I have been fly fishing for some time and it has become time to upgrade slightly from my first fly reels. Small arbors, clicking drags, just need to move up.
Things have changed a lot since I last looked at reels and lines. Most have drags where almost none had them before. A little confusing is a major understatement.
I will try explain everything needed to help get the best opinions as possible.
I Fly fish streamers and clousers for salmon and steelhead both fresh and tidal water. I have fly fished for 15 years, caught many trout but never caught a salmon or steelhead on a fly rod. I have an 8 wt, Pflueger Purist rod now with a lower end small arbor Cortland reel. Price is an issue for me, $50 and under is about all I can afford, higher for a spare spool if it comes with one.
I want a medium to large arbor reel to reduce line memory and increase retrieve rate.
Not worried about a great drag. Palming is fine and is what I have been doing since I started.
I just want a durable reel that is gonna hold the right amount of line and backing and not fail after 10 years of my 10-15 fly fishing trips a year hooking 10-15 salmon/steelhead a year.
Reels I have looked at and like:
Cabelas Wind River and Prestige plus
Okuma SLV, Cascade and Sierra
Orvis Encounter II
Cortland Pro cast mid arbor, (higher price but like the reel)
I know nothing about the different types of drag systems, have read for days about them and still have no clue if I want all stainless, carbon or cork discs nor what the real difference is.
I plan to put Cortland 333/333+ on the reels, 2 spools, one with WF/F and one with WF/ IS.
I have stalked here for a year or so, should have joined a long tie ago. I really like reading the helpful comments I see on here compared to some other sites I have been on when it comes to fly fishing. Thanks in advance for everyone's help/advice and hopefully I can contribute some useful information in the future for all you give me. Don't know a lot about rods and reels but I can tie a mean fly when I sit down and try to.
Getting a reel in the 50 dollar range that will meet your wants is not impossible. First off it will not happen overnight but with careful shopping and good advice you can get one that will work.
The Orvis Madison IV Disc, and the old Battenkill Disc 8/9 reels are both disc drags with a palming rim. Both will hold your line and plenty of backing. Both will hold up through years of fishing and plenty of salmon. Both can be bought off the auction site in good condition in the price range you give.
Here's the rub, both have standard arbors. I have used standard arbor reels ever since I took my first salmon fishing trip in 1980. Once you have a spool full of backing line you essentially have a large arbor on them. Now I fish for salmon about 80% of my river time and I still use a standard arbor reel with backing. I don't have any problems with line memory and I can say in complete honesty that the reel and line preformed flawlessly on over 100 salmon last season.
So, in order to find a good reel and a good value try to avoid getting pigeon holed into any one line of thought when it comes to what may serve your needs. Where do you live and fish for the salmon?
PS. Hi Casey, you know I'm old school......I don't know anything about the Okuma reels but if you say they are solid I'm inclined to back you on that. I only ever tell the people what I've used and had good experience with and I've never had one of the Okuma reels.
I fish Washington coastal rivers, Humptulips, Satsop, Copalis, Chehalis and Wynoochie, with a trip or two to the Olympic Peninsula a year to the Salmon and Queets. Tidal fish salmon in the Chehalis river.
First hand experience is what I want to hear or at least first hand knowledge. I have hooked a few steelhead and salmon on my cheap reel and aside from being whooped it performed great. I would rather get a reel that I hadn't considered form someone who uses them than buy blindly.
The information on the arbor size is very helpful! Thank you.
I'm with Mojo on this one, Allen reels are great, and while they may be a bit above your price range, the customer service, performance and warranty make up for it. I use a Allen Trout 5/7 for steelhead, but if you're also going to use it for salmon, just for the sake of heavier line and backing and pairing up with the 8wt, I'd look at the Alpha II 7/8. However, you may be able to find the original Alpha for a closeout price, and I've heard a lot of good things about them.
The Okuma SLV is an excellent reel for the money, and Okuma's customer service is excellent (based in California). I dropped one of mine on asphalt (REALLY HARD), and a couple threads on the drag knob were stripped. It still worked, but I called Okuma and they sent a new knob out 2-Day Fedex for $5. I had a bad couple of years back around 2007-2008 as far as dropping reels, and they usually feel off the roof of Jeep onto asphalt....and they were all Okuma SLV's. No breakage other than the stripped threads on one reel. The drag itself has a very wide range, and is silky smooth. They're ventilated without looking too skeletal, and hold plenty of backing. I've seen videos of fly anglers using the SLV for steelhead, but haven't used it for that species myself.
When somebody says that a company stands by their reels and then describes how the reel failed.... that's a big time red flag to me.
I like reels that are "bomb proof" in the first place
Only once did I ever have a reel fail because it got banged up or I dropped it. A $20 imported medalist. I bent it back into shape and was good to go.
Of the last two reels brands mentioned in this thread, I've noticed through posts here on NAFFF that they have regular issues with getting banged around.
For all I know this is common with all large arbor "space age" looking reels but I wouldn't know. I prefer the more solid, traditional abor reels