Fly Fishing Reels

Fly Fishing Reels

A well-balanced fly rod and reel will have a pivot or balance point somewhere within the top inch of the handle. This is vital for casting performance and sensitivity. I recommend that when you are shopping for your first fly reel, consider in investing on a premium quality reel because the better the quality the better the drag system, as the drag quality is mandatory if you want the best expertise.

Here are 10 tips to help you choose the right fly fishing reel.

1. Fishing reels are a fundamental part of fishing, and arguably as important as the rod itself. Getting the reel wrong could mean that you don't catch as many fish, or that you don't enjoy fishing as much.

2. If you fish for trout, then you might be one of the anglers that strip the line manually, rather than using the handle. If you do, you'll want to make sure that you can do this with your new reel. If you don't already, perhaps you will do once you get your new reel.

3. Those who fish for salmon will often use the handle of their fishing reel, so if you've fished for trout before and are now fishing for salmon, you might find the action of the reel different to what you're used to.

4. If you're fishing for fish for both salmon and trout, then perhaps you'll come to the conclusion that you need two rods and reels. This will mean that you don't have to change the reels when you're fishing for the other sort of fish.

5. A lightweight reel is favoured by a lot of anglers. However, some anglers don't like the fishing reel to be too light as it can often lose the balance of the rod, and make it harder to use. You'll need to check for yourself and make sure it's comfortable for you.

6. If you get a new reel, will you also need new lines to go with it, or will you choose a fishing reel that fits the lines you've already got?

7. By marking the weight of the line on the reel, you'll always know which reel to use in all circumstances. Perhaps you might only have a couple of reels, but once you start to take your fishing more seriously, and need different rods and reels, you'll be glad to be able to pick up what you need quickly.

8. A fishing reel bag will help to keep your reels in proper working order, and mean that they don't require as much maintenance as they'll be properly looked after. Storing them in a dedicated bag will also make sure that they don't get damaged whilst in your fishing bag.

9. You might already have a brand or model of fishing reel in mind, based on your previous experience, a review, or a friend's recommendation. You shouldn't discount other brands or models as they might be more suitable for your needs and budget.

10. If you're serious about fishing, and most anglers are, then the cost of the reel should not be as important as it's function and durability. You won't want to keep having to buy new fishing reels, nor will you want to spend a fortune on the wrong reels.

Fly Fishing in the Ocean.

While saltwater fly fishing is all about getting good casts and the excitement of the fight, one of your most important purchases behind the rod, is the reel used in this exciting sport. Most reels used in this "extreme" fishing are single action reels and for good reason as their counterparts (Multiplier reels) aren't quite up to par. Multiplier reels are quite a bit more expensive and have many more moving parts. As anyone similar to fly fishing or salt water can't tell you, the more moving parts something has the more trouble one can expect.


In single action reels, you have the choice between direct drive and anti-reverse reels. Their difference is how the reel goes about releasing the line from the spool. In the sport of fly fishing, the most popular all-around is direct drive, where the handle spins backward when the line is released. This makes it easy for fly fisherman to tell how much line is going out and how much there retrieving but keep in mind most fly fishermen aren't trying to reel in line from a bonefish swimming at 20 mph which makes that spinning handle dangerous for your fingers, hands or anything else it could come in contact with. This is where anti-reverse reels come in for the rescue. The handle on an anti-reverse reel stays stationary as the line is stripped away from the reel. For lighter species, the direct drive is a good choice. But for larger species both options have their pluses and minuses, because when the drag is set lightly on anti-reverse reels, they have a tendency to slip when reeling the line in.


It doesn't matter what type of reel you choose; an efficient drag system is one of the most important parts of the reel in saltwater fly fishing. Saltwater fish are much stronger and faster than most equivalent freshwater species and for that fact, they require a better smoother drag for a fun fight. As technology increases, drags in these saltwater fly reels continue to get better and most quality name reels have able drag systems.


Saltwater fly reels come in a variety of sizes and like freshwater reels and rods, they are sized according to what weight line they are made for. In saltwater fly fishing the reel size is crucial because large reels have a greater diameter of line on the spool, meaning the more line you’re able to reel in per crank of the reel. This becomes important when you’re fighting fish that may take out hundreds of yards of line. The size of the reel depends on the fish your targeting and how much line and backing you plan to use in fighting the fish. Fish such as speckled trout require much less line capacity compared to a tarpon or billfish. Also, remember the heavier the weight line, the more reel capacity it takes up.


Saltwater fly reels, unlike most freshwater reels, are made of corrosion resistant materials to fight the harsh elements of saltwater. These stainless steels and anodized aluminum materials are still not tuff enough to fight against these elements. To make your investment last, you must clean your reel after every saltwater outing. Many anglers use an old toothbrush, to lightly scrub the reel inside and out with warm freshwater and a mild dish soap and re-lubricating the reel when necessary.


The saltwater fly reel is an important purchase to help enjoy this wonderful sport. Read reviews and research the product you are about to spend your money on, you’d hate to lose the fish of a lifetime due to a poor decision when it comes to purchasing a saltwater fly reel.