The Basic Choices in Fly Fishing Reels

Fly Fishing Reel

Fly fishing is a sport which requires a lot of special pieces of equipment in order to be done correctly.  Fly fishing reels are one of these pieces of fly fishing equipment.

It plays a pivotally important role in fly fishing.

We will take a look at the basics of what a reel is.  And how to choose a fly fishing reel which is right for what you intended to do.

Next to the artificial fly, the fly fishing reel is the next most important piece of equipment you will need to get right.

Usually fly fishing reels do two things. They store the fly line, and they provide drag against a fish as it fights once landed.

Most are made from aluminium. Make sure you check the quality of the reel – some cast moulded aluminium reels are made cheaply and can break more easily than solid block models.

Fly Fishing Equipment – Fly Reel

The Fly reel is the one which holds the spool of the line used in catching a fish. Also, it functions as the piece which controls the line.

If more line needs to be released or if the line slackens, it is the fly reel which adjusts the line to the desired length.

This piece of equipment can be made out of different materials. However, in saltwater fly fishing, aluminium is the material of choice because it is rust-proof.

Saltwater is a highly-corrosive element, thus the need for a component made of aluminium.

Usually, fly reels are manually-operated. However, mechanical ones are favoured by those who intend to go fly fishing in more demanding situations like those which involve long and arduous runs.

A typical fly reel has the retrieve on only one side. However, modern-day reels have interchangeable retrieves, meaning that the user can choose where to place a retrieve depending on which hand is stronger or on the type of fishing that he/she intends to do.

For example, right-handed big game fishers prefer to have the retrieve to their right. Interchangeable retrieves are good for those who want to have a versatile reel.

Also, it can save money compared to buying a specific retrieve for a specific need.

Beyond that, two different types of reels exist for the fly fisherman: the Spring and Pawl, and the Disc Drag reel.

The Spring and Pawl Fly Reel

This is the traditional fly fishing reel. Its advantage is that it provides for a very smooth, even pull-out as lighter, more sensitively-mouthed fish (like smaller trout) draw on the line.

Particularly when using lighter tippets, this type is a good choice, since it protects the tipper better.

The Disc Drag Reel

This is the newer type of reel, designed much like a disc brake on a car. These types of reels are good for larger species or larger fish, as they can more easily exert a stronger tension once a bigger fish has attacked.

Their main drawback is that they tend to be not as smooth as the Spring and Pawl reel. For most fishing conditions, this is probably immaterial.

But on truly smaller panfish species, smaller or more wary trout, the Spring and Pawl reel is probably the way to go.

The Basic Fly Fishing Terms

Just like in any other sports, fly fishing has its own set of terms and jargon for just about everything related to this activity.

It obviously makes communicating with other fly fishing enthusiasts easier, but it can be confusing to the average person, much less to those who are just starting out with fly fishing.

To help out beginners, below are some fly fishing terms which will let newbies get the hang of them and let them understand what other more experienced fly fishers are talking about.

fly fishing fly reels



Is the act of casting the line by first throwing it backwards, letting it unfurl, then casting it forward.


A term that refers to flies or any other insect that flies over the water.


The act of casting a fly to an area with a good number of fish.


An artificial lure which attracts fish by imitating a natural lure or by getting its attention with the lure’s bright colours.

Fly Line

The line usually made of synthetic material to which the hook is attached.

Fly Reel

The object which holds the line. It comes in several types depending on several factors which include the materials used and function.


Fly Rod

The rod used specifically for fly fishing. It is usually made of bamboo, fibreglass and graphite.


A small and metal-headed artificial lure which usually has feathers on it.

The terms listed above are only the most common terms used in fly fishing. However, they are enough to let beginners get by in conversations about the activity, or a partner to show interest in their partner’s leisure activities.

There are plenty of other terms that ly fishing beginners can pick up as their experience with this type of fishing method.  But choosing the right fly fishing reels does make it go better.

Related posts

Fly Fishing Equipment – The Fly Rod


Making the Most Out Of Your Next Deep Sea Fishing trip


What to Take On Deep Sea Fishing Trips

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