Picking up the best fly reels may not be as important and simple as picking up some other reels. A minimal number of anglers use fly reels because using fly reels is not easy like using spinning or spincast reel. It requires practice and experience. To be more precise, the fly reel is the expert’s reel.
To be honest with you, fly reels are pretty boring. It’s just holding the line and doing nothing. However, everything changes in a minute when a big fish gets itself in the trap. It leads our attention to a very important question “why a good fly reel is important”. It is important because it won’t lose a big fish, and it won’t break when fighting a heavy species.
Fly reels are a bit challenging to choose. That is why anglers usually make a wrong purchasing decision, break the line and curse the manufacturers.
We collected data through our research and brought you a list of the best fly fishing reels. Our buying guide is here to save you from the sins of cursing.
Top Six Fly Reels – 2021
Following are our top picks out of hundreds of reels for the best fly reels list;
Lamson Guru S Series Fly Reel
Best Budget Fly Reel
Piscifun Sword Fly Reel
Best Value For Money Fly Reel
Redington Behemoth Fly Reel
Perfect for Professional
Ross Animas Fly Reel
Redington Zero Fly Reel
Best Mid Range Fly Reel
Lamson Liquid Fly Reel
Best Fly Reels of 2021
Fly reels are one of the very first fishing equipment. A fly reel is nothing more than a line, handle, and brake attached to a large arbor. It doesn’t need more care and moreover, it is constructed to withstand every kind of abuse. It is one hell of a durable product. The fly reels work well with any kind of line; it even works well with thick and braided fishing lines.
The market offers a large variety of fly reels but not more than spinning reels because fly reels are expensive. A mid-range fly reel will cost you 100 dollars, that is why choosing the right product is necessary. Our article includes a list, fly reels review, and a buying guide. We tried our very best to educate you about fly reels and how to choose one for your arsenal. Let’s start reading
We are starting our top rated fly reels with Lamson Guru S Series, the reel which holds the honor of doing business elegantly for the past several years.
The Guru series is extremely popular. These reels are making good sales in the market and these are loaded with all-new features an angler can expect. Lamson Guru S Series is Our Overall winner and One of the best fly fishing reels of the time.
Design and Material:
Made up of aluminum, these reels feature an enhanced spool machining technique where the material is used only when it is needed the most. In other words, at most crucial times, this feature results in making the reel lighter and durable.
Drag System and Brake System:
Moreover, this reel uses a unique conical drag system. Its design uses two cones that seat into each other perfectly and along with proprietary friction materials to provide the necessary brake force, unlike typical flat washers. The sound of the drag is lovely, with soft clicks created by the tiny plastic arm.
Max Drag and Line:
The drag ramps up beautifully without any startup inertia. Then the line follows off the spool without any jerkiness. Max drag is considered as 4 pounds which is more than enough for this reel size.
Handle and Comfort of the Reel:
The handle is pretty straightforward without any texture or anything, but it does its job. However, it is not very comfortable. On the negative side, the rear drag knob doesn’t click at all while turning. As a result, reaching from minimum to maximum takes nearly two turns.
- Available in three sizes
- Lightweight reel
- Durable, aluminum body
- Brilliantly manufactured, beautiful design
- Decent max drag
- Rear drag doesn’t click at all.
- The handle works pretty fine, but on the contrary, it’s not comfortable.
The second reel of our best fly reels 2021 list is from a well-known company, Piscifun, and it is Piscifun Sword, the reel that drove the budget reel competition nuts. Nobody knew that this reel would make fishing easier. In addition to every other feature, this reel is designed to withstand harsh environments. As a result, it is pretty durable. It is also included in lightweight fly reels.
Design and Durability:
Firstly, this reel is designed to last longer, unlike its competitive reels. A budget-friendly reel doesn’t stand this much. This reel is the best fly reel for the money. Even more, this reel is designed to be corrosion resistant. Piscifun Sword is crafted to withstand harsh environments.
Weight and Drag System:
Secondly, the reel also features a stainless steel drag system which is responsible for providing immediate drag engagement. Sword is a lightweight reel, unlike many budget reels out there in the market. It’s about satisfying the customer and Sword does it in an absolutely fantastic way.
The Specialty of the Reel:
Thirdly, CDC Machined 6061 T6 aluminum alloy allows the reel to handle almost every condition amazingly and breathtakingly.
Different Variants and Size:
Lastly, the reel is available in three different colors. It features variation as it is available in four different sizes ranging from 3-4 to 9-10. Piscifun Sword is known as one of the best fly reels for the money. It provides many features at a very reasonable price.
- Lightweight and strong
- Robust and durable
- Quality drag system
- Inexpensive but not cheap in quality.
- Features three different colors
- Preset for left-hand retrieval
- The drag adjustment dial is difficult to handle.
- Cleaning the drag system is more challenging than most other reels.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many values providing fly reels out there in 2021. Fake products are making huge sales as very few anglers know about fly reels properly. However, Redington Behemoth is one of the excellent value for the money fly reels. This product is famous in the market and it stands out for itself with a positive reputation. The product is, undoubtedly, one of the top fly reels.
