3 Best Fly Fishing Reels for Beginners

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Hey there anglers and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best fly fishing reels for beginners to land em with this year.  Fly fishing is a very enjoyable way to fish but it does take some practice.  Hence, starting out requires having the right gear that will help you master the craft including a reliable fly fishing reel.

So for those of you who are looking for a good fly fishing reel to get you going, I had a good look around and come up with three decent options below.

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended fly fishing reels for beginners

I will review these in more detail below however if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

02/19/2024 01:59 am GMT Lasso Brag

What are fly fishing reels for beginners?

Beginning fly fishing reels are designed to assist people in learning the art of fly fishing. They are generally a  single-action, handcrafted pieces of equipment that retrieves the line in a 1:1 ratio. A durable fly fishing reel is also a must-have for novices since they will test it out in various circumstances. 

The basic rule is to use a fly reel with the same weight as your fly rod – for example, a four-weight fly rod will be perfectly balanced with a four-weight fly reel loaded with a four-weight fly line. 

Fly fishing reels for beginners - fly reel

What should you be looking for?

The following factors should be considered as you look for a good beginner’s reel for your fly fishing needs:

  1. Arbor size
  2. Drag system
  3. Reel size
  4. Construction material
  5. Weight
  6. Additions
  7.  

Arbor size

A fly reel’s arbor is the diameter of the spool where the backing is attached. Essentially, the larger the arbor, the faster the retrieval of the line. Arbor sizes are classified into three categories: standard, mid-arbor, and large arbor.

The majority of modern fly reels one can find on the market today are mid-arbor or large arbor reels. A large arbor reel is recommended for beginners as you have a larger frame allowing you to hold more backing while still being able to retrieve your line quickly.

Drag system

The drag system prevents the arbor from spinning too quickly when the line is pulled off. On most reels, there is usually a tiny drag knob on the side that the user can turn to tighten or loosen the drag. This provides the necessary adjustment, such as making it harder or easier to pull off the line.

Two kinds of drag systems are available: click drag and disc drag. A disc drag system works by applying pressure to the central spool to slow down a fish and are found on most fly fishing reels on the market.

Reel size

Size is an essential factor to consider when it comes to fly reels. The main reason for this is that the fly reel must be large enough to hold the type of fly line you intend to use. The reel should also be able to balance your rod.

So if you are using a 5 or 6-weight rod, a large arbor reel in the 57 weight range can hold 100 to 200 yards of backing and 30 yards or so of a fly line. This amount of line is recommended for most Trout and Bass species.

Fly fishing reels for beginners - man fly fishing

Construction material

This feature is instrumental to the durability of any fly reel and usually constructed of  bar stock aluminum, cast aluminum, or composite as follows:

  1. Cast aluminum: It is a less expensive material for producing fly reels however flaws in the components of cast products can occur due to the introduction of outside grasses or particulates in the casting process. If this happens, there will be a weak spot at the point of contamination.
  2. Composite: These reels are typically very light. Because composite reels generally are molded rather than machined, they share some of the same issues as cast aluminum reels and composites can crack or break in frigid temperatures.
  3. Bar stock aluminum: The best quality aluminum reels are bar stock reels. They are made from single aluminum blocks with a tough finish. They are generally lighter, more resistant to drops and can withstand wear and tear.

Weight

The weight rating is an industry-standard that provides a necessary benchmark for fly fishing equipment. A fly fishing reel corresponds with the type and size of fish that should be targeted, according to the standard. It is highly recommended that your reel’s weight match your rod’s weight.

Reel WeightIdeal Fish
1 to 3Small fish, small bluegill, panfish
4Small trout, larger panfish
5Trout, small bass, grayling
6Trout, bass, carp
7Large trout, steelhead, medium salmon
8Salmon, small saltwater, bonefish, Northern pike
9Largemouth or spotted bass, bonefish
10 to 12Tarpon, billfish, large golden dorado, giant trevally

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. Hand orientation: The natural way of retrieving for most people is with the opposite hand of the casting hand. However, certain fly reels have ambidextrous orientation, which is an excellent feature for providing flexibility.
  2. Cloth bag: Some products include a storage bag, such as a cloth bag. This item becomes handy for keeping your fly reel.
  3. Handle: It is best to shop for fly reels with ergonomic handles since they provide you comfort and leverage.

