The Best Fly Reels Under $100: Cheap But Good-Quality

Last Updated on June 21, 2021 by Donnell Henderson

Are you looking for the best fly reel under 100 dollars? Although it is true that most premium reels come with higher price tags, it does not mean that you have to drain your entire account to get a great reel. With emerging technology, manufacturers are able to even include premium features and still price their reels affordably.

However, the risk of buying a low-quality roller when on a budget is high. To help you out, here is my comprehensive review of the best options on the market. Keep reading to identify the best fly reel under 100 for your fishing excursions.

 

My Top Pick 

The Piscifun Crest Fly Reel is my top pick. It is designed with state-of-the-art features, such as the fully sealed carbon-to-stainless drag, that makes fishing easy, fulfilling, and fun. 

 

The Best Fly Reels Under $100 Are…

  1. Piscifun Crest Fly Reel — Best Cheap Fly Reel
  2. Fiblink Fly Fishing Reels — Runner Up
  3. Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel
  4. Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel
  5. Redington ZERO Fly Reel
  6. Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Reels
  7. Maxcatch Toro Series Fly Fishing Reel

 

1. Piscifun Crest Large Arbor Fly Reel — Best Cheap Fly Reel

Piscifun Crest Fully Sealed Drag Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel Saltwater CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Fly Reel 5/6 Black

Coming at the top of the list is this Piscifun Crest Fully Sealed Drag Large Arbor, a premium reel designed using lightweight aluminum. The fishing reel is made with some of the latest features that make fishing easy and fun. Indeed, it was pretty surprising for us to find the roller this affordable because its features comfortably qualify it for a higher price tag.

One of the most outstanding things about the fishing roller is that it is designed with a fully-sealed drag. This means that it requires no maintenance except rinsing after a fishing excursion. Because the seal prevents debris, such as gravel and sand, from getting into the roller, it keeps the friction low to reduce tear and wear.

When going out fishing, especially when targeting a large catch, using a heavy reel can cause a lot of fatigue. To avoid this, Piscifun used strong yet lightweight aluminum so that you can fish all day without tiring your hands. The heavily ventilated spool not only makes the roller light and strong but beautiful too.

 

Specs 

  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty 
  • Drag: Fully sealed carbon-to-stainless drag 
  • Weight: 0.32 lb 
  • Material: Aluminum 

 

Pros

  • Sold with a lifetime warranty 
  • Constructed with premium-grade aluminum
  • Uses a large arbor design that makes retracting the line easy
  • Has an innovative sealed drag system

 

Cons

  • Heavy
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2. Fiblink Fly Fishing Reels — Runner Up

Fiblink Saltwater Fly Fishing Reel with Large Arbor 2+1 BB, CNC machined Aluminum Alloy Body and Spool (5/6 Wt, Silver)

Next on our list of the best affordable fly-reel is the Fiblink Fly Fishing Reel, which was designed with the sole focus being high-quality. Like our first pick, this roller comes with a lot of features that make angling easy, especially in the open sea. Whether you are new or a seasoned fisherman, this roller will be a great pick for your fishing arsenal. 

If you fish in the sea and target medium-large fish, it is paramount to ensure you have a very strong reel that makes retracting the line easy. This is why Fiblink used Cold-forged, high-grade aluminum construction. In addition to making the roller strong, the aluminum construction also helps to make it durable. Therefore, you should anticipate using the roller over a long time without requiring a replacement. 

When buying an angling fly roller, one of the crucial factors is hand orientation. If you are a person with the right hand as the dominant hand, you need a reel that matches the orientation. However, you need not worry about hand orientation when using Fiblink Fly Fishing Reel because it is easily adjustable for either left or right retrieval. 

 

Specs

  • Weight: 5.9 oz 
  • Material: Aluminum 
  • Diameter: 3.15 in

 

Pros

  • It is constructed using high-grade aluminum for enhanced strength
  • Easily adjustable for either left or right retrieve 
  • Uses a sealed drag system for higher efficiency
  • Ultra-light yet strong 

 

Cons

  • Only available in one color 
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3. Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel

Redington Reels Behemoth 5/6 Reel, Black

The Redington BEHEMOTH is one of the unique reels on the market that pools together a powerful drag with stunning beauty and still manages to keep it below $100. As the name suggests, the roller comes with a large-arbor spool that makes it a great pick, especially when targeting large fish. Although new fishers might take some time to get used to this roller, it is remarkable once they get used. 