Starting with the best feature of the reel and it is the perfect added drag. Redington Behemoth features the best drag as compared to its all competitors. The drag of this reel is usually seen in the 900$ fly reel. Redington dropped a bomb in the shape of a Behemoth fly reel and the market went wild. The reel offers a max drag of 16lbs. 16lbs is more than just impressive. It is AMAZING.
The product features an excellent ergonomic design. Behemoth is crafted brilliantly. Additionally, the spool on the reel is triangular. Triangular spools have some positives and negatives. On the positive side, they pick up lines faster as compared to the competitive reels. This is because the less volume near the arbor and backing fills the reel faster than others. On the negative side, the spool is more comprehensive than most of the reels available out there in the market.
Grip and Speciality:
The grip of this reel is incredible. It is a perfect reel and in addition to its features, it feels comfortable in hand. This reel is equipped with so many features but most importantly, it comes with a LIFETIME warranty. It’s impressive, isn’t it? I will definitely recommend a product this good.
- Best drag system of the market.
- Blazing looks
- Strong and durable
- Best max drag at this price range.
- Comfortable in hand.
- The reel is heavier than competitors.
Ross reels are the reason for so many people’s trust in the fly reel brands. They’ve been around for almost 50 years and they’ve been doing business perfectly. They combine the new technology with experience and develop innovative ideas that always go bang in the market. Their products are brilliantly working to serve their master well. One of these includes the Animas fly reel. To be honest, it is one of the best fly fishing reels of the market.
Best Professional’s Fly Reel:
Animas fly reel is one of the best professional fly reels. In other words, this reel is one of the best fly reels for professionals. This product has been the center of attention of so many anglers. The manufacturers upgraded this product in 2019. As a result, this reel became lighter and more robust.
Size and Weight:
Ross Animas is a versatile reel. It is suitable for saltwater, freshwater, and warm water. It also comes in three different sizes ranging from 4/5 all the way to 7/8. The reel is excellent for every species. Besides, the reel is super lightweight.
Durability and Material:
The reel also comes in two different colors to add more points to the reel. It is a durable reel as it is constructed by a robust 6061 aluminum alloy. These features make this reel untouchable and one of the most durable fly fishing reels.
The product features a composite drag system made from Delrin and Teflon. Animas’s 4/5 model comes with a maximum drag of 5lbs. Ross Reels Animas has low startup inertia and it is really powerful.
Animas also includes a one-year warranty to the original owner. Furthermore, if the reel is faulty, then the Ross Reels will replace it or repair it for you. In a word, this reel is perfect. One of the best fly reels and undoubtedly the best fly reel for professionals.
- Smooth and powerful
- Strong and durable
- Comfortable in hand
- Brilliantly crafted
- Arbor should’ve been more extensive than it is now.
In addition to Behemoth, Redington also released another fly reel which is a great fly reel. At the time of release, the reel couldn’t perform as much as Behemoth but it did good enough to be named one of the best fly reels. Later, Zero went bang in the market as it turned out that it is one of the ultra-lightweight fly reels ever. Indeed, the reel is one of the lightest fly reels and many anglers include it in the category of lightweight fly reels.
Lightest Fly Reel:
As mentioned earlier, this product was released with the big beast, Behemoth, back in 2015. The product became famous for its value providing and weight. It is literally one of the lightest fly reels ever.
Arbor and CNC Mechanism:
Furthermore, the reel is crafted magnificently. The Zero is an ultra-lightweight reel with a massive arbor, allowing it to pick up lines quicker than many others. Huge arbor is also responsible for reduced line memory. Most importantly, the reel is CNC machined which is, in other words, a miracle. It’s not every day you get to see a CNC machined reel with an ultra-lightweight.
Drag System and Warranty:
The reel features a click-and-pawl drag system rather than a disc drag system. Disc drag could’ve been a better option but this drag system also works. The reel worker smoother and faster when attached to a light rod. Massive arbor allows the user to pick up lines faster. It also comes with a lifetime warranty for its original owner.
Suitable Species to Target:
To sum up, this reel is suitable for trout but not heavy fishes. If you prefer to use a lightweight reel, then this product is for you. Grab it.
- It is exceptionally lightweight.
- The massive arbor makes the performance smooth
- It comes in three different colors.
- Best for medium fishes
- Available in two different sizes
- Drag could have been better
- Loud clicking
- Not suitable for big game fish.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you’ll set standards high for its products when you hear LAMSON. That’s the case with Lamson Liquid fly reels. Lamson fly reels are better than many others. It provides everything to its users, and that is how they earn customer’s loyalty. It is hard to find a reel that performs the same as Lamson Liquid at its price range. Therefore it deserves to be on the list of best fly fishing reels.
Construction and Weight:
The reel’s construction is pretty lovely. It is constructed with pressure cast aluminum. As a result, the reel is strong as well as lightweight. The design and construction of this reel are the first two things to get impressed with.
