10 Best Fly Fishing Reels (Durable and Affordable)

Best Fly Reel

The fly reel is the most traditional and oldest types of fishing reels on the market. One of the main advantages of the fly reel is that it usually uses a lighter fishing rod that is more comfortable to use for an extended period.

Additionally, it uses real baits like dry flies, streamers, nymphs, or any other form of fish food. Despite being harder to fish than a spinning or even baitcasting reel, the fly reel is still a very popular option for both beginners and experts alike.

To this day, it still remains a pure way of catching freshwater fishes like carp, trout or bass.

If you are fresh on the market for a good fly reel, we have exactly what you need! We have handpicked a few popular fly reel models and give you our impressions below.

You can also read other product reviews on the same niche such as fishing reel, baitcasting reel, spincast reelspinning reelspinning reel under $100saltwater spinning reelrod and reel combo, and many more.

Product Name

Arbor size

Material

Rating

Current Price

1. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

Mid

Aluminum Alloy

4.7

2. Piscifun Blaze Fly Reel

Mid

Aluminum Alloy

4.8

3. Redington Rise Fly Reel

Ultra-large

Aluminum Alloy

4.9

4. Piscifun Aoka Aluminum Fly Reel

Mid

Aluminum Alloy

4.5

5. Sougayilang Large Arbor Fly Reel

Large

Aluminum Alloy

4.3

6. Fiblink Saltwater Fly Reel With Large Arbor

Large

Aluminum Alloy

4.1

7. Croch Fly Reel With CNC-Machined Aluminum Alloy Body

Mid

Aluminum Alloy

4.0

8. Waterworks-Lamson Guru Series II Fly Reel

Large

Stainless Steel

5.0

9. Sage 2200 Series Fly Reel

Large

N/A

4.5

10. Goture Fly Fishing Reel Diecast Trout

Large

Aluminum Alloy

3.8

1. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel 

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Mid
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: N/A

The Piscifun Sword has the right balance between durability and price. Indeed, this is a solid fly fishing reel that was built to last. It is not the cheapest on the market, but it does offer features that make it appealing.

For one, it uses a series of discs that make the drag very smooth. Best, this model is fully waterproof and corrosion proof as it has o-ring seals that prevent water from entering inside the spool.

Since this fly reel is made from an aluminum alloy, it is very durable and long-lasting. Moreover, it can be used for heavy-duty freshwater fishing without any performance issues.

Pros:

  • Easy to install and use
  • CNC machined aluminum body for durability
  • Smooth drag and easy retrieve system

Cons:

  • The price could have been a little bit more competitive

2. Piscifun Blaze Fly Reel 

Piscifun Blaze Fly Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Mid
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: 16 ounces

This is another Piscifun fly reel that comes with a mid-arbor that strikes a good balance between capacity and line retrieval. Additionally, the fairly small arbor makes it less prone to line backlash.

The build quality of the Piscifun Blaze is the same as the other Piscifun model we have reviewed above, which is to say very good. It is durable and long-lasting thanks to its CNC machined aluminum build construction.

The drag system is also very efficient and smooth and changing the position of the spool from left to right, or vice versa is also easy and can be done in a matter of minutes. All in all, this reel does not require a lot of experience to operate as it is quite simple and very easy to use.

Pros:

  • Aluminum alloy build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Smooth drag due to a multi-disc system
  • Easy to change the retrieving system positio

Cons:

  • None

3. Redington Rise Fly Reel 

Redington Rise Fly Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Ultra-large
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: 16 ounces

The Redington Rise is one of the fastest fly reels you will find in this review because of its ultra-large arbor size. The build construction of aluminum makes this fly reel a heavy-duty reel that is built to last and can be used for intensive fishing on a large catch like trout, salmon or bass.

Additionally, the ultra-large arbor size makes this reel an excellent candidate for long-distance fishing. You will be able to reel in the line much faster than with a model that contains a small arbor size.

Further, there is a carbon fiber disc drag system in this unit that makes the drag exceptionally smooth. For more versatility, there is an oversized drag knob to the side that allows you to make adjustments to the braking system quickly and easily.

To make it more comfortable to manipulate, the Redington Rise comes with a dual handle that is coated with a soft rubber material for easier grip and more comfort.

Pros:

  • Ultra-large arbor size allows you to quickly and easily reel in a long line
  • Available in different colors based on user preference
  • Easily accessible drag knob to the side for drag adjustment

Cons:

  • The price. It is an expensive fly reel

4. Piscifun Aoka Aluminum Fly Reel 

Piscifun Aoka Aluminum Fly Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Mid
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: N/A

The Piscifun Aoka is one of the best fly reels in this review. This model has a standard aluminum build construction but where it really shines is its price to performance ratio.

Indeed, it can be used as a heavy-duty fly reel and still costs significantly less than other fly reels.

