Fly Fishing Reels

Imagine you are standing in the beautiful Colorado waters. Or on the sand flats of Andros Island.  You cast your line and the fly lands perfectly on the water. You’ve done everything exactly right to get the fish to eat your fly, you are excited and go to the the reel but then disaster strikes! You can’t retrieve your fish because your reel is not retrieving quickly enough or the drag won’t adjust to the strength of the fish. The fish of a lifetime has just spit the fly or snapped it off, because you couldn’t loosen the drag. What a missed opportunity!

When a fish of a lifetime strikes and all hell is breaking loose, you want the best quality fly reel to give you at least a fighting chance. A quality reel will hold the line and help you land the fish without damaging your equipment or breaking a knot in your line.

There are several fly fishing reels, all different in terms of size, construction material, retrieval mechanism, and overall esthetics. Even if you are an amateur angler, we can guarantee to assist you in finding a fly reel that both matches your needs and fits your budget.

Fly Fishing Outfitters carries  Reels from Orvis, Galvan Fly reels, Redington and Temple Fork Outfitters.

What Do Fly Reels Do?

The main purpose of a Fly fishing reel is to store your fly line. But a good reel also sometimes means the difference in landing or losing a fish. Being able to adjust the length of the fly line we are fishing with is as simple as winding on or “ripping off” line from the reel. But a reel should also balance out your rod, this will prevent small casting errors like hinging your wrist or not having enough backing capacity when you’re in the heat of battle with a 100 pound Tarpon.

How Do I Choose My Fly Reel?

A simple rule of thumb is that small stream fishing doesn’t require a very sophisticated large arbor with Carbon Fiber disk drag, but fishing for large freshwater and saltwater species does. This is a good rule to use when starting you next reel purchase

When you look for a fly fishing reel, the first thing you need to consider is the type of fishing you will be doing: freshwater or saltwater?

You also need to decide on the type of fish you are going after: again, the size of your reel matters because it needs to be strong enough to fight larger fish.

Finally, if you want to fly fish on a regular basis you might want to invest in more expensive but higher quality equipment.

What Should I Know about My Fly Reel?

There are basically three types of Fly-fishing reels that we are going to be looking at and there are several proprietary drag systems each manufacturer will employ. They are differentiated by the arbor size. The arbor of a fly reel is the diameter of the spool where the backing is attached. Without getting too techy here, the larger the arbor the quicker the rate of retrieval of line and backing.

Standard Arbor is typically what older model reels used all be built with. It meant that you would have to reel like a Son of a Gun to retrieve line. This often made landing large fish a real challenge. Today many anglers will choose a standard Arbor reel for smaller stream or light tackle rods because they tend to be much lighter in weight and your not dependent on the drag as much.

Mid Arbor just like it’s name is the “middle of the road” in arbor size. It has the ability to retrieve (pick up) Line at much faster rate per revolution or turn of the reel then a Standard Arbor reel. A Mid Arbor reel has it’s value for the angler who is looking for better line pick up while not sacrificing size or weight of the reel.

Large Arbor Reels have definitely become the most popular reels on the market especially among anglers targeting larger freshwater and Saltwater species. Just like it says a Larger arbor reel can pick up line at a rate 2x faster in relation to Standard or Mid Arbor Reels. When it comes to landing a large fast moving fish like a steelhead or a Permit, a Large Arbor reel with a sturdy drag system is your best tool.

What’s the difference in Drag Systems?

The point of the drag system on the fly reel is to slow the fish’s run as it’s moving away from you. There are two types of drag stemes, disc-drag and spring-and-pawl drag:

  • Disc-drag technology is based on the existence of discs that are stacked inside the reel’s arbor. Most all disc drag systems are sealed inside the arbor to keep water and dirt out. Depending on the size of the reel there can be a dozen or more discs stacked inside. A high quality Disc-Drag reel has the ability to apply pressure to a screaming fish in a way that can slow it down without breaking Tippets. Discs can be made out of graphite steel or more likely Carbon Fiber. The Orvis Mirage Big Game reels are very much the state of the art in technology. But all that comes at a higher weight and price tag.
  • Spring-and-pawl reels use springs. They are usually used for freshwater fishing and are less common than disc-drag reels. Spring-and-pawl reels are commonly used for smaller fish. Old spring-andPawl reels are actually a rare find and often command high prices for their antique or nostalgic values. An old English built Orvis CFO reel is worth several hundred dollars on auction sites.

What Material Are Fly Reels Made of?

You can find plastic, die-cast aluminum, and machined aluminum fly reels.

