Best Fly Fishing Reels 2023

Fly Fishing Reels

Best Saltwater Fly Fishing Reels Buying Guide & Reviews

different types of fishing reels

Fly reels are one of the very first that appeared in fishing. Their design is quite simple but nevertheless very effective. Many fishermen start with this type of reel because they are the easiest to use and not very expensive. But the choice of such a reel must be taken seriously. In this article, I’ll tell you how to choose a good fly reel and how high-quality reels differ from a cheap piece of plastic. I’ll also review some of the best fishing reels so you can immediately choose something for yourself. So let’s go!

Comparison Chart of the Best Fly Reels:

Redington Behemoth Fly Fishing Reel, Multipurpose Fly Reel for Freshwater and Saltwater, Large Arbor and Adjustable Drag, Black, 7/8RedingtonBuy on Amazon
Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body and Spool, Light Weight and Corrosion Resistance Design 5/6 GunmetalPiscifunBuy on Amazon
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO Fly Reel Large Arbor with Aluminum Body (3/4wt 5/6wt 7/8wt) (Black ECO Reel, 7/8 Weight)M MAXIMUMCATCHBuy on Amazon
Redington Rise Fly Fishing Reel, Lightweight Design, Large Arbor and Oversized Drag Knob, Freshwater and Saltwater, Olive, 7/8RedingtonBuy on Amazon
Maxcatch Tino Fly Fishing Reel (3/4wt 5/6wt 7/8wt) and Pre-Loaded Fly Reel with Line Combo (Reel Only (Black), 7/8wt)M MAXIMUMCATCHBuy on Amazon
Redington Zero Fly Fishing Reel, Lightweight Design for Trout, Clicker Drag System, Black, 4/5RedingtonBuy on Amazon
Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel Large Arbor 2+1 BB with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body and Spool in Fly Reel Sizes 7/8 …SougayilangBuy on Amazon
Okuma SLV- 5/6 Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel, Light SilverOKUMABuy on Amazon
Fiblink Saltwater Fly Fishing Reel with Large Arbor 2+1 BB, CNC machined Aluminum Alloy Body and Spool (5/6 Wt, Silver)FiblinkBuy on Amazon
Croch Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body 3/4 BlackCrochBuy on Amazon
Hardy Ultralite Ma Fly Reel, Titanium, 5000 (5/6/7)HardyBuy on Amazon
Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly ReelWaterworks-LamsonBuy on Amazon

Types of Fly Reels

What are the different types of fishing reels? Before starting, let’s learn about the features of fly fishing reels. What Is Fly Fishing Reel? Before starting, let’s figure out what is a fly fishing reel? In fact, it’s just a reel on which a fishing line with a handle and a brake is wound. It doesn’t need special care, it can withstand blows, works well with thick and braided fishing line. Falling leaves, twigs, and other litter don’t affect the work of the reel. When working with this reel, the movements of the bait are perfectly felt.

types of reels for saltwater fishing

But there are significant disadvantages. For example, when casting with a spinning rod, skill and experience are needed. Otherwise, the fisherman risks spending a lot of time unraveling the so-called “bird nests” or “beards.” An impatient fisherman can simply cut and spool a new fishing line. The casting range of a fly reel is less than that of other types but with good skill, this is compensated.

In my opinion, here are the best Top-3 fly fishing reels:

Review of the Best Fly Reels – Quick Take

Many reels are good in one or two directions at most. But we have selected for you, those who can boast amazing characteristics in any direction.

1# Redington Behemoth Fly Reel – best fly reel

Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel

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Let’s start right away with the best fishing reels from this list. The Behemoth got the name for its durability, super strength, and cast construction, which makes this tool very powerful. Designs with a choice of several colors are available but this is not the main thing. The main design feature is that it increases the backing space, and the dimensions speed up to retrieve and reduce line memory. Depending on the rod, this line has several types of reels with different sizes, weights, footage, etc.

But neither the design nor the strength and durability of the structure can be compared with the drag system of this reel. Redington speaks quite loudly about the Behemoth drag system, and it’s really justified. It uses a powerful drag system made of carbon fiber, which can fight both small and large fish.

