Fly reels – choosing the right reel for fly fishing.
In fly fishing, there are a number of aspects you need to consider. As well as having a good technique, you also need great gear – the rod and fly reel are all-important. But if you want to use a fly reel, you also need to know all about the different types so you can maximise your chances of a successful catch.
What are fly reels and how do they work?
Classic fly reels are an essential piece of fly fishing tackle which are used to hold and retrieve the line. Compared to conventional fishing reels, fly reels have to meet different requirements: fly anglers use very light lures that either float on the surface of the water or are positioned just beneath the surface.
To reel in fish once they are on the line, most fly reels also have a retrieval system. This allows you to wind in the line by turning the handle on the fly reel.
Why do you need a fly reel?
As well as offering all the main functions of a reel, fly reels have additional features that are specifically tailored to fly fishing. Fly anglers often need a variety of fly lines. And the choice of line has a direct impact on the play of the rod. You'll need lines with different diameters, depending on whether you plan to fish with surface or subsurface lures. Classic fly reels are designed to accommodate different line sizes, allowing for smooth casting and retrieval. With a fly reel, it's also easier to change your line. This is something you'll have to do on a regular basis if you want to adapt your tackle to various conditions and species of fish.
Differences you need to know about
While classic fly reels often tick all the boxes, there are differences between individual models. So when do you need a lightweight fly reel and what do you need to think about when fishing in saltwater?
Lightweight fly reels are generally used for freshwater fly fishing and chasing smaller species such as perch or trout. Lightweight reels offer precise line control. What's more, because they are so light, you can easily spend the whole day fishing without too much effort.
With a medium-weight reel, you can up your chances of landing larger freshwater species, including salmon and pike that can weigh more than 10 kg (22 lb). Medium-weight fly reels are perfect for catching these fish as they offer a good balance: tough but not too weighty.
If you're planning to use a fly reel in saltwater, a heavy reel is best since you are likely to be chasing large and heavy species like tuna. As well as being tougher, these reels are designed with greater backing capacity to increase the reach of your rod. They also boast a far more powerful drag.