Best Fly Fishing reels

Have you experienced using fly fishing gear? If you do, I am sure that you found it enjoyable to use. Having the best fly fishing reels means having a rewarding experience in your fishing past time because you have the necessary equipment.

So, let’s explore the best fly fishing gears available today in the market.

10 Best Fly Fishing Reels 2018

Fly Fishing Reel



Arbor Design

Fully machined and die-cast spool




Fully machined

Super-large Arbor

Machined frame and spool


Finely machined



Ultra-Large Arbor

Machined die-cast



Ultra-Large Arbor

Machined die-cast




1.Piscifun Aoka – Designed for All-Around Fishing

The Piscifun Aoka Fly Fishing Reel is intended for all-around fishing because of the precision as well as comfort that it offers. Knowing that this fishing gear is done using aluminum, you won’t find it weighty on your rod. It doesn’t rust nor break just easily.

Another good thing to consider in this reel is its drag disc. Since it is made of cork as well as Teflon, I guarantee you that it is very smooth. In fact, I find it an essential element since I have to make an adjustment concerning the type of fish that I catch. It’s amazing how I can do it without getting a snagged.

Then, when I was a first-time buyer of this fly fishing reel, I have several options when it comes to the variety and sizes. So, I was able to get the best one that suits my budget.

The only problem I noticed about this gear is that it becomes over sensitive at times. The drag can become uneven. That’s why I see to it that I can maintain total control.

However, I highly recommend this product based on my experience of use. Check on this video for more details.


  • Lightweight
  • Smooth cork
  • Silent retrieve
  • check
    Comfortable handle
  • check
    Has multiple sizes


  • The drag becomes uneven.

2.Piscifun Sword – Ideal for Most Anglers

The Piscifun Sword is an ideal fly fishing gear for many fishermen because of its vital features and benefits.

It is made from machined aluminum; it can create your fishing activity easier because it is light and durable. The component of this gear is vulnerable against rust and does not wear down hastily, making it ideal for freshwater and saltwater fishing

Next is that you have various options as to the sizes. So, whether your target is big or small fish, your reel can make it possible. Alongside with the options for sizes, you also have the choice for colors.

The only rip-offs I see on this gear is its sensitive drag, so take extra care in using it. Also, it is not ideal for that with smaller weight line. So, choose the weight line wisely.

Overall, this fly fishing gear is highly reliable. Check out this video for more information.


  • Light and durable
  • Silent retrieve
  • The design is mid arbor that reduces line memory
  • check
    Good for both saltwater and freshwater
  • check
    Ultra-fast pickup


  • Sensitive drag
  • Not suitable if you have a smaller weight line

3.Orvis Hydros SL – Has the Smoothest Startup Inertia

The Orvis Hydros SL is known to have great startup inertia. Startup inertia pertains to how well your fly fishing reel lets the line out whenever you are getting a bite. A lot of times, the spool locks into its place, but this is not the case with this gear because of its one-way mechanisms.

This gear has the smoothest inertia gently make the fish develop some slack before starting to reel. Take note that whatever species are you catching, this drag makes it easier for it to get into the net.

Additionally, this gear has an extra-large arbor, and this consents you to reel at a rate of eight-inch per second-considered as one of the fastest retrieves I’ve ever experienced. Then, since the arbor is full, it doesn’t make the line curl up.

The material is also excellent. Hydros SL is made of aluminum, making it more agile and lighter. Then, it protects the reel against rust and corrosion. Feel free to use this gear both for saltwater and freshwater.

By the way, the only issue I have with this material is that it is not great at reverse spin.


  • Made from machined bar aluminum
  • All over it has a Smooth drag
  • Fast pick up because of an extra-large arbor
  • check
     Drag handle is ergonomic
  • check
    Available at multiple sizes


  • Not excellent at reverse spin

4.KastKing Katmai – Built for Saltwater Fly Fishing Reel

Many anglers like to fish from freshwater where you can find some best species. However, regarding catches, there are plenty from saltwater, and the KastKing Katmai Fly Fishing Reel is built for saltwater environments.

