The Best Fish Tales Come from the Best Fly Fishing Reels

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There is no magical formula for selecting the best fly fishing reels. When you’re standing knee-deep in a river, or leaning over the side of a boat in the arbor to bring in “the big one,” you need to be able to trust your tools. It’s no time to ponder the specifications of your equipment. Good preparation will allow you to bask in the glorious moment you drag that great big bugger in with complete confidence. Your best reel is the one you choose specifically for you.

Best 5 Fly Fishing Reels

The reel you chose will depend on several factors including (but not limited to):

  • The environment in which you fish (i.e. fresh water or salt water, river or arbor)
  • The species of fish you plan to catch
  • The weight of your rod
  • The required amount of backing for the species you seek (big or small)
  • The drag system requirements
  • The retrieval system you plan to use
  • The amount of money you have to spend

Nautilus NV
by Nautilus Safety Footwear
Galvan Torque Series Large Arbor Reels
by Galvan
Ovis Mirage IV
by Orvis
Wright & McGill Sabalos Fly Reel
by Wright & McGill
Hardy Ultralite DD Series Fly Reel
by Hardy

Nautilus NV

Nautilus NV 8-9
Cost: Roughly $550-$600

If our reviewers were stuck in a deserted arbor and had access to only one reel, we would want it to be this one. This reel is silky smooth when the big fish start running.
This reel is available in four sizes including the NV 8/9, NV 10/11, NV 11/12 and the NV Monster. These reels are fighting class and will stand up to the elements with vigor. Ceramic and titanium components offer light durability for fishing in large arbors.

The NV series has a drag system that will surprise and delight you (but not the fish you roll on in). These reels feature the NV CCF drag system. It’s bigger than the Nautilus CCF brake. Ceramic and titanium has replaced stainless steel parts seen in previous models. Okay, they’re tough; but, how do they look? They are absolutely beautiful. Available in several colors, you will find one to match your rod. The detail is exquisite. It features a low profile drag knob; and, you can count on a counterweight to the 100 and 200-yard backing markers built in to the spool.

This reel is light and perfect for big game. If you spend most of your time fishing for small fries in a local stream, this one could be considered overkill; however, if you fish for big game in a big arbor, this is one of the best fly fishing reels out there.
Remember to match the size of your reel to the weight of the rod and line you use.

>> Click here to get your Nautilus NV <<


Galvan Torque Series Large Arbor Reels

Galvin Small

Cost: Around $320.00 – $500.00

If you love to fish in saltwater (and, who doesn’t?) this reel is perfect. It’s saltwater safe, and well-built. Stainless-steel and thermoplastic construction, make this reel heat-resistant and wear-resistant. It’s tough, and that’s why we like it so much. We also love the fact that it is completely saltwater resistant. Again, this reel is for fly-fishing in large arbors. You will typically pay a little more for a reel like this, but the mileage you will enjoy is well worth the investment.

This reel is just downright pretty with designed cutouts on the spool, the frame and the drag knob. The Galvan Torque comes in bronze, green, clear and black.
Fly fishermen and women enjoy smoothly-rounded spool and frame rims. The spool is nice and wide. The drag knob is ventilated and it features dented drag settings. Smooth drag is extremely important when you have your best fish tale on the line. The handle is wedge-shaped and it will feel real good in your hand. You will notice the easy way line glides right off the wheel when you pull it – no fighting, catching or tangling, just a sweet release. This is also one of the best fly fishing reels available today.

>> Click here to get your Galvan Torque Series Large Arbor Reels <<

Orvis Mirage LA IV

Mirage IV

Cost: About $500

Orvis uses the same principles used for the brakes of fighter jets for a butter-smooth drag. The carbon to stainless drag is beyond compare from free spooling to a solid stop. The IV is available in black, gold and black nickel. The drag surface is completely sealed. Don’t worry about maintenance; because, this gem can’t be permeated by saltwater or grime and it won’t corrode.

The drag knob is positive-click. It’s accurate and drag settings can be repeated. Whether you’re fishing for fresh fish or saltwater fish, this reel will definitely give you a noticeable advantage. When fish start to fight, the line picks up fast. It’s made of lightweight anodized 6061 T6 aluminum. The spool is really ventilated so it’s light, but strong.

These reels are made in Korea, but the craftsmanship seems solid. One downside to an Orvis reel is the backing capacity; the backing capacity is a little less than most 8-weight reels.

Our only hesitation is the price. It is an import, and Orvis places a pretty high value on it. Then again, it really is a good-looking reel.

>> Click here to get your Orvis Mirage LA IV <<

Sabalos Fly Reel

Sabalos Fly Reel

Cost: $170-$195

If you’re just getting started, the Sabalos Fly Reel is a great one for a pretty economical price. It’s very lightweight and strong due to a 6061 bar stock aluminum frame. Custom machining helps keep it light and balanced. Its aluminum handle is comfy and built to last. This reel has a cork and Teflon dual core disc drag system. Its large arbor design keeps ball bearings sealed up tight. The finish is anodized and waterproof.
One of the things that set this reel apart from others of a similar cost is the single-block aluminum construction. This is a smooth, inexpensive option to use while you learn or to use for a lifetime.

>> Click here to own your Sabalos Fly Reel <<


Hardy Ultralite DD Series Fly Reel

HArdy DD

Price: $225-$580

We liked the lightweight design of this reel. It’s strong, light, good-looking and well-designed. Another thing that really sold us was the added security of the reel backup screwed through the frame. The Ultralite is constructed of 6061 bar stock aluminum. Whether you’re left-handed or right-handed, this reel is easy to convert without tools.
Hardys are known for their strength. These Hardys will not disappoint you. You will enjoy the smooth functionality of the Hardy Ultralite for a pretty decent price. The appearance of this reel is stunning. We would have liked more backing, and that is an important consideration. This reel is also a Korean import.

This reel is available in many sizes. Select the one that works best for your fishing environment.

>> Click here to get your Hardy Ultralite DD Series Fly Reel and start fishing <<

PictureReelBest FeaturePriceLineClaimed WeightMaterialCapacity
Nautilus NV 8/9Ceramic and titanium components$550-$600WF-87.1 oz.Titanium/Ceramic+200 yds #30
Galvan Torque T-10Value for the price$400-$500WF-10-F8.2 oz.6061 bar-stock aluminum30lb Micron Backing: WF-10-F (250 yds)
Orvis Mirage LA IVSmooth, adjustable drag$400-$500WF-7-97.2 oz.6061 aluminum20-lb Dacron: WF7:225, WF8:200, WF9: 225

Gel Spun:

WF7: 275, WF8: 250, WF9: 225
Sabalos Fly ReelPrice$170-$195WF-7-12 (Depending on model)8.47 oz.6061 bar-stock aluminumWMESAB78: WF7, 200 yds, 20 lb. backing; WMESAB910: WF9 plus 200 yds., 20 lb backing; WMESAB1112: WF11 plus 250 yds., 30 lb. backing
Hardy UltraliteLightweight design, attractive$225-$580WF-5-114.6-154 oz (depending on exact reel)6061 bar-stock aluminum+80 - +325

Looking to spend a small dollar on some cheap fly fishing gear, check out this article for a nice selection.

See what out friends have to say about these reels: