you strip it.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 6.1oz•  125yds20lbs  backing •  Not sealed drag

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Okuma Sierra Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel

Fully adjustable Teflon and stainless drag system. Roller bearing engages drag in one direction. Precision machined brass bushing drive system. Precision machined stainless steel spool shafts. Die-cast aluminum super large arbor spool design. The quality of this reel far surpassed its price point. The drag is smooth, the clicker sounds great and it seems very well built. Smooth, quiet, competent operation. Classic good looks. Durable. This reel can hold the line with sufficient backing and works correctly.

Okuma Scierra Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Die-cast ported aluminum frame and spool
  • Disc drag with stainless steel components
  • One ball-bearing and one way clutch
  • Stainless steel main shaft
  • Quick release spool with changeable left or right retrieve
  • Corrosion-resistant enamel finish

The machined spool releases easily and attaches just as easily. This might help you want to change lines, and easy to change to opposite hand retrieve. You can adjust the drag with the turn of a knob. It is somewhat insignificant but also about a three quarter turn takes you from no drag to full up which makes for a nice adjustment on the hook set.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.5oz •  75yds 20lbs backing •  Not sealed drag

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Fiblink Fly Fishing Reel with Large Arbor

The Fiblink fly fishing reel is robust, long-lasting and integrated with a strong frame with the help of a CNC machined frame made out of aluminum alloy. The aluminum utilized in its creation is of top grade making it resistant to corrosion and is built with cold forge. It has a fiber composite drag system that offers flexibility to stretch the system to the limit.

The aluminum construction makes it lightweight and offers a brilliant strength to weight ratio. It is a high arbor layout that vouches for better line retrievals at the side of much less stacking of line. The left and right-hand retrieval easy and quick.

Fiblink Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • The Fiblink fly reel has sealed drag stack;
  • Lightweight, practical, extremely sleek and athletic
  • Cold-forged, CNC-machined, aluminum construction
  • Less line stacking, higher line retrieval rates
  • One-way bearing for quick and easy conversion to wanted retrieval switch

A lot of their clients seems to be complaining about the sharp edges on the cross bars. They claim that it ruined their fly line. Another thing, after a few uses the drag system starts to wobble together with the reel case and the spool. One thing I came across is that there has been complaining on the finish of the reel. It is poorly made and it chips off easily.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 5.9oz •  150yds 20lbs backing •  Sealed drag

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Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is made to last and will last you for a very long time, even if you often go fishing. Additionally, it was made to resist corrosion. Besides corrosion, because of the iodization of the surface, it has been made to resist a wide range of different environments.

You can get quick drag reaction thanks to the steel drag system and the one-way clutch bearing of the reel. It was CNC machined with an aluminum alloy resistant to impacts. Compared to the other products in its category, the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is very lightweight and easy to handle.

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

Features including:

  • Smooth drag – Multi-disc cork and steel drag system with one-way clutch bearing.
  • Accurate click drag and silent retrieve.
  • Solid and lightweight – CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy for durability;
  • Corrosion resistance – Anodized surface for protection
  • Forged and tempered for even better strength and rigidity.
  • Mid-Arbor design – Facilitating lightning-quick line pickup.

By factory settings the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is preset to left handed retrieval and you will have to contact the manufacturer to get the guide if you want to change the retrieval to a right hand model. Besides that, you will have to use pliers to swap the reel to the other side.

Additionally, the drug adjustment dial can be difficult to handle or get to the right setting. Because of its complexity the drag system is very hard to take apart and clean. The manufacturer did not include instructions that would show customers how to take it apart and clean it out.

Spec: Size 7-8 • 6.1oz •  125yds 20lbs  backing •  Not sealed drag

Check our in Depth Review

Check Sword Web Availability

Best Saltwater Fly Reel for the Money 2020

Fly fishing in saltwater has its own set of conditions that need to be covered when choosing a fly reel to use. The sea is very corrosive to metal and the conditions usually have wind blowing at you in some way or another. Also some of the target species in saltwater are larger than their freshwater cousins and so a larger reel is required.

Three areas to make sure you cover in saltwater are
a) The fly reel needs to have a good drag system ideally sealed, one that will allow you to fish for tarpon as well as striped bass etc a quick turn knob which allows for full release to full tighten in one turn.

b) Large reel to hold a lot of running line and to match an 8+ weight setup. A large arbor may be better to allow quicker retrieving but a mid arbor will allow for more line especially the backing to be added.

c) Anti corrosion properties are probably the main areas to look out for when buying a saltwater fly reel. Make sure the anti corrosion properties are in place, reels made from materials especially metal that has not been protected corrode very quickly in saltwater conditions ideally a sealed drag system is essential because sand and sea salt can get into the mechanism and cause you problems with the tension control which you don’t want when fishing for large prey.

The top three reels for saltwater fishing one from each category and recommended by Chuckingfluff are the Guru II, the Piscifun Platte and the Fiblink. All three reels have large arbor are anodized and have sealed drag systems and should give you a great experience in saltwater fly fishing.

Check Guru II Amazon AvailabilityCheck Platte Amazon AvailabilityCheck Fiblink Amazon Availability


Best Budget Fly Fishing Reels 2020

In this category, the price is probably the most important thing for most. Those wanting to fly fish on a budget usually do so because they don’t have the extra cash to go for a more top of the range gear. That being said there are a few things to consider when looking at budget fly reels.

a) Having a decent drag system is important it’s not going to be sealed as that is restricted to high-end products but a turn dial knob that can be altered from high to low in a quick flick is important and ideally will not stutter.

b) A mid to large arbor is ideal to get quick line retrieval and not have line coiling up on you. (although that can be more to do with the line being of low quality than the reel having a small arbor).

c) Corrosion resistance is beneficial especially if you intend to fish in saltwater, you will want to rinse off your reel after every visit but I know anglers get complacent and gear can get left in a bag for days or weeks sweating which will speed up the process of decay.

These three items are not totally essential as you can get away with fewer features but the better the reel is to begin with the better your fishing experience will be.

You don’t want the reel to break down after a few goes resulting in needing to purchase again and again that only adds to the cost. Better to get a reliable fly fishing reel from the start. Of our selection of reels in the budget section I have decided to offer my three best options. These are the Blaze, the Sword and Okuma all three will provide great fishing and hopefully catch you some great fish.
Check Blaze Amazon AvailabilityCheck Sword Amazon AvailabilityCheck Okuma Amazon Availability

Conclusion on the Best Fly Fishing Reel on the Market

Here you go! A selection of some of the best fly fishing reels on the market. At first, make sure that you understand the different types of reels out there. Learn how to match your reels to your rod. Picking out a great reel will be as good as you let it be when you match it with your rod.

Reels ranging from the best and highest In quality to inexpensive ones. If you are a beginner I hope this article will help you with choosing your entry-level reel. If you are a seasoned angler, I hope this article was helpful in choosing which reel you want to add to your collection.

If you have any burning questions don’t hesitate and ask them in the comments section or contact me here. I know this list is not complete as there are loads of many other reels on the market that are equally as good or better than some listed here. My aim was to give newbies a chance to start off with a decent reel before wasting money on poor gear.



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