8 Best Fly Fishing Reels: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

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Fly fishing has become more and more popular with anglers as better and stronger reels are coming to the market each year. Anglers have a ton of fish species to catch from, with a wide range of waterways to choose from, too.

If you're looking for your perfect fly fishing reel to complement your rod, you've come to the right place. We’ve listed features, weight, lines, and warranties, so you'll have all the information you'll need before you add your new reel to your arsenal.

Preview

Product

Reel Size

Line Capacity

Check Price

Redington Reels Behemoth 5/6 Reel, Black

Redington

Behemoth Fly Reel

5.5 x 5 x 3.5 inches

200yds/20lb

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with...

Piscifun Sword

3.35 x 0.91 inches

100yards/20lbs

KastKing Emergence Fly Fishing Combo,4 Wt,8ft...

KastKing Emergence Fly Fishing Combo

5 x 6 inches

20LB/80Yds

Redington Reels Rise III 7/8 Reel, Silver

Redington RISE

5.5 x 5 x 3.5 inches

100yds/20lb

Piscifun Aoka Fly Fishing Reels with...

Piscifun Aoka

Fly Fishing Reel

4.7 x 3.4 inches

100yds/20lbs

Sage Fly Fishing Spectrum Fly Reel

Sage Fly Fishing

5.2 x 5.2 x 3.2 inches

WF-6-F + 100 yds. (20 lbs) Backing

Galvan Torque 5 Fly Reel, Green - with $30...

Galvan Torque 5

Fly Reel

3.5 x 1.90 inches

125 yd / 20 lbs

Piscifun Platte Fully Sealed Drag Large Arbor...

Piscifun Platte

Fly Fishing Reel

3.6 x 1.08 Inches

WF6F/100yds/20lbs


Why Fly Fishing Requires A Quality Reel

If you’re hoping to use your baitcasting or spinning reel for fly fishing, then you’ll be hugely disappointed. You’ll need a reel that’s specifically for fly fishing. 

The biggest difference between fly fishing and spin or bait fishing is that the line weight for fly fishing carries the hook through the air, whereas in spin and bait fishing, the lure's weight at the end of the line gives casting distance. You’ll need a higher line capacity to fly fish with ease, and that’s in a good quality reel.

On the bright side, Fly reels are among the simplest reels and have far fewer parts than spinning reels. A fly reel is a single-action reel, normally operated by stripping the line off the reel with one hand while casting the rod with the other hand.

Some of the main purposes of a fly reel are to store line, provide smooth uninterrupted tension from the drag system, and counterbalance the weight of your fly rod when casting. You may think that it’s a lot to consider, but luckily for you, there are a ton of great fly fishing reels on the market that can fit all of these needs.


Fly Fishing Reel Buyer’s Guide

Type of Target Fish & Location

If you’re hoping to catch trout, grayling or salmon when fly fishing, you’re in for a treat. These species tend to be the most common species when fly fishing in freshwater. For saltwater fishing, you’ll be sure to catch anything from bonefish, spotted sea trout, tuna, and striped bass. The species you could catch are endless, but having the right reel and rod to support larger species is a must if you’re hoping to catch large fish species like lake trout.

In terms of where to fish, you can enjoy warm, fresh or saltwater, so there's bound to be a lot of fishing spots in or around your state. Be sure to check if a fishing permit is needed and if you need a license to fly fish in specific areas. You can check this information here.

Fly Fishing Skill & Experience Level

Fly Fishing is certainly not a sport you can just jump into one day, there’s a lot of practice, research, and skill involved. You’ll spend a few trips getting to know your gear, and learning how to cast properly, along with learning how to find the right spots.

If you're entirely new to fly fishing and are going at it alone, it may be a good idea to consider heading out with an experienced fly fisher or using a professional fly fishing guide. One trip with a professional will have you learning how to fly fish correctly in no time. 

