Best Fly Fishing Reels | Reviewed & Tested

To have a perfect fly fishing experience you must have the best fly fishing reel and getting one can be quite overwhelming because there are hundreds of them out there that you can get. However, not all of them are worth it and some might even ruin fly fishing for you. This makes it even harder, but why are you worrying? You have got us!

Best Fly Fishing Reels

We have reviewed the best fly fishing reels you can get, and have picked out the top 8 for you. We have tried our best to provide you with all the information you would need about each of them, and we are sure by the end of this article, you would have made the decision of which one you want to go for! So, let’s get started;

What is Fly Fishing?

What is Fly Fishing

We have been talking about Fly Fishing ever since we started but do you know what fly fishing is? How will you select the best fly fishing reel for yourself if you don’t know the answer to that question? Don’t worry, we will explain. Basically, fly fishing is a special kind of fishing that uses a special type of lure, an artificial fly that is made from real animal skin or hair. The purpose of using this kind of lure is to fool your target with an enticing meal and catch them as soon as they are trapped.

This method of fishing is relatively new and has been showing huge success ever since. Many professional anglers have shifted themselves to fly fishing because it increases their chances of getting a huge number of fish. And even if you are a beginner, you can go for this method and you will be a pro soon because of the simplicity of this method.

Top 8 Fly Fishing Reels

So now, you know what fly fishing is, thus, without wasting any more time, let’s get straight into the list of best fly fishing reels;

1. Waterworks Lamson Liquid Fly Fishing

Waterworks Lamson Liquid Fly Fishing

The basic purpose of a good fly fishing reel is to provide accuracy, smoothness, and strength to your rod so that you can have a good experience and will be able to fight all kinds of fish in the water. And this one here, the Waterworks Lamson Liquid Fly Fishing Reel, fulfills this purpose at best. It provides you with everything you will need to battle a fish in the sea. It is strong, provides a smooth casting and baiting, and also accuracy so that you hit where you aim to. 

This reel is made of very high-quality aluminum. You might think that water is the biggest enemy of metal because it damages it, but here that’s not a problem, because the reel is protected by a special PU coating that makes it water-resistant. Moreover, the spool comes with a larger arbor comparatively that allows you to retrieve it better.

Talking about the drag system, the reel uses a properly sealed conical drag system, which gives protection in all conditions and reduces the risk of damage. Lastly, the variety of colors and sizes makes this reel even more perfect for everyone. It comes in two different colors and provides four different sizes for different fish. The heavier the fish you want to catch, the bigger the size of the reel you will need. 

Wait, we forgot to tell you one important detail, being an aluminum reel you must be thinking it would be pretty heavy. But well, you are wrong, it only weighs 0.8 pounds making itself one of the lightest fly fishing reels out there. However, you can get all of this perfection only if you are willing to pay the price it comes at, which might be a little higher than other fly fishing reels. We can’t say it’s expensive, just a tad bit higher than others.

Features 

  • It is strong, smooth, and accurate
  • Made of Aluminum 
  • PU coating 
  • Water-resistant 
  • The spool comes with a larger arbor 
  • The sealed conical drag system 
  • Weighs 0.8 pounds
  • Available in different colors and sizes 

Cons

  • A Tad bit more expensive than others

If you want to catch some big heavy fish in the water using the fly fishing method, we think this reel is the best option for you. It is our top pick because of all the good features it provides, you can rely on it. The money is a little higher we get it, but it’s long-lasting. Hence, it’s a one-time investment for a very long time.

2. Lamson Force SL Series II

 Lamson Force SL Series II

If you are a professional freshwater angler and looking for a perfect reel to try for fly fishing. Then go nowhere else, because Lamson Force SL Series II fits the best for you. It has everything a professional would need, not only is it the most lightweight but has one of the largest spool diameters among the freshwater fly fishing reels. The SL series by Lamson is one of the best series the brand has ever made when it comes to fly fishing reels. 

In terms of performance, the reel offers precision and strength, the thin spool with a larger diameter allow you to store thin but longer sinking and floating lines, allowing you to go deeper. The reel is made up of aluminum, and the sealed conical drag system is not only responsible to provide a smooth drag and retrieval but also protects the reel from all the damage the water might do. It comes in two size options and you can select one based on your choice of fish. Lastly, the large arbor makes the pickup in the line a hundred times easier. 

That’s all the good things that these fly fishing reels bring to the table, however, there is an issue that most anglers don’t like. That’s money, even though it is the best fly fishing reel for freshwater, it is also the most expensive one, and by that we mean you need to spend more than $500 on this reel. This is why we say that this reel is highly suitable for professionals who will use it every day. A beginner who just wants to have some casual fishing fun will just spend too extra if he chooses this one.

