Best fly fishing reels. Comparison & Buying Guide
If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best fly fishing reel. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Piscifun Sword is the best because it is available in three colors so you can match or contrast it with your rod, and it can also be found in several sizes making it easy to find the perfect one for you. Even though it comes at an affordable price you are not sacrificing on quality since it is constructed from durable aluminum, and has been tempered and cold forged for added strength. Beginners and experienced anglers will also appreciate the mid arbor design that allows for faster retrievals when there is a fish on the line. If the Piscifun Sword is not available, you should consider the Wright-McGill Dragon as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.
Our Top Choice
In spite of its affordable price, the Piscifun Sword seems to have been developed to raise up to par regardless of the fishing circumstance that might arise. Available in multiple sizes and colors, the model addresses many types of fishermen, whether they prefer larger or small fly fishing reels. The product is made corrosion-resistant with high-impact aluminum.
Several buyers have complained about the drag adjustment. Since it spins so easily, it can go from light to heavy in the split of a second, and bumping the dial or locking it down might happen by accident.
The Piscifun Sword is worth every penny as it can be bought for a reasonable price and offers all the benefits of a well-machined fly fishing reel.
The reels in this series have been constructed using bar stock 6061 aluminum and come with a graphite disc drag system, which gives a pointer as to whether or not the products are durable. Also, the storage case is part of the deal, which means that you won’t be forced to purchase it separately. The product is lightweight and more than capable of holding the line as it should.
Some of the people who have bought the Wright McGill Dragon say that its performance might not be the same when used in freezing weather.
Since the Wright McGill Dragon is a bargain compared to other units in the same line, you may have to consider it if your budget isn’t unlimited.
Also To Consider
As it was to be expected from such a well-known manufacturer, the SLV line is composed of high-quality aluminum reels with features that are very hard to say no to. Whether you’re looking for a model with stainless steel spool shafts or one that comes with a roller bearing, it’s a high chance you’ll get your cake and eat it if you choose the Okuma SLV. Spare spools are available from the same brand.
Choosing the perfect fishing line to go with this reel might be a daunting task. Other fishermen have reported that, in spite of the wheel being capable of holding more line, retrieving fish might be hard with this product.
Durability and convenience are two core characteristics of the Okuma SLV. The model features a drag system that is easy to control.
3 Best Fly Fishing Reels (Reviews) in 2023
1. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body
Compared to other units in the same line that we have analyzed, this one is considerably more affordable. A low price does not mean low quality, particularly when it comes to the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel, as the vast majority of the consumer reviews of this model are excellent.
The unit can be purchased in three color variants: black, gold, and gunmetal. Available sizes include ¾, ⅚, and ⅞. Therefore, this reel addresses the needs of many kinds of fishers, aside from the ones who are interested in purchasing a large-sized reel.
Regardless of the size you will be choosing, you need to know that the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is made with high-impact aluminum that has been tested and proven to be resistant to corrosion. The model provides a smooth, quick drag engagement on account of the multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system containing a one-way clutch bearing.
The fact that the model has been cold forged and tempered should be a detail to consider by the people who are still prospecting the market. Unlike other products we have come across, this one features a mid-arbor design, which allows for a relatively quick and easy retrieve. As is the case with the previously mentioned Okuma variant, this one can be converted from left-hand to right-hand in a timely fashion and somewhat easily.
Even though the price of this fly reel is absolutely incredible compared to the one of other products in the line, the buyers who chose this unit are raving about its capabilities. Some have named it the best buy of their lives, as they claim that it’s well worth the money and offers the same quality and excellent performance of a reel costing one to two hundred dollars.
Other consumers have pointed out that they were amazed at the quality of the parts in this reel, as they are made individually of a single piece of metal. Furthermore, the drag system is technically waterproof, as it allows absolutely no liquid to disturb it.
Offering a silky-smooth drag, this model has all the elements to ensure trouble-free retrieves. The multi-disk cork and stainless steel drag provide the rugged durability to withstand water exposure.
The reel has undergone a hard anodizing treatment that is used in the prevention of surface oxidation in automobiles. The treatment provides elevated abrasion resistance by 30 percent as well as all-weather toughness.
The reel is made of highly pure 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, which offers greater corrosion resistance and durability compared to standard aluminum. The reel has been tempered and cold-forged to guarantee superb rigidity and power.
Enjoy silent and smooth retrieves with the O-ring sealed bearing that is protected from corrosion for an indefinite period. The Click Drag design enables effortless yet accurate adjustments to prevent extreme looseness or tightness in the fishing line release.
One buyer opines that the drag is not that user-friendly. There should be finer threads on the drag adjustment knob or at least a wider adjustment range for fine-tuning when needed.
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Okuma is one of the world-known manufacturers of tackle, and this product is no different when it comes to the brand’s quality standards. The model has gathered some of the best fly fishing reel reviews and is among the favorite ones out there.
This unit can be bought in a variety of sizes and styles, all of which have different prices, depending on their features. One thing is for sure, though: the Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel comes with all the characteristics one might ever be looking for. These may range from the multi-disk cork and stainless drag washers to the roller bearing that engages drag in one direction.
The spool shafts have been constructed with stainless steel, which considerably contributes to their durability over time. With a super large arbor spool design and an alumilite diecast aluminum frame, we say that this product is worth having a look at. In addition, the Okuma SLV Diecast model features a precision machined brass bushing drive system.
The left to right hand retrieval conversion is a breeze, and this feature is definitely something to look for in any type of reel you might be interested in purchasing, whether it’s for fly fishing or not.
Spare spools are available by contacting the manufacturer, and it’s common knowledge that buyers of this model are likely to run into no problems when it comes to Okuma customer support and service. The brand is committed to giving out a helping out to any consumer who might be struggling with one of its units.
Both the weight and the dimensions of the reel depend on the style and size you prefer.
The Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel has gathered over one hundred and fifty positive consumer reviews, with people raving about the value it offers for the price. Some say that they were swept off their feet by the capabilities and performance of the reel and ended up purchasing additional ones for other members of their family.
Engineered using the highest quality material, this model is an extra-large arbor fly reel with multi-disc cork and stainless drag washers for superior performance in the water. This is suitable for all types of anglers as it is able to keep pace with even the fastest-moving species in the water.
The diecast aluminum frame offers a lightweight yet solid build. The aluminum build also provides protection from corrosion and premature chipping considering the environment the reel is exposed to. The precision machined stainless steel spool shaft is also protected from early product degeneration.
The roller bearing in the reel enables the engagement of the drag in a single direction only, thus preventing knots or tangles as well as line breakage due to the pressure in fighting fish battles. The non-slip positive grip rubberized handle knobs promote effortless turning and smooth retrievals.
This model supports the effortless switching from left to right-handed retrieval to suit the angler’s fishing style.
The drag adjustment comes with plastic threads that may enable the entry of grains of sand if the angler is not careful in using the reel.
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The Wright-McGill Dragon Large Arbor Fly Reel is capable of excellent performance and comes in a broad array of sizes. It has been highly spoken of by many buyers all over the world, although there have been some individuals who have reported that they ran into some issues with the brand’s customer support.
This model can be purchased in four main sizes, ranging from extra-small to large, and each of the sizes that are available is different in regards to line capacity, line weight, spool diameter and arbor diameter. The only consistent feature is the spool width, which measures 1.22”. For example, the arbor diameter of the extra-small size measures just 2.05”, while the one of the large one measures 2.83”. The same goes for the spool diameter, which varies from 3.15” to 4.09”.
The size should be chosen depending on the user’s personal needs and preferences. However, regardless of the one you prefer, you need to be aware of the fact that all of these reels are made with bar stock 6061 aluminum and feature a graphite disc drag system. The storage case is part of the deal with this fly reel.
The majority of the consumer reviews we have analyzed for this model are positive and praise the quality of build of the item. Some buyers claim that the reel is well made and offers great value for the price. The same individuals emphasize that it’s often difficult to get a dependable and reliably fly reel for as little as one hundred dollars, unless you’re interested in fishing for trout forever.
Other consumers state that, although this is an inexpensive fly reel, it’s lightweight and holds the line very well. Some buyers have gone as far as state that they would compare it to a two hundred and fifty dollar worth fly reel, but others state that they’re somewhat disappointed by the fact that they can’t find replacement spools.
Made using precision machined 6061 aluminum, this fly reel comes with a lightweight design. The material provides protection from early product disintegration due to rust or chipping. The gunmetal finish offers a stunning look to this otherwise simple tool.
The extra-large arbor design enables a more rapid retrieval with a faster reeling in of the line at twice the rate of smaller arbor reels. The large arbor design also provides an impressive, high-tech appearance to this device.
The large, precision graphite disc drag system also contributes to the impressive rapid retrievals. This tool provides a smooth, stick-proof cranking with effortless release and rewinding of the fishing line.
The entire reel boasts premium-quality material in its construction. The supplied storage case offers an efficient means of storage for the reel while protecting it from damage due to impact or the elements.
One customer who used the reel with a switch rod found out it can only accommodate a 20-inch 420 gr head that includes a backing and shooting line.
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Fly fishing requires plenty of time and patience, along with the right rod and reel. It uses different techniques which means you need gear that is designed specifically for fly fishing. In this buying guide you will find the information you need to confidently choose the best fly fishing reels.
What is Fly Fishing?
It has been referred to as the “thinking man’s” sport, and fly fishing does require patience. The long line is cast with lures that are almost weightless, and most anglers recommend using bait that resembles small flies. The lightweight lures will affect the way you cast the line, which is one of the reasons why this can be a difficult sport to master. Fly fishing can also be done in fresh or salt water, which gives you the advantage of being able to go after a variety of fish.
What size reel is best?
As stated in the fly fishing reel reviews there are several sizes to choose from, and the right one for you will depend on a few factors. The size and type of fish you are casting for should be considered, since you need the reel to be large enough to hold the necessary amount of line. The best reels for fly fishing will also feel comfortable and well balanced when mounted on the rod, and won’t add any unnecessary weight that might throw your cast off.
Fly Fishing Reels Described
There are a few characteristics that you will want to look for in a fly fishing reel to ensure you find the right one for your next trip.
Fly fishing reels can be constructed from die cast materials or CNC machined aluminum. Models made from high grade aluminum are designed to be lightweight and durable. Aluminum models are also recommended for salt water fishing since these reels are resistant to rust and corrosion. Die cast fly fishing reels are priced considerably lower and are not as durable as aluminum, but do make an excellent choice for beginners or weekend fishermen.
Spools for fly fishing reels were originally constructed from wood, but the high replacement cost often made it an impractical and expensive choice for anglers on a budget. “Cassette” fly reels, which use an inexpensive spool constructed from plastic, are easy to exchange when needed. The plastic spools also make it easy for you to use different size lines without having to change the entire reel.
The drag system is an important consideration and it will affect the reel’s performance. There are two types of drag systems generally found on fly fishing reels, and each has its own advantages. The “spring and pawl” drag system was originally used on all fly reels, and it relies on internal gears to allow the line to flow at a smooth and steady rate. This type of drag system is often recommended for trout and other small river fish.
Disc drag systems are gaining in popularity, and have the advantage of being able to be adjusted. The small brake pad will apply tension to the line as needed, and this drag system is designed to be durable and high performing. Disc drag systems are also strong enough to withstand the rigors of salt water fly fishing.
You want the fly fishing reel to have a smooth and efficient retrieval system, and there are three types to choose from. The most common is single action retrieval, and these reels are also the easiest to use. While multiple action systems might be able to give you a faster retrieval rate, this can make it difficult to reel in the smaller fish commonly found in streams and rivers. If you need a fast retrieval when you are fishing in salt water, an automatic fly reel might be just what you are looking for.
Left or Right Handed
One of characteristic to consider is if you want to use the reel with you left or right hand, though it should be noted that there is not a “right or wrong way”. Some anglers prefer to cast and control with their right hands, and wind the line back in with their left. Most experts recommend choosing a fly reel with an ambidextrous design so you can configure it to your exact specifications.
Choosing the right design
There are three types of fly fishing reels commonly found on the market, and the right one for you will usually depend on what you are trying to catch.
Standard Arbor Fly Reels
These smaller reels feature a traditional design, and is often recommended for beginners and river fishing. The base is located in the middle of the spool so you can easily attach the backing, but these reels do have a limited line storage capacity and a lower retrieval rate.
Mid Arbor Fly Reels
Designed to hold more backing and to have a faster retrieval rate, these mid size reels are commonly used for fly fishing on lakes and rivers. Since the base has been relocated away from the middle, you have the advantage of a wider reel that can hold more line.
Large Arbor Fly Reels
These reels are typically machined to improve durability, while also ensuring a lightweight design. Since the reels can hold a large amount of line and backing they are often used for salt water fly fishing. The larger design also provides you with the faster retrieval rate you need to reel big game fish in.
Fly fishing is often a relaxing and solitary sport, and the best way to enjoy it is with the right gear. Along with a suitable rod and weightless lures, you also need a sturdy fly fishing reel. These reels are available in different styles and sizes, and the right one for you will often be determined by what you are fishing for. Fishing is a sport that takes patience and effort, but it does get remarkable easier when you have the right fly fishing reel.