Best Fly Fishing Reel for the Money

Last Updated: 18.06.19

Fly fishing reels – Buying Guide, Reviews, and Comparison


If you love fly fishing, then you really need a good fly fishing reel. You want a reel that’s lightweight, durable, and with a proper drag system so that you get to enjoy all your outdoor fishing adventures and a great catch every time. However, finding the right reel can take a generous amount of your time, and this why we thought we could give you a helping hand. We’ve studied and compared a lot of models on the market to make sure we choose the best ones for the value. Our top choice is the Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor. It has a cast aluminum body that’s robust and durable, a high-performance disc drag system, as well as a large-arbor which makes it an excellent choice for any type of fly fishing. In case this model runs out of stock, then the Okuma Diecast SLV 78 is also a reliable reel to consider.



Comparison table


The Good
The Bad



Our top choices


If you want to be able to choose from the best models while saving the time it could take to read a lot of fly fishing reel reviews, then you’re in the right place. We’ve prepared a list of the top 3 fly fishing reels that are guaranteed to provide you with reliable and comfortable fishing for many years to come.



Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor 


The Orvis Clearwater is a powerful fly fishing reel that can provide top performance even in extreme conditions. The main body is made of cast aluminum which makes the product tough and rigid while also keeping it lightweight, an ideal condition for fly fishing. This versatile reel can be easily converted for both left-hand and right-hand retrieve, making it perfect for just about any angler out there.

This model also comes with a strong and durable stacked disc drag that’s made of heavy-duty stainless steel. You get to enjoy a smooth drag and a properly-tensed line every time, making your fishing adventures enjoyable and increasing your chances of catching fish.

The Orvis Clearwater is a large-arbor reel which allows you to use more line faster when casting, preventing tangles and knots which could ruin your day. With a larger spool diameter, you also get to retrieve the line a lot faster while also benefiting from an improved drag. You also get easy control thanks to the click drag knob that lets you maintain proper tension even at every drag setting. This die-cast fly fishing reel is suited for line weight sizes of 4-6.

Buy from for ($89)





Okuma Diecast SLV 78


This is a solid die-cast fly fishing reel that’s one of the most popular choices for both enthusiast and experienced anglers. Made of high-quality cast aluminum, the main body of the reel is solid, yet light enough to provide you with excellent maneuverability without fatiguing your hand. Because it’s made of aluminum, this reel also has great anti-corrosion resistance, so you get to use it for a long time in all types of weather.

Thanks to its super-large arbor spool diameter, the Okuma SLV 78 is an excellent choice for fly fishing, thanks to its ability to reel in large portions of line with just one turn of the reel knob. You also benefit from easier casting because the line unfolds faster and with larger loops, providing you with smooth casting without the fear of tangling the line.

The Okuma SLV 78 also comes with a multi-disk cork, stainless steel drag washers, as well as with a stainless steel roller bearing which makes the drag smooth and reliable every time. The spool shaft is also made of precisely machined stainless steel, conferring it with outstanding strength and long service life.

Buy from for ($49.66)





Sougayilang Large Arbor


Made of 6061-T6 aluminum alloy that was CNC-machined, this fly reel is durable as well as corrosion-resistant, which means that you can use it in many different types of environments. Plus, since these items need to be easy to handle, the manufacturer included a hollow design that makes it lighter compared to ordinary models.

Given the one-way roller bearing it features, this reel engages drag in one direction, while the large arbor ensures an accurate and immediate engagement with a silent retrieve. The high quality of this product’s craftsmanship, alongside the sturdy construction, make this an option you should bear in mind.

Suitable for multi-species fishing in various types of water, including rivers, lakes, and creeks, this fly reel can be used for salmon, trout, grayling, as well as for other types of fish. Plus, you can rest assured that this product offers superior strength, given that it is cold-forged and tempered.

Buy from for ($37.98)





Buying guide


When it comes to buying the best fly fishing reel for the money, you have to consider some qualities that any good reel should have. Here is a short buying guide that should help you choose the reel that’s best suited to your needs and preferences.

Weight is an important factor

Fly reels are relatively simple mechanisms that don’t require a lot of accessories and fiddling to work. However, mastering fly fishing can take some time, and the lighter the reel, the easier you’ll learn. Not only that but having a lightweight reel can help you hold the rod properly for longer periods of time, resulting in a better experience overall and potentially more fish in the bag at the end of the day.


The larger the arbor, the better

When looking at fly reels for sale, it’s also important to consider the arbor size, since it not only dictates how much line you can use, but it also affects retrieve rates. The larger the diameter, the faster you’ll retrieve the line. That can be quite handy, since you’ll only need to turn the knob only a few times to retrieve a few feet of line, as opposed to reeling in only a couple of inches with each turn which could take forever, especially when fighting more energetic fish.

With a large diameter fly reel, you also get to avoid tanglers, since the line will unfold with larger loops so that you don’t get a huge mess and spoil all the fun on your fishing trips.


Don’t forget about the drag system

Despite its small and somewhat simple design, fly fishing reels need good drag systems as well. Unless you want to fight the line as much as you plan to fight the fish, you really want a decent drag system to keep the line properly tensed.

Even the best budget fly fishing reel has a disc drag of some sort, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a reel with a proper drag system.



Unavailable products


Redington Crosswater


The Redington Crosswater is a great fly fishing reel that is lightweight, durable, and versatile, able to provide great handling and performance to just about any fishing enthusiast. Its body is made of a polymer composite, making it very light and easy to use for even longer periods of time without tiring the angler. However, lightweight does not make it any more fragile, as its compact body can withstand a lot of punishment. Moreover, this material does not corrode, making it a great choice for people planning to do a lot of fishing in saltwater.

Thanks to its simple yet ingenious design, you get to switch the retrieve to the preferred side, so it doesn’t matter if you’re left-handed or right-handed. The Crosswater also comes with a powerful disc drag system which will provide you with enough stopping power to handle any type of situation. You also get to avoid line snaps or other problems usually caused by lack of tension or too much tension on the line, thanks to the improved drag system.

The Redington Crosswater comes in several sizes, from 4/5/6 to 7/8/9, and you can also opt for a pre-spooled package which uses the RIO Mainstream floating line.



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