13 Best Fly Fishing Reels On The Market

best fly fishing reels
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The general perception of fly reels is that they are the least essential component in fishing gear; they are merely instruments that hold an angling line.

However, as you evolve as a fly fisherman – launching rods into saltwater and looking for larger bass and trout, you realize this is a misconception.

Finding the ideal fly reel, sturdy and durable, and with the right drag system – is crucial to your success during your time on the water.

Although, we are well aware that picking a new reel may be challenging.

Most anglers are looking for the most effective reel with the lowest cost.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It is the ideal mindset when looking for an entirely new reel.

You need to select one that will meet your specific fishing style, needs, location, and circumstances, and at price that you feel the most secure.

So don’t worry; we’d love to assist you, and in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the most effective fly fishing reel!

What Is A Fly Fishing Reel, and Why Do You Need It?

So the golden question is, what is a fly fishing reel?

They generally tend to sit and “hold the line,” as we mentioned earlier.

However, it changes when you become skilled enough and start catching big fish with your fly reel.

A fly reel is one of the most crucial equipment parts at that particular moment.

A fly reel is a unique fly fishing equipment that can do more than simply keep the line in place and backing.

Fly reels are precisely tuned, often made out of aluminum, which controls the line, adjusts the rod’s configuration, and applies drag to the fish running.

In times of stress, such as when a huge fish is pulling out yards of line each second – a low-quality fly reel could display its true colors, resulting in lost fish, and possibly damaged or damaged equipment.

It is good to purchase a quality fly reel straight from the beginning rather than buy a high-quality reel after seeing a massive fish disappear from the river because of an inadequate fly reel.

We’ve tested and picked the following reels based on build quality, comfort, weight, warranties, and overall performance.

We’ll suggest the top quality products at all prices, making it simple to choose the most suitable one for your requirements.

At A Glance

Top 8 Fly Fishing Reels Of 2022

1) Best Overall Choice: Colorado’s Fly Fishing Reel

Colorado's Fly Fishing Reel.jpg

Platinum Fly Gear’s Colorado fly fishing reel is a great option for anglers of all levels.

If you are considering a new fly reel, it’s an absolute winner!

The machined structure is sturdy enough to stand up to abuse.

This fly fishing rod is a perfect fly fishing reel since it has a robust disc drag system and a large arbor reel.

Furthermore, the color is a perfect match for glass and wooden rods. Honestly, I was amazed the second I got it out of the package.

One feature that I noticed as soon as I took it out was its left or right-hand retrieve.

What we liked and considered it one of the best fly reels was the speedy rate of retrieval and the excellent capacity to back up.

The drag strength is high enough to handle larger fish such as carp.

Additionally, there is some initial inertia, but nothing too problematic.

Unfortunately, we do have a problem with the spool release knob.

It’s small and requires lots of attention to prevent you from placing the spools wrongfully.


  • Extremely precise and durable machined bodies
  • The weight and color complement most fly rods
  • Strong enough to carp
  • Fully sealed, no risk of corrosion
  • Rapid retrieval rates and a large arbor
  • Simple to use using gloves or with bare hands
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof


  • Non-ergonomic spool release knob
  • Some initial inertia

2) Best Beginners: Redington’s Crosswater Fly Reel

Redington's Crosswater Fly Fishing Reel.jpg

The Redington Crosswater series is an excellent light, affordable, and best saltwater fly reel.

Furthermore, they are available in various sizes, making them the ideal gear for everything from panfish and trout up to bass.

Although they’re not an impressive feat of technology, the unit is ideal for all those beginners who want to get into the sport of fly fishing without emptying their wallets.

The Crosswater’s basic mechanics allow this reel to be highly reliable.

They also sport a superb disc drag system encased inside the hub. On the other hand, the spool doesn’t have enough capacity to hold the line needed for saltwater fly fishing, even though the ability of the largest one might be sufficient.

Moreover, the unit is made up of lightweight plastic.

The issue isn’t that a fish might break it, but rather it’s the fact that handling the reel during retrieval could break the unit’s components.

Despite its lack of durability, it does have a simple design.

Hence, making it suitable for fly fishers at any level.

Lastly, the series offers you three different sizes to choose from.

