You can’t go wrong with any of these reels. When it comes down to it, it’s just minute differences and preferences that appear when you purchase a reel.
Best Fly Fishing Reels Reviews 2017
This series is comprised of four different sized reels. They weight from ¾ to 9/10. The one we will be talking about is known as the 2250 model. It has a 5/6 weight. This model is the biggest one we have ever reviewed. It has a diameter of 3.625 inches and it has a width of 1.3125 inches. Since this model is larger, it also weighs more; its weight comes in at 5.25 ounces. The balance of your rod depends on the length and weight of your rod. Since this is a larger model, there have been a lot of great reviews in regards to how large the handle is; it’s bigger so the handle is easier to grip.
You can switch the rod between hands easily. The drag system is numbered so you always know where it is and can adjust it with ease. It has a sealed carbon drag system which makes this an optimal reel to use.
The warranty that Sage has on their equipment literally cannot be beaten. They provide assistance if anything happens, so just let them know and they are happy to help. At the end of the day, this is only a $139 reel coming from a brand name that people use all the time. The only part that may irk some people is that it is a little bulky, but, you may like it still.
The next reel on our list is this American made model. This model is manufactured in the states and then sent to Idaho for assembly. Fun fact, Idaho is also the hub of fly fishing. This design is meant to be strong, but lightweight. The design itself is quite large. This model is one of this brand’s less expensive products. However, this specific model gets compared to the more high-end products quite frequently. It’s drag system is sealed so you don’t have to worry about any interference. They use the same drag system in this reel that they use in their more high-quality reels.
You can also use the Guru in both hands. The knock on this reel is the same size as the handle, so using it effectively might be tricky for those of us who have large hands. However, for the price that it is, it’s great for the rest of us. At $219.95 it can’t be beaten. It also has a lifetime warranty.
This reel comes in a variety of sizes. The one we will be reviewing today is weighing at 5-7. If you were to base it on weight and diameter, this reel would be in the middle of the group we are taking a look at. This reel especially can hold 125 yards of 20-pound backing, which is more than either the Guru or the Sage can hold.
This reel is both stylish and durable. What separates these from the others is the mid-arbor size. The other reels we have mentioned all have large-arbors. This just means that the part the line wraps around is smaller. This does make it lighter; however, you won’t get as many inches per turn on your retrieve if you don’t fill it with backing. Larger reels retrieve faster, so the size of this reel is a good compromise.
Although its appearance will appeal to some, one of the other buying features is its carbon drag system. There is nothing to dissuade you from buying this reel, and with the lifetime warranty, it has there is no need to worry about getting a new one.
The design of this model is quite unique and will draw all the eyes to your rod. Not only is this reel visually appealing, it also has an equally appealing price of $110 (depends on the size). The drag knob on this model is oversized so it’s easy to switch hands while using it. The ergonomic handle is also a decent size as well. This is the biggest reel we will be discussing today!
Due to its wide design, it can hold a lot of backing. 125 yards of 20 lbs line to be exact. This reel has all the qualities you could ask for, it’s powerful, smooth, big, plus it has a carbon fiber drag! The only downside is its size, if you want something small, this isn’t for you. But if you want something big, then this is the best fly reel under 200 you can get! Not to mention it comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Ross CLA Fly Reel is the costliest model out of all of these and you will see why shortly. This reel can be used in both saltwater and freshwater because of anodization. Because of it, this reel is tough and durable against anything that can scratch it. This big guy also has an oversized drag knob so adjusting is easy.
It’ll be hard to find any flaws with this model and even today (2017) we believe the Ross CLA Fly Reel is still the best saltwater fly reels and although this is the most expensive out of the bunch, you cannot deny that it still delivers. It also has a lifetime warranty, plus they are made in the USA. These models come at just under $106, pretty sweet still right?
How to choose a fly fishing reel
Choosing a fly reel might seem like a daunting task, but it really doesn’t have to be, all you have to do is find a reel that goes well with the fly rod you currently own or plan on buying (I highly recommend you read our buying guide here), is the right size and weight, and has all the features you need, kind of a tall order when you think about it. But by sticking to the key points mentioned below you should be able to find something beautiful and functional that you’ll be proud to own and use to catch… for many years to come.
When selecting a new reel, two questions should guide your buying decision:
- What kind of fish am I going to be catching?
- What kind of fishing rod am I going to use with the reel with?
The first thing you should take into consideration when choosing a reel is; how well it balances with your fishing rod in terms of weight, and how much spool it can carry relative to the length of your rod.
For instance if you’ve got a 5-wt rod, you’ll want to pair it up with a 5-wt reel so that it is properly balanced. You’ll also need to make sure your reel has a retriever tailored to your preferred reeling hand.
A fly rod and fly reel that are in balance should pivot at a point in the middle of the rod grip, when balanced on your finger.
Next on our list is the drag system. Drag is the ability of your reel to stop a fish from pulling all the line off the reel, you’ll need a reel with enough drag to match the rod you are using and one that can keep up with the stronger, feistier fishy you’ll want to catch.
The construction of your fly reel is another thing you are going to need to consider. There are two methods for fly reel construction:
- Machine Casted.
- Pre Casted.
Machine casted reels are a single metal unit reel; this construction process produces a more durable, sturdier and high quality reel.
Pre-casted reels as the name implies have the different pieces of the reel casted on their own and these are the most common moderately priced reels you will find.