Last Updated on June 21, 2021 by Donnell Henderson
One of the secrets to a successful and immensely satisfying fly fishing trip is having the best fly reel you could possibly have. In this type of fishing activity, casting that line is really all about how smoothly the reel releases it, and with a less than great reel, you won’t be reaching very far.
I’ve got to confess, choosing a great fly reel isn’t the easiest thing — there are just too many factors to consider! There are so many brands, and they keep coming out with new products. If you go through our reviews, and you’ll have a parade of sure bets to choose from.
My Top Pick
The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is my first choice. It just releases that line like a dream, and is sold affordably.
- Here are My Best Fly Reel Reviews…
- 1. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel — Best Fly Fishing Reel
- 2. Orvis Mirage III Fly Reel — Runner Up
- 3. Piscifun Aoka Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel
- 4. Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel
- 5. Sage Fly Fishing – SPECTRUM Fly Reel
- 6. Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel
- 7. Galvan Fly Reels Torque Fly Reel
- 8. BAIKALBASS Fly Fishing Reel
- 9. PROBEROS Fly Fishing Reel
- How to Pick the Best Fly Fishing Reels
- Final Thoughts
Here are My Best Fly Reel Reviews…
Here’s the full list of the products I’ll cover in this roundup:
- Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel — Best Fly Fishing Reel
- Orvis Mirage III Fly Reel — Runner Up
- Piscifun Aoka Aluminum Fly Fishing Reel
- Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel
- Sage Fly Fishing – SPECTRUM Fly Reel
- Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel
- Galvan Fly Reels Torque Fly Reel
- BAIKALBASS Fly Fishing Reel
- PROBEROS Fly Fishing Reel
1. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel — Best Fly Fishing Reel
Piscifun is one of the most respected brands in the fishing gear niche, and their unwavering commitment to quality is evident in this Piscifun Sword fly reel. From the material selection to features, Piscifun spared no effort in making this a premium reel. This is one of the reasons why the fly reel has become so popular today, and you should also consider trying it.
Many anglers love this fly reel because of its strength and durability. It is constructed from CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, which is known for its high-impact and durability. Even with the heavy construction, we liked the reel because it is light enough so that you can fish without tiring your hands when fishing.
If you are targeting large fish, it is crucial to select a reel with a high drag power, and Piscifun Sword fly reel scores high on this end. It uses a multi-disc cock and stainless steel drag system with a one-way clutch bearing. The system guarantees you a smooth immediate drag engagement and silent retrieval.
- Material: CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy
- Weight: 4.7 ounces
- Diameter: 3.35 inches
- The reel is sold with a three-year warranty
- Designed with high-quality CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy
- Uses mid-arbor design to reduce line memory and facilitate quick retrieval
- Works well with most rods
- Smooth and silent line retrieval
- A great option for catching bass, trout, and bluegill
- Strong and durable
- Poor finishing
2. Orvis Mirage III Fly Reel — Runner Up
If you love fly fishing trout, it is paramount to get a reel that is capable of casting a small lure and retracting the line pretty fast if the fighting animal starts swimming towards you. This is why Orvis designed the superfast Mirage USA Fly Reel Pewter, III. Although pricey, it is one of the finest pieces you will get out there.
The design of the Orvis Mirage was aimed at helping you to overcome the abuse of big fish in the open waters. Both the spool and frame are CNC machined from a hardened block of 6061-T6 bar stock aluminum. The tight tolerance makes the reel extra-stiff, meaning that you can easily battle even the big fish without breaking.
To enhance this reel’s efficiency, the drag system is sealed to prevent dirt, water, and grime from entering. This implies that you can protect the inner parts from corrosion and unnecessary friction. Although most anglers who use this reel fish in freshwaters, it is equally effective for saltwater fishing.
- Material: 6061 T6 aluminum
- Drag system: Sealed stainless steel disc
- Backing capacity: 150 yards – 325 yards
- Good for both freshwater and saltwater activities
- Its drag system is fully sealed to prevent the entry of water and dirt
- The drag knob provides a better grip even when your hands are wet
- Swapping out the spool is pretty easy
When Piscifun designed this fly reel, they wanted to help combine two things; quality, and affordability. Like most of their products, this fly reel is a high-quality piece, and we could not believe that it can have such a low price tag. Therefore, if you do not want to spend a lot of money on the reel but want the best that the market has to offer, this will be a great find.
