Best Fly Fishing Reels – How To Choose A Fly Reel

The fly fishing reel is one of the essential parts of fishing tackle. There is a wide range of fishing reels on the market, and selecting one that will suit your needs won't be easy. This article will explain factors you have to consider when buying a fly fishing reel, and will also provide you with five Best Fly Fishing Reels your money can buy.

Fly Fishing Reels Buyer's Guide

This section deals with fly fishing reels, and why it is important to select the right one. There is a reason why there are so many them on the market, for manufacturers want to include everyone's needs and wishes when producing fishing reels.

Manufacturing Process

Most fishing reels are mass produced. Manufacturers pour melted material into the callups. This way of producing was introduced when demand for fishing equipment expanded.

Thus manufacturers needed to supply the demand, so they opted for the classical manufacturing process, developing preconstructed cast in which they would pour desired material.

While this way of producing allowed manufacturers to produce many fly fishing wheels with little to no room for error, mass production (the die-cast method) cannot produce the best fly fishing reels.

The second way of producing fishing reels includes the usage of computer-operated machines, generally CNC machines. This way the manufacturers have more liberty and control over the production, allowing them to make high-end fly fishing reels.

After the fly reel is made, manufacturers regularly treat it with anticorrosive cover. They also make the material resistant to saltwater, thus granting maximum durability. Fly reels produced this way are usually made of aluminum, are lightweight and highly durable. They are more expensive but will last longer than those made with the die-cast method of producing.

Size Of The Reel

Reels come in various sizes. Some are resistant to saltwater, and some aren't. Why? Well, not everyone has access to saltwater and thus doesn't need a reel resistant to saltwater.

Size of the fly reel corresponds with the kind of fish you plan on catching. It is simple: bigger reel for bigger fish.

For instance, if you plan on fishing for river trout, you don't need high-end CNC reel with disc drag. In fact, extra weight can cause unnecessary problems.

Instead, going for simple click pawl would be a lot better option in this case. Fly reels are all about fly line and backing and selecting the one that will give you optimal conditions is preferable.

Apart from the technical issues, there is also a preference "issue." For instance, you might have big hands, so you could experience problems using small or medium size reel. So, consider such things when buying the reel.

Minding The Design

Though they can be the same size, flying reels may differ in design. In general, there are three main types of reel designs:

Large Arbor Reels - physically the most massive reels, granting the user more control while fishing. They are wider, featuring bigger diameter and thus allowing excellent backing capacity. They are regularly the most expensive, but to give the most control and fastest retrieval rate.

Medium Arbor Reels - bigger than the standard reels, smaller than the large ones, these reels offer a middle ground. They are ergonomically more comfortable to use and grant good backing as well as retrieving capacity. The line is in the bigger loop when compared with large arbor reels, giving more efficient casting distance.

Standard Arbor Reels - these arbor reels are regularly used by fishing enthusiasts and amateurs. The design is classic, suited for smaller fishing rods. They provide reduced retrieval speed and offer more memory line. This isn't a good thing because the line will eventually curl up, due to smaller reel diameter. However, conventional reels are more lightweight and compact, fitting for smaller fishing rods.

Drag Systems

While there are some other factors you may consider, drag system is more important. Essentially, there are two drag system, the traditional, already mentioned click drag and the disc drag system.

As stated before, click-drag features simple respond mechanism, reliving the applied pressure off the spindle. It is lightweight and best suited for smaller fishing rods, the ones you would use to catch smaller river or lake fish.

On the other hand, disc drag system withstands more pressure and controls the tension by slowly decreasing or increasing the pressure. Consider disc brakes on your car; well, that's how the disc drag works, primarily. This allows for higher tension since the disc drag responds to the amount of pressure the fish puts on the reel and rod.

This system is ordinarily used on bigger rods, for catching bigger fish, such as salmon. However, they will put more weight on the rod. Both of these systems have their pros and cons, but more and more fisherman opt for disc drag system since it gives them more control when it comes to maintaining pressure and tension put on the reel.

Reviews of The Best Fly Fishing Reels

KastKing Katmai/Kobuk Fly Fishing Reel Review

Though made in 2017, KastKing Katmai/Kobuk Fly Fishing Reel is still among the best fly fishing reels on the market. This reel is made of stainless steel, and is resistant to saltwater, making it suitable for saltwater fishing.

The reel is sealed from both sides, featuring disk drag system, granting you the option to catch big fish if you desire so. It comes in four different sizes, ranging from 74 mm to 109 mm in diameter, making it suitable for small and big rods.

Though the manufactures state the reel is right and left hand suitable, you will have to convert it on our own if you are left handed, since the reel is adjusted by the default for right-hand usage (check this educational video to see how the conversion is done).

It is fairly lightweight and highly durable since the O ring prevents the water from entering the inner part of the reel. The KastKing Katmai/Kobuk Fly Fishing Reel easily tops even those that are more expensive when it comes to performance and durability. It is suitable for a beginner that are interested in fishing, as well as for those who want quality reel for the small price.



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    Lightweight and durable aluminum
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    Corrosion and saltwater resistant
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    O ring repels the water from damaging inner parts
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    Right and left hand suitable
  • Drag spinning sometimes "jumps"
  • Not recommended for professional use

Piscifun Blaze Fly Fishing Reel Review

Piscifun Blaze Fly Fishing Reel  is CNC made, featuring lightweight corrosion free aluminum (6061-T6 Al).

It utilizes the click-drag system for more smoother and comfortable fishing experience. This click-drag uses the single clutch, allowing for instantly gain control over the amount of pressure.

Piscifun Blaze Fly Fishing Reel is the mid-size reel, featuring medium arbor design, thus finding the optimal balance between backing capabilities and line memory. The line won't curl due to the decently sized diameter, and the arbor will respond to pressure with strength and fantastic resistance to tension.

The reel's surface is covered with anodized material, giving it strength, robustness, and corrosion free capabilities. Due to its size and design, it is suitable for both freshwater as well as saltwater fishing but is best suited for rivers or lakes, but you can efficiently use it in saltwater as well, just don't go for the biggest fish in the sea.



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    Excellent aluminum material
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    Lightweight, medium-sized arbor
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    Smooth dragging capabilities
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    Right and left-hand compatibility
  • The drag-click system might have minor strength issues
  • The clicking sound is a bit too quiet

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel Review

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is a solid, lightweight reel made of aluminum alloy. It too comes with 3-year warranty, showcasing the manufacturer's confidence it the quality.

This reel features medium arbor design, putting the focus on decreasing the line memory while allowing decent backing at the same time. It also takes pride in its rapid line pickup, proving its use in the moments where fish catches you off guard.

The click-drag system if very smooth, using the already mentioned multi-cork system for comfortable drag action. This reel is corrosion resistant, its surface being protected against oxidation.

Retrieving is silent and smooth, and the reel feature O ring to prevent the water from entering the inner parts. It is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater use and is very easy to maintain.

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is suitable for beginners and amateurs, but not recommended for professional use.



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    Aluminum made, lightweight and durable
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    Reel's surface is protected against oxidation
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    O ring increases durability
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    Smooth dragging (multi-disc cork click-drag)
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    Easy retrieving capabilities
  • Not best suitable for professional fisherman
  • Drag system might "jump," moving too quickly from low to high spinning

Redington Behemoth Reel Review

Redington Behemoth Reel is die-cast made reel, emphasizing drag system capabilities more than anything else. It comes in various sizes, from 4/5 to 11/12 in diameter.

This reel is aesthetically pleasing, and its drag is very powerful. Design features large arbor, allowing the user to catch bigger fish, the ones that put more pressure on the arbor. The drag system is made of carbon fiber and is highly adjustable and very reliable.

It is somewhat heavy, so keep that in mind if you decide to purchase this reel. Being large, it offers great capacity, allowing you to fit heavy lines and hundreds of yards of backing on it.

Brake system is well balanced, good at controlling the tension between the reel and the fish. Though it is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater, the saltwater protection isn't done perfectly, and the salt might jam the dragging system.

This reel is suitable for both beginners and veterans alike. It is durable, and won't lose performance capabilities over a long period.



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    Powerful and smooth carbon fiber drag
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    Beautifully designed, featuring futuristic looks
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    Balanced brake system
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    Can hold hundreds of yards of backing line
  • Somewhat heavy
  • Drag might jam if excessively used for saltwater fishing

Sage 2200 Series Fly Fishing Reel Review

Sage 2200 Series Fly Fishing Reel is the most high-end fly fishing reel on our list. It comes in different sizes, from 3.3 to 4.3 inches in diameter, and can win the battle against most river medium to mostly sized fish.

The click-drag system is strong, silent and smooth, due to the smart design and die-cast manufacturing. It does produce click sound, but soothing, not too quiet or too loud. Dragging is firm and quick, doesn't jump, giving you enough control over the fish.

Large arbor is robots, and the frame of the reel is highly durable, being die-cast made. The drag knob is ergonomically comfortable, fully welded and very powerful.

Sage 2200 Series Fly Fishing Reel is easy to maintain, compact and reasonably lightweight. You will have no problems exchanging the spool, and the large arbor design gives you the option to use hundreds of yards of backing line.

It can be used in saltwater, but you'll need to pay close attention to the maintenance after every fishing trip.



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    Powerful carbon click-drag system
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    Large arbor design grants strength and robustness
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    Ergonomic drag knob
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    Highly durable, arguably the most durable on the list
  • Clicking sound might be too quiet for some tastes

Best Fly Fishing Reel Reviews Conclusion

There are no absolute winners here, but if we had to choose, we would go for the Piscifun Blaze Fly Fishing Reel, for several reasons. Firstly, while it is  very durable, aluminum made, corrosion and saltwater resistant.

Dragging is not the strongest, but it is smooth and silent, without jumping or jamming. This reel is also easy to maintain, and right and left-hand compatible. If only it had slightly more powerful drag, it would have been perfect. Then again, the product would then had to be bigger, probably, large arbor designed, and would lose its current features.

As stated above, there aren't any absolute winners. If you went through the article carefully, you would find that it all depends on your preferences. So keep in mind all the things we mentioned, from manufacturing and material to size and aesthetics because the more factors you consider, the better your choice will be.

Now that you have chosen a reel that suits your needs and preferences, you might want a rod that goes with it. Here you will find the best fly rod reviews and an in-depth buying guide.

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