  • Well-balanced reel

  • Powerful drag system made of carbon fiber

  • Large capacity for the line and backing

  • Cheap plastic parts in some places

  • Reel handle often sticks to the line

Obviously, this is a high-quality tool, and few reels can compete with its drag system. You can take this reel to the open ocean, to a mountain lake, or a river – this reel will work equally well everywhere. The main disadvantage is the weight. Considering that fishermen load their backpacks with heavy equipment so often, this reel will add an extra couple hundred pounds to your backpack. But given the effectiveness of the Behemoth, you can turn a blind eye to its weight.

2# Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel – best saltwater fly reel

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

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Despite such an abundance of reels for freshwater, many fishermen, including myself, fish in saltwater waters. So, in the second place, I put this reel. Piscifun offers you 4 sizes of reels – from 5/6 to 9/10.  The reel design stays light but has a large line capacity. Although this reel is sturdy and made of forged aluminum, the weight won’t bother you too much.

The drag system in this reel maybe isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but it copes well with its work. Stainless steel bearings and washers are installed here. The manufacturer says that they are smooth like smeared with butter. But some users, and I personally noticed several times that the drag is a bit jerky but overall it works well and without difficulties. Piscifun is pretty well with the design of their reels. They offer you several colors – from classical black to girlish pink. Basic-look reels have great personalization options.

  • Strong aluminum construction

  • Choice of stylish colors

  • Excellent value for money

  • Jerky drag system

  • Loose drag adjustment lever

This may be not the coolest reel on the market but it does wonderful work and many users like it. Of course, you can find reels with a better and smoother drag system, but the Piscifun Sword is made of high-quality aluminum, which will last a long time, and this is a huge plus.

3# M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO Fly Reel Large Arbor – best budget fly reel

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel

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I know there are situations when you urgently need a good fishing reel, but there’s not much money for an expensive and high-quality one. Or you just want to save a budget and get something cheaper and so that it wouldn’t be a piece of plastic. For such a case, there is M Maxcatch.

Many mistakenly believe that to get a good reel you need to spend a fortune. But it’s not always the case. M Maxcatch reel is a prime example of such an exception. This line offers you three sizes of reels – from 3/4 to 7/8. And as many color options. Don’t expect to see low-quality materials at such a low price. Aluminum and stainless steel in this reel are made at a high level. This reel also has a big arbor and die-casting retrieval, so you can easily retrieve the line. Bearings work in one direction and are designed for use with the left hand. But it’s easy to switch back and forward.

  • Good reeling action

  • Stylish colors and design

  • High-quality aluminum and stainless steel

  • Rickety spool

  • A bit sharp drag

If you are a beginner and are looking for the first reel for testing or you have a limited budget, then this line will surprise you. Maybe there are not such huge drag capabilities here, but this doesn’t prevent this reel from remaining one of the highest quality on the market. Aluminum makes this reel resistant to any external influences and corrosive effects of water. It’ll definitely work with you for a long time.

4# Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel – best fly reel under $200

Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel

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The Redington is generally distinguished by the quality of its fishing reels. Therefore, I can’t add another model to this list. Moreover, it costs less than $200. It has a big U-shaped arbor, bright and durable. Many users complained about the heavyweight of previous fishing reels. Redington took this into account and this model has a more open design and less weight. The reel uses a carbon fiber drag system. This is good because such a system is smooth and fast. The line has the same design but 4 different colors: silver, black, amber, and olive. It doesn’t matter if you are left-handed or right-handed – the manufacturer will provide you with a model for any hand. The handle is good in that it’s comfortable for hands and doesn’t slip during use. Also, Rise III has an increased drag handle for easier and more convenient use.

  • Lightweight

  • Durable and rugged construction

  • Carbon drag system

  • Inconvenient brake adjustment

  • Drag too strong when catching very heavy fish

As always, Redington pleases us with another line of beautiful and reliable reels with rich functionality. I would put 5 stars for this reel, if not the drawback with the brake adjustment. But its drag system is simply excellent. For that price, this is a pretty good choice.

