Your fly fishing reel can be as important as your fly fishing rod. At one time, many people thought of the fly fishing reel as just storage for your line, but it has evolved into so much more. The reel can make a big difference in being able to drag in your fish or failing to do so.
Most fly fishing reels are made of aluminum. When using, the fisherman strips line off the reel with one hand while casting with the other. He (or she) then retrieves the slack line by winding it back up on the reel. The type of reel you use depends on the fish you are trying to catch. Some reels are better suited for larger fish as well as more demanding conditions while on the water.
Your fly fishing reel should have a solid handle that is easy to manipulate. Some reels come with double handles – one on each end of the spinner – that makes it much easier to grab hold of and wind up. Which one you choose is up to you!
The spool holds the fishing line. Attached to the spool on the outside is a small weight called a counter balance. This assures that the reel spins smooth and true without any interference from the rod or the angler. Many spools have exposed rims. This actually serves a very useful purpose when you are struggling with a fish. You can cup your hand on the outside of the room so you can play with the fish and save your tackle if you are using light flies.
The drag on a fly fishing reel creates pressure and prevents the line from free spooling or back lashing. You can have a click drag on your reel which are springs that put pressure against a gear stopping it from moving. These reels are noisy, though, so keep that in mind. Disc drags are either pads or gears that have calipers like brakes on a car. As the pressure on the gear increases, the pad clamps down stopping the drag.
The reel clamps to your fly rod with a “seat” that clamps down on the handle with “feet”. All reels are made to the same standard so the seats that are on fly fishing rods with handle all fly fishing reels. So, basically, you can pick out your rod and then choose the reel you want and not have to worry if it will fit your rod.
Choosing your fly fishing reel depends a lot on what type of fishing you will be doing. If fishing for large game fish, you will want one that can handle the pressure of the weight of the fish. If you are just fishing for trout and bass, you will want a standard reel that will make bringing your fish in just a little bit easier.