Thus, you can always use this in freshwater or take it with you to the river because since it’s built for saltwater, it is already shielded from any corrosive elements. Its drag system is sealed and the O-rings function to keep the water out while getting a smooth cast as well as retrieve.

Honestly, I never worry about the rust because the inside ball bearings are coated to keep corrosion and rust out. This gear is made of high-quality aluminum and stainless steel. Also, you won’t have any problem with conversion from left to right-hand casting.

The only issue I see in this reel is that it’s a little bit heavy and the startup inertia can be tricky at times. I also encounter one with inconsistent drag.

However, for casting in saltwater, I highly recommend this reel.


  • Has various sizes (from 3/4 to 7/8)
  • Constructed for fishing in saltwater
  • Easy retrieve from left to right hand
  • check
    It keeps water out because of O-ring design
  • check
    Hardened ball bearing against corrosion


  • At times, the startup inertia is jerky
  • Inconsistent drag
  • A little bit heavy

5.Waterworks Lamson – For Heavy Duty Anglers

As a user of this gear, I find it incredible for different reasons. The Lamson Waterworks Fly Fishing Reel is constructed using heavy-duty steel parts and aluminum-making it durable and reliable. It lasts for long years.

Many anglers who value precision and speed opt to Lamson Waterworks. Having a large size of the arbor and a small geometry makes it high-speed. The arbor clasps the line, so, since it is big, it makes the retrieve and pulling the line faster than the usual.

Lamson Waterworks allows you to retrieve without knuckle dragging which gives more control for easy catching. Then, you won’t experience any snags or even wear and tear frequently as possible because its line is on the reel. Besides that, it works to right and left-handed people.

The problem I see on this reel is lack of flexibility because it is not ideal for saltwater use and the drag can become finicky.


  • Durable because of aluminum as well as steel
  • Has multiple sizes
  • For both left and right retrieve
  • check
  • check
    Hardened ball bearing against corrosion


  • Not suitable for saltwater fishing
  • The drag can become finicky

6.Piscifun Blaze – Best Looking Fly Fishing Reel

The Piscifun Blaze Fly Fishing Reel is known to be attractive because of its color. It has a splash vibrant for anglers who like its structure. Another thing I love about this gear is its sizes. It has various sizes available in the market that will fit what you are looking for.

Blaze guarantees that you will have excellent startup inertia as well as retrieve because of the multi-disc operation. Also, since the materials are made of cork as well as stainless steel, its drag can last longer without any rust. Besides, note that the general construction of this reel is aluminum alloy, making it a lightweight reel.

This reel is also corrosion resistant and can be used both for freshwater and saltwater. It is also coated to give better protection to its elements. I enjoy using this reel because of its fast pickup, and it never wobbles at all and doesn’t easily snag that make a better retrieve.

Unfortunately, this reel is not ideal for catching big fish. There is also a possibility of inconsistent drag and a bit of hassle in changing from left to right hand during the retrieve.

However, the Piscifun Blaze is still an excellent choice for its overall aspects.


  • Durable because of aluminum as well as steel
  • Has multiple sizes
  • For both left and right retrieve
  • check
  • check
    Hardened ball bearing against corrosion


  • Inconsistent drag
  • Changing from left to right hand retrieve can be tricky
  • Not ideal for catching big fish

7.Sage Click Series – Excellent Fly Fishing Reel for Average Fishers

The Sage 4200 Fly Fishing Reel is an excellent choice for average fishing. The most common version of size for this reel is 3/4, just superior for average fishers. The good thing about Sage is its smooth system of drag that optimizes reel balance.

The Sage’s disc is high-quality carbon; you can rely on this reel every time you catch. Also, this gear has an incredible profile; it is slim and light. You will not experience any wobble and resistant to any corrosion as well as rust.

Remember that while using this reel, this is not ideal for saltwater. So, be careful. Then, if you want to catch massive salmon and other large fish types, you should not go with this reel. Also, different sizes of this fly reels are limited in the market.