Furthermore, you can easily change the configuration! How amazing is that?


  • Easy to use for any level angler
  • The best option for beginners
  • Lightweight
  • Allows left or right-hand configuration
  • Good drag


  • Poor Durability
  • Poor backing capacity

3) Best Value: Piscifun’s Sword Reel

Piscifun's Sword Fly Fishing Reel.jpg

The Sword Fly Fishing Reel allows anglers to enjoy fly fishing to the fullest.

This reel is made from aluminum alloy, which gives it the highest durability. It is also anodized, which aids in protecting the surface.

So, it will last for quite a long time, even if you use it in an environment that can potentially damage and wear away the equipment.

The unit is fitted with a concave port arbor.

Even the most skilled anglers have a challenging experience reeling in fish and handling massive catch of fish, but this unit makes the process much simpler.

In addition, the device will take care of most of the work, so you don’t need to exert much effort collecting the haul of fish.

Sword fly fishing reel was constructed using a stainless steel drag system and a one-way clutch bearing for retrieval.

It also features a drag system made of stainless steel that allows for a quiet retrieval.

Moreover, the mid arbor design aids in reducing line memory and rapid line pickup.

The unit also sports a multi-disk cork, which is an excellent durable material. Hence, you won’t need to replace it frequently.

However, it is heavier than most reels because of its oversized machined hollow shape.

Also, the reel has a bit of a complicated drag mechanism that you will need to understand before you plan to take it apart and clean it up.


  • Machined CDC Aluminum alloy T6 for all-weather condition toughness
  • Suitable for all fishing species
  • Excellent machined quality
  • Cold-forged for extremely long-lasting wear
  • Well made with good quality and durability
  • Lightweight and feels balanced


  • Knob for the drag could be a bit delicate
  • Drag adjustment is easy but might be a little loose for some people

4) Best Lightweight: Lamson’s Guru S Fly Reel

Lamson's Guru S Fly Reel.jpg

Completely sealed from the elements, the Lamson Guru S Fly Reel’s drag design is top-notch.

It comprises two cones that sit on one another with friction fabrics that provide the required brake force instead of flat washers.

The drag’s sound is lovely, with the mellow clicks produced by a tiny plastic arm twitching against a wheel high up in the drag housing.

We ramped up the drag without noticeable initial inertia at any setting in testing.

The line slid out of the spool without stiffness or jerkiness; however, it wasn’t as consistent and smooth.

Comes with a smooth drag system and it’s the lightest reel in the fly fishing gear category.

Shifting from the minimum drag to the maximum drag takes approximately 1 3/4 turns.

The handle design is simple, without taper, flare, or texture.

While reeling, it was a little rough; nevertheless, it did its job.

The reel is a bit tighter when it is cranking and, therefore, not the ideal option for those who like the ability to “smack” the spool to pull out a large amount of loose line quickly.

A strong pull will separate frames from spools without any hassle. Furthermore, there are no caps, tools, or small levers to fiddle with.

You can join both pieces quickly with a solid snap once the spool is seated.

Only available in sizes  7+ and 9+, the Lamson Guru S is perfect for intermediate fly anglers seeking a simple freshwater fly reel.

The reel setup is user-friendly and we consider that a professional fly reel to catch fish.


  • Lightweight
  • Excellent backing capacity
  • Profusely quick
  • Good drag
  • The sizes available cover the majority of freshwater fishing scenarios
  • Sealed against saltwater
  • Lifetime Warranty


  • Drag could be smoother
  • Handle is rough
  • Tight reel, not suitable for those who like to smack the spool

5) Best Budget-Friendly: Redington’s Behemoth Fly Reel

Redington's Behemoth Fly Reel.jpg

Redington’s Behemoth is an excellent choice for anglers who want one of the budget-friendly saltwater fly reels.

The Redington arbor is large with a deep V that can increase its backing line capacity.

For anglers looking to catch bigger fish, this is a crucial factor to think about.

While machine-made aluminum spools dominate the market, there’s nothing wrong with die-casting, especially when the proper alloy is used.

The handle for retrieving the Behemoth is well-designed so that you won’t have any trouble.

If you’re into aesthetics, then you are in luck!

This gorgeous reel is available in five colors; black, gunmetal grey, hunter orange, desert yellow, and OD green.

