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medic29358 05-20-2013 01:59 PM

What do I really need in a fly reel?
Hello all,

I'm new here and to the sport of fly fishing and need a little advice. I'm looking at picking up my first fly reel and am a little overwhelmed with all of the "technology" that goes into some of these reels.

What I'm really looking for is a reliable trout reel for my 5wt rod. I doesn't seem like I need super strong drag, so I think I've decided on a click/pawl reel. When it comes down to it, is there really a difference between a $99 and a $300 reel. Or will any reel to the trick? It seems the rod is where I should spend a little more. I am taking into consideration made in the USA vs. overseas. Sure I'd like to buy an Able, but that's a lot to shell out right now.

ultralightidaho 05-20-2013 02:13 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
Buy a Lamson Konic and you're done. Easily one of the best values on the market.

fly505 05-20-2013 02:23 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
I am by far no expert but when I was shopping around for a reel for my 5wt I wanted something that was durable and reliable. Plain and simple. I didn't need a ton of drag but something that could slow a larger fish I was not intentionally intending to target. I use my 5wt mostly for trout but occasionally will hook into some large bass and carp and am glad I had some drag when I needed it. A good drag can be overkill on small streams and rivers, but is rather be over-gunned than under for sure, you never know what you will get on the other end sometimes. As far as good budget minded trout reels go, can't go wrong with a Lamson Konic or even Guru (depending on budget limit), I've also heard good things about Allen reels particularly the Trout II. Again, lots of options out there. I myself like machined (Guru), drag and low maintence... hence the Lamson recommendation. Hope this helps :)

jcw355 05-20-2013 02:24 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
Allens has good reels and good customer service. I have bought 4 allen reels and one Orvis reel. I bought the orvis because I needed something right then and there and thats what basspro had.

medic29358 05-20-2013 02:38 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
I've seen the Lamson reels in a few fly shops and they looked like potentials. Had never heard of Allen. Just checked them out online and they look really nice. What fly505 said makes sense, never considered hooking into the potential big fish. I'll be happy with what ever grabs my line :) Thanks so far for the help, any more advise will be much appreciated.

jcw355, what was your experience with the Orvis reel?

mikel 05-20-2013 02:51 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?

Originally Posted by medic29358 (Post 557790)
Sure I'd like to buy an Able, but that's a lot to shell out right now.

Large arbor or small?

what amount do you anticipate spending? If you're looking at 50 bucks, the Okuma SLV is awesome. For just over $100 you can get an Orvis BBS III. There are MANY CHOICES but you can narrow them by deciding your own criteria.

You could also read the 3,579 threads about this same question in the "reels" forum

Rip Tide 05-20-2013 02:54 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
With a light trout reel, you're not looking for a drag that will stop a truck. You only need to set the drag strong enough to prevent backlash.
What's important is that the reel "starts up" smoothly without any jerking to protect the tippet.

I use "primitive" drags on all my fresh water reels. Spring/pawl and the Medalist type brakes.
If you've got them set right... it's all you need.

This is the reel that I've been using this week :thumbsup:

medic29358 05-20-2013 03:07 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
As for as arbor size, I don't know? From what I understand the large arbor just help reel the fish in faster, if i'm correct? Is one better than the other, or is it just personal preference. This is where all the technology starts to confuse the uneducated. I've looked through the forums and I think I got more confused. Thanks for the help anyway...

fly505 05-20-2013 03:48 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
As far as arbor size I prefer large...yes it picks up line faster but also puts less "line-memory" on your fly line. But with greater diameter arbor, more torque is put on the reel thus necessatating a stronger drag. Like one of the previous posters stated, start up intertia is one of the more intrigal aspects of any good trout reel if you were ever to fight a fish off the reel...any sudden jerky or sticking of the drag will definitely pop a fish off no matter how good your knots are, meant to protect light tipets. Again, you can get away with a click and pawl type reel especially if all you fish for are small trout and what not...but it's nice to have something that can contend with the big boys if needed...especially in a 5wt. Lamson has a number of videos you can watch on YouTube or their site itself, very informative...they definitely stand behind their prouducts.

chased 05-20-2013 03:49 PM

Re: What do I really need in a fly reel?
I'm going to side with Rip Tide here. For a 5wt and trout in general, you really don't need a "Stop a freight train" drag system. A simple click & pawl reel is fine. The Cortland Retro and Hardy Lightweight series of reels come to mind. If you are going to be getting into a lot of bigger fish like tail water trout, carp, pike, wiper, etc..Then you may want to look into a reel with a good disk drag and a large arbor. The large arbor spool basically has a larger circumference so it will pick up line a lot faster. If a 20lb carp takes you into the backing, you are going to want to pick up the slack line in a hurry, that is where a large arbor comes into play.


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