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An Introduction to Fly Fishing by Tony Scott

Choosing your Fly Reel

I had explained the AFTM weight system in the page dealing with rods and lines, and so it is with reels too. You should purchase a reel which will hold the correctly the weight of line that you have bought. You will see many reels with a two number rating i.e. Reel for line weight 6/7. This simply tells you that the reel will hold either weight of line combined with the relevant backing line.

In essence the reel is normally used to hold the line that you are not fishing with at the time, and to keep it tidy when you are not fishing. There are situations when you may play a fish “ off the reel” but unlike freshwater fixed spool reels, which winch the fish in, you generally tend to play the fish using the fly line by hand. This gives a very dynamic and more sensory experience as you feel much more of what the fish is doing and react accordingly. The human hand is one of the most sensitive “drag systems” in the world. That having been said, a drag or braking ability on the reel can be a real bonus sometimes.

So, if the reel only holds the line most of the time, should you buy an expensive one?
I would have to suggest that spend more on your fly line initially than your reel, as the rod and line work together, the reel being secondary. Although, there are some very attractive reels on the market now that are also very practical, and very angler wants a nice reel don’t they? Once again though, as with rods, quality can bring its advantages, up to a point.

To summarise, choose a reel that has the same rating as your rod and line. Buying one with spare spools can be a great advantage, as you will find on the chapter on fly lines.

As with your rod, a little cleaning and maintenance can add years of life to your reel, so a small investment in a reel case is always money well spent.


 

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