Lamson liquid is offering a drag system with an infinite adjustment range. That means it won’t click when turned. We can say that it is a smooth adjustment dial. This feature is responsible for making it one of the top rated fly reels.
This reel is totally different from other reels in terms of using a disc or rotor. Instead of rotors and discs, this reel uses a cone design as the primary braking mechanism. Liquid has the same drag system that high-end Lamson products have.
The product has a large arbor. As a result, it picks up the line faster. It also offers a quality handle. The handle of Liquid is comfortable and soft to touch. It also retrieves the line easily.
Best Mid-range Fly Reel:
All in all, the reel is a great option in the midrange reel market. Calling it “ the best midrange fly reel” won’t be wrong. The liquid is undoubtedly the best midrange reel available in the market, providing more benefits than its cost. We can say that it is one of the best fly reels of 2021.
- Lightweight reel
- Easy to use
- Best mid-range fly reel
- Durable and smooth performance
- Makes annoying sound
How to choose the best fly reel – Buying guide
There are many features to check in the reel before deciding to buy it. We’ve covered almost all of those features. These features describe the greatness of the best fly reels. In other words, these features make a reel top rated fly reel. Let’s find more about it.
Weight and Size:
Weight and size have been a primary feature of describing the best fly reels in the market. These reels are also classified in the same way as rods are which means the weight sizes them. The market offers a large variety of reels in between 3 to 12 weights. One should buy the reel according to one’s environment and the targeted species. For example, a three-weight reel and rod setup are used for catching small trout.
As the number of the reel increases, it can target larger fishes. The enormous size is 12, and it is widely used to target large saltwater fishes since it is more robust and heavier. A 5 wt reel is best for targeting the most common trout. 6-7 sizes are best for streamer fishing. 8-9 sizes are impressive in targeting fresh water and small saltwater species. Last but not least, 10-12 sizes are perfect for targeting heavy fishes.
Backing capacity and type of line of the reels are the other two factors to keep an eye on. Most of the reels available in the market can handle 2 to 3 sizes of line. However, the line of the reel must match the size of the reel for the best experience. A heavy line can break your rod. If the line is too light, one will not be able to get an accurate cast. So, the line must be according to the size of the reel.
Drag of the reel simply describes the power of the reel. That is why anglers and experts consider it the key feature of the reel. It provides power to stop a big fish from pulling all the line off the reel. Today’s competitive market offers quite a large variety of drag. However, two of the best fly reels’ central drag systems are “click and pawl” and “disc drag”. Some other good reels sometimes offer a different drag system, but the number of those reels is negligible.
The click and pawl drag system is old-fashioned. In other words, it is the traditional drag system. This drag system offers more adjustability and stopping power than the new disc drag. As a result, it is best for targeting small fishes. Another plus point of this drag system is that it is budget-friendly, and it won’t put a dent in your wallet.
On the contrary, the disc drag system offers smoothness. It is also more efficient than the classic Click and pawl system. For these reasons, the disc drag system is mainly used to target big fishes and also used for smooth performance.
There are two main ways for the construction of fly reels: machined and pre-cast. Machined reels are made from solid blocks of metal. This way of the building makes the reel stronger and lighter. Machined fly reels are often known as the most strong and durable fly reels ever. These reels feature better performance and the best durability. On the negative side, these reels cost more than the pre-cast reels.
The pre-cast reels are made from metal poured into a mold. These types of reels are weaker and less durable than the machined ones. These reels are also heavier than the others. On the plus point, these reels are less expensive than the machined ones. The cost of the reel compensates for the quality of the reels.
Arbor is the central cylinder of the reel. The line is actually wound around the arbor. At the present time, most reels in the market are available with a large arbor. It has its positives and negatives. Large arbor reels are suitable for the large species. These reels are best for saltwater performance. These types of reels retrieve line faster. On the negative side, the large arbor reels are expensive and bulky.
Small arbor reels are best for small fishes. These reels are less expensive, less bulky, and lighter as compared to the large arbor reels.
While shopping for the fly reels, anglers should stay miles away from the reels that cost less than $25. There’s no chance that these reels will last long because these are fake products. A beginner, however, should buy an $80-$150 reel.
When you are done purchasing, be sure to buy an extra spool. Fly reels models, unlike many things in life, come and go quite fastly. So if you wait too long to buy an extra spool, there won’t be any in the market.
Frequently asked questions
Whether you’re buying the best fly fishing reels as an expert or as a beginner, you need to understand some primary factors, and you must know about the market-leading products. Everyone buys products for different environments and different fishing conditions. There’s a chance that our list might not provide you with a suitable product, but I can guarantee you that the majority of readers will surely buy the best fly reels of 2021 with our help.
This article is based on pure research and trials of different reels. All of the products are top rated fly reels and really deserve to be on the list of best fly reels of 2021. I hope you find our list of best fly reels and their buying guide helpful. If yes, please leave a comment and share your feelings. Best of luck.