The fly reel is made from a fully machined aluminum frame and die-cast spool that provides you with the strength to get even the stubborn fish out of the water. In addition to being strong, this fly reel is very beautiful. So, if you are an occasional angler or holiday fisher who wants to spruce your vacation, this reel will work very well for you.
When you retrieve a fish out of the water, there is a great sense of satisfaction. Piscifun takes this thrill a notch higher by using the Cork/Teflon disc drag system. The system uses a one-way clutch bearing that makes retrieving fish easy and enjoyable. Well, with this fly reel, the hooked fish has no chance of escape.
- Drag: Cork/Teflon disc drag system
- Material: Fully machined aluminum frame and die-cast spool
- Warranty: Three years
- Designed with a fully machined aluminum frame
- Rocks a lovely design
- The fly reel is very easy to change with two release screw
- Only available in one color
Saltwater fishing, especially when targeting large fish, such as mature bass, requires a strong and large reel, such as this Redington RISE Fly reel. Redington wanted to ensure that no matter how big the targeted fish is, you can be able to overcome it and retrieve to the deck easily. We also liked the reel because it is pretty easy to use for both pro and amateur anglers.
The most notable thing about this fly reel is that it is designed with tough materials that make it easy to overcome even hard-fighting fish. Redington used CNC Machined, anodized 6061-T6 aluminum, but we noted that the reel is amazingly light. Weighing only 0.5-pound, a serious angler will be able to hold for some time without tiring his hands.
To make fishing easy and enjoyable, it is paramount to ensure you get a fly reel based on your hand orientation. For example, if the dominant hand is right, you use it to cast the line and reel with the left. Redington thought about it too and uniquely designed this reel so that converting to left or right for retrieval is pretty easy.
- Weight: 0.5 pounds
- Material: Machined aluminum
- Warranty: Lifetime warranty
- Makes it easy to convert to the right or left for a more efficient retrieval
- Uses an ultra-large arbor design for faster retrieval
- Soft-touch ergonomic handles
- Fitted with oversized drag knob for easy adjustment
This Sage fly fishing reel is a modern classic model that pools together the old-style aesthetics and ultra-modern features. When you look at it from the outside, it appears as if it is from the Victorian era, reminding the fishermen about the origin of fishing reels. When we first saw the fly reel, we were mesmerized by its beauty, especially the lime color. It is also available in black and platinum colors.
This fly reel takes after the 4200 series, a previous highly successful model, and brings additional improvements that make it the ultimate reel for serious anglers. It is designed using fully Machined 6061-T6 aerospace grade aluminum that guarantees you superior strength and rigidity. With this fly reel, no fish will be too stubborn to retrieve.
Since the it is designed with serious anglers in mind, it comes with a machined and anodized aluminum ergonomic handle that gives you absolute control of the fish at the end of the line. To simplify pulling the fish out of the water, the reel is pretty easy for conversion from the left to right hand retrieve.
- Drag: Sealed carbon System (SCS) drag system
- Material: Fully Machined 6061-T6 aerospace grade aluminum
- Handle: Machined and anodized aluminum ergonomic handle
- Designed with a large arbor for fast line pick-up
- The arbor is concave to optimize strength and capacity
- Designed with machined 6061-T6 aerospace grade aluminum for more strength and durability
- A great option for saltwater fishing
The next reel on our review is the BEHEMOTH Fly Reel, a premium model from Redington. The reel is designed using the die-cast construction method and offers all that a serious angler would want to see in a reel.
One of the most notable features of the Behemoth fly reel is its carbon fiber toque system that helps to reduce friction, making casting and retrieval smooth. Redington combined carbon fiber with stainless steel friction plates to deliver high levels of torque for any fish load that might be attached to the hook.
Another outstanding thing about the Behemoth fly reel is that it comes with a large arbor spool that helps to increase the speed of retrieval and makes the reel strong. The large arbor works with the oversized aluminum knob to offer for better co control when pulling your fish out.
You will agree with us that a firm grip is very important when targeting a large fish. Redington designed the behemoth with twin molded handles to provide you with a firm grip and good feedback when reeling fish.
