This article discusses the basics of choosing a fly fishing reel which is right for what you intended to do.
Fly fishing reels do two things. They store fly line, and they provide drag against a fish as it fights once landed. Most are made from aluminum. Be sure to check the quality of the reel – some cast molded aluminum reels are made cheaply, and can break more easily than solid block models. Beyond that, two different types of reels exist for the fly fisherman: the Spring and Pawl, and the Disc Drag reel.
The Spring and Pawl Fly Reel
This is the traditional fly fishing reel. Its advantage is that it provides for a very smooth, even pull-out as lighter, more sensitively-mouthed fish (like smaller trout) