Behind every great fly angler, there is usually a great fly reel.
While experience in reading the water and determining where fish are holding are necessary qualities, a good fly reel is going to help you fish more effectively and land more and bigger fish.
In this article, we are going to take a look at several reel brands and models. By the end, we hope to give you a better look to a common question: what is the best fly reel?
What is the best fly reel for the money?
Lamson Litespeed Series IV
The Lamson Litespeed Series IV is available in several models including the 1.5, 2, 3, 3.5, and 4 and can to spool 4wt line up to 10wt for the largest model. These are extremely light reels weighing in at 3.38oz for the smallest model and up to 7.95oz for the 4 model.
While light, these reels are durable and made from machined aluminum and stainless steel. The reel has a hard alox finish making it resistant to small scratches and dings and provides increased durability.
The Litespeed IV uses a sealed drag system although it is not its top quality. It has more than enough max drag and drag range, but adjusting the drag can feel a bit unwieldy, especially in the middle of fighting fish.
The heavy porting of the body results in a light but structurally sound reel. The porting also allows for quicker drying of wet backing to keep from degrading.
These are large arbor reels and have one of the quickest line retrieval speeds of any fly rod, hence the name. The spool is extremely fluid with great spool spin adding to its ability to get line back on the reel as quickly as possible.
Learn more about the Lamson Litespeed Series IV in the following video:
Cheeky Boost 325
The next to add to our list of the best fly reel is the Cheeky Boost 325. The Cheeky Boost is available in 3 models for 2-4wt lines (Boost 325), 5-6wt line (Boost 350), and 7-8wt line (Boost 400) with weights of 4.50z, 5.1oz, and 7oz respectively. Based on the model, these reels come in
What the Cheeky Boost reels offer is a rugged, compact reel that has excellent retrieval speeds over 10” per rotation while keeping a price that makes it available to all anglers. It has high-quality bearings in the gear department that provide effortless spool spin.
The Boost has a huge max drag, but it lacks a little in the fine adjustments, and you lose a lot of drag range in the upper ends of the spectrum. It does feature an easy to reach and handle drag adjustment knob that is secure enough to hold its desired drag setting even when bumped around.
See the Cheeky Boost up close in the following video:
The Galvan Torque is available in several models such as the T3, T4, T5, T6, T8, T10, and T12 giving you a large range of reels to fit the fish species you are chasing. These reels range in weight from 2.0oz to 8.6oz.
While lightweight, these large arbor reels are machined from aircraft grade aluminum and feature spool and body porting.
There are a number of color schemes available such as clear, black, forest green, burnt orange, and blue.
What sets Galvan Torque reels apart from others is the drag system. It features a protruding and easy to grip adjustment knob that can adjust drag settings in small increments. These increments cover the entire drag range of the reel making working fish all the easier.
The drag system also offers almost no start-up inertia making big hits and runs more forgiving if the drag is not set correctly.
Another feature of the Torque is the large, easy to grip handle that is long enough to be unobtrusive for even the largest knuckled angler.
Galvan Torque is a mid priced reel that offers one of the best drag systems on the market.
Is the Galvan Torque the best fly reel for the money? We say yes! Learn more about this great option in the following video:
The Access reel produced by Orvis makes our list for several reasons.
First, this is a great fly reel that offers excellent performance while not costing a huge chunk of change like most reels worth their merit. This makes the Orvis Access a great reel for those looking to get more serious about fly fishing without having to jump in and make a big decision on other reels on the list.
Though it is less expensive, do not make the mistake of thinking this reel cannot perform on the river or lake. The Access is available in several models spanning from the Access I-V. Throughout this range you have reels that can handle line weights from 1-11wt.
These are mid arbor reels, so you do not get as quick of retrieval speeds as other reels on the list, but they will hold a greater amount of backing and line. They are also not as heavily ported, but the compact size still provides a lightweight reel with weights spanning 4.29oz to 5.88oz.
These are durable reels that are made from anodized, high-grade 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and can stand up to years of abuse when out on the water. They are available in several color schemes including black, gold, and titanium.
The Access features sealed drag system is composed of two carbon fiber and stainless steel washers. The Access drag has as much max drag as any other fly reel and for the price, has excellent adjustment range.
The drag adjustment knob is a little harder to deal with during a fight when compared to other reels, but not hard enough to be a serious issue when considering this reel.
The Orvis Access is not going to top any list of performance features, but it is in the upper range for all of them and you can get this reel for a fraction of the cost. For a young or beginner angler, the Access is a fantastic option.
I hope you have enjoyed our list of the best fly reels. Keep in mind that there are numerous fly reels available for the interested angler, but not all of them possess qualities that make them worth the money or give you the confidence to use them when trying to land a fish of a lifetime.
The brands and models we have listed in this article are all proven reels that you can rely on for years.
What do you think is the best fly reel for the money? Share with us your thoughts in comments below…