Since 1992 when Redington was founded, their dedication to progressive improvement has seen them use some of the best features in their fishing gear niche. A good example is the carbon-fiber torque system used in this BEHEMOTH roller. Unlike other reels that use purely metallic components, the carbon fiber system combines carbon fiber with stainless steel friction plates to help increase efficiency and keep the weight low. 

Another unique thing about the roller is that it rocks an agronomic design that makes using it easy. Particularly, it comes with twin molded handles with a soft touch to provide good feedback when retracting large fish. They also help to reduce slipping.

 

Specs

  • Weight: 0.5 lb
  • Material: Carbon and stainless steel 
  • Drag: Carbon Fiber Torque System

 

Pros

  • Impressively powerful drag system 
  • Uses a deep V-spool for enhanced backing capacity 
  • Holds up to corrosion quite well 
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty 
  • Available in five different colors 

 

Cons

  • Takes time for new fishers to get used to 
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4. Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel

Lamson Liquid -5+ Reel Smoke

The Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel is another awesome choice for almost any style fly fishing person because of the robust construction and sealed drag. With its advanced features, no fisher wants to put it down, and even new anglers continue using it after becoming experts.

The fishing roller is designed with pressure-cast aluminum that guarantees strength and durability. With this roller, it will be pretty easy to reel even a large fish from the water. The finishing of the roller is done with polyurethane that makes it look beautiful.

Another thing that makes this roller stand out is that it uses a fully sealed conical drag system that helps to prevent dirt from getting into the rolling system. You will find this very useful because it reduces corrosion of the rolling parts and ensures that the roller moves freely without resistance. It also helps to make the roller long-lasting. 

 

Specs

  • Material: Aluminum frame and spool 
  • Drag: Sealed Conical Drag System
  • Finish: Polyurethane 

 

Pros

  • Advanced features that make it easy to use
  • Designed with a CNC machined drag system for higher efficiency
  • Rocks a lovely finish 
  • A large arbor that makes pulling out your fish east and fast 
  • Strong and durable 

 

Cons

  • Heavy
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5. Redington ZERO Fly Reel

Redington Zero 4/5 Reel - Avocado (5-5507R45V)

Are you a fishing enthusiast who is looking forward to catching small fish and want a great angling roller to make the excursion enjoyable? This ZERO Fly Reel from Redington will be a solid choice for you. In addition to lightweight construction, the roller is pretty easy to use, even for newbies.

Another feature that makes this roller standout is its spring-loaded drag system. Unlike other drag systems that require you to manually retract the line once the fish has taken the bait, this one is different. The spring recoils back to retrieve your fish easily to the shore or the deck. We found this very effective because you can easily grow your catch without tiring your hands. 

To increase the speed of retrieving fish from the water, the reel is designed with a large arbor. Unlike other reels with large arbors that make them heavy, Redington used die-cast construction that makes it lightweight. So, even if you want to take the entire day fishing, it will not be tiresome.

 

Specs

  • Weight: 0.35 lb 
  • Drag: Spring-loaded clicker system
  • Warranty: Lifetime 

 

Pros

  • Available in different colors, including sand, teal, avocado, and black 
  • Lightweight 
  • Unique die-cast construction 
  • Easy to convert for either left or right hand retrieve 
  • Durable

 

Cons

  • Not recommended when targeting large fish 
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6. Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Reels

Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Reels/Only Clearwater Reels, Iv (7-9 Wt)

If you are an angler who is looking for a relatively bulky reel for your fishing outings, this Clearwater Large Arbor Reels from Orvis will be a great find. The roller is one of the largest fly reels on the market, which means that it is a great pick for people who target big fish. 

One of the reasons why a lot of people fancy this roller is that it ranges between 7wt to 9wt, which implies that it is bigger than the average models out there. Although the construction makes it heavier than other rollers on this review, it is still light enough to comfortably use for an entire afternoon’s fishing excursion. 

To make the reel durable and strong, Orvis designed it with stainless steel. Also, they included a stealthy matte-gray powder finish that not only helps to reduce corrosion but also gives it a beautiful look.