FAQ

What sized fly fishing reel is best for beginners

This depends obviously on the type of fish that you will be chasing but for general use, go something in the 3 – 6wt. Make sure you match it to a 3 -6wt rod of around 8 – 9 ft.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Aventik HVCE Graphite Fly Reel

This first option is lightweight and corrosion-resistant with a large arbour design and central disk drag.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Aventik
  • Construction material: Graphite
  • Arbor sizes
    • 3/4 dia 76mm Weight 4.2oz/120g Line capacity, WF3F+60m backing. 
    • 5/6 dia 86mm Weight 4.9oz/140g Line capacity, WF5F+60m backing. 
    • 7/8 dia 96mm Weight 5.3oz/150g Line capacity WF7F+80m backing.
  • Item weight: 0.51 pounds
  • Item dimensions: 4.3 x 4.2 x 3.4 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Ambidextrous hand orientation
  • Clear clicker sound drag

Why have I chosen it?

The fly fishing reel provides excellent lightweight handling and corrosion resistance in a very affordable package. Under the hood, you’ll discover a central disc drag paired with a substantial knob on the non-working side of the reel for easy control. Simply rearranging the bearing allows you to switch between right-hand and left-hand use and it includes a clicker as well which is extremely useful to hear when a fish is taking the line.


2. Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel

My next fly fishing reel gives the user reliability and steadiness thanks to its rugged and rigid construction materials.  It has a large arbor and CNC machined body for extra smoothness.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Sougayilang
  • Construction material: Aluminum
  • Arbor sizes
    • 5/6WF: Spool Capacity 5000 | Diameter 3.35in | Diameter(in) 2.16in| Backing Capacity WF6F/100yds/20lbs| Weight 5.6oz
    • 7/8WF: Spool Capacity 7000 | Diameter 3.74in | Diameter(in) 2.56in| Backing Capacity WF7F/125yds/20lbs| Weight 5.9oz
  • Item weight: 0.33 pounds
  • Item dimensions: ‎4.41 x 4.29 x 3.43 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Immediate drag engagement
  • Accurate click drag
  • Silent retrieve
  • Fly reel protection bag
  • Ambidextrous hand orientation
  • 3-year warranty

Why have I chosen it?

There are many things to love on this fly reel that suits a beginner’s need. It is made of CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy and the large arbor design allows for a smooth and immediate drag engagement. This reel is ideal for multi-purpose fly fishing with trout, grayling, salmon, and other predatory fish for beginner and intermediate users alike.


3. Redington Behemoth Fly Fishing Reel

My final recommended product performs well in both fresh and seawater and comes in several different weights and colors. This item is made from durable materials with a super-heavy duty carbon fiber drag built in.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Redington
  • Construction material: Carbon die-cast construction

Arbor sizes

  • [5/6] 125 yards / 20 lb, 
  • [7/8] 200 yards / 20 lb, 
  • [9/10] 200 yards / 30 lb, 
  • [11/12] 250 yards / 20 lb
  • Item weight: 0.51 pounds
  • Item dimensions: ‎5.16 x 4.8 x 3.23 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Twin molded handle with soft-tough ergonomic grip
  • Ambidextrous hand orientation
  • Lifetime warranty

Why have I chosen this?

This product has a carbon fiber drag system that allows it to fight large fish such as tarpon, salmon, bonefish, redfish, and pike. Furthermore, the deep V-spool improves line control and provides more line capacity for fighting large fish. An oversized drag knob is another useful feature of the Behemoth for ease of use – especially with such a solid drag included too.

02/19/2024 01:59 am GMT Lasso Brag

Conclusion

There you have it, my three best fly fishing reels for beginning fly fishers. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul