Fly Reels - Freshwater Fly Fishing
As most of you know, a fly reel is the least important component of your freshwater fly fishing equipment. So long as you have a clicker system on the reel to prevent overrun when stripping line, you’ll have a reel that will work in most circumstances. If you looking for attributes for which to splurge on - spend extra dough on a lightweight model.
Few freshwater fishing situations require an expensive - smooth drag with the exception of our anadromous interlopers such as steelhead, salmon, and stripers.
Yes, when fishing big trout water, drag is helpful but in most of your typical bass, pike, panfish, and small trout situations, get the cheapest reel you want. If it clicks and has a handle, you’re good to go. Oh yes, make sure it has a palming rim!
Reels as with any other sport is more of a WANT than a need. If you WANT a “large arbor” reel because you think it’s cool, be my guest. If you WANT to buy a trout reel for $450, by all means.
I bought three saltwater fly reels of which my wife has no knowledge. I value harmonious relationships. I also value smooth drag when watching a tarpon rip off 100 yards of line. This is simply not going to happen in freshwater.
Size and weight are extremely important. You can almost always go smaller than is recommended
provided outfit balances OK. The fact of the matter is: you will create you own drag by palming the reel for the best feel when trying to control a fish. If you plan to cast all day, an lightweight aluminum or even plastic composite will not bog you down - as will heavier metal models.
I have some old Riobi magnesium alloy reels that are light and amazingly tough. I use them instead of the more expensive metals which will bend when abused (and they all get abused), and fall out of “round” causing mechanical abnormalities. In other words, they don’t work good, no more.