However, as long as your target is not big fish, you can use this reel all the way. Check this video for more details.


  • Less weight because of smaller design
  • Has single rotation drag (for convenience)
  • Drag adjustment is precise
  • check
    Materials are corrosion resistant
  • check
    High-performance reel


  • The knob sticks at times
  • Limited size of the weight line

8.Redington Rise – Very Comfortable Fly Fishing Reel

The Redington Rise Fly Fishing Reel is known for its comfort. What makes it comfortable to handle is the oversize knob. Then, the shape of the reel conforms to the shape of your hands. So, you won’t experience any sore or scraped knuckles. In fact, among all the fly fishing reels I’ve used, this one is the most comfortable.

Drag system of this reel is also excellent. It has fiber disc from carbon that makes the retrieve super smooth. The startup inertia considers as excellent.

Arbor of this type of reel is enormous that expedites the process of picking up and reduces the memory line. You can release the spools with the rapid change system, to make it more effective to switch lines.

The only issue I have on Redington Rise is its drag setting that can become oversensitive.


  • Easy adjustment because of the oversized knob
  • Ergonomic handles making it soft to touch
  • Convenient quick spool release
  • check
    Has a reduced line memory


  • The drag setting can become oversensitive

9.Sage 2200 – All-Purpose Fly Fishing Reel

I consider the Sage 2200 as all-purpose fly fishing gear because its various sizes can catch a smaller species to a monster or big species such a salmon. Options of any type of line of Sage 2200 series are available.

This fishing gear is excellent because of its sleek matte design that can fit any types of a rod. Then, the materials of die-cast are rugged. It is also lightweight. Also, its arbor is large that reduces the line memory which results to faster pickup.

Also, the spool surface prevents the snagging or the stacking that makes it calmer to switch this between if needed. Plus, you can quickly transfer the knob from left to right with ease.

The only issue I found out on this reel is that it feels a bit wobbly and its drag is not sensitive.


  • Comes with various sizes
  • Made of carbon steel
  • Line memory is reduced
  • check
    Spool surface is concave


  • Feels a little bit wobbly
  • Not sensitive drag

10.Sougayilang – Affordable option for Fly Fishing Reel

The Sougayilang is characterized by both quality and quantity. It is in fact, very affordable for its cost without sacrificing the quality of the reel.

What I like about this reel is the smooth retrieve, and although the startup inertia is limited because it does lock, it has 2+1 bearings that make the return enjoyable. Then the primary material made from aluminum alloy makes sit durable and lightweight.

The look of this reel is fabulous. It looks sleek as well as elegant. It seems classy to any type of rod. In addition, it does not have much wobble, and its large arbor ensures a faster pick up.
As a user of this reel, I really didn’t have so much issue with this reel. 

The only problem I experience is that its spool does not have a quick release. In rare cases, its metal is not smooth.


  • Very affordable
  • Easy and quick conversion from left to right hand
  • Silent retrieve
  • check
    Click-drag is accurate


  • The spools do not have a quick release
  • Metal is rough and not smooth at times

Advantages of Fly Fishing Reels

At this point maybe you are wondering what could be the benefits of fly fishing reels. I’m sure that this is whirling around your head, that’s why I make a detailed list of its pros compared with other conventional methods of fishing:

1.Have smaller lures

If you have small lures, it is a better way to catch fish because, with a fly rod, you can incredibly catch in a long distance.

2.Super lightweight

Instead of using heavy ones, you can use a super lightweight fly fishing reels. You can use just the weight of the fly line that makes it possible to cast midgets and other microscopic flies at great distances.

3.Delicate and quiet

Using fly fishing reel gives you a delicate and quiet way of fishing. So, if you know how to cast, you can drop the fly reel on top of the fish without the need to spook them.

4.Strike Indicator is available

Honestly, the thick and bright colored rope known as “fly line” can become a strike indicator. It is to say that by just looking at the fly line, specifically the connection from the leader to fly line; you can tell by the twitches of the line if something is playing your fly. In water situations, look at the end of the neon green line. Then, wait until it darts away from your before you set the hook.