- Handle: Twin molded handles
- Design: Unmachinable, unique Die-cast construction
- Drag: Carbon fiber drag system
- Available in four different sizes
- Super-heavy duty carbon fiber drag provides maximum strength and reliability
- Combines a powerful drag with aesthetics
- Designed to make casting and reeling large fish easy and enjoyable
- Good for both expert and beginner anglers
- Not recommended for anglers targeting small fish
When Galvan set out to design this fly reel, they improved upon the designs of the top competitors. This is why it comes with premium features and most anglers who use it come back with positive feedback. We also agreed with most users that this is one of the best fly reels for the money, especially when it comes to durability and ease of use.
In addition to high-quality, this is made with a special focus on aesthetic appeal. The dark brown color looks rich and matches well with the drag knob. If aesthetics is part of your goal or can help make the excursion more successful, this Galvan Fly Reel is a sure bet.
If you are new to angling, pulling out a hard-fighting fish can make you lose balance because of the shifting center of gravity. This fly reel addresses the challenge using a counterbalance system that provides you with additional control. Even seasoned anglers find the counterbalancing system very useful, especially when targeting a large catch.
- Drag: Torque drag system
- Arbor type: Large arbor design
- Warranty: Lifetime warranty
- Uses a large arbor design for fast line retrieval
- Comes with a counterbalancing system that makes it easy to use
- Lightweight construction
- Very expensive
The word BAIKALBASS is largely associated with quality gear, and this fly fishing reel is no different. The reel is designed with an abrasion-resistant and corrosion-resistant aluminum that makes it strong and durable. Because of the strong materials used to make the reel, we found it a great option for fishing in both fresh and sea waters.
When selecting a fishing reel, it is advisable to look for a model that is quiet to avoid scaring away fish or hindering your concentration. This is why BAIKALBASS designed this fly reel with accurate drag settings. We noted the smooth immediate drag engagement that makes casting and retrieval quiet and enjoyable.
When a fish gets hooked on one end of the line, the reel makes it pretty easy to pull it out. It is designed with a stainless steel drag system, which comprises 2+1BB bearings for immediate engagement and smooth retrieval. The reel’s large arbor also helps to make line retrieval fast.
- Drag: Stainless Steel Drag System
- Material: Abrasion-resistant and corrosion-resistant aluminum
- Arbor: Large Arbor Design
- Large arbor for fast line retrieve
- Accurate drag settings make retrieving smooth and silent
- The fly reel works well for both new and experienced anglers
- less line capacity
The last fly reel to make our list is this PROBEROS Fly Fishing Reel, which is designed with the latest technology to make fishing easy and enjoyable. It is also stylish and comes with a low price tag.
The most notable thing about this is the sturdy construction that makes it strong and durable. It is made with high quality-cold-forged, CNC-machined aluminum, meaning that you are sure of high drag capacity to help you comfortably retrieve even large fish from the water.
Another thing that makes this outstanding is its smooth drag. PROBEROS used rugged Teflon drag that helps to make the reel stable. Furthermore, it has a CNC hollow design that makes it very light. Even when reeling heavy fish, the system feels intuitive and satisfying.
- Material: Aluminum body
- Maximum drag: 13-pound
- Diameter: 3.8-inch
- Drag: Disc drag
- Sold affordably
- Designed for freshwater fishing
- Made with a tough aluminum body for strength and durability
- Easy gripping handle for better control
- One-way bearing makes it easy to switch from left to right-hand retrieval
- A great option for both new and experienced anglers
- Easy to disassemble and reassemble for maintenance
- Not recommended for saltwater fishing
How to Pick the Best Fly Fishing Reels
The primary purpose of a fly reel is retrieving and storing the fly line. The reel’s drag is also very important because it allows you to overcome the fighting fish. This is why you should only go for high-quality fly reels so your catch doesn’t get away. So, if you have not identified the best after going through our reviews, this guide will help you to understand the specific components to check.
Understand the Fly Reels Retrieval Mechanisms
There are three main types of retrieval systems in a fly reel – the single action, the automatic fly reel, and the multiplying reels.
Single Action Retrieval System
A single-action retrieval system means that the fly reel turns the spool once with every turn of the handle. Therefore, to increase the line retrieval rate, you need to increase the spool’s diameter.
