5 Best Fly Fishing Reels: Must-Read Buyer’s Guide

Fly angler reeling his fly reel in by Jan Fillem.

Are you a fly angler that thinks your fly reel is the least important of all your fly fishing gear equipment? You couldn’t be more wrong.

Every fly reel at different prices can have both advantages and disadvantages so you should analyze each first in making a decision. We all know the fact that there is no right or wrong fishing fly reel, but there are better fly reels for certain situations and species.

You can determine the best fly reel by experimenting and trying out the different kinds and models. However, it can be difficult for your budget to try all of the fly reels in the market, so it is better to choose something that you know will work.

Don’t worry because you will still be able to catch fish as you experiment.

Here are the five fly reels that we think would be perfect for your fishing ventures.

Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

Redington Behemoth Super-Toruqe Fly Reel.

Image source: amazon.ca

The Redington Behemoth reel can be strong enough to stop an 8-year-old kid who is riding a bicycle. Once you get this product, you will realize that it is affordable with the quality that is strong enough for line peeling fish. The manufacturer used a compelling drag system in this model that can allow it to fight a powerful fish.

This reel is non-machined built and a die-cast construction with the cult-favorite larger arbor design. It is specially designed to help with decreasing line memory and increasing speed in retrieving. When you are very particular with the aesthetics, we can guarantee that it looks sleek and would go well with any fishing rod.

It can do two things at once which are to reel line quickly and fight hard with fish like tarpon, bonefish, and salmon. It has a carbon fiber drag that is ready for the hardest and most significant challenges. Moreover, the reel has a built-in oversized adjustment dial to make it easier for you to handle situations once it goes wild.

The manufacturers also engineered the deep V-spool that can increase the backing capacity while its soft-touch ergonomic handles are beneficial in making operations easy. If you are looking to purchase a reel that can work on both freshwater and saltwater with particularly high line capacity, then we strongly recommend that you check out this reel.

This Redington Behemoth fly reel can effortlessly convert into a right-handed retrieve.

In addition to all of the mentioned features, this model offers a lifetime warranty because the manufacturers are confident about its design and capacity. In general, we can say that this is a mean fly reel that can fight with any aggressive fish.

According to customers who have tried this product, they used Redington Behemoth rigorously for several years without breaking. They dragged it through mud-chasing an over 20-pound carp, knocked it off rocks while hunting salmon, caked it in the beach sand for stripers and blues, and the reel is still excellent.

Pros of The Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

  • Excellent brake system
  • Large arbor design for speedy retrieve and decreased line memory
  • Quickly convert to left or right-hand retrieve is easier
  • Die-cast construction
  • Adjustable carbon fiber drag
  • Holds up to weather corrosion nicely
  • Oversized drag knob for making more natural adjustments
  • Lifetime warranty
  • High line capacity for fighting active fishes and potent drag system

Redington also has excellent customer service that can help you in resolve any problem you might have with their products.

When Redington released the Behemoth model, they claimed that it has an exceptional drag. They were right about it because this reel maxes out at over 16 pounds. When we compared it with others of the same price, we couldn’t find the same or something close to this reel’s features.

If you’re fishing for in saltwater or just fishing for larger fish then the Redington Behemoth Fly Reel should be part of your fly rod and reel combo.

Maxcatch Avid Fly Reel

Maxcatch Avid CNC Machined Aluminum Fly Reel.

Image source: amazon.ca

We believe that this is another product from Maxcatch that we can consider a great buy. It has five sleek color options that you can choose from. Even the design of the reel itself is both excellent and robust.

Fly anglers who have tried this fly reel claim that it has a very smooth retrieve. The product is an NCN-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy which means that the manufacturers specifically designed it for high impact durability.

When it comes to corrosion, this product can hold up reasonably well. It is a mid-arbor design which means that it ensures a right balance between rapid line pickup and backing capacity.

The manufacturers equipped this model with a Teflon disc as well as a stainless steel drag system that is responsible for immediate drag engagement because of its one-way clutch bearing. Those features might not be everyone’s favorite, but it makes this reel have an excellent drag performance.

When we compared this fishing reel to another model of Maxcatch which is Toro, we can say that the manufacturers are on the right path with its drag system technology. Overall, you can use this reel smoothly making this perfect for a beginner or to use it as a backup unit.

The materials used for the product’s drag system did not add unnecessary weight. The reel is light enough to make sure that it won’t be dragging your rod to the sides. Moreover, it has an ergonomic handle so you can hold it all day without experiencing fatigue.

