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CLEARANCE: Fly Fishing Reels

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At a Glance: Fly Reels

Fly fishing is very much the oldest sport fishing tactic around, with a rich tradition of elegant casts and serene landscapes that have inspired photographers, outdoor writers and even Hollywood movie directors. Fly reels have evolved from simple spindles holding the line to sophisticated, highly technical reels capable of delivering and retrieving specialized fly lines and backing for fighting all fish species. The main purposes of a fly reel are to house the fishing line and ensure casts and drag are as smooth as possible. Several characteristics of fly reels to consider when shopping are the size of the arbor (the spindle on which the spool rotates), the type of materials the reel is made of, and the drag system employed. Classic trout fly reels are relatively thin standard arbor reels, while medium arbor reels allow for more backing yet remain lightweight, and large arbor reels provide maximum backing for heavy fly lines. Manufacturers are always trying to shave weight off their reels while maintaining strength and durability. Whether cast or machined metals or made of composite materials, the openings along the side plates and frames decrease the weight of the reel itself and increase the speed in which the line is able to dry. Disc drags can be made of cork, nylon, carbon fiber or a combination of each. Click and pawl drags provide the classic clicking that gives just enough resistance so as to not create a bird’s nest, yet allows the angler to palm the reel for manual control of the tension. Whether throwing the lightest of dry flies or the heaviest of articulated musky flies, FishUSA has a fly reel just for your budget.

The top fly reel brands at FishUSA include Waterworks-Lamson, Redington, Temple Fork Outfitters, Sage and Echo.

Check out Fly Rods, too.