5# M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tino Fly Fishing Reel – best fly fishing reel for trout

M MAXIMUMCATCH Tino Fly Fishing Reel

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When I needed a good reel for trout fishing, I decided to turn to M MAXIMUMCATCH and it was a very successful decision in choosing a reel. These guys justifiably have so many positive reviews. Although the Tino line is slightly more expensive than the ECO Line from the Maxcatch, compared to other manufacturers, it’s still not so expensive. The most popular weight is 5/6, but 7/8 is also available, no one forbids you to take it. It has a large aluminum design and provides quick retrieval.

The drag system here is installed with a Teflon disk, and the manufacturer claims that “it puts serious pressure on the fish“. I prefer carbon systems but, fortunately, discs made of stainless steel and have a one-way clutch system. This allows you to adjust the drag very quickly. You can choose a reel with a fishing fly line and backing included. So, after the purchase, you do not have to worry about buying a fishing line.

  • Little weight

  • Affordable price

  • Large line and backing capacity

  • The pre-spooled line is not very good quality

  • Not durable

If you’re new or just don’t want to spend a lot of money on an additional reel, then you should definitely take a look at this. Although it’s not so durable, and the pre-spooled line isn’t so strong, this reel does its job well and has excellent performance.

6# Redington Zero Fly Reel – Best Click and Pawl Fly Reel

Redington ZERO Fly Reel

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Last but not least, another reel from the Redington. The manufacturer called this line “zero” because of the ultralight weight of the reels. This is achieved due to the large aluminum structure and large transport gaps. The line has four colors: avocado, black, sand, and teal. Also, you can choose two sizes – 2/3 or 4/5.

The design feature of the reels is that they are made of die-cast aluminum under pressure, which can’t be achieved by CNC-machining. The company has installed a new drag system here – a click-drag system with springs. Besides the name, it’s no different from other systems, it still works smoothly and well. Each reel is equipped with double handles that sit comfortably in your hands for several hours and don’t cause discomfort. I’d like to note a nice feature that the reel comes in a nylon case.

  • The nylon case

  • The new and unique click drag system

  • Lightweight and portable

  • The drag is noisy a little

It an affordable and lightweight for any fishing purpose. Yes, the drag system is a bit noisy, but other than that, the reels have no more flaws. The click drag system is very convenient and gives good results.

How to Clean Fly Reels

Any fishing reel, regardless of its type or price, sooner or later becomes dirty, trash and other objects get into it. Therefore, periodically you need to clean your equipment so that it works well.

Here is an instruction to properly clean fly fishing reels:

  • Fill a bucket or sink with hot or warm water. Remove the fishing line from the reel.
  • Disassemble the reel completely and put each component in water. Use a toothbrush or other brush to clean components and a reel of dust and dirt.
  • After cleaning, remove the components from the water, wipe them dry, and assemble the reel in its original condition.
  • If you are a beginner, then the first time you disassemble it, it’s better to video or record each step of disassembling the reel. So it will be easier for you to assemble it after cleaning.

Features to Consider When Choosing

Drag Settings

I think no one will argue that the drag system is one of the most important parameters in reels. Drag is the reel’s ability to prevent fish from escaping when the line isn’t visible. If you are a beginner or a budget angler, then the click and pawl drag system is better for you. It’s not as smooth as a disc, but it works quite stable. However, if you have a large budget, then feel free to take a reel with a drag system. This is the latest innovative drag system, the smoothest and fastest. But not everyone loves disc drag, especially old-school followers. And this makes some sense because for trout they are overkill. In such cases, cork drag is used.

Retrieval Mechanisms

There are three types of fly reels: single-action, automatic reel, and multiplying reel. Multiplying fly fishing reels use a gear retrieve to pull in the line, but they’ve been used for a long time and are already outdated, many consider them inconvenient to use. They were replaced by automatic reels and single-acting reels. Automatic reels work due to levers that pull in the line. Single-acting reels are the most common and frequently used. On the side of the reel is a handle that rotates and pulls in the line. This is the most convenient and efficient type of reel.