Power & Durability

When it comes to power and performance, you should focus on the fly reels drag and fish-stopping power. These two elements combined give these reels the ability to handle almost anything. Some reels are specifically designed to have max drag and power at a specific capacity, so be sure you know what size species you’re hoping to catch so you can match.

Durability is important as it comes hand in hand with the reels’ performance. You’ll need a rod that’s structurally dependable and can withhold different weather conditions. Knowing whether your reel is suitable for freshwater or saltwater is essential, and using it correctly will help with keeping it strong and durable.

Balance & Smoothness

A reel's smoothness when it’s being operated can depend heavily on the fly fishing rod that it’s paired with. Most manufacturers provide recommendations on what rod weights pair up well with their reels. A reel labeled 4/5 would mean the manufacturer suggests fishing the reel with a four or five weight fly rod.

If your rod and reel aren't matched correctly, you'll find the line may birdnest on the spool and will create a jerkiness throughout the rod. By selecting a reel that makes your fly rod feel balanced, it will prevent arm fatigue and make your combination perform at it’s best, so you'll be catching fish species at ease with fast line retrievals.

Drag System

Drag is one of the most critical features on a fly reel, and manufacturers know this, too. Some brands have added new technologies and materials into creating the perfect drag for a fly fishing reel. The best drag systems will provide a wide range so anglers can adjust it to their liking with a knob or handle. You don’t want a drag that goes from zero to very high resistance with a half-turn of the drag knob as you’ll need to keep some sensitivity to protect light tippets from breaking.

Another important factor when it comes to the drag system is if it’s sealed or fully exposed. Over time grit and grime will destroy a drag system, but more often than not, the reel will lock up suddenly and stop turning altogether. If you’re planning on fishing in a lot of saltwater or from beaches, be sure that your drag system is fully sealed or else you’ll run into some maintenance issues in a hurry.

Reel Features

Fly reels may look and feel small, but there’s a lot of features you should look out for on a fly reel that differentiates the cheaper reels from the top of the line ones. The first feature has to be the material used for the frame, spool, and guides. Very cheap fly reels can come in plastic, but the reels you’ll find on our list are either Die-Cast or CNC Machined Types.

Reels made from die-cast aluminum should not be confused with those made from machined aluminum. For a reel to be die-cast, molten aluminum is poured into a mold produced by its designer. They are more expensive than plastic reels but less so than machined ones. Die-cast reels are more impact resistant than plastic but have nowhere near the structural integrity of machined aluminum.

Some other features that you should look out for, especially if you’re investing some cash into your new reel, are its weight, drag system, and settings, and if it's left vs. right-handed. Don’t forget to check the size of the arbor, too. This may not be something you’ll do for baitcasting or spin casting reels, but it’s very important for fly fishing reels.

Arbor Diameter/Size

As mentioned, the arbor of a reel is a feature you should pay attention to. Lower to mid-priced fly reels tend to have mid arbor sizes whereas higher priced reels have large arbors withing their reel. If you’re wondering where the arbor is on the reel and what it does,  it’s located in the center of the spool. On a standard-arbor reel, this core is very small, while on a large-arbor reel, it's much wider in diameter.

The wider the arbor, the more line you’ll be able to hold. If you’re a novice angler, it’s not something you’ll need t worry too much about, whereas if you’re an experienced fly fisher, you’ll look for larger arbors as they tend to have more advancements.

Retrieval System

There are three types of retrieval systems in a fly reel - the single action, the multiplying fly reel, and the automatic fly reel. For freshwater fly fishing, anglers tend to stick with single-action retrieval systems. For saltwater or huge lakes, the best retrieval system tends to be an automatic fly reel. An automatic fly reel retrieve does just what the name suggests.

The reel retrieves all fly line without the angler turning the spool at all. There’s a trigger that releases and allows the fly line to zip back into the reel. Stay away from multiplying fly reel retrieval systems if you’re a novice angler. They tend to be a pain to operate and aren’t really necessary for fresh or saltwater fishing.

Price & Warranty

When you’re shopping around for a fly reel, you'll be surprised by the range of prices you'll find. You can pick up a reel from anything between $30 or $300 or more. Usually, reels below $50 are cheaply made and tend to fall apart easily over time. A reel between $80 to $200 will be the sweet spot if you're a beginner or intermediate angler. Advanced or professional anglers could spend anything up to $400-$500 for a technique-specific reel.

When you purchase the fly reel, be sure to check the warranties for extra peace of mind. Most reputable manufacturers will offer at least a one-year warranty and up to a lifetime for more expensive reels. Some of the most reputable brands in fly fishing reels are Cabela's, Sage, Redington & Galvan.


8 Best Fly Fishing Reels Reviewed

1. Redington Behemoth Fly Reel

Our Top Pick

Reel Size

5.5 x 5 x 3.5 inches

Reel Weight

10.8 ounces

Arbor Size

Large-arbor spool design

Line Retrieval

9” per turn

Line Capacity

200yds/20lb

Warranty

LifeTime

Our top pick for the best fly fishing reel has to be the Redington Behemoth Fly Reel. This reel not only has a powerful drag system, but it’s also quite striking to look at. You’ll be sure to catch the attention of other anglers with this reels’ aesthetic design.  Match these good looks with a great price and top of the range features, and you’ll fall in love with it, too.

The Behemoth fly reel has a die-cast construction giving it ultimate protection and excelling in sturdiness. You’ll have a choice between 5 color options, too, so you can choose a color to match your fishing rod.

Its drag system is superb. It smoothly engages the fish on the fly line. The drags stopping power works well, too. Another great feature of this reel is its triangular spool. Triangular spools pick up the line incredibly fast, unlike standard spools. This is because of the low volume near the reel's arbor. You may experience a few line pileups in the beginning, but with time and practice, you’ll be running the spool like a pro.

You’ll also find the reel has an oversized drag knob for ease of use, and a twin-molded ergonomic handle that's fully functional and offer maximum grip and comfort with or without gloves. This reel is truly no match for big game fish; at a reasonable price too, it could be the perfect reel to add to your arsenal.

Pros
  • Top of the line drag strength
  • Beautifully designed
  • Triangular spool- great line retrieval
  • Impeccable ergonomics
Cons
  • May experience some line pileups at first

2. Piscifun Sword

Best Fly Fishing Reel for the Money

Reel Size

3.35 x 0.91 inches

Reel Weight

7.4 ounces

Arbor Size

Mid-Arbor Reel

Line Retrieval

7” per turn

Line Capacity

100yards/20lbs

Warranty

3-Year

In a sea of fly fishing reels ranging from $50 to $500, it’s hard to know which fly fishing reel is the best for your buck. The Piscifun Sword stands out among the sea of bargain bin reels. It’s an entry-level fly fishing reel that looks three times the price. Its design is nothing like other reels at this price point and looks quite high-end. It has a lot of great features for the price point, too.

The Piscifun Sword reel comes in a range of 4 sizes to suit your needs. The frame is constructed of CNC aluminum alloy for durability, even through high-impact freshwater. It also has a larger CNC hollow design that makes the reel lighter than its competitors.

While it has a hard anodized for surface protection to increase abrasion resistance, it’s not suitable for saltwater. The reel is unsealed, so it’s not entirely safe against corrosion. But its corrosion resistance does help a lot with harsh or vigorous conditions in freshwater.

The drag system on this reel is very similar to its competitors' drag; it uses cork and stainless steel drag washers. It can run smoothly, but in the wrong weather conditions, it’s prone to jamming. The spools, however, set this reel apart from the rest. Both the frame and the spool are made of 6061-T6 aluminum that’s cold forged and tempered for increased strength and rigidity. Other higher-end reels use the same material for their spool, so having this feature on a budget-friendly reel is always a plus.

