The Best Fly Reel For the Money

Fly reels can get expensive.  Do you need to spend that much to get a high quality reel?  A fly reel is the third most important item to a standard fly fishing set-up, with fly fishing rod and fly line being number one and two.  Let's look at the aspects that you do not want to leave out when trying to save money on a fly fishing reel as well as some that you can get by without, so you can have the best fly rod for the money.

Before you buy a fly fishing reel, it is important to know a few things so that you can be confident you are buying a fly reel that will fit the fly rod you are buying, the fish you are after, and the technique you are to use.  A fly reel must match these aspects before it can even be considered as the best fly rod for the money.

Size of Reel Needed

A fly reel's size is determined by the line weight (wt) you will be using.  For example, dry fly fishing for trout will typically be done with a 4wt or 5wt rod and line.  Therefore you will want to use a 4wt or 5wt reel.  If a fly fisherman were to use a 4wt fly reel just because it is inexpensive, with an 8wt line, he would find out pretty fast that there is not enough space on a 4wt reel to hold 8wt line.  Nor would the drag system be strong enough to effectively control a fish that an 8wt is made for such as a steelhead or salmon.
For a fly fishing set up to feel right the rod and reel must have a good balance.  Having a balanced fly fishing setup will help the rod load better resulting in a much further and smoother cast.  A fly fishing setup with a reel too small or big for the rod not only feels weird but also looks weird.

Size of Fish

It is important to purchase a reel that will be able to handle the fish you are after.  With big fish, the reel becomes more of a necessity than with smaller fish.  For example, a 16 inch trout is going to put on a good fight for a 4wt fly fishing setup, but mostly a fly angler will be able to land the fish by pulling on the line and not rely on the reel at all.  If a fly angler was to be using his 10wt fly rod and reel to hook into a King Salmon, then the reel will get a lot of use as simply pulling the line in will not cut it.  With these bigger fish that are prone to run a long ways, a quality, smooth drag system is essential.  For this reason, it is possible to get all the reel you need cheaply to outfit a 4 or 6wt rod, but as you go up in weight, price should and will follow as the reel is depended on a lot more.


There are a couple fly fishing techniques that will help determine the best fly reel for the money.  Of course there are the standard setups that are pretty straight forward; just buy a reel that matches the line and rod weight and your set up should be pretty well balanced.  If a fly fisherman was to buy a spey rod (an advanced two handed fly rod made for long casts), then he will want buy a reel that is a couple sizes bigger than the line he is fishing.  This is because spey line is quite a bit longer than traditional fly fishing lines due to the ability to make longer cast.  Spey rods also need bigger reels because the rods or typically long, 13-14 feet, and it takes a little more weight to balance one out.

So, What Is the Best Fly Reel for the Money?

The best fly reel for the money is one that covers all the basics mentioned above, but also fits into your budget.  A good rule of thumb is to buy the best fly fishing reel that you can afford.  The price ranges a lot, but any model made by Sage will more than get the job done at a fair price.  A person can spend as little as , or as much as 0.  All are good reels, but the change in quality definitely makes a difference as you go up in price.  Do not fear though, if this is your first fly reel purchase, Sage's lower end reels will feel as smooth as baby skin if you only have cheap reels to compare it too.


While a fly reel will not see near as much use as the fly rod  or line for lightweight setups, a quality reel is essential when it is needed, especially  when using heavier equipment and fighting bigger fish or big fish on light line.  Click here: to check  out the complete line of Sage Reels, as well as all other equipment that is  needed to be a successful fly fisherman. The is a  great source to learn the art of Fly Fishing, starting with using the right gear.

Chris Jackson is an avid outdoorsman living in the Northwest in the state of Idaho.  He spends as much time with his wife, daughter, and friends in the outdoors as he can.  Fly Fishing and archery are his passions, as well as anything else he can do to get outside and experience all that the Northwest has to offer.

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