Startup Inertia

When the fish begins to take the line, resistance to its movement arises. This phenomenon is called startup inertia. Things at rest tend to remain at rest. Therefore, the reel doesn’t begin to rotate at a frantic speed after taking the fishing line. Start-up inertia measures the resistance that will occur until the reel smoothly reaches maximum speed. To make it clearer, in a car, startup inertia measures the time it takes a car to accelerate from 0 to for example 60 mph. And the lower the startup inertia in the reel, the less its stopping power will be.

Reel Weight

Now more and more manufacturers are striving to make their reels as light as possible. There is a tendency to buy the lightest reels. Maybe this will seem pointless to you and a couple of extra pounds just can’t be felt on your hands, but believe me, when you throw a line for several hours in a row, by the end of the day your hands begin to get tired enough. Moreover, the reel should not pull the rod in its direction but should balance its weight. This explains the desire for ease of fishing reels.


Obviously, the fly reel must be made of quality materials to work long and stable. Fishing reels are constantly exposed to water. So, if you are fishing in saltwater bodies, then make sure that the material of which the reel is made is resistant to corrosion, otherwise, it won’t last long. Even the strongest and most durable reel is not protected from debris, dirt, and dust. Don’t forget to periodically clean the reel, it’s also very important.

Ease of Use

In fact, this is a personal matter for everyone, but some reels are much easier to use than others. Single-action fly reels are the easiest to use and common. And you’ll have to get used to automatic and multiplying reels for a while if you had no experience with them before.

When choosing a fly reel, always remember two factors:

  • A reel for flies should justify the price and work well (a piece of plastic for $ 15 will never do this no matter how attractive the price is)
  • Fly reels should work well together with your rod

And if the first point is very easy to verify, then the second will be a little more difficult. Even if you took a perfectly functioning reel, you must be sure that it’ll work well with your fishing rod.

How to make sure the fishing rod and reel are compatible?

First, check that the weight of the reel and the rod matches or is close to this. It won’t be very convenient to use a 7/8-wt reel with a 4/5-wt fishing rod, right?

Secondly, make sure that the position in which the reel is fixed is convenient for you. Check that your hands don’t get tired and it would be convenient for you to cast in this position. Check that the reel is for the hand you are throwing.

Because of this, many reels are sold complete with a fishing rod and line. If you are a beginner and don’t know for sure whether a new reel will fit your fishing rod, then buying such a set is a great way out. You don’t need to be afraid that something will work wrong or it won’t be convenient for you to fish. But if you need your own fishing settings and you have enough experience, then it is better to stay on the first option and take the rod and reel separately.


Many fishermen constantly argue about which part of the fishing rod is the most important. But anyway, the reel definitely plays a big role in getting a good catch. It must cope with its tasks as quickly and well as possible so that the fish don’t even have time to understand how it was caught. In this article, we figured out how to choose a fly reel for fishing and looked at a couple of the best representatives of such reels. When you decide to buy a fly reel, don’t forget about the tips you got here, so as not to make a mistake and not to take a cat in a bag. Also, be aware of the timely care and cleaning of your equipment. If this article was useful to you, then share it on social networks. Have good fishing!

Tags: #best fly fishing reels / #best fly fishing reels for the money / #best fly fishing reels for trout / #best saltwater fly fishing reels / #best fly fishing rods and reels /#what are the best fly fishing reels

best type of rod and reel for bass fishing

Sergio Smirnoff
Sergio Smirnoff
Professional fisherman with 40+ years of experience.
Fishing and the ocean is a passion of my life. I am passionate about all kinds of sea fishing: fishing from the shore (spinning, float, baitcasting), from a boat, and spearfishing day and night.

I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).

All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.

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About the author: Each article is verified by the fishing expert Sergio Smirnoff. The articles are written by professional and amateur fishermen with 20+ years of fishing experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency. The articles are for informational purposes only, share your opinions in the comments and join the fishing discussions, let's share our fishing experiences together!

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Lynn Anderson
Lynn Anderson
7 months ago

I have been following your publications on the site for a long time. The reels are suggested for a museum about fishing. All iconic and all champions. A dream for any angler. On any mountain river, you will be happy and proud of yourself with this set. Having fun fishing is the most important thing. Let’s buy famous brands.

Product Name
Fly Fishing Reel