You can use this fly fishing reel in different fishing environments because it can put up with harsh environments and is durable enough not to be ruined by debris or dirt.

The manufacturer of this product ensured that the reel would provide you with the right balance between fast retrieval and line capacity.

The most well-liked feature of this Maxcatch model is its hybrid cork that was made from heavy grade materials. It has a smooth operation that is both fast and silent. If you are an efficient person when it comes to buying your fishing equipment, this Maxcatch Avid Fly Reel can be the perfect choice for you.

According to customers who have purchased this product, this reel is just perfect. The product has extremely satisfied them and has even exceeded their expectations. They also added that this model is one of Maxcatch’s fine craft.

There are no blemishes on the reel, and the finish is impeccable. The tolerance is super tight, and the presentation is beautiful with a very high-end or expensive look and feel.

Pros of The Maxcatch Avid Fly Reel

  • Available in varying colors
  • Has three years warranty
  • Corrosion-resistant steel

Overall, this fishing reel can give you a successful trip since it is made to last and is reliable because of its heavy-duty materials. You can be careless in handling this tool, or you can use it in different environments, and you still cannot ruin it. You may hurt your fingers on the handle if you choose to use it as free flow, but it is still a great product.

So if you’re a beginner or looking to purchase a back-up fly reel then the Maxcatch Avid Fly Reel should be your next purchase.

Orvis Battenkill Disc Fly Reel

Battenkill III Fly Reel.

Image source: amazon.ca

Its lowest drag settings can be too heavy for smaller sizes, its detents can be a bit mushy, and the mid-arbor design can be considered more  small than large. Moreover, size two can be a bit on the short side when it comes to a five weight line, and the size three is also too large.

However, despite the imperfections of this fly reel, we can still say that it is a great reel at an affordable price.

Even though the drag can be slightly heavy, it can offer you extraordinary smoothness when operating. This model uses a disc drag system that is better compared to the traditional click-and-pawl that anglers used ever since the manufacturers introduced it in the market. They based this reel’s design on one of Orvis’ top model which is the Hydros SL, and we can see that it had perfect results.

The body of the spool and reel are machine-made unlike other products of the same price in the market that are cast-made. Although cast-made tools are durable and have an excellent finish, most fishers still prefer their tools carved from a piece of metal. Moreover, this reel is lighter compared to the more ported Hydros SL.

When you assess this reel based on its looks, we can say that it’s phenomenal. Fishing can both be aesthetic and art. You may feel nostalgia with this reel because it looks the same with the one that you used when you first tried fishing except that it is more alluring and shiny.

If you are an angler, the essential feature for you of a fishing reel is how clicky it is. Most people learned how to fish with the click-and-pawl technology, so we are used to the traditional click-click-click.

When it comes to this feature, this reel can be satisfying because it still does click. However, although the clicks are distinct, it can be muted compared to other products with different technology.

Despite the few lack of ‘clicks’ we can still say that this is an excellent reel for its price.  It’s better to have a good reel that you can afford than a perfect reel that you can’t get your hands on because of its price.

A customer who has tried this product said that he loves how the reel works. He got tons of compliments on the soothing zing of the drag system, and the sinking linen is loaded. It’s his go-to reel out of the three Orvis reels that he has.

He even added that other anglers wouldn’t regret purchasing it.

Pros The Orvis Battenkill Disc Fly Reel

  • Absurd value
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Machined construction
  • Classic looks
  • Smooth drag

This reel can be the perfect choice for anglers who love products with classic looks and modern conveniences. It can also be for those who are looking for excellent features but at an affordable price.

If you don’t like large arbors and prefer the click-and-pawl disc setups, then we recommend that you choose another reel on this article.

Maxcatch Toro Series Fly Reel

Maxcatch Toro Series Fly Reel.

Image source: amazon.ca

The Maxcatch Toro is another fly reel that would give you great value for your money. When you know how affordable this is, you might say that it can be a great extra reel for your fishing trips. However, once you try it and enjoy how it works, you will end up using it more often than you planned or expected.

You can pair this reel with one of your high-end fishing rods, and you will surely enjoy fishing more because of the combo. The balance, weight, and overall feel of this reel can exceed your expectations, and you might think that it is too good at a low price.