Pros
  • Great design for a low priced reel
  • Great for entry-level fly fishers
  • Comes with a soft fabric drawstring bag
  • Left and right-hand friendly
Cons
  • Dirt and debris can enter the drag as it’s unsealed

3. KastKing Emergence Fly Fishing Combo

Best Fly Fishing Rod & Reel Combo

Reel Size

5 x 6 inches

Reel Weight

4.7 ounces

Arbor Size

Large Arbor Reel

Line Retrieval

N/A

Line Capacity

20LB/80Yds

Warranty

1 Year

KastKing is one of the most well-recognized brands for anglers across the States, and for a good reason. They construct great rods and reels at a competitive price using high-quality materials. The Emergence fly fishing rod and reel combo is no exception. If you’re new to the fly fishing game or you're hoping to add a rod and reel to your arsenal that completely complements each other, this combo could be what you're looking for.

This combo comes with everything you need for your next fishing excursion. You’ll get a fly line, tapered leader, backing, 12 hand-tied flies, travel case, and of course, a rod and reel. The 4-piece graphite rod has a 24 million moduli rating and is very durable and strong.

The action is considered medium-fast, making it a little easier for less experienced anglers to cast. There's still enough power to punch a faster, stronger fish like bass, pickerel, and even bonefish. Finish this sleek rod with AAA cork handles, and your hands won’t suffer from fatigue in any weather condition.

The reel is constructed of high-quality aluminum that is low in weight.  Its large arbor fly reel holds plenty of line and runs incredibly smooth along with the drag. The reel is pre-spooled with backing, the tapered fly leader is already attached.

The reel is size-matched with the rod for perfect balance with each line weight and is anodized with a rich black finish. And, best of all, it’s very straightforward to use. The KastKing Emergence combo with all of the extras will have you performing with confidence and durability in no time.

Pros
  • Full set- including good quality hand-tied flies, scissors, line, and case
  • Precisely balanced rod and reel
  • Good quality and sturdy frame and guides
  • AAA Cork handles are great for every season
Cons
  • The tip may snap easily if it’s under too much stress

4. Redington RISE

Best Fly Reel for Salmon Fishing

Reel Size

5.5 x 5 x 3.5 inches

Reel Weight

10.4 ounces

Arbor Size

Large Arbor

Line Retrieval

Quick line retrieval

Line Capacity

100yds/20lb

Warranty

Lifetime

The rise series is one to look at if you’re looking for a dependable reel with consistently great results for salmon fishing. This reel is one of the best fly fishing reels on the market for its strength and durability. They’ve recently improved the frame to spool overlap, so it helps prevent the line from slipping between the spool and the frame. Redington has also improved its hole pattern design, so it not only looks the part but also lowers its overall weight.

When you unbox the Rise fly reel, you’ll find a fully machined aluminum construction with a quick release spool. Redington chose this CNC aluminum for ultimate strength and durability, and it’s worked. It can be dropped, knocked, or hit in just about any other way conceivable, and the machined aluminum will withstand it.

Another great feature of the Rise Series is the drag system. The unique cork and Teflon style drag system is compact and made of carbon fiber to enhance its durability. It also offers over 20lbs of stopping torque, which is pretty incredible for its size. Lastly, the arbor size is large, so line retrieval is quick and clean.

If you’re not hooked on the Rise Series just yet, the reel also comes with a nylon reel case to ensure its protection when traveling for salmon fish. This is a reel you can take anywhere and expect it to perform on the spot, regardless of the conditions.

Pros
  • Large arbor for quicker line pick up
  • Quick-release spool
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Adjustable retrieve mode-right for left-handed anglers
Cons
  • Heavier in weight than its competitors

5. Piscifun Aoka Fly Fishing Reel

Best Budget Option

Reel Size

4.7 x 3.4 inches

Reel Weight

4.7 ounces

Arbor Size

Mid Arbor Size

Line Retrieval

N/A

Line Capacity

100yds/20lbs

Warranty

3 Years

Fly fishing reels come in many sizes, constructions, varieties, and styles. And the price for a good construction may risk the reel having poor interiors. If you’re on the hunt for the best fly fishing reel on a budget, the Aoka by Piscifun is an excellent choice. It is available at an affordable price from one of the most popular fishing gear manufacturers. It’s particularly suited for novice anglers as more experienced anglers may not be fully satisfied with its features.