If we talk about its operations. The unit will pick up line quickly.

We are confident that it won’t slow you down when a large trout swoops toward you.

Certainly, the drag on the Behemoth is enough to withstand monster fish and epic fights with a whopping 15 pounds of drag!

Though the drawback is that it has a limited choice of settings, and only the “lower” half of the dial turns down the pressure.

Another setback is the reel is not prone to corrosion from saltwater. Overall, the unit is a great reel that comes at a fair cost.


  • Quality build and solid construction
  • Massive maximum drag
  • Excellent backing capacity
  • Immaculate knob design
  • Affordable price


  • The overall quality is lower than many competitors
  • Drag settings don’t work very smoothly

6) Best Durable: Pflueger’s Medalist Fly Reel

Pflueger's Medalist Fly Reel.jpg

A reel should be durable enough to give you the strength and longevity you require, and it must be extremely lightweight.

The good news is Pflueger’s Medalist Fly Reel is constructed from extruded, machined aluminum.

It is also machined with precision for the frame and spool.

Its supreme construction ensures that the casting process is controlled.

In addition, the standard arbor is designed to guarantee that the spool can easily back up.

Furthermore, the fly reel features a highly user-friendly click-and-pawl system that provides a precise ability to check clicks so that your chances of landing catches increase.

The reel comes with a polymer handle allowing it to be lightweight yet durable.

In addition, it features a right and left hand retrieve.

This will enable both right and left-handed anglers to use the reel.

Overall it’s an excellent choice for experienced fly fishers and novices looking to buy a durable, affordable, but highly high-rated fly-fishing reel.


  • Lightweight

  • Highly durable
  • Convertible retrieve
  • Spool with quick release
  • Polymer handle


  • The system isn’t as flexible as you’d like it to be

7) Best Versatile: Ross Reels’ Animas Reel

Ross Reels Animas Fly Reel


Ross Reels’ Animas is an iconic reel and a favorite among anglers.

The unit checks every box if you’re searching for a versatile reel. It’s ideal for freshwater, saltwater, and warm waters.

You can take this one wherever you’re going!

The unit is built from ultra-strong and corrosion-resistant  6061 aluminum alloy.

Also, a two-tone type II finish gives you extra protection against saltwater.

Furthermore, it’s tough to scratch and won’t leave visible marks no matter how rough the fishing trip was.

The style of the frame and spool is not just fantastic, but it’s significantly more robust and has structural integrity!

Besides this, the massive arbor has an outstanding line capacity of approximately 115 yards of backing, with the unique porting system ensuring that the reel is light.

The drag knob got a stunning two-tone design and is constructed of anodized aluminum to ensure more outstanding durability.

It is simple to adjust the drag and provides you with more control.

Its composite drag system is a blend made of Delrin and Teflon.

Also, it offers low initial inertia so that you can stop fish in their tracks!

Furthermore, you’ll be able to spend longer in the water and spend less effort cleaning or maintaining the gear because of its self-lubricating mechanism.

The phenolic handle is easy to hold even with wet hands and comfortable enough to hold for extended periods.

Lastly, although the reel is not equipped with the most efficient drag mechanism, it has excellent ergonomics, a chic appearance, and a flawless design.


  • Very light
  • Powerful, smooth drag
  • A phenolic handle that is slip-free
  • A handy, trouble-free, and reliable spool release


  • The drag system isn’t completely sealed
  • The arbor could be a little bigger

8) Best Technology: Lamson’s Force SL II Fly Reel

Lamson's Force SL II Fly Reel.jpg

With the latest technology, Lamson’s Force SL (Super Light) II Fly Reel features a superior CNC-machined design and a sealed conical drag system as compared to its competitors.

The Force did not display any initial inertia when set to maximum drag.

However, when we tried the Force at half drag, it showed a lot of inertia at the start.

With 9.64 inches/turn, the unit takes lines extremely fast. It’s also huge.

Even if we remove 10% to 20% for the curvature of the reel, it has plenty of space for backing and any other line you’d like to.

The unit only weighs 3.8 pounds and is one of the most lightweight reels.

It comes in two models: 5+ and 7+. When it comes to the design, it takes inspiration from the space age.