Multiplying Fly Reel Retrieval System
A multiplying fly reel system is designed to allow the fishing line to be retrieved pretty fast. This is achieved through a network of gears that help to multiply the rotation of the handle.
For example, turning the fishing reel handle once might turn the spool three, five, ten, or more times. This implies that you will be able to retrieve the line pretty fast and cast it again to grow the catch.
Automatic Fly Reel System
As the name suggests, this system retrieves the line without requiring the angler to rotate the spool. The system uses a trigger and spring that allows the line to zip back into the reel.
Things to Consider When Selecting Fly Reels
The features of the fly fishing reels that you select will determine how effectively it will be when you’re out on the water. So, here are the main features that you need to factor in.
Today, most reels are designed using aluminum, although it is also possible to get some from other materials, such as stainless steel. This implies that a solid piece of the selected material is carved to take the shape of the reel. However, some models are designed using cast aluminum that is poured into molds of the targeted fly reel.
When selecting a fly reel, the rule of thumb is that you should go for the machined aluminum or steel because it is stronger. However, you should also be prepared to pay more for it.
The Drag System
The drag system in a fishing reel applies resistance when retracting the line, which helps prevent the fish from getting away. Although there are several drag systems, the most popular is the disc drag type. This implies that the reel uses a number of discs with self-lubricating materials to help create different levels of friction when the knob tightens.
A strong drag system is particularly important when targeting large fish in deep waters compared to smaller ones in shallow rivers. When the hook catches a big fish, it will fight hard to try to get away from the hook, and the drag system should help you to overcome the force.
To be sure of getting a fly reel with ample drag power, you should consider only buying reels from reputable brands.
The Arbor Size
When the reels were discovered, they all had a simple and conventional spindle for attaching the fishing line. To make retrieving the line faster, designers had to increase the size of the arbor, but making it too big resulted in imbalances. Therefore, you should consider identifying the model with a mid-sized arbor reel because it allows you to have better control. Only go for the large arbor when targeting large fish in the sea.
Most fly fishing enthusiasts prefer lightweight reels because they are easy to handle.
A lightweight fly reel also reduces the amount of fatigue you might get after a long day of fishing. However, it is prudent to ensure that the weight of the reel matches with the rod.
For example, you do not want to use a heavy one on a light rod because it will distort the center of gravity and compromise your ability to cast accurately. So, if you have a 5-weight line, consider going for a reel and rod within the same rage, say 4-6-weight for better performance.
The Targeted Fish Species
You also need to factor in the biology, tendencies, and behavior of the fish that you want to target to select the best reel. For example, if you target fish such as trout that is usually caught in deep waters, you need to appreciate that they are known for long runs after getting hooked.
In such a situation, you should look for a reel with a strong drag system, and that can accommodate a large quantity of line. However, if you target small fish that reside close to the surface, a moderate reel with a standard drag system can be okay.
The price of fly fishing reels range widely, from less than $100 to over $700, and it can be tricky to pick the best choice. Although it is true that premium fly reel brands do not come cheap, it does not mean that you cannot get a high-quality model at an affordable rate.
The best way to approach the price factor is to determine the money you want to use on the fly reel and check for the model within that range. Indeed, you should start by narrowing down to the models that come with top-of-the-range features and then identify the one that falls within your budget.
One notable thing about fly reels is that the fast-growing demand has become a huge attraction for new brands. However, concerns about poor quality ones have become common, and it is important to be extra careful with what you buy.
The best way to buy high-quality fly reels is selecting the models made by the top brands on the market. Before placing an order for a fly reel, take some moment to explore the manufacturer’s history and determine whether previous clients were satisfied. Some of the top fly reel companies that you should consider are Piscifun, Redington, and Galvan. Note that all the products that we have looked at in this fly reel review are all drawn from the most trusted brands.
Whether you are a new or seasoned angler, you’ve got to have a reel you can take with you fly fishing. In this review, I have brought out the reels with the best features and designed by the top brands. Remember that to pick the best fly reels, you should make sure to understand your needs in terms of retrieval systems and drag, among other parameters that we brought out on the buying guide.
While we vouch for the top reels that we captured on our fly reel review list above (they are remarkable), the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel was the best of them all. In addition to having advanced features that guarantee top-performance and durability, it’s also quite affordable.