Best Fly Fishing Reels (2020 Guide)

  • Jun 8, 2020
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Looking for the best fly fishing reels? There is a great variety of fly fishing reels on the market, but here we will focus on the top 5 fly fishing reels that will fit any budget. 

It is not difficult to learn how to use a fly fishing rod. Once you master the basics all you need is lots of practice to gain experience. If you are a beginner in fly fishing consider reading the tips below on how to learn to fly fish and choose a fly fishing rod and reel.

Getting Started in Fly Fishing

If you want to get started in fly fishing, first figure out whether you can fly fish somewhere in your area. Even with the best fly fishing gear, you won’t be able to catch fish in a pond or slow lake which are ideal for bait cast or saltwater rigs. A perfect environment for fly fishing is a river or a body of water with a current.

Then you should master the technique of casting your fishing pole. To fly fish make sure you cast your rod in the opposite direction than when fishing in a traditional way. You should cast the line first so the lure follows the line. If you feel the rod bend during a cast it means that you do it right!

Putting Together the Fly Fishing Rod and Reel

Having the right rod and reel combination is a recipe for success in fly fishing. Usually fly fishing rods are offered for sale without the reel. Fly fishing rods can be fast action, medium action, or slow action (action stands for the flexibility of the fishing pole). Fast action fishing poles are not the best pick for a beginner angler as they are hard to control. Inexperienced fly fishermen usually begin with medium action poles which are versatile.

Now that you have bought your fly fishing rod, you need to look for a good fly fishing reel. There is a great variety of fly fishing reels on the market, but here we will focus on the top 5 fly fishing reels.

Okuma SLV Fly Reel

Amazon Choice
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Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel

The Okuma SLV is the best choice in terms of price/quality ratio. Its cost ranges from $30 – $50 dollars depending on the size of the fishing line. The Okuma SLV is made of a die-cast aluminum frame, with the spool and the washers made of stainless steel to prevent rust. The reel features non-slip rubberized handle knobs to minimize the chance of dropping your fishing pole into the water. However, the Okuma SLV is quite heavy: it weighs around 11.2 ounces.

Waterworks Lamson Guru Fly Reel

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Waterworks Lamson Guru Fly Reel

This model is produced by Lamson, an Idaho based company that has been manufacturing high-quality reels since 1995. The Guru is rather expensive and its price ranges from $259 – $359 dollars depending on its size. The Guru Fly Reel is the latest and most affordable line of Lamson designed to maximize structural strength and reduce weight to a minimum. The reel made of machined aluminum and stainless steel weighs about 5 ounces. The Guru is an incredibly lightweight and durable reel. It comes with a large arbor reel which reels faster than a small one. Anglers rely on a large arbor reel when fly fishing for big fish. The drag of the reel is fully sealed to prevent water and mud from getting inside of the reel.

Okuma Helios Machined Aluminum Large Arbor Fly Reel

Amazon Choice
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Okuma Helios Machined Aluminum Large Arbor Fly Reel

Made of solid, machined aluminum the Okuma Helios is also a great option to consider. The Okuma Helios costs between $85 – $195 dollars and is backed by a free five-year guaranty. So if you decide to purchase this reel you can be sure that it will last at least a decade. Featuring no plastic or cheap metal parts the Okuma Helios is solid aluminum but is still lightweight (7.2 ounces). The waterproof multi-disc drag system on the Okuma Helios is well protected from moisture. A multi-disc system ensures easy access to the drag wheel so an angler should just twist the drag knob on the backside of the reel.

Orvis Battenkill Reel

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Orvis Battenkill Reel / Extra Spool

The Orvis Battenkill reel can be purchased for $98 – $150 dollars. Its simple aesthetically beautiful design is modeled after old classic reels. The drag system is very simple. The Battenkill reel has a four-position click, plus a narrower spool with a greater diameter than that found in most reels. The reel is easily adjustable from left hand to right hand retrieve. Light and very durable, the Battenkill reel is made of heavy-duty, bar stock aluminum. It weighs around 9.5 ounces, which is more than the weight of the Guru or the Okuma Helios but is not going to impact your fly fishing performance.

Ross Flyrise Fly Reel

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Ross Flyrise Fly Reel

Classified as a large arbor reel, the Ross Flyrise costs just $80. Unlike many other reels, the Ross Flyrise is perfect for both fresh and saltwater fly fishing. Its drag system features an adjustable disc that enables the angler to turn the drag knob when he catches a really big fish. The Ross Flyrise has an aluminum frame, bronze brushings, a stainless steel spindle, and Teflon drag material. All reel parts are durable, heat resistant, and self-lubricating. The Ross Flyrise is offered with a warranty, but due to its great quality, you are sure to use it for at least a decade.

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