 

Specs

  • Drag: Stacked disc drag 
  • Size: 7-9 wt
  • Material: Stainless and carbon 
  • Weight: 4.54 oz 

 

Pros

  • A large arbor makes it possible to retrieve the line faster 
  • Stainless steel makes the reel strong and durable
  • You can easily convert to the right or left retrieve 
  • Uses a positive click drag knob to make settings consistent

 

Cons

  • It is too small for people with small hands 
  • Weighty 
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7. Maxcatch Toro Series Fly Fishing Reel 

Maxcatch Toro Series Fly Fishing Reel with Large Arbor, CNC-Machined Aluminum Alloy Body: 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 wt in Blue, Green, or Black (Green, 5/6 wt)

The last roller to make our list is this Toro Series from Maxcatch, a great budget pick for freshwater fishing. It rocks a lightweight construction and ergonomic design that made us feel like fishing all day. Although it is only available in green color, you will find it a perfect option when shopping on a budget. 

The reel is designed using corrosion-resistant CNC machined aluminum alloy, which we found as tough as nails, while the finish on the roller holds up really well. You will also like the large arbor that makes retrieving the line swiftly, even pulling out a large fish. The drag knob screws are also hidden to avoid the development of rust. 

Maxcatch used a smooth drag system with exceptional 3.5 pounds of drag power. With the Teflon disc and stainless steel drag system and a one-way clutch bearing, you enjoy immediate drag engagement and very smooth retrieval. Furthermore, the system has a simple drag cover that helps to protect it from sand and dirt.

 

Specs

  • Material: Aluminum and Stainless steel 
  • Drag: Teflon disc and stainless steel drag system
  • Weight: 4.7 oz, 4.9 oz, and 6.0 oz

 

Pros

  • Uses machined aluminum alloy body for enhanced strength and durability 
  • The large arbor spool makes it easy or fast line retrieval 
  • The drag system clicks audibly, making it easy to notice when a fish has been caught 
  • Comes with a two-year warranty

 

Cons

  • Not available in right-hand orientation 
  • Available only in green  
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best fly reel under 100

 

How to Pick a Good Budget Fly Reel

Whether you are new to the word of angling and seeking an entry-level piece or a veteran fisher looking forward to adding a budget roller into your fishing arsenal, there are a couple of details to consider.

So, here are the main things to guide you to identify a budget reel.

 

Material

The material used to make an angling roller is one of the most important considerations because it determines its strength, the fish you can get, and durability.

Today, most rollers are designed using machined bar-stock aluminum, which gives them a smooth sculptured work of art. Other than aluminum, you might also get some of them designed with other materials, such as stainless steel and carbon. 

 

The Drag System

The drag system of an angling roller is what applies resistance and regulates the reel’s speed when fish tries to run away. Although there are different types of drag systems, most budget models use the disc drag model. This system uses some discs that generate varying levels of friction when the drag knob is tightened. Other types of drag systems that you might find include:

  • Ratchet-and-pawl
  • Caliper drag 
  • Disc drag
  • Center-line drag

 

The Arbor Design

Unlike in the past, when most reels were made with a simplified design that rocked a spindle in the middle for attaching the line, the modern designs are different. Today, it is possible to get rollers with a pretty large arbor, which means that you can retract the line pretty fast. However, they can be pretty heavy.

When selecting a budget angling roller, it is important to consider the arbor depending on the nature of your fishing.

For example, if you will be fishing in deep waters and target large fish, it is advisable to go for a roller with a large arbor. However, a standard reel with a small-medium arbor should be okay when targeting small fish near the shore or rivers.

 

Final Thoughts 

Whether you are looking for a budget fly reel to fish in salty or freshwater, the model you select should be the one you can count on to get the job done. Unlike the perception held by some people that budget models are of poor quality, the fly reels we have reviewed above are awesome. From their design to features, you can count on them to make angling expeditions more successful and enjoyable.

While we vouch for the fly reels that we reviewed in this post (they are remarkable), the Piscifun Crest Fly Reel is the best fly reel under 100 dollars. Despite having a price tag of less than $100, the reel comes with features that would make it fit a higher price tag. 

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