Features

  • Lightweight 
  • Thin spool with large diameter
  • Made up of aluminum 
  • Thin but longer sinking and floating lines 
  • The sealed conical drag system 
  • Two size options 

Cons

  • A little too expensive

Even though it might cost you a little extra, the performance and accuracy it provides are unbeatable. For a professional freshwater angler, there’s no better fly fishing reel than this one, and we would highly recommend it. It is highly durable so the money you spend will last for a relatively long time.

3. Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

Next on our list is this fly fishing reel by Redington called Behemoth Fly reel. If you look at it you might notice that the shape of this reel is quite unusual because of its die-cast construction. Even though this unusual shape makes this reel a lot more stylish that is not its sole purpose of it, it also increases the performance of the reel. This fly reel is an all-purpose reel and is suitable for all kinds of water, including saltwater, but we prefer it for more of a freshwater application. 

It comes with a sealed carbon fiber drag system which is responsible for providing even better-stopping power, especially for big fish. The reel comes with a greater backing capacity, which is what makes it an all-purpose reel and not just a freshwater fly fishing reel.

It uses a large spool having a width of almost 1.6 inches, which makes it super suitable to use with large sinking and floating lines. The reel is available in five different sizes and you can select one based on how heavy your fly is and how heavy fish you want to catch. 

Well, not everything’s always blue right? So here’s the deal, even though we think this reel makes one of the best all-purpose fly fishing reels for all people, it might be a little heavy. Since it is made of genuine aluminum, it adds a lot of weight to the reel. Hence, it would require a stronger hand to carry it.

Features 

  • Die-cast construction 
  • Made up of genuine Aluminum 
  • Gives out the best performance 
  • All-purpose fly fishing reel 
  • The sealed carbon fiber drag system 
  • Better stopping power
  • Greater backing capacity 
  • 1.6 inches width of the spool
  • Suitable for larger sinking and floating lines 
  • Available in five different sizes 

Cons

  • It is on the heavy side 

Carrying the weight of this reel might be difficult for many people, because it’s not just the reel, of course, when you are using it you will have to count the weight of the rod and the lure as well. Which might be a little difficult to carry and cause fatigue for some people. However, if you think you are strong enough to fight this weight, you have the best option available. Don’t go looking for something else, because this reel will do it all for you!

4. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

If you want the best quality fly fishing reel that too without spending hundreds of dollars, then you can’t have a better deal than this Piscifun Sword Fly fishing reel. The mantra of this reel is to provide you with the best performance at the lowest cost. It is so cheap that you can get a good piece for yourself for under $100. Something that only a few fly fishing reels can offer and none of them is as good as this one. 

It is made up of CNC machined strong aluminum covered with an anodized casing, both of these features provide you strength, durability, and precision. It uses a stainless-steel drag system and a Multi-disk cork along with a one-way clutch bearing, which allows you to adjust the reel as per your choice and provides strength to catch big fish in both freshwater and saltwater. Even though it is suitable for fish of all weights, it works really well with medium-sized fish and flies. 

This reel by features is without a doubt one of the best fly fishing reels out there, however, in terms of options, it doesn’t really provide you with one. It is only available in one size which limits your options. Even though it uses bearings to make it adjustable, still that’s not enough, right?

Features

  • Made up of CNC Machined strong aluminum 
  • Uses anodized casing
  • Provides strength and precision
  • Durable 
  • Comes at a low price
  • Stainless-steel drag system 
  • Multi-disk cork
  • One-way clutch bearing 

Cons

  • Comes in only one size

When it comes to the features and performance this reel provides everything that might come in handy while fly fishing, and that too at such a low cost. Having no size options might make you question our choice, but overall, this reel provides the best deal you can get at this price range. And if you look at the size, you will know that it is an ideal size for fly fishing reels, and you might don’t even need to have options once you get a hold of this one.

5. Angler Dream Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel

Angler Dream Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel

It is called ‘Angler dream’ for a reason, and that is because this fly fishing reel is something every angler dream about having. You can get a pretty good idea by its name that this reel is about providing a large arbor, well, that’s not all. It has so many other features that add to the performance of the reel. And the best part about this reel is that it is not expensive at all, in fact, all the anglers can fulfill their dream for just under $100. 

Let’s get into the features, first of all, as we mentioned it comes with a large arbor which allows you to hold longer lines, and this one can hold up to 9 feet long lines (this one uses nylon lines), which makes it ideal for fly fishing in saltwater.

Manufacturing-wise, the reel is made up of strong aluminum, and as it is made ideally for saltwater, the reel is covered using PVC Coating to protect from any harm the water can do to the metal. It uses an aluminum alloy fly reel drag system and comes with a Teflon disc which provides smooth casting and retrieval. 

It is available in four different sizes providing you with a good amount of options to choose from as per your needs. Though the weight of the reel might be a little problem that some anglers might face, it is not very heavy but does have a little more weight compared to other fly fishing reels.

Features 

  • Large arbor 
  • Can hold up to 9 feet of lines 
  • Uses nylon lines 
  • Made up of strong aluminum 
  • Uses PVC Coating for protecting the reel
  • Aluminum alloy fly reel drag system 
  • Teflon disc 
  • Available in four different sizes
  • Cheaper in price 

Cons 

  • Might be a little heavy for some 

Personally, we believe that the precision, power, and performance this fly fishing reel provides that too in this price range is unbeatable and hard to find among fly fishing reels for saltwater fishing. If you are willing to ignore a little extra weight, you might be getting yourself one of the best.

6. Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel

Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel

One thing that most anglers who prefer fly fishing in deep saltwater are concerned about is their reels getting damaged because of all the water splashes. We see where this concern comes from but this Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel was specially designed to eliminate the risk of that. And this does it well by using a 6061-T6 Aluminum casing on the reel which makes it both water and corrosion resistant in all water and weather conditions. 

The reel is made up of CNC machined aluminum and uses a hollow design which makes it both strong and light at the same time. Talking about the design, you must know that this one is one of the most stylish-looking fly fishing reels you can get.

It uses a fiber-composite drag system which not only allows a smooth casting but also makes your retrieval easy and silent. Other than the aluminum casing, the reel also uses a hard-anodized surface minimizing the risk for damage even more. 

In terms of performance and strength, there’s no way you can question it. However, one major disadvantage of this reel is that the mounted screws it uses get loosened up after a few times of use. This problem can be fixed by using a screwdriver to tighten them up, but these screws often lose up again. Hence, if you are using this reel, you need to carry a screwdriver with you after you have the first episode of screws loosening.

Features:

  • 06-T6 Aluminum casing 
  • Water and corrosion resistant 
  • Made up of CNC machined aluminum 
  • Uses a hollow design 
  • Lightweight 
  • Stylish design 
  • Fiber-composite drag system 
  • Smooth casting and silent retrieval
  • Hard anodized surface
  • Reasonable in terms of price

Cons:

  • The mounted screws loosen up after using the reel a few times

What weight a screwdriver would add up to your fishing gear? Not that much, hence, you can easily carry it around with you. We do see it as a problem, but this problem does not make this reel bad and just needs a simple solution. And if you decide to adopt this solution, we guarantee you the performance and accuracy, and you will never have a complaint in this regard.

7. Orvis Hydros SL Fly Fishing Reel

Orvis Hydros SL Fly Fishing Reel

There was no chance that this reel was not going to make it to our list, being relatively new in the market, it has turned the tables for fly fishing reels. The new Orvis Hydros SL Fly Fishing reel has everything you might have not been able to get it yet from other fly fishing reels.

Coming at a reasonable price range, it provides the precision and performance of a perfect high-end reel. It is made up of strong aluminum and uses a PU coating to protect against damages. 

The drag system of this reel is without a doubt the best, it uses a sealed drag system that allows speedy casting and silent retrieval. It is a highly durable fly fishing reel that is strong enough to carry the weight of any heavy fish you desire to catch. It weighs around 0.5 pounds making itself the lightest. Ideally, the reel fits the best for freshwater fly fishing, but you can use it in saltwater, however, you might not be able to get much deeper. It comes in five different sizes, each of which can carry different weights of flies, hence, choose accordingly! 

If you are a beginner there is something we would like to warn you about, even though the performance of this reel might attract you but you must know that handling the drag knob might be a little difficult for you. However, if you have experience in using fly fishing reels, this might not be a problem for you.

Features

  • Made up of strong aluminum 
  • Uses a PU Coating 
  • Sealed drag system 
  • Highly durable 
  • Weighs 0.5 pounds
  • Lightweight 
  • Ideal for freshwater fly fishing 
  • Five different size options 
  • Reasonable in terms of money 

Cons

  • Handling the drag knob might be a little too complicated for beginners 

As a beginner, you might think that this is not the right fit for you because of its complicated drag knob, well, we understand that but you can use it. All you need is to have a little extra time to learn how it works and a little practice. Once you do that, we are sure you will be able to perform extremely well with this one, just like a professional fly fishing expert!

8. Okuma SLV Diecast Fly Fishing Reel

Okuma SLV Diecast Fly Fishing Reel

Last on our list is this Okuma SLV Diecast Fly Fishing reel, and by the name of it, you can get that it uses a diecast construction, which means that it offers high durability. It is made up of strong aluminum, uses a multi-cork disk, and comes with stainless-steel drag washers. All of this suggests that this reel has enough strength to tackle any fish. Also, keep in mind that it is a highly budgeted reel, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much as well. 