  • Plastic fly reels are less sturdy than the other two categories. Plastic doesn’t have the resistance and strength of aluminum and will eventually bend and warp when trying to reel in heavier fish.
  • Die-cast aluminum is stronger than plastic as it is made of melted aluminum that has been poured into a mold.
  • Machined Aluminum is the strongest material for fly reels. This material displays strength and stamina and is anodized so that it can withstand saltwater fishing conditions. Instead of melting aluminum, manufacturers take a solid block of aluminum and sculpt it according to specifications.

If you want your fly fishing equipment to last for years, then the best fly fishing reels for you are machined aluminum ones.

Does the Size of My Fly Reel Matter?

When it comes to fly reels, size really does matter. Fly fishing rods and reels come in several sizes. Larger reel sizes can hold heavier weight fly lines and more backing. You should choose a fly reel size that matches the fly line you plan to use.

Sometimes people fear that a larger arbor means heavier equipment. However, technology has made sure that the materials used for the larger arbor fly reels make them light to transport and easy to handle.

Tips for Choosing Your Fly Fishing Reel

Choosing the right Orvis fly fishing reel isn’t as difficult if you do a little research. The following key questions will help you pick the best fly fishing reel setup for you:

  • Are you going to fish in saltwater or freshwater? Some materials are not saltwater proof. Anodized fly reels will weather the saltiness of the sea much better (of course, you should still rinse your equipment with fresh water to protect it after fishing).
  • What type of fish are you going to catch? Larger and heavier fish require stronger lines and sturdier fly reels. Similarly, lighter fish require lighter fly reels.
  • What type of fly line will you be using? The size of your line determines the size of your fly reel. Again, the size of your fly line depends on the type of fish you plan on fishing for. Small trout can be caught with a fly line weight of 1 to 3. Larger trout, sea bass, and salmon may require heavier and stronger fly lines, hence bigger fly reels.

Fly Fishing Outfitters for the Best Fly Reels

We have a wide selection of fly reels for sale to accommodate all fly fishing expeditions. You will find reputable brands such as Orvis, Redington, Temple Fork Outfitters and Galvan. Find here your Orvis reels, Redington Fly-Reels, various fly reels sizes, and simple yet versatile fly reels that can adjust to most fishermen’s requirements.

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  • Orvis Battenkill Disc Reel



    The redesigned  Orvis Battenkill Disc Drag reel is a powerful, technologically advanced reel that is still accessible in price. This latest Battenkill Disc version is true to its heritage in looks and performance but updated with the latest in design improvements and significantly more powerful drag. The porting and finish pay unmistakable homage to the Battenkill reels of the past, but this reel incorporates our best-selling mid-arbor design. Underneath that mid arbor is the same sealed drag system found in the Hydros SL incorporating six interacting carbon and stainless drag surfaces. The positive click drag knob gives precise control over drag settings, while the large arbor spool provides fast line retrieval. The Orvis Battenkill Disc Drag reel is the ultimate in function and simplicity- perfect for any angler.

  • Orvis Battenkill Fly Reel


    Looking for a quality fly reel that won’t weigh you down? Look no further than the Orvis Battenkill! These ultra-light reels are perfect for trout anglers who want the classic feel of a traditional reel without all the extra bells and whistles. The simple, minimalist design is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while the high quality construction ensures durability and longevity. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started in fly fishing, the Orvis Battenkill is sure to give you a good connection to the fish. So don’t wait any longer, order your Orvis Battenkill reel today!

    Great Catch Guarantee insignia


    has been our commitment since 1856. It’s who we are. If you aren’t happy with a product or service, we want to know about it. And we’ll make it right. THAT’S THE ORVIS WAY.

  • Orvis Clearwater LA Fly Reel


    The Orvis Clearwater fly reel is a durable, high-quality reel that is perfect for any fisherman. Its cast aluminum frame and stacked stainless steel disc brake system make it incredibly strong and resistant to corrosion, while its 100 yards of backup capacity make it perfect for any fishing situation. The Clearwater is available in two models – the Clearwater II for 4-6 rod line weights and the Clearwater IV for 7-9 weights – and is sure to provide a smooth, enjoyable fishing experience every time.  The orvis clearwater reels are a favorite of our guide staff due to their durability and reliability.

    Great Catch Guarantee insignia


    has been our commitment since 1856. It’s who we are. If you aren’t happy with a product or service, we want to know about it. And we’ll make it right. THAT’S THE ORVIS WAY.