Another area that makes this fly reel very good is its ease of use. For one, the spool can quickly and easily be detached from left to right-hand change.

Moreover, retrieving the line with this fly reel is very smooth and silent due to the disc system technology.

Pros:

  • Affordable. Value for money
  • Silent retrieve and smooth drag due to multidisc system
  • Easy to change left to right hand retrieve system

Cons:

  • Only available with a mid-arbor size

5. Sougayilang Large Arbor Fly Reel 

Sougayilang Large Arbor Fly Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Large
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: 5.6 ounces

This Sougayilang is a large arbor fly reel that looks stunning. Indeed, it is made from a CNC machined aluminum alloy that is very durable. Moreover, it uses 3 ball bearings that make the drag very smooth and allows the user to reel a large catch with great comfort.

In addition to the smooth drag, this fly reel uses a single 1:1 retrieve system that provides you with accuracy and control over your retrieval. Furthermore, the risk of a backlash is diminished with this single retrieve system.

One other area where this Sougayilang fly reel absolutely shines is its versatility. Indeed, it has the right balance of features that allow it to be used in many different situations to catch fishes of any sizes.

Pros:

  • Affordable. Excellent price to performance ratio
  • Large arbor size allows you to quickly and easily retrieve your line
  • Excellent build construction. Durable and long-lasting

Cons:

  • The ball bearing system could have been better. It is not as durable or heavy-duty as other models

6. Fiblink Saltwater Fly Reel With Large Arbor 

Fiblink Saltwater Fly Reel With Large Arbor
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Large
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: 4.2 ounces

The Fiblink fly reel is one of the few models in this review that has a sealed spool. This makes it an excellent candidate for both freshwater and seawater fishing since saltwater cannot enter inside of the spool.

Moreover, there is a 3 ball bearing system that makes the drag, casting and retrieving smooth. However, we note that a 3 ball bearing is not enough. We would have preferred more ball bearings or a better and more efficient multi-disc system instead.

Nevertheless, for the price, this fly reel still offers a lot bang for the buck. For casual users, this is a good fly reel for the money and we can safely recommend it to you.

Pros:

  • Flexible. Can be used in both saltwater and freshwater
  • Sealed spool prevents water from entering inside the spool
  • 1:1 single retrieve system provides you with great accuracy during casting and retrieving

Cons:

  • The ball bearing system is not heavy-duty

7. Croch Fly Reel With CNC-Machined Aluminum Alloy Body 

Croch Fly Reel With CNC-Machined Aluminum Alloy Body
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Mid
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: 4.96 ounces

This is another budget fly reel that tries to not sacrifice features over price. It is made from a solid aluminum alloy that is durable and long-lasting. However, the finish paint job is not the most professional in this reel as noted by many of its users.

Nevertheless, it still offers an exceptional ease of use thanks to its smooth drag system. Casting or reeling a big catch with this fly reel should not be a problem as it is quite performing.

Additionally, this fly reel sports a midsize arbor which offers a nice balance between retrieving and ease of use. Problems like backlash should be minimal to non-existent in this fly reel.

Pros:

  • Affordable. Value for money
  • List ElemEasy to convert from left-hand to right-handent
  • Ability to choose a different size
  • Smooth stainless steel drag system

Cons:

  • The paint job on this fly reel is not the most professional we have seen
  • The handle is made of plastic

8. Waterworks-Lamson Guru Series II Fly Reel 

Waterworks-Lamson Guru Series II Fly Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Large
  • Material: Aluminum and Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 16 ounces

This Waterworks-Lamson fly reel is the most expensive solution in this review. However, this is a high-end fly reel that is consistently rated as being one of the best on the market.

What distinguishes this model from others is its combination of high-quality, tough and durable materials like aluminum and stainless steel. Indeed, it uses a mix of both of those metals that make the Waterworks-Lamson a very durable reel that can be used for heavy-duty big-game fishing

In addition, this model has a large arbor size which allows it to reel in the fishing line quite fast and with greater efficiency. Furthermore, the handle is coated with a soft rubber material that is comfortable to hold. It is a single handle and not a dual one which would have been simply perfect.

Pros:

  • Ability to choose different size at purchase
  • CNC machine engineered for precision
  • Sealed spool. Can be used for saltwater fishing

Cons:

  • Very expensive

9. Sage 2200 Series Fly Reel 

Sage 2200 Series Fly Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Large
  • Material: N/A
  • Weight: 15.2 ounces

The Sage 2200 is a large arbor fly reel that concentrates on durability and ease of use. Indeed, it is made from a CNC machine diecast aluminum.

Furthermore, the arbor is large which allows you to quickly and easily reel in a long line. This model uses a carbon disc system that acts as a brake on the spool. Consequently, the drag is smooth and can be further adjusted thanks to the adjustment knob to the side of the spool.

For more flexibility, the Sage 2200 comes in different sizes. You also have the possibility to choose between 2 different colors.

Pros:

  • Excellent build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Ability to choose different sizes
  • Large arbor allows you to reel in very fast

Cons:

  • Not the smoothest drag

10. Goture Fly Fishing Reel Diecast Trout 

Goture Fly Fishing Reel Diecast Trout
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Arbor size: Large
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: N/A

The Goture fly reel is a refreshed and improved version of past models. This unit has a CNC machined aluminum frame that is highly durable and long-lasting. Moreover, it does a great job resisting both freshwater and seawater because of its sealed spool. Therefore, it can be used comfortably in both.

Further, this fly reel comes equipped with a 3 ball bearing system that offers smooth performance especially when it comes to the drag. The drag in this fly reel is a little bit overwhelming for most people but it offers very decent performance when used for big-game fishing.

Due to the large arbor in this reel, you can expect to retrieve your line quickly and easily. Moreover, one of the areas that this fly reel is unbeatable is in its price to performance ratio. It is very affordable and yet offers features that you normally see in much more expensive fly reels.

Pros:

  • Affordable. Value for money
  • Available in different colors and sizes
  • Tough aluminum frame. Durable and long-lasting

Cons:

  • None

How to Buy a Fly Reel

How to Buy a Fly Reel

1. Reel Drag Mechanism

There are basically 2 types of drag mechanisms in a fly reel.

Pring and Pawl:

The spring and pawl is the original type of drag mechanism that came in the first fly reels when it was invented many years ago. It is simply a gear mechanism that controls the exit rate of the fly line. It has a uniform drag and the spring and pawl mechanism and is becoming increasingly rare to find these days.

Disk Drag:

The disk drag system works in a similar way a car brake works. It uses a series of carbon fiber discs that press against the reel and slows it down. It is by far the most common type of real drag mechanism you will find in most fishing reels today.

For ease of use, the disk drag system is superior and the type of system you should be looking for when purchasing a fly reel.

2. Retrieval system

Essentially, the retrieval system in a fly reel controls the speed at which you can retrieve your fishing line. There are 3 major types of retrieval systems.

Single action:

The single action retrieval system is a 1:1 ratio retrieval action. This means that it will retrieve exactly the same amount of fishing line that the arbor can reel in. It is by far the easiest and less problematic fly reel system.

Multiplying:

With a multiplying retrieval system, it will multiply the amount of fishing line that it reels in by a factor of 2 or more. This allows you to retrieve more line quickly with less turn of the handle.

However, the multiplying retrieval system has a lot of problems as it uses a series of mechanical gears to perform the multiplication. They can sometimes get stuck and backlash on your fishing line.

Automatic:

Just as its name suggests, the automatic retrieval system will automatically retrieve the fishing line for you. All you had to do is push a button. The only place that you will find that the automatic retrieval system being useful is when long-casting at great distances.

4. Arbor size

The arbor size works on the same principle as the gear ratio in other types of fishing reels but uses simpler terms like mid, large or ultra-large instead. Essentially, the bigger the arbor size in a fly reel the more fishing line it is able to retrieve in less time.

If you are planning to perform long-distance fishing with a long line, it is always better to choose a model with a bigger arbor size.

However, a fly reel with a smaller arbor size is much easier to use and offers better maneuverability when retrieving. You will need to choose an appropriate arbor size based on your need and purpose in this case.

5. Drag

The drag is important in a fly reel. It helps to always keep tension on the fishing line and prevent backlash.

Additionally, it makes the fishing experience much smoother especially when reeling in a large fighting fish like a trout or bass.

6. Right-Hand or Left-Hand

One of the main advantages of the fly reel is that it can be operated by both right-handed or left-handed users. All that you need to do is remove the spool and reverse its position on the fly reel.

However, when reversing the position of the spool you will also find that the retrieval system also gets reversed.

Therefore, your preferred fly reel model must have a way of reversing the retrieval system as well. Most of the time this is done by reversing the brake cylinder inside the spool release.

7. Weight

Since the fishing rod used with a fly reel is usually lightweight, it goes with reason that the fly reel must also be lightweight. However, it will depend on your use as the bigger the fly reel, the more fishing line it can accommodate and the more heavy-duty it becomes.

Conclusion

As we have seen, the fly reel is fairly affordable, durable, and has a rich set of features that will provide you with a great fishing experience.

Sure, casting and fishing with a fly reel is more old-fashioned and not as efficient as with a spinning reel. But, it is significantly more fun and rewarding.

Just as a reminder, you will need a special lightweight fishing rod that comes with a cork-grip to be able to install and use the fly reel.

In case you have still not found a model that suits your need and budget, we recommend that you go through our fly reel review one more time.

Allen Ethan