It’s time you take your saltwater fishing to the next level with the great saltwater fly reels. The right fly reel can be the difference between a lucky fishing adventure or an unlucky one.
So, if you are one of those fishers who loves catching large saltwater fish, you must invest in good saltwater fly reels. A good fly reel will improve your chances that you catch those bonefish and permit that are hiding from you.
However, there are so many aspects that you need to keep in mind that it can quickly become overwhelming to purchase a fly reel for saltwater.
What is a saltwater fly reel?
First, let’s talk about what a reel for saltwater fly fishing is.
Basically, a saltwater fly reel is just like a freshwater fly reel.
The major difference between the two is that the saltwater fly reel is more resistant to corrosion. They are designed with anodized aluminum. Some manufacturers also use powder-coated steel. Most importantly, the body of a good saltwater fly reel is abrasion-resistant.
Now that you know about what a saltwater fly reel is let’s talk about the best saltwater fly reels.
In the end, we have also compiled a list of the factors you need to consider when purchasing a saltwater fly reel.
The 5 Best Saltwater Fly Reels
We’ve put together a detailed review of the five best saltwater fly reels. We will talk in detail about each saltwater fly reel’s features. Based on our experience as well as many customers, we have put together the major pros and cons of each.
A quick overview of the five best saltwater fly reels:
- Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel
- Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel
- Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel
- Piscifun Crest Fly Fishing Reel
- Goture Fly Fishing Reel
Now, let’s review each of the reels in detail.
1. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel
The first one on our list is the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel. It is known for its machined heavy-duty construction. Also, the reel is anodized to maintain strength as well as durability.
This is one of the best saltwater fly reels because it is designed to last. So, if you invest your money in it, you will see that it will last you for a long time. The concave spool also adds to the strength of the reel.
It features a mid-arbor design. So, you will get more line capacity as compared to a reel that has a large arbor. Furthermore, this reel is lightweight. You will find it easy to retrieve.
Another reason that many fishers go for this reel is that it is designed with an assortment of colors. This adds to the visual appeal of the reel, making it more favored among other ones.
Overall, it will offer you a silent retrieve and accurate drag. It features a stainless-steel drag system that is resistant to corrosion.
The following is a brief list of pros and cons. They will help you in determining whether this fly fishing reel is ‘the one’ for you or not.
- Different colors
- Anodized construction
- Drag adjustment can be difficult to navigate
2. Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel
The Orvis Company is a well-known name in the world of fly reels and fish. It claims to be the best at producing high-quality fly-fishing equipment.
This reel can be purchased by any type of angler, whether beginner or experienced. It has a great design with a machined aluminum build that ensures its high performance.
One of the best things about this reel is the sturdy feel it has to it. It will also last longer as compared to many other reels in the market.
One of the great features it offers is an excellent spool design. Many anglers appreciated that this reel turned out to be what Orvis claimed it to be: excellent quality at a good cost.
You will find the reel to have a solid drag system that is good for catching both the smaller and larger fish.
The following are the pros and cons related to the reel.
- Versatile design
- Solid drag system
- Lacks some features
3. Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel
Next on our list is the Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel. This is a big reel. It features an excellent drag system that any fisherman would want to have.
You will find it to be the leader in the drag system. Also, it has a heavy-duty spool design that gives the reel an incredible feel.
It has a professional strength carbon fiber drag system that ensures excellent performance. Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel is a durable reel that will never disappoint you in terms of reliability and performance.
It is designed for catching both small and larger fish. You will find this reel to be quite easy to operate, whether you are just a beginner or a pro angler. You can easily adjust the reel with the drag knob. Many anglers vouch for the incredible performance this reel offers.
The following is a brief list of the pros and cons that we have collected based on customers’ reviews and our experience in using this fly reel. As you can see from the pros, it can easily be rated as one of the best saltwater reels.
- Smooth operation
- Reliable for big fish too
- Comfortable to use
- Easy to use
- Strength in drag
- Feels a little heavier at first
4. Piscifun Crest Fly Fishing Reel
This is the second Piscifun product on our list. It has some excellent features that many anglers love.
The stainless-steel drag system is waterproof. So, you don’t need to worry about it deteriorating after some usage. It is also sand and grit-proof.
The U-shaped arbor features a fast pickup that will ensure excellent performance. Also, you can easily adjust the drag system. This reel is left-hand exclusive. However, you can use it even if you are not left-handed.
Another notable feature of this reel is that it comes with a lifetime warranty. So, you can purchase this reel without any doubt. If anything goes wrong, the excellent customer service at Piscifun will be ready to assist you.
The following are the pros and cons of this reel.
- Lifetime warranty
- Great build
- Excellent quality
- Comfortable to use
5. Goture Fly Fishing Reel
The last one on our list is the Goture Fly-Fishing reel. It is easily one of the best reels on the market due to its many features.
The arbor design of this reel is quite large. So, it is suited for larger rods. Many anglers love that it helps to catch the bigger fish in the sea. You can easily catch lake trout, steelhead, bass, etc.
Also, the retrieval speed is quite low and has a good backing capacity. You will find the drag system to be efficient as it provides a heavy stopping power once the fish has taken the bait.
- Reliable for big fish
- Excellent performance
- High quality
- Easy to use
- 5 ball bearings
- Lacks some features
Buying Guide to fly fishing reels for saltwater use
When you are going through fly reels for saltwater in the market, there are quite a lot of things that you need to consider. Your choice will depend on the kind of fish you are targeting, the fishing location, as well as the level of your fishing skills.
The following is a list of the basic aspects you need to keep in mind before making your final decision.
The first thing that you might want to look into is the retrieval system. It is built to gather the line after you have hooked the fish. Generally, there are three different types of designs that companies use.
Single Action Reels
The handle rotates the reel. When you turn the handle once, the single-action reels will give you a single rotation.
As the name suggests, a multiplying reel is designed to give different rotations. They will depend on the gear ratio.
Automatic Retrieval Reels
These reels are different from the previous two in the sense that they will create tension with a spring device. You can press the safety drag to release the trigger when you want to retrieve the line. Then, the spool will spin back quickly and pull the line away from the water.
If you are considering which one you should go for, ask yourself a few things. First, if you are just a beginner, then it is best that you go for the single-action reel. On the other hand, if you are a pro, you might want to step up your skills with one of the other two fly reels.
The arbor is the part of the reel that stores the line. Smaller arbors will store a lesser line as compared to the large arbor ones. Also, it will cost lesser. If you want to fish for long periods, you should use a smaller arbor as you will get less tired due to the low weight.
On the other hand, if you want to catch bigger fish, you will need more lines and a large arbor. Most fishers like to go for a medium-sized arbor so that they can get an optimal fishing experience. If you are targeting the bigger fish, you might want to consider a large arbor, though.
The line weight is a vital aspect of the fly reel as it is also related to the spool size and arbors. If you are using a heavy line, then you will have to for a larger arbor and vice versa.
All reels have a drag system designed to lower the line’s speed and make the reel stop when the fish has taken the bait. It goes without saying that the drag system is one of the most important aspects of a fly reel.
If you use a high-performance drag system reel, you will find it durable and the best in terms of operation. If you want a cheap reel, then you can go for a lower-quality one.
Construction of Reel
The design and construction of the reel are other important factors to consider. They determine both the cost and durability of the reel. If you go for one of the cheaper constructions, you will get a heavy reel that is not as strong and durable as you would hope. However, it is on the cheaper side in terms of the cost.
On the other hand, the best saltwater fly reels are made with machined steel. The design is precise and guided by computers. Also, you will see that these reels are anodized, so they are extra strong and durable.
Most people like to go for a balance between these two aspects. The reel should offer good durability so that you get the best value for your money.
Saltwater Flyfishing Species
Fly fishing is a very fun pursuit, but when you combine it with salt water, it becomes full of even more exciting strikes and amazing fights. Saltwater fly fishing can give anglers a wide variety of fishing experiences, and there is no shortage of species to catch. Basically, any species that will take a lure can be caught on the fly line! From stripers to barracuda, the possibilities are endless.
Species to Catch
While there are many species that can be caught while saltwater fly fishing, some species are more popular than others. These include (but are not limited to): bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook, sailfish, barracuda, dorado, redfish, striped fish, and roosterfish.
Sizes of Fish
Many of these species of fish can grow up to some impressive sizes and can put up some incredible fights. For example, tarpon can grow in size of up to 8 feet in length and weigh up to 280 pounds. Other species, like redfish, will be 28 to 33 inches long, much smaller than a tarpon. Other average sizes for these fish include bonefish at 1 to 3 feet and 3 to 5 pounds, permit at up to 2 feet long and up to 60 pounds, snook at 3 to 4 feet in length, and up to 3 pounds in weight.
Sailfish can be quite large and can grow up to sizes of 10 feet in length. Barracuda range in size from 24 to 39 inches in length and weigh 5 to 20 pounds. Dorados grow to average lengths of 2 to 5 feet and can weigh up to over 50 pounds! Redfish and striped bass are much smaller in comparison, coming in at averages of 33 inches and 25 to 35 inches, respectively. Lastly, we have roosterfish, which can grow up to lengths of over 5 feet and weigh over 100 pounds, although the average weight for most fish is around 20 pounds.
Proper Gear and Equipment
Every species of fish will grow to different sizes, and it is important to have the proper equipment. Depending on what type of fish you want to target, you may want to consider different fly rods and reels sizes. For example, if you are expecting to catch redfish, bonefish, stripers, and snook, you may want to consider a rod from 7 to 9 weight. For bigger fish like tarpon, dorado, and roosterfish, a rod in the 11 to 13 range might work best.
Depending on the species and the size of the fish you want to catch, you should try to best match your fly fishing gear to the fish that you are pursuing. Of course, this will not always be the case, and you may hook into fish that are either a little big or small for your rig, but this is a great rule of thumb to abide by. This is one of the reasons that saltwater fly fishing is so exciting and fun, as you never really know what might be at the end of your fishing line!
The good saltwater fly reels are durable and resist corrosion. This makes them last longer than regular reels. Therefore, if you love fishing in seawater, you should invest in a reel that will last.
We hope this guide will help you in choosing one that works perfectly for you when you go saltwater fly fishing.
Updated: October 28, 2022