The Aoka Fly Fishing Reel from Piscifun has a CNC-machined frame and is incredibly lightweight and well balanced for its price. The mid arbor spool, on the other hand, is die-cast and works as well as a mid-priced range. It also holds an impressive amount of line, which is well suited for fly fishing anglers. The standout feature of the Aoka is the Teflon disc drag system, which is housed inside its machined frame. This drag allows you to handle larger fishes relatively easy, without worry about jerky retrievals. 

If you’re wondering if this rod is suitable for fresh or saltwater, you’ll be happy to hear it’s both. Like most mid arbor spools, it’s suitable to use in fresh, warm, or saltwater conditions. You’ll have the chance to catch trout, bluegill, and more without much issues. Best of all, it’s priced with a 3-year warranty for ultimate peace of mind. 

Pros
  • Easy to use drag system
  • Reliable brand name & great warranty policy
  • Quality construction and frame
  • Suitable for large fish species
Cons
  • Experienced anglers may want newer technology- very basic but good quality

6. Sage Fly Fishing

Top of the Range

Reel Size

5.2 x 5.2 x 3.2 inches

Reel Weight

6.1 ounces

Arbor Size

Large Arbor Size

Line Retrieval

8.75” per turn

Line Capacity

WF-6-F + 100 yds. (20 lbs) Backing

Warranty

Lifetime

Spectrum has released one of the best fly fishing reels, the  Sage fly Reel. This reel not only looks spectacular, but it performs just as well as it looks. Unlike some of the other reels listed here, this reels sealed carbon System (SCS) drag keeps out water, sand, grit, and salt, so maintenance will be a dream. 

The drag on the Sage fly reel adjusts smoothly and solidly. Turn the One Revolution drag knob halfway, and you’ll only get 25% of the total drag. The max drag is 3.3 lbs with is considerably lower than other reels at this price point, but using max drag on this reel is smooth and easy.

Its frame is constructed of fully machined, aerospace-grade aluminum that’s cold-forged and tempered for superior strength and rigidity against the harsher conditions. It’s also partnered with a machined and anodized aluminum ergonomic handle, that easily converts from left- to right-hand retrieval.

You’d expect a reel at this price point would have a large arbor size, and this one is no different. Its large arbor helps with fast line pick-up, and for greater strength and capacity when fishing your prey. And with a choice of 3 colors and 4 sizes, you’re bound to find a reel that fits your desires and needs in the Sage Series.

Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Keeps water and debris out well
  • Lifetime warranty included
  • Beautiful Design
Cons
  • Needs more drag for larger species

7. Galvan Torque 5 Fly Reel

Best Saltwater Fly Reel

Reel Size

3.5 x 1.90 inches

Reel Weight

4.8 ounces

Arbor Size

Large Arbor Size

Line Retrieval

7.16 inches per turn

Line Capacity

125 yd / 20 lbs

Warranty

Lifetime

Many anglers may not know Galvan as well as other reputable brands, but make no mistake, they produce some high quality, budget-friendly reels right in California, US. One of their best reels they’ve created to date has to be the Galvin Torgue Fly Reel.

The Torque comes in a variety of colors, which is fun if you are looking to match a reel with a particular rod. This reel has been tested, retested, and then modified before it was finally released to the public in 2004. Since then, Galvin has won numerous awards for this reel and for good reason.

This saltwater friendly fly fishing reel has some great features, but the drag system really stands out above the rest. It has a sealed drag, which will keep out any particulates from getting in and interfering in the mechanism. Though the reel is not considered fully watertight, it doesn’t create many problems for anglers once after use maintenance is performed after your day out by the water.

