Love my Gurus. Found out my brand new Guru 3.5 can really take a beating too. Dropped it 5-6' in to the rocks and it landed right on the edge of the spool. Got some dings but still operates perfectly. I have seen reels dropped from waste height in to the dirt and get dented to the point they wouldn't turn right. I am still amazed with it.
From my experiences with Reels I don't think there is such a Thing as The Best Reel as The Previous Threads have shown where everyone likes different makes,models.
I don't care what make it is as I have 2 Types of Orvis,Hardy,Loop,Bauer,Loomis.Green River,2 types of Scientific Angler in 3 sizes,Series I & II Allen in 2 sizes,Airflo in 3 sizes,Marryat & other brands,they all do the Job,some might do lt a little better.
I also have a couple of Cheap Chinese Reels which I like,I checked all The Machined Parts out,they are well made,work Fine,I've even had a couple of people comment on how nice they look,they were suprised when I told them how cheap they were,I even imported a couple each for friends who use them,as well as back up Reels & like them as well.
For me its a Galvan Torque 5. Not sure about the retail price now but I see them regularly for sale mint or lightly used on Ebay for less than $300. I have 2 plus an extra spool as I use them on both my 5 and 6wt rods. Bulletproof for me with a very smooth drag.
Barham, There is lots of good advice here and your question; best of..., will always draw out our idiosyncratic opinions on tackle. Well established classics like the Medalist or older Hardy's and CFO are readily available and were and are great reels. I may have caught more trout on my early 80's CFO IV (with 5-weight line) than any other reel I own and I am not parting with it...but I only fish it a couple times a year (out of something like sentimentality) and primarily use contemporary reels. I mostly write about the newest and most intriguing rod and reel technologies too here in these treads. Why? I am not affiliated with any tackle company and the only prejudices I have are against what I consider to be flawed design ideas...nothing personal (except in one case which is not relevant here). I sincerely believe the modern reels offer superior performance and are more complimentary to the much lighter and more sophisticated rods popular today. Fish are brought to net and released more quickly and thus safely by using a trout reel with a smooth, fine-tunable drag. Sure the skilled, experienced fly fisher can palm the rim of his CFO achieving similar results but I have proven to myself, despite my initial doubts when drags first began to appear on smaller sized reels, that a drag offers advantages to the angler as well as the fish. Lastly and especially during tough economic times, I feel we fly fishers owe it to the brave but lousy businessmen that own fly tackle specialty manufacturing shops to support their creative efforts. Most of them are working as a labor of love to fish and could be machining military or medical or automotive parts instead and make real money. Therefore, though there rarely is actually anything that is the "best", I like to support the contemporary American, Canadian, European, Japanese, Argentinian, Australian or South African reel designer who actually is a passionate angler living in a fly fishable environment manufacturing his reels in his living room like Ari't Hart, a rented corner of a commercial machine shop like Stan Bogdan did, a factory in a fishey Rocky Mountain town like Ross does or even farming out their precise and excellent design to a top quality S.Korean shop like Hardy is currently doing. So by all means look at an Ari't Hart/Dutch Reels masterpiece, a Vosseler from Germany, a Shilton from South Africa or be the first on our forum to buy the new Waterworks Speedster from Idaho.
I took my little Sarcione reel in for cleaning this summer. The shop is only 20 miles from my home in oregon. I spent alot of time talking to the owner and he gave my a tour of his shop. The high tech machinery was quite impressive (google digital lathe). It gave me a better understanding for the price of the reel.
I am really surprised at the lack of comments for the nautilus reels, especially the FWX. Personaly i think their drag outperforms lamson reels, and they are better built than lamson. I have fished and compared then side by side and think that nautilus has one of the best reels on the market. I usually have always bought and fished galvan but now use the FWX for my 6wt and up reels.