It features a machined stainless spool shaft that allows casting without the fear of twisting lines and uses roller bearings on the left side allowing the line to cast in only one direction which increases precision and accuracy.

The reel handle is also placed on the left side and is made up of rubber that gives a firm and steady grip, allowing easy control. In terms of weight, the reel is very lightweight weighing only 0.49 pounds. Damage is nothing to worry about, because the aluminum uses a PVC coating, making the reel both corrosion and water-resistant. 

A drawback of this reel is that it does not provide many options when it comes to sizes, it comes in only one size. Which might be difficult for those who like to have variations while fishing. You can only use one kind of fly lure with this one. 

Features

  • Diecast construction 
  • Made up of aluminum 
  • Multi-cork disc
  • Stainless-steel drag washers
  • Offers high strength and durability 
  • Highly budgeted
  • Comes with a machined stainless spool shaft
  • Roller bearings 
  • The reel handle is made of rubber 
  • Weighs only 0.9 pounds 

Cons

  • Only one size option is available 

If you are okay with fishing using the same fly fishing lure then this reel will prove to be a good option for you. It promises strength, precision, performance, durability, and all of that at a very low price. It is highly suitable for both freshwater and saltwater and even a beginner can use it like a pro. A fit for all, we must say!

Factors to look into before buying a Fly Fishing Reel

Factors to look into before buying a Fly Fishing Reel

As we mentioned, buying a fly fishing reel can be a tough decision because of all the options available in the market. But to select the best out of them, we suggest you consider the following things;

1. freshwater or Saltwater

Fly fishing is done in both freshwater and saltwater, however, you might not be able to use the same reel for both of them. Because there is a difference in the water pressure, the types of fish, and even the texture of the water in both. Hence, there are different fly fishing reels for both. So you need to decide which one to get based on the water you are choosing for fishing. There are even a few fly fishing reels that are suitable for both saltwater and freshwater. Still, before you buy one make sure what it is designed for! 

2. Water resistance

You can’t really go fishing without coming in contact with water, can you? And since most fly fishing reels are made of aluminum, there’s a good chance the water might damage the reel especially if it is saltwater. So before you spend your money on one, make sure to check what the manufacturer has done in regard to water resistance. If the reel provides good water resistance then you are good to go, but if not, we suggest looking for something else. 

3. Weight

One important thing you must know about fly fishing reels is that most of them are made of aluminum which might be a little heavy sometimes. And a heavy fly fishing reel is a red flag, it should be as lightweight as possible. So make sure you don’t end up with a bulky reel that you might not even be able to handle, get the lightest reel you find, and then thank us later! 

4. Drag system

One thing anglers look for while finding the perfect fly fishing reel is to get one with the best drag system, because basically, the drag system can be considered as the brain of the reel, because it is responsible for everything else to work. The better drag system provides precision and strength while casting and retrieving the line. Hence, you have to get the best! 

5. Price

Lastly, you know that everything comes at a price and so do fly fishing reels, however, they are not as expensive as you must have seen at some stores. Make sure you don’t spend the extra money and end up with a feature-packed reel because it will make your fly fishing a lot more complicated. Ideally, you can get a good fly fishing reel for under $500. 

FAQs

Well, fly fishing use a special kind of lure, which is handled by a special kind of line and rod, and thus, to manage with that, you need to have a special fly fishing reel. You can use a regular reel but you might not be able to have the same experience as you can with fly fishing reels.

If you want to buy a fly fishing reel, you must look at what features it is providing. A good fly fishing reel provides high strength, performance, and accuracy. It is water-resistant and lightweight and uses a good drag system. Make sure to take a look at our buying guide to get details!

The price of the fly fishing reel completely depends on which brand you are getting because each brand has its own price range. There are a few brands that make reasonable and budgeted fly fishing reels that you can get for as low as under $100, while on the other hand, there are a few high-end brands that make costly and expensive reels that might get you to spend more than $500.

Final Verdict

That was all the information we gathered for you and we are sure it was enough for you to make your decision on which fly fishing reel you want to go. Now, you have 8 different options and you know everything there is to know about them including the good and the bad. Selecting one might be a little difficult, but that is what our buying guide is for. Take a brief look at it identify your needs, and then pick which one suits you the best. Do let us know which one you decided to go with!

[Don’t forget to get your fishing license]

In our verdict, if we had to choose, we would pick the top 3 as;

  1. Waterworks Lamson Liquid Fly Fishing
  2. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel
  3. Angler Dream Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel

That’s all from our side, you are independent to make your own choice but make sure you make it right! Let us know if we were of any help!

Clinton Shannon

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