Galvin has packed the Torque with a lot of small but important features. Some of them are, a quick-release mechanism, an easily switched retrieve switch/spring, and a deep spool. Another plus is the Torque's large arbor design. It has plenty of room for line and backing for throwing long lines or dealing with powerful fish. Add them up, and you have yourself a sturdy, powerful reel from a great manufacturer.

Pros
  • Made in the U.S
  • Easy left or right hand retrieve conversion
  • Simple spool removal
  • Very low start-up inertia
Cons
  • Knob handle for the drag is small in size

8. Piscifun Platte Fly Fishing Reel

Best Fly Reel Under $200

Reel Size

3.6 x 1.08 Inches

Reel Weight

6.2 ounces

Arbor Size

Large Arbor Size

Line Retrieval

7.55 inches per turn

Line Capacity

WF6F/100yds/20lbs

Warranty

Lifetime

Last on our list is the Platte series fly reel by Piscifun. This fly fishing reel has a ton of great characteristics just as higher price reels, but at a price that’s lower than $200. This reel comes in a variety of 3 sizes, and you can choose from Classic Black, Fashion Ice Blue, and Pretty Gunmetal. You won’t need to swap and change this reel from salt to freshwater as it’s suitable for both thanks to its fully sealed carbon to stainless steel drag system.

The Platte fly reel is strong yet lightweight with its anodized aluminum frame and construction.  It also sports a heavily ventilated spool to shed weight, yet keeping its strength. Piscifun has finished this reel in a highly professional manner with high-quality polish finishing. This gives an extra layer of protection while also giving it a beautiful sleek aesthetic.

Usually, on a reel below $200, it’s rare to find one sporting anything bigger than a mid arbor design. Yet, the Platte Series features a large arbor design with good aspect ratios. Larger arbors increase retrieval rate, hold more backing and fly line, and reduce the line coil memory.

Lastly, the easy gripping knurled knob feature is another great characteristic of this reel. The knob is knurled for easy gripping, and to reduce unnecessary mass. It’s double screwed for durability, and it’s smooth when rotating. The only downside to the knob is that it’s a little small in size, so if you're wearing thick gloves, it may become a problem. Other than that, the Platte Fly Reel is a great all-rounder at an almost unbeatable price point. 

Pros
  • Fully sealed, stainless steel drag system
  • Little to no maintenance
  • Large arbor size- rare at this price point
  • Provides accurate and repeatable drag settings
Cons
  • Heavy in weight

Fly Fishing Reel Sizing Guide

Now that you’ve got a list of quality reels by reputable brands, it’s time to choose which reel size that suits your needs. There’s no formulas or science behind it; you'll need to know which weight you'll be most likely to catch.

Fly reels are categorized into "a weight system" for this reason. The easiest and most simple way to remember is the smaller the reel weight, the lighter the setup. So a 3 weight rod and reel setup would be perfect for catching small trout, whereas a 12 weight would be used for catching large saltwater fish. The most common sizes and weights are as follows:

  • 3-4wt
    Only suitable for small fish in calm water environments. Some fishes you can catch with this reel size are creek trout and beam fish.
  • 5wt
    This is the most common size for fly fishing. It can catch smaller sized salmon and trout.
  • 6-7wt
    If you’re hoping to catch some bass fish or trophy trout, this reel size will be perfectly matched to suit your needs.
  • 8-9wt
    A good 8 or 9 weight rig is perfect for the angler who wants to chase freshwater predators and inlet saltwater fish.  Big bass, pike, redfish, sea trout, etc. are ideal for this weight.

Reels can go as high as 12wt for anglers who enjoy technique-specific fishing environments. These reels should have larger arbor sizes, impeccable drag systems, and corrosion-resistant properties.


Fly Fishing Tips for Beginners

When it comes to fly fishing, there are some tips and tricks passed on from one angler to another. Some of these include the following.