It has a sleek and minimalist style. Unfortunately, it’s not framed, so you may find it more difficult to grasp even if you’re used to a more traditional style.

It also sports a sturdy handle; however, it’s too thin to compete with similar models like Nautilus.

On the other hand, the drag knob is too small, but the main issue is with the frame’s layout; you can only turn around one-third of a turn simultaneously.

This is not ideal when you have large fish in the line.

With its Type-3 finish and ultra-lightweight construction, the Force can handle dropping and dragging more than every other reel.


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Fantastic finish and durability
  • Quick retrieve


  • Not as profound drag as you’d want for a saltwater reel
  • The price tag seems a bit much for this reel

9) Best Saltwater: Ross Reels Evolution LTX Fly Reel

Ross Reels Evolution LTX Fly Reel.jpg

Ross Reels Evolution Fly Reel LTX is perfect for saltwater fishing, where you can expect the highest performance and reliability.

It is an ideal mix of the earlier Evolution LT and R performance capabilities.

The entire performance capability of the product comes with the type 2 anodizing aluminum used for its construction, making it possible to achieve an equilibrium between rigidity and aesthetics.

Moreover, the structure is robust and resistant to corrosion, thus ideal for saltwater fishing.

Besides, the 6061 T6 aluminum material is also abrasion-resistant.

Ross Reels Evolution LTX fly reel has a huge arbor design that increases line speed.

The large arbor aids in adjusting the angle and makes it easier to handle large fish.

Ross LTX fly reel has a bell design that makes it simple to regulate line movement. It’s easy to make sure that the fly line is level.

The stainless-steel disc drag system produces strong drag.

The entire system is watertight and sealed to stop water from entering and generate enough power to lift huge captures.

The stainless steel element allows you to take care of and wash the reel easily.

The stainless steel disc drag makes for ultra-quiet and smooth motions.

The reel is also robust and can last for a long time.

Contrarily, the premium aluminum material makes the reel dependable in salt water.

Therefore, there is no reason to be concerned if it starts to rust or decline.

The primary benefit of using this device is its efficiency in controlling and moving.

This is because all components are in sync to manage the catch.


  • Durable
  • Excellent line movement
  • Made of high-quality aluminum
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Good drag
  • Large arbor design
  • Sealed stainless-steel disc drag system


  • The price might be a concern for some

10) Best Freshwater: Sage Spectrum Fly Reel

Sage Spectrum Fly Reel.jpg

Sage Spectrum Fly Reel is an entry-level to middle-range freshwater reel that beginner and intermediate anglers can use.

It comes with a massive arbor that provides plenty of backing capacity.

In addition, the fly reel’s drag mechanism is completely sealed.

Therefore, the Spectrum can be used in saltwater as the seal will shield it from corrosion and harmful elements.

Sage Spectrum comes in four sizes: 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10, and weighs only 6.6 ounces.

It is a fully-machined reel that is made of 6061-T6 aluminum. Sage has employed high-quality aerospace-grade aluminum to make this reel exceptionally durable and robust.

The Spectrum has a one-revolution drag knob, meaning that the reel rotates once per rotation of the knob which will bring it into your fly line.

This helps you modify and set the settings for your drag.

If you like quiet reels, you’ll be delighted by the Spectrum.

You’ll hear it making a click whenever it rotates, but it’s at a lower volume, so you’ll be able to concentrate entirely on casting.

The drag system of the Spectrum is completely sealed, which is a plus.

You can fish confidently with the knowledge that grit, sandy, and corrosive saltwater cannot get into the system.

Therefore, you don’t have to overthink about regular and precise maintenance.

Simply rinse it in tap water once you’re back at home.

However, the drawback is the drag; with only 2.65 pounds of drag, it’s difficult to imagine how it could be appropriate for saltwater fishing.

It doesn’t have enough power and drag to tackle larger fish.

While the knob and handle feature ergonomic designs to make them comfortable, they’re both relatively small.

Unfortunately, their smaller size makes it challenging to hold and use without bumping your fingers against the reel.

Overall, Sage Spectrum is an excellent, well-finished reel.

The sealed drag system is lightweight; its affordable and trendy design makes it an appealing product.


  • At 6.6 ounces, it’s lightweight
  • Sealed drag system
  • Huge arbor
  • The backing capacity on the spool is impressive
  • Attractive aesthetics, as with the majority of sage’s offerings
  • Priced reasonably


  • Low drag, it’s not strong enough to take on larger fish
  • Slower line pickup
  • The handle is too small
  • Less durable finish

11) Best Premium: SAGE Trout Reel

SAGE Trout Reel.jpg

SAGE Trout Reel is an excellent piece of equipment with both right and left orientations to accommodate all customer preferences.

This reel is elegant and stylish, yet they have modern-day performance.

They are also aesthetically appealing and are available in a range of shades.

The reel is constructed using anodized aluminum, making it resistant to corrosion and can stand up to the harshest conditions.

The most important feature of this reel is the single revolution drag knob that is fast enough to get the line back.

With this feature, you decrease the stress on your hand, and this is one aspect that makes it more comfortable.

In addition, the knob allows you to store the tool easily since you can simply put it away after retrieving a line. You can also fine-tune drag using the knob.

If the drag system fails to provide the power you want, use the knob to adjust and return it to the default setting.

The massive arbor allows rapid line pickup. The concave arbor has outstanding strength and capacity to handle larger fish.

Furthermore, the reel comes with a neoprene-nylon reel bag with embroidery offering portability.

The case is watertight, which prevents water from leaking into or out.

It’s also simpler to store the gadget in your backpack since the nylon keeps the tool from colliding with other items.

Moreover, it’s easy to change from a right-hand retriever to the left.

It only takes a matter of seconds.

If you love aesthetics and want a gorgeous product, you have several choices for the reel.

The options available have an appealing look.

The device features an elegant design that is simple to clean.

Wash your device in freshwater, allow it to dry, and then put it back into its nylon pouch.

However, the reel is heavy, and getting a rod to work with it is a challenge. The product weighs around three times the weight of similar reels.


  • One revolution of the drag knob
  • A large arbor makes it easier to be efficient
  • It is easy to convert from left hand to right-hand retrieve
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Made of anodized aluminum; corrosion resistant


  • It’s heavy

12) Best Die-Cast: Redington’s Zero Fly Fishing Reel

Redington's Zero Fly Fishing Reel.jpg

Redington’s Zero Fly Fishing Reel features unique die-cast construction that allows it to be lightweight.

It’s around two times lighter than its competitors. This zero fly reel is ideal for those who are just beginning.

It is suitable for small fishing jobs that require light intensity.

The reels die-cast construction easily connects to the left – or right-hand retriever. Switching between left and right retrievers is very simple.

Additionally, the system is then connected to a high-quality drag system.

It generates enough power to enable you to bring in the catch.

The click-drag mechanism is durable.

Furthermore, the reel has an excellent grip, making it easy to control.

It is a big arbor design. This makes it quick to retrieve and reduces the memory of lines.

The reel will ensure that you put in minimal effort when fishing.

This reel is highly efficient and is among the best equipment for fishing practice; simple to operate and comes with applicable pre-set settings.

For instance, the default tension will allow you to capture fish successfully.

However, you won’t see professional fishers employing it as it lacks the strength to take on tough fish.

It is ideal for fishing with or catching small fish.

The reel is reasonably priced. Compared to other similar products with the same features, it is offered at an affordable price.

Additionally, it can accommodate the tightest budgets. These features work to create a robust and reliable instrument for you.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Large arbor design
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Affordable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Best for small fish catching


  • This isn’t the most effective reel to catch big fish

13) Best Trout Fly Reel: Orvis Clearwater

Orvis Clearwater Fly Fishing Reel.jpg

Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel is one of the best options available for trout fishing.

Even though it appears as a basic reel, it has features that exceed your expectations.

It has a highly smooth and powerful drag system, durable design, and superb ergonomics.

The reel comes in two different models: the Clearwater II for rod line weights of 4-6 pounds and the Clearwater IV for 7 – 9 weights.

Also included is a spool for reels to keep your fly reel secure when not being used.

The Clearwater is a diecast aluminum reel with stainless steel disk drag.

It’s strong and durable due to its anti-corrosive components.

Additionally, it has a backing capacity of 100 yards, which is more than enough for trout fishing or catching smaller fish.