5.Less Reeling

Using fly fishing reel makes fishing less reeling. It means that the retrieval has a high rate; it only takes a crank to retrieve more line. If you switch from conventional to using fly-in fishing will lead to a 5x faster retrieval rate.

6.Superior bait

The bait presentation is excellent while using a fly fishing reel because by a fly; you will be less likely to scare the fish and the higher the possibility to cast fish.

Disadvantages of Fly Fishing Reels

If there are pros to using fly fishing gears, there are also cons. Check them out below:

1.A lot of room is necessary to cast using fly.

Sometimes fishing using a fly can become frustrating. It is especially true based on my fishing experience. I realized that I had spent more time getting my flies out of a tree than I did the fishing. Yes, it’s very frustrating.

2.Casting requires practice and skill.

Practice and skills are two essential skills to practice to catch correctly.

3.The method of fishing is not the ideal one for a specific situation.

For me, it’s frustrating to keep retrieving all the fly line, and then afterward, recast.

4.More expensive

It is true that flies are cheaper than lures. However, this is not absolutely everything. Everything else is even more costly. So, a fly fishing reel is more expensive than other reels.

Buying Guide for Fly Fishing Reels

Fly Reel is vital to every fly fishing setup. It is like a lead singer that won’t have an excellent performance without a great guitarist. Thus, a fly rod’s potential will not be utilized if the fly reel does not work in harmony with it. So, there are some ways to consider when deciding which reel is the best for you.

Sometimes, you may ask the following questions to guide you:

  • Will the reel hold the fly line to your rod needs?
  • Does the arbor size match your need?
  • Is the material durable? Will it last?
  • Question
    Can you use it in saltwater fishing? Or is it more used in freshwater?

Read on some of the things to consider in buying your fly fishing reels:

1.Material and Quality

There are two main ways that a fly fish reel can be produced-either cast or machined.

In the world of fly fishing reels, the cast reels are frequently bad rap in contrast with the machined reels. This happens because the cast ones are less durable and heavier compared with a machined reel.

Thus, it can be concluded that these differences indicate the overall quality of the cast and the machined. On the other hand, cast reels are often cheaper and more affordable compared to machined reels.

So, consider the anodization and other fishing techniques of metals. Look for that one which is coated. Then, if you are looking for a reel that is protected against rust and corrosion, seek for that which is coated.

2.Drag Settings

The drag is the ability of the reel to prevent a big fish from running with all your line on the reel and never see it again.

So, when you are getting ready to pick your fly fishing reel, avoid gear with poor quality drag. If your budget on the reel allows to get that one with smoother operation and highly reliable, take it.

It is best to have a drag that can just be adjusted to have a perfect tension that will allow you to strip line smoothly without letting the spool run after strip.


The center spindle or the radius of the portion of reel holding the line is the arbor. Large arbor has large diameter mechanism for holding the line. In short, large arbor allows you to take more line in every revolution of the reel.

Thus, consider the following points:

  • Line retrieval – The large arbor has a faster retrieval, especially helpful in picking up the slack line at the start of the fight that makes a consistent tension on the line.
  • Line coil – A larger arbor has a looser spool- more of open coils. The open coils produce less line memory that causes the line to lay out straighter to the water. Large coils usually lead to a longer life because the line endures less stress over the time.
  • Drag – Large arbor has more consistent drag. Because of this, the need to adjust the drag while fighting with the fish is not necessary. If so, there is only a little need which means that it is likely to avoid breaks off the line tippets.

As you see, large arbor reels have many advantages. However, small reels are also useful in some situations. Smaller coils are lighter reels which are necessary if you are using smaller rods. Say, using a large arbor on your rod at 7 ft. with a weight of 2 can throw off balance. Thus, making you cast awkward. So, smaller rods balance with smaller reels, but you won’t get the benefits of having a large arbor.

If you are fishing in the saltwater, large arbor type of fly fishing reel is advantageous because it will allow you to get the fish under control. However, it also has its downside-the reel has to have a fuller diameter to hold the required backing.

That’s why recently; the trend has shifted toward having a mid-arbor as opposed to the large arbor size and the classic one. This type of fly fish reel combines all the positive attributes of small and large reels. Hence, the mid-sized arbor reel is a good compromise that allows you to take the line faster compared with a small one and does not have the increased diameter of weight present in large arbor reel.


One of the essential characteristics to look for a fly fishing reel is its weight. Many anglers prefer to have the lightest reel ever because it is easy to handle compared with the heavy ones. It also makes it easy to cast the rod. Besides that, having the lightest possible can reduce fatigue during fishing for the entire day.

Nevertheless, it is significant that the weight of your reel matches your rod to be efficient in casting. Guess what- I’m sure you do not want to use a more massive rod on an ultra-light reel nor do the opposite. It will make it difficult for you to cast.

So, to ensure that your rig match, say, you use a five-weight line, make sure to use both rod and reel with a range of weight at four to six to get better results.

In order for you to decide the weight, take the following tips:

  • For catching a small trout in a tiny stream, opt for a weight of one to three.
  • In holding a little brass, large trout, as well as the similar quarry, choose a weight of four to six.​​​​
  • To catch a more massive bass, salmon, and bonefish, aim for a weight of seven to nine.
  • Look for rigs with larger weights if you like to catch wahoo and tarpon.
5.Start-up Inertia

The quality fly fishing reel utilizes components that minimize the startup inertia as well as keep a smooth and consistent pressure on the fish.

Have you tried to check the drag tension of your reel by pulling out the line? If you do, you might have noticed the drag that seems to be a little sticky while it starts to release line. Now, that initial sticky feeling is what we call as the friction that begins from the startup inertia.

When the initial fiction lets go, it can feel that there is no drag system at all.

6.Left or Right Retrieve

Since I am a right handed person, it’s evident that I’d reel using my left hand. So, if I am a left-handed caster. I’d spin using my right side. How about you? What do you use to wind: your left or right hand?

My point here is that: it is essential that you look for a fly fishing reel that gives easy conversion from left-handed to right or vice-versa. This will make casting even more enjoyable.

7.Frame and Spool

Some reels have an open structure while others have a full frame surrounding the spool. An open frame helps reduce weight while a closed frame is secure. It keeps the fly line or what we call as "backing" from having a chance to be pinched between the frame as well as the spool.

Most of the modern fly fishing reels have exposed spool rim that gives anglers a surface to palm or increase friction. Anyway, regardless of the drag system, most of the fishermen like access to the spool rim.

Editor's Choice

After examining the different fly fishing reels available on the market today, I have to say that the Piscifun Aoka is the top model on the list. Although this is not the cheapest among all the models, it has better features.

The Piscifun Aoka comes with high-quality as well as precision machining that works in optimal condition over time. It has a mid-arbor design which is more recommended than large ones. Since it comes in different sizes, you can use it for different purposes with a specific rod to match. You can use it to catch both small and large fish in freshwater or saltwater with a comfortable left to right hand retrieve.

As a whole, the Piscifun Aoka is excellent for all around fishing. The reliability and durability of this model are remarkable because of its features.


Many fly fishing reels from the list have improved their performances. Thus, today’s fly fishing reels have better parts as well as tighter machining for all-around quality. Be sure to consider your needs before buying the reel.

It is essential that you have recognized what you want and what you need for fly fishing reels, and the combination of rods and reels. Also, you would want to consider your purpose as to what type of fish are you going to cast-big or small? Is it in freshwater or saltwater?

Take note that there is no single perfect answer for all of these. Take your consideration.

I hope that this guide becomes an instrument in helping you pick the best fly fishing reel suited to your needs. Do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Feel free to share this article with others so they will also be guided. Thank you!


Hi! I'm Demi and welcome to my blog. Here, I will share everything I know about enjoying and surviving the outdoors. Whether you love to go outdoors, you will find interesting and informational articles on this blog.

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