  1. 1
    Pair your fly fishing reel with the correct rod and check if it’s balanced.
  2. 2
    Make sure you have some tapered leaders to help your casts land neatly without scaring the fish.
  3. 3
    Stay away from thicker lines if you’re new to the game, stick with a floating version.
  4. 4
    Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion. You’ll be surprised how many anglers worry so much on their equipment, that they forget about proper boots, tying kits, or gloves.

There’s one other thing to note when fly fishing, you can only learn so much from other anglers. Nothing beats getting a rod in your hand and trying it for yourself. Practice casting on the grass at first. A piece of wool or a simple fly with the point nipped off is ideal to avoid catching trees and obstacles.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the leading fly reel brands?

Some brands are known for performing exceptionally well in terms of style and performance for fly reels. Some of these brands are Orvis, Galvan, Lamson, and Redington. Other brands are known by anglers for a number of quality products, with fly fishing being one of them. Piscifun is known for its high-quality reels as well as its waterproof backpacks, fishing lines, and fishing swimbait. Other brands that are known for spinning reels and baitcasting reels are focusing more on fly fishing reels with its expanding market. 

Why are fly fishing reels so expensive & are worth it?

There are a ton of cheap fly fishing reels on the market today. Some of them are as cheap as $30. But the best fly fishing reels tend to be higher in price, as the materials used are a lot more expensive. Our budget option,  Piscifun Aoka, has some exceptional features that can last years, instead of seasons.

How to Care for Your Fly Fishing Reel?

Depending on how frequently you fish and the type of water you fish in, plan on deep-cleaning your reel every so often. Most fly fishing reels tend to be open and a lot more exposed, so just rinsing after each use won't be enough. And if you fish saltwater and your drag is exposed, you’ll need to make sure there’s no debris, dirt, or sand trapped inside your reel. This will allow your reel to erode over time. Once it’s cleaned, be sure to store your fly reel safely and store your reel in a case or a reel bag.

What is start-up inertia?

The Inertia is a test performed on the spool's mass. Manufacturers test the combination of "stickiness," and "friction" Reel are testing the drag's "stickiness" when it first begins to rotate. High start-up inertias mean that the spool could be a little bit tougher to turn. That being said, if you’re new to the game of fly fishing, try to focus on getting a reel with a great drag system over low start-up inertia. They often go hand in hand, so the low start-up inertia could just be an added bonus.

Why do so many anglers choose antique fly fishing reels?

Most vintage fly fishing reels are generally handmade, while conversely, most contemporary reels are mass-produced. And even though you’d think new technologies and new materials have come to the seen, newer reels aren’t always better. Vintage fly fishing reels used one of a kind, quality materials in smaller quantities, and the operation of the reel is still the same as today. So a lot of anglers enjoy the craftsmanship and scarcity elements when buying their fly fishing reel.   

What is the difference between salt and freshwater fly reel?

The main difference between these reels is the sealed or exposed drag system. As mentioned before, if you’re fly fishing in saltwater, you’re bound to get some splashback or sand in your reel. By sealing the drag systems within the frame of the reel, sand, dirt, and corrosive saltwater are kept out of the reel's most crucial-yet-vulnerable components. If you’ve got a saltwater reel, technically speaking, there shouldn’t be any issue using this in freshwater, just make sure the reel and rod have the correct line and lures for the occasion.

Where can I find quality fly fishing reels and accessories for sale?

There are many options for you when you’re buying your new fly fishing reel. You can check your local fish tackle shop and look at the models they have to offer. Ordering online from a good retailer like Amazon or Cabela's is another great alternative. They can deliver to your door, and you can have a choice of any of the fly fishing reels on our list.


Conclusion

From arbor sizes, materials, drag systems, and spools, you now have a lot more information for finding the best fly fishing reel to meet your criteria.

Our top pick, Redington Behemoth, has tons of fantastic features from it’s exceptional drag to its stunning appearance. You’ll be buying from one of the most popular brands within the fly fishing sport. If there’s another rod that suits your needs or budget,  then go for it. You could be out catching trout or pike fish in no time!