As mentioned, Orvis Clearwater has a smooth and robust stainless steel/Rulon stackable drag system that is exceptionally consistent, which means it can protect your line and tippet and keep you from losing fish.

In addition, the initial inertia is almost non-existent, which is an excellent feature.

The maximum drag you can expect is about 5lbs on this reel, sufficient for most freshwater fly fishing, including trout.

Despite being a diecast reel, it has a huge arbor that is light and can balance your fly rods efficiently.

Clearwater II weighs just 5.5 ounces, while Clearwater IV weighs 6.3 ounces.

The Clearwater also has other excellent attributes, including the drag knob with a positive click which allows you to alter the speed.

When you turn the knob, you’ll hear clicks to let you know how far you have to go to achieve the right amount of drag.

The drag knob also features the perfect, textured design to have the ideal grip. That makes it one of the best fly reels on the market.


  • Robust Rulon disc drag system
  • Extremely light
  • Quick, smooth line pickup because of the huge arbor
  • The drag can be adjusted


  • The texture isn’t smooth, and the finish isn’t up with the top fly reels
  • Clearwater has a very basic aesthetic. It’s not glamorous

Buying Guide

A fly reel can be crucial for a fun fishing day. In their most basic form, reels offer three advantages when it comes to fishing:

  1. Storage: A need to store yards of the line for fishing requires storage systems. Reels note this by holding a certain line and limiting the line to unwind.
  2. Retrieval: Fishing reels enable you to efficiently recover the fishing lines when released.
  3. Line Control: Reels allow lines to release as needed, ideally in an orderly manner.

What to Consider While Buying A Fly Fishing Reel?

You’ll discover a broad selection of fly reels available on the market, and deciding which one to purchase is daunting and lengthy.

Before purchasing a fly reel, there are many things to consider to ensure it will suit your set-up for fly fishing.

So, let’s dive deep to find out what you need to consider before buying fly fishing equipment!

1) Left-Handed vs. Right-Handed Reels

There aren’t any reels made explicitly for left-handed or right-handed fishers.

Rather, the reel’s placement on the rod and the line’s connection to the reel determine the direction you should reel in.

If you cast using the left side of your hand, you’ll need the reel to face right and vice versa.

Although, if you are considering buying the pre-spooled fly reel, be sure to ask that it be spooled in the direction you prefer.

Fly reels can be ambidextrous because they can work with both lefties and righties; however, you’ll first have to configure them.

2) Material

The majority of fly fishing reels you can find currently in the market are machined bar stock aluminum, implying that it was machined down from one solid piece of the particular metal using an automated machine.

On the other hand, die-cast aluminum reels are made by melting molten metal in molds.

3) Weight

The weight of the fly reel doesn’t relate to the amount of weight in pounds, but rather it’s a method of classifying your fly reel so that you can compare it with your fly line and fly rod.

For example, you shouldn’t have a 5-weight reel if you own a 7-weight rod. The rod and the reel must be the identical weight, no matter the type of rod you choose.

The greater the weight of your reel, the greater the type of line it’s intended to take on.

It’s challenging to fit a fly line weighing 7 pounds on a reel weighing much less since they’re not designed to handle it.

So always remember to align the weight of your fly reel with the weight of the rod and line.

4) Arbour Size

The fly reels arbor size is a relatively new idea. In the past, every reel had a traditional spindle in the middle where the reel would spin the line.

However, now reels are known as “mid arbor” and “large arbor.”

The bigger your arbor gets, the greater its diameter at the reel’s center.

This suggests that it can absorb the line faster. What is the speed?

You can reel in lines three times more quickly than a standard fly reel with larger arbor reels.

If you’re not fly fishing in saltwater, then you might not need a huge arbor reel.

These are for bigger ocean fish because of their speedier retrieve times and the larger backing capacity.

Although this doesn’t mean that trout anglers shouldn’t use a big arbor reel, the reality is that they’re more common in saltwater.

If you’re fishing for trout, smaller reels will be a perfect choice.

They’re less heavy, simpler to cast, and are extremely quick to respond.

In a nutshell, the best option is the mid-arbor which offers all anglers an extra bit of speed for retrieving and load capacity without sacrificing weight and agility.