It has a corrosion resistant CNC machined aluminum that can be tough as nails. We are not sure if the reel’s finish will hold up or not, but its spool and body are durable enough to last long. The manufacturer ensured that you would not notice any wiggle after you have used the reel for a long time which means that they took the time with the reel’s craftsmanship.

Other fly anglers who have tried this reel agree with the statement above and said that it could do take some beating. Some anglers even claimed that they had dropped the Maxcatch Toro on hard ground but they did not see any issue and it still works perfectly.

We can say that it is reliable and works well. It has a stainless steel drag system and a Teflon disc that has a one-way clutch bearing. You have to remember that whenever you use this on saltwater, you have to rinse it thoroughly to keep it in good shape.

The manufacturer added a clicker on the drag adjustment so you can expect that it won’t be silent when you use it. The clicker can be a simple feature, but you will surely appreciate it once you hear and feel where you set your drag.

The reel’s adjustment knob is also perfect as it has the right size which can be beneficial when you have to fight line peeling fish.

It has a large arbor design, and it can rapidly pick up line compared to other reels. It has a smooth retrieve which can make you feel that you are not using a cheap priced product but a superior product. You can also do hand switching from right to left easily because of the very cooperative machined and knurled metal screw caps.

Overall, this reel can be one of the right options in the market at a reasonable price.

Users of this product said that they could easily switch from right to left hand retrieve. The large spool of the product allows the line to have fast retrieves and minimizes line curl. They also added that it is easy to adjust and it stays where you set it.

Moreover, users said that they would purchase one again.

Pros of The Maxcatch Toro Series Fly Reel

  • Easy to switch from right to left-handed retrieve
  • Audible drag adjustment clicks
  • Durable machined aluminum alloy body
  • Best value reel at an affordable price

If you don’t want to go beyond your budget to buy a decent fly fishing reel, then this product is the ideal choice for you. You can already get your hands on a great reel at such an affordable price.

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel.

Image source: amazon.ca

When you are looking for the best entry-level reel in the market, this Piscifun fly reel is perfect for you. If you don’t have a trained eye for assessing fishing equipment, you might not see the differences from this reel compared to another product that costs twice as much.

On the previous years, we have noticed that the market on the entry-level category is full of reels that look and feel cheap. 

This reel has a mid-arbor design that we noticed is widespread among fly reels because of a good reason. When you compare it with a large-arbor, you can achieve more line capacity than the latter. Aside from that, you can get a decent line retrieval rate with this lightweight product.

The spool of this reel has a concave shape which is the reason why this model is robust and can offer a higher line capacity compared to a level arbor spool.

It has an unsealed drag which means that dirt, grime, grit, and water can enter the reel’s drag housing and eventually damage its system. We strongly advise AGAINST using this in saltwater.

Despite the unsealed drag you can still get years of fishing by simply cleaning the reel

One of the features of this product that you will like is that it looks like a high-end reel. Moreover, the manufacturer used the same technology that other high-end products in the market use.

Both the spool and the frame of this model are 6061-T6 aluminum-made. The manufacturer tempered and cold-forged the reel to give it added rigidity and strength.

If you make a side-by-side comparison of this reel with a high-end machined-aluminum one, this product noticeably doesn’t have tight tolerance compared to the latter. However, it can be impossible to notice unless you will experience fighting a 100-pound tarpon with this model.

Despite having an unsealed drag, the Piscifun reel has an anodized finish that can help in adding protection and durability against corrosion and rust. Moreover, this model is available in gold, titanium, and black.

This reel is a right-handed retrieve, but you can change it to a left-handed retrieve through the manual that is also in the box. It even has a soft fabric drawstring bag that you can use as a bag for your reel.

Users of this product said that they are very impressed with this reel. They can compare the features of this reel to another top of the line models. It looks sharp, and they can pair it with any fishing rod that they have.

Pros

  • Strong and tough
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Available in three different metallic colors
  • Has a stainless steel drag system
  • Lightweight and easy to handle

This reel can make fishing more comfortable and more affordable. It might give you some difficulties, but the box comes with detailed instruction on how to operate and clean the product.  

When we compare different fly reels in the market, it may feel like comparing apples to oranges. It becomes a tricky job because of the various features that each product offer.

However, to choose the best one for you, you have to find one that can give you value for your money. 

Here’s a quick conclusion:

Best Large-Arbor Fly Fishing Reel:

Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

Best Beginner Fly Fishing Reel: 

Maxcatch Avid Fly Reel

Best Fly Fishing Reel For Under $100: 

Piscifun Sword Fly Reel
 

 

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