It may seem obvious but the main purpose of your reel is to hold the line. Not too complicated? But your reel does a lot more than that. It keeps pressure on the line, so slack doesn’t develop and keeps the fishing working so he gets tired. You want to size the fishing reel with the line type and weight of the rod. This will give you a correct balance of your rod and reel.
Tip: If you are going to be doing a lot fishing in deeper, wider rivers, you may want to invest in a kayak. Here is a guide to how to pick the best one for your needs.
Just like fly fishing rods, there are many different types of reels with prices ranging between $25 to over $1,150. Now there is no question that a more expensive reel is going to be of a higher quality than a less expensive model. The beginning fly fishermen however should be able to find a good quality reel for under $75
So why the large differences in price? Well it all depends on the quality of construction, type of drag system, arbor size, and if the reel doesn’t rust in saltwater.
Orvis – Clearwater II Reel
Redington Crosswater Fly Reel
Reel Construction – Fishing Reels can be constructed of many different types of materials ranging from graphite to titanium however most are made from inexpensive aluminum. The more expensive fishing reels reels are machined from a solid block of aluminum while less expensive reels are formed or pressed. Internal components of a fishing reel are: sealed ball bearings, stainless steels gears, and various lubricants.
The Drag – The drag is the most important parts of the fishing reel. You need to look for a reel that has Teflon or a cork drag system. The drag system allows the fishermen to keep a constant pressure on the fish so it doesnt break your leader. Most drag systems are fairly simple systems to use. As you tighten the drag lever, the spool is compressed on the cork or Teflon which increases friction or pressure. Very inexpensive reels have no drag system at all. The fisherman applies pressure with his hand to control the drag, this is not a recommended configuration.
The Arbor Size – The arbor is the inner cylinder that your fishing line is spun around. There has been much talk of the advantages of arbors with a bigger circumference. The advantage is less line memory, faster line retrieval and of course the most important factor is you have better control of a hooked fish. A large arbor is certainly not a complete necessity but you should look for the largest diameter arbor within your budget.
Saltwater Proof – This is totally dependent if you are going to be fishing in salt water conditions. If so then this is an absolute requirement. Just keep in mind you will need to open up your pocketbook, they can get pricey. BTW, just because a fishing reel costs a lot, doesn’t mean its saltwater proof.