  • Orvis Hydros Reel 2020


    Orvis 2020 Hydros Reel is one of the best fly reels available in the market. The reel is specially designed to offer high performance in all conditions and fishing destinations. The handle is made of durable material, and the weight is kept light to make it easy to use in all conditions. Orvis Hydros Reel is available in five models and you can select the one that best suits your requirements. Here are the main features of Orvis 2020 Hydros Reel.

    • Lightweight large arbour fly reel
    • Easy to use drag knob
    • Fully sealed drag clutch bearing
    • Zero startup inertia.
    • Kink free leader protection
  • Orvis Mirage LT Fly Reel


    The new Orvis Mirage LT is a lighter version of the original Orvis Mirage fly reel. The new fly reel is perfectly designed to handle the lighter rods. Although lighter, the fly reel still offers the legendary Orvis Mirage output and performance. It comes with a lighter version of the low maintenance steel and carbon disc drag system that you can adjust easily from zero to full drag by rotating the drag knob.

    The Orvis Mirage LT is designed to balance precisely with the light freshwater rods. It is 30 percent lighter and 30 percent narrower than the Orvis Mirage.

    The LT also features Type II anodization instead of Type III as on the standard Mirage models. The standard Mirage is certainly a great accomplishment in this regard as most of the coils are Type II, which offers durability and the added benefit of a wider range of colors.
    Some of the most notable common features of the two coil families include the fully machined 6061 T6 aluminum construction, titanium shafts, and a stainless steel / sealed carbon brake (albeit less powerful on the LT).

    The tall rear brake button has an aggressive surface for even the thinnest and most clumsy fingers. It rotates with modest strength and makes small clicks as it rotates. A little less than a full lap will get you from minimum to maximum resistance, and the button will stop instantly at either end. Also, the minimum resistance has enough tension to prevent nasty kickback if you accidentally remove the thread too quickly with the button improperly set.

    The LT is just a lighter version, a well-built and streamlined option that shares some of the features with its predecessor, but is available at a lower price. Although 30% narrower and 30% lighter than the Mirage, this reel is the perfect complement for light rods and uses.

    Some of the advantages of the process are a more stable and durable roller that comes in a variety of colors. Some of the features that encompass the two rollers are the complete machining of 6061 T6 aluminum. Sealed carbon brake systems for stainless steel, titanium and USA made products.

    When you unwrap this friend the tolerances are backwards, the fit and finish are 9.5 / 10.

    If you compare the performance of the LT brake system, it is inferior to the standard Mirage reel. Being short does not make you inferior to your application. The braking force is sufficient.

    The rear drag knob of the Orvis Mirage LT reel is large, with a very aggressive surface, so that even the clumsiest and thinnest finger can grab. To go from zero to maximum resistance, it is not necessary to make a full turn.

    The brake knob will stop immediately at the maximum or zero end and does not need to be screwed in to release the remaining brake pressure. Even with minimal resistance, it has good tension to contain nasty play if you accidentally try to remove the string quickly if the knob is not properly adjusted.

    It is very light and looks very solid when rolled up. You are sure to love the slightly contoured handle. The smoothness is on another level and there is no slack.

    In addition, the connection of the coil to the frame is perfectly watertight. What some sensitive anglers may notice are clicking sounds going in and out, which can be irritating and cause some anglers to lose focus.

    Removing the coil was initially a separate task on older models. You must unscrew the middle cover to remove the coil. The center cover remains attached to the coil and cannot be dropped or lost. Put it back on the reel frame when you’re ready to fish.

    Great Catch Guarantee insignia


    has been our commitment since 1856. It’s who we are. If you aren’t happy with a product or service, we want to know about it. And we’ll make it right. THAT’S THE ORVIS WAY.

  • Orvis Mirage USA Reel



    The Orvis Mirage Reel is a technologically advanced fly-fishing reel that has been designed and built in New England by American craftsmen. It features a sealed and maintenance-free carbon and stainless steel disc drag system with an aggressive knurled drag knob that allows you to go from zero to full drag in a single rotation. The patent-pending ball and ramp drag mechanism provides a smooth turning drag that follows a non-linear curve as the drag knob is turned, giving you smoother adjustments in the fishing and fish-fighting range.

    The reel is also a super large arbor for increased retrieve rates and reduction in line coil. Plus, it’s machined in the USA from strong, yet lightweight 6061 T6 aluminum barstock. And finally, it’s ergonomically designed for comfortable use. So if you’re looking for a high-quality, performance-driven fly-fishing reel, the Orvis Mirage Reel is the perfect choice for you.