Mid-arbor-sized reels are gaining popularity with trout and saltwater anglers as well.

Drag Systems

Retrieving and storing lines may not appear much different, but it’s wrong to think fly fishing reels are only for carrying and gathering lines.

You’ll be thankful that your reel has an appropriately set drag system when you catch a huge smallmouth or brown bass with enough room to run.

Applying pressure to the line is a vital aspect of netting the fish.

If the drag on the reel is not tight, you could risk losing your fish in various scenarios, including shaking lines or tangling on submerged structures.

A short burst of speed could be the difference between landing an award or losing the fly when your rod is rigid.

The angler must try their best to speed up the process, not to play a fish until exhaustion.

Drag systems help in the pursuit of this objective.

Different kinds of drag systems allow you to get effortless line control.

Particular reels systems are simple and harken back to a simpler time when anglers played the sport.

On the other hand, some reels use modern research and technology to take the sport to the next era.

The right choice is based on the purpose of the reel, your preferences, and your budget.

        Types of Drag System

Fly reels have two drag systems: the spring-and-pawl and the disc-drag system.

Each is an outstanding drag system; however, the former is becoming difficult to locate as the latter gained popularity.

1) Spring-And-Pawl/ Click And Pawl Drag System

It is the primitive drag system. It is as efficient in the same way as when it was created.

This drag system utilizes gears present inside the reel that allow the fly line to leave through the reel at a constant and consistent rate.

This kind of system is brilliant for trout and other small fish.

2) Disc Drag System

This functions like the brakes on an automobile.

A pad within the reel is adjusted to put more or less tension on the line.

The drag may be set to almost unlimited levels.

Nowadays, nearly all reels come with at least a decent disc-drag inside their reels.

In addition, many of the best reels feature disc drag systems that surpass the other type by permitting the line to depart the reel with a smooth movement.

In most cases, if you’re just beginning to learn about fishing, it doesn’t matter the kind of drag system you select.

They should work nearly the same if you get the best fly reel and drag system.

Backing Capacity  

The numbers are essential in everything from fighting giant fish to catching the most line for each crank; more is effective.

However, most experts suggest using 25-50 yards less than the maximum to get the most performance.

Wider spools generally are better than narrower options because they stop your line from overrunning itself and impacting casting.

However, “wider” is relative, and the spool’s measurements do not necessarily have any significance.

Types of Retrieval Systems 

There are three kinds of retrieval mechanisms found on fly reels:

a) Single Action Fly Reel

A single-action fly reel simultaneously rotates the spool attached to the fly line for each handle turn. The “large arbor reel” has an increased spool.

Hence, the more the line is inserted each time you turn the handle,  the quicker the line is removed.

b) Multiplying Fly Reel 

The retrieval system permits the lines to be returned to the reel much faster.

The complex system of gears allows only one rotation of the reel’s handle to be equivalent to two or more rotations on the spool.

While this might sound agreeable initially, in reality, these reels have an issue, especially when fishing in rivers. Therefore, multiplication fly reels are utilized for deep-lake and saltwater fishing.

Moreover, these fly reels are challenging to use and create many difficulties when switching spools.

c) Automatic Fly Reel 

This type will retrieve all fly lines without the person adjusting the reel and turning it at any time.

Moreover, the reel does not have a spool moved by a handle; instead, it has an electronic trigger.

When it is free, the trigger lets the line be able to return to the reel.

It’s not necessary or desired for much freshwater fish, mainly when fishing in rivers. However, it can be helpful when you fly fish in large lakes or saltwater.

Extra Spool

Consider adding an extra spool. This will allow your reel to operate more flexibly than a rod.

For example, fishing in still water for big trout requires an eight-weight rod and a floating line.

Contrarily, when you use the same rod for river fishing streamers, you’d appreciate the capability to change to a spool of sink-tip lines.

Then, you can swap out the floating line spool without taking it off the rod with a sink-tip.

The best part is that you won’t need to buy a new reel. It’s as if you had two reels but without the expense of purchasing two reels!

Key Points While Buying A Fly Fishing Reel:

  • For general purposes, both fly reel drag systems work effectively. However, disc-drag fly reels are the most common. Your fly reel will become wet. Check if the reel is resistant to rust.
  • Fly Reels, less than $30, typically have inexpensive counterparts. However, the drag is uneven, and they are prone to breaking down rapidly. Spending a little more to get an excellent fly reel that could last for decades is more beneficial.
  • Buy a single-retrieve fly reel. Do not buy a multiplying or automated retrieve. These are great for saltwater fishing but not appropriate for freshwater fishing.
  • Ensure that you can match the weight of the fly line to the weight of the fly reel. For example, if you’ve got a floating line that weighs 4 pounds, you should get an appropriate fly reel for 4-wt lines. Also, match it up with a 4-weight fly rod.
  • Get a spare spool if you purchase your fly reel. You’ll require the spare spool at some point. Unfortunately, the spool you require will most likely not be available when you need it.

How to Maintain and Care for A Fly Fishing Reel?

You’re at a euphoric mix of excitement and content at the end of every fly fishing trip.

But you also feel exhausted.  Sometimes, you don’t want to get the gear from the truck, and all you want to do is relax for a while and shower. And we get that.

However, it is essential to care for the equipment you use.

For example, the equipment you use for fly fishing will last longer and perform better if you give it a few minutes of attention.

Here are our tips to take care of your fly-fishing reel:

  1. Check the drag and the action of the reel before every outing.
  2. Remove the arbor from the frame and let it air dry before storage.
  3. Next, remove the arbor and examine the cylinder. Get rid of any debris or dirt that may have built up.
  4. Do not add lubricants or grease to the reel. The reel shouldn’t require it, and these substances can eventually affect the drag’s function.


Whether you’re a professional or a novice, make sure that the reel you pick is suitable for the fishing you want to pursue and can work smoothly with the line and rod you own.

In addition, ensure that you are happy with the reel you’re buying.

Whether it’s the design or another feature, reels are often the most adaptable component of the fly fishing setup.

Therefore, decide your requirements and then customize.

It’s impossible to go wrong using any one of our suggested products. You are good to go as long as you match the weight for the line and the fishing rod.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good brand of a fly reel?

Every angler has their preferred fly reel brand, and they'll go back to them for all their purchases no matter what. However, if you cannot find one that befits all your needs, here are a few of the most well-known brands:
Opt for Orvis, Maxcatch, or Okuma if you are looking for budget-friendly options. If you are searching for good-quality reels, opt for Lamson, Redington Fly Reels, or Piscifun. Lastly, if you are looking for premium reels, check out Galvan, Sage, Ross Reels, or Nautilus.

What should I look for in a fly reel?

After this article, we're sure you now know what to look for in the best fly fishing reel. To summarize, the best fly fishing reels should have the essential elements;
Holds a substantial volume of backing
Keeps your rod in balance.
Attracts big, fat fishes.

Additionally, other factors you need to account for are:
Handles the weight and size of the fly line and rod.
Spacious enough to accommodate your fly line and backing, it Is also lightweight and makes transportation easy and convenient 
Comfortable handle for a relaxing experience when reeling in a big bass or trout!
Choose a rust-proof sealed reel if you're planning to fish in saltwater
Review your budget and determine which aspects are essential to you.
Find one that strikes the right balance between durability and efficiency

What is the best Hardy reel?

Originating from gunsmithing, Hardy utilizes their precise techniques to produce high-end premium fly reels. And its best reel is the Hardy Ultraclick Fly Reel; Why? Because of its:
Lightweight design
Ideal for Trout fishing
Enclosed line guard for leader-only systems Ultra-light fly lines. You can use it in small ponds and streams without backing or lengthy fights

The Hardy fishing reel is ideal for those who use ultra-thin lines and leader-only systems, such as Euro-nymphing configurations, due to its enclosed guards for the line to prevent damage to the cable and getting caught in tangling. Ultraclick is a versatile choice for you if you are thinking of fishing in small freshwater streams and waters populated with panfish and pond trouts.

How are fly reels rated?

Majorly, most professionals rate fly fishing reels on how they are made. For example, reels made of anodized steel and corrosion-resistant material offer more exceptional protection and durability. In comparison, die-cast reels made from mold filled with molten metal offer more impact resistance but don't offer the same strength, structural integrity, and precision as machined reels.