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codypom 10-04-2012 09:53 PM

Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
Please forgive me for my ignorance, I am new to fly fishing. I fly fish for LM and SM bass in ponds, small lakes, and a medium size river. I always strip the fish in because that is what I have seen people do on youtube. I also went trout fishing in some small streams and the guide had me strip the fish in. Basically the only purpose my reel has is to hold the line. I understand that in big trout rivers the fish will take off and run, which would pull line off the reel and use the drag. In my situation I don't really see a need to spend $100+ on a reel. What do you all think?

grassonfly 10-04-2012 10:00 PM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
i have only had probably two or three instances of needing a really good drag. every time the drag failed and i was ok. it sucked but i was ok. thats why i have a new reel now. For bass you dont need a nice drag unless youre using sharkskin line. trout not unless youre using 6x 7x tippet. ive caught 20 pound carp on a click and paw.

caseywise 10-04-2012 10:47 PM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
this a great question:)
looking forward to hearing more on this one;)

my short answer is fly reels are like sports cars or luxury you need the highest end product out there? probably not. but if you want one, it it's available.
trout reels, 2-5 weight are a matter of taste, but 6-12 and higher require a good drag system, with the salt water reels requiring something smooth, but with truck stopping power.

the new allen alpha II reel is an example of a great salt/big game reel that is a great buy, but also an awesome reel.


MoscaPescador 10-04-2012 10:54 PM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
As to why fly reels are so expensive, I am going to paraphrase a post that I wrote earlier.

In the the grand scheme of it all, fly fishing is a small part of the sport fishing industry. Let's say one has a yard stick. Fly fishing would only represent an inch or two of it. Could Orvis, Sage, Lamson, Ross, and the other brands make a quality fly reel at the cost of a Daiwa Sedona? Any of these brands could if they made as many units as Daiwa does. I would not be surprised if Daiwa makes more Sedona 1000FD reels as all the Abels made in one year. It is all about the economy of scaling.

In regards to what one gets in a higher priced reel, it could be one or a combination of reasons. Drag quality can improve. Finish quality can improve. Tolerances can be tighter. Overall quality of build is usually higher.

Do you need a more expensive reel? Maybe. Maybe not. You might be happy in a higher quality drag if a stronger fish wishes to test you. You may enjoy the finish quality later especially if it lasts. You may appreciate a spool that doesn't wobble after several years of use since the reel maker adhered to such high quality standards for tight tolerances. You may enjoy all of the above for the quality of the build.


chuck s 10-04-2012 11:01 PM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
Reels are expensive for several reasons: Brand Name recognition and reputation, R & D costs (the latest and greatest), materials, complicated machining, Looks (Abel Fish Finishes), and more. You often get what you pay for but not always hence the pro shop or a shop staffed with folks who fly fish and do so a lot. They've made the mistakes so you don't have to. If you've figured it out, inexpensive is fine for a pan fish outfit be it trout or bluegills. Move up a step to fish of a more robust ilk and you may wish for a better drag, a smoother drag, fail safe parts and more.

Budget and need drive our choices and a Martin, click pawl reel from Walmart will be up to the task for most pan fishing and slightly beyond, plus at a very nice price to boot.:)

Ard 10-05-2012 02:00 AM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
Hi Cody, and welcome to the forum.

I am not going to tell you that you need an expensive reel. However I would urge you to try to move beyond stripping / pulling a fish in by dragging in line by hand. I can only speak for myself but I have been putting fish and the catching of those fish directly onto my reel for well over 30 years. Playing a fish and actually reeling it in, is perhaps to most rewarding facet of fishing for me. The sound of my reel buzzing when a fish runs line away is the most pleasing sound I know regardless of whether that buzzing is caused by a very affordable old Martin or a high cost salmon reel.

Buy whatever reel you like and that which is in in your price range but by all means Cody, Use The Reel to play the fish to shore, you'll love it, the buzzing drag, the frantic cranking of the little handle when the fish runs toward you.............. You don't know what you're missing if all you're doing is pulling them in by hand.


Guest1 10-05-2012 03:34 AM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
I could not agree more with what Ard just said. I put nearly every fish on the reel. Trust me in this, if you get a seriously big fish on, the reel is the only way to go. You are not a match for a good drag.

What I look for in a reel is;
A. a good drag with a 'nonstick' startup.
B. big enough to hold the line/rod size appropriate
C. How it's made (Not a cheap piece of plastic that will blow up on the first big fish or my clutzy drop on the ground)
D. Cost

In that order. I have reels I love I didn't pay a ton for. I also have reels I love I paid a ton for. The only thing they have in common is they don't let me down when I get a big line burner fish on. Cost is nonfactor for the most part. For me....... I'm willing to give up food for the right reel.

If you look around you can generally get a really nice reel for just cents on the dollar. I got a big Tibor Pacifica, brand new in the box never been used for less than half price. By big, the biggest they make. Albright has year end closeouts this time of year. You can get a darn nice reel from them in some cases for about 30 cents on the dollar. I've bought things on ebay I have almost felt guilty about. Don't hop on the first thing you see. If you decide what you want and are willing to wait for a while there is a good chance you can get a deal you should have been wearing a mask for. One thing, don't ever bid on it till the last 8 seconds. Put a bid on it as high as you are willing to pay then wait till 8 seconds to confirm it. All you do by going earlier is give them a reason, and the time to up the bid. Sierra Trading Post has fly reels up to 70% off. Brand new in the box. Madison River Fly Company has closeouts that can get you a seriously nice reel for minimum cost.
The reason a good drag is a good thing;
Some guy with a good grooming sense (hey where's the Mustache smiley?) and fish I bet he put on the reel. :sorry:

So in conclusion, learn to put them on the reel, get a reel with a decent drag, grow a mustache. (Take that JP! Beat you to it this time! :D )

mcnerney 10-05-2012 08:10 AM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
Also google fly shop closeouts, they offer good discounts on new reels, but also contact Allen Fly Fishing, they are a sponsor of the forum and offer very good discounts to members and they offer really nice products.


stl_geoff 10-05-2012 08:29 AM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
I think it depends on the reel/line weight as well. Im more apt to spend much moer money on a reel for my 8-11wts because i will be going after bigger fish which will need a good fade free drag to stop them. Now for smaller and lighter gear 6wt and under, to me the reel is just a line holder. Spend however much you feel like on them. If you're using a 3wt for mountain brookies you dont need something with a fully sealed no fade carbon disc drag. I would seriously even doubt you even need drag on a reel that size. Just something for you to think about.

tennessee dave 10-05-2012 08:30 AM

Re: Why are reels so expensive and are they worth it?
Need vs want. I don't need a new Hardy perfect. My Orvis Battenkill large Arbor and Peerless 1A are both excellent reels. But i want one of the new Hardy perfects. This is my hobby and people tend to spend money on their hobby when they are otherwise very frugal. Sometimes the want just outweighs the need.

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