Fly Reels

Most fly reels that you would consider for trout fishing are single action reels. For every turn you make cranking the line in, you get that much line back. Spinner reels in comparison typically have drastically greater ratios than this from 4-6:1, or 4 to 6 revolutions of line per turn of the handle. The retrieval of line from a single action reel is very much dependant on how much line is on the reel at the time. Adding a backing (more on this later) helps maintain the amount of line coming in.

When shopping for a fly reel there are a couple things to look for:

1. The line weight the reel is designed for. For trout fishing, you will typically be using 5, 6 or 7lb line. Luckily, there are many fly reels that are rated for 5-7lb line. Some even have the ability to switch spools easily.

2. Line retrieval system. Obviously, a reel is going to have a manual, aka you, line retrieval system. Some manufacturers have automatic retrieval systems on their fly reels. This means you push a button and the line comes back all by itself. This can be convenient but using this when you are trying to bring in a fish can make you lose some of the feel and could cause you to lose the prize fish that is pushing the weight limit of your setup.

3. Drag. A vast majority of fly reels have non adjustable drags. It will drag the line but without giving you adjustability. If you need more drag, you can apply a bit of pressure to the reel with your hand. There are a few high-end fly reels that offer adjustable drags but they are more common in higher pound rated models.

4. Easily Replaceable Spools. As we go through the section on line, you will see why having multiple spools is an essential component of a good fly fishing rig.

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