When it comes to freshwater fly fishing, the gear you use is at least as important as how good your casting skills are. A high quality rod and reel combo can make precision casting a breeze, while one that is not so great will make things difficult. So, with so many fly fishing reels available on the market today, how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve come up with five of the best fly fishing reels that a freshwater angler really should know about.
In no particular order, the nominees are:
This reel combines elegance and simplicity to provide the perfect fly fishing reel for small stream scenarios. Hardy has been producing this reel for over fifty years now, and it’s fair to say they’ve pretty much perfected the Lightweight. Not too much has changed, because it’s always been such a performer. This high grade anodized aluminum reel comes in four sizes, has an adjustable drag system and a quick-change spool mechanism so you don’t waste valuable fishing time out on your favorite stream. Yours for $225 – $299.
Ross embrace technology and clever design when it comes to the F1 fly fishing reel. The large arbor nature of this reel helps you to retrieve line faster, allowing you to bring that rainbow to shore before it knows what’s going on. In addition, it has a (figuratively speaking) bullet proof drag system, and contains a great deal of carbon fiber making it both light and strong. It’s smooth, classy and elegant. Make it yours for $475 – $650.
- Teton Tioga large arbor – Affordable quality for steelhead and other monster fish
The Tioga from Teton combines affordability and durability to create a beautiful result. This fly fishing reel is manufactured from a single, solid block of space age aluminum alloy, meaning that you couldn’t ask for much more in terms of strength. This reel will hold up to the onslaught that any big fish can hit you with, and you can rest assured that you’ll come out on top in those tough battles against even the wildest steelhead. What’s more, it will set you back just $90.
- Orvis CFO reel – The most reliable all-rounder
The CFO series from Orvis has been around for decades. This is because they are fantastic reels with a number of different applications. Use it for fishing two pound trout on gently flowing streams, use it for tempting big trout from lakes, use it during wild salmon runs on your favorite river. Almost the only thing that’s changed about the CFO series over the last several years is that it’s now manufactured right here in the US. Add it to your arsenal for $325 – $345.
- Redington Crosswater – A must have for beginners
Taking up fly fishing can be a daunting experience, you’re confronted with gear and it’s hard to know what will serve you best. When it comes to reels, the answer is simple – by a Crosswater fly fishing reel from Redington. This basic all-round reel is so cheap that it’s practically disposable, which is great if you decide that fly fishing isn’t for you, or you decide that fly fishing is for you but you accidentally break your first reel (it happens). The no frills design is functional, durable, user friendly and surprisingly high quality for the price, which is just $39.95 – $59.95.
Armed with this list, you should now be able to find the perfect inexpensive fly fishing reel for your specific circumstances. Having the right equipment makes all the difference when it comes to how much you enjoy fly fishing, and it can also have a huge effect on how much money you spend. Finding the right gear at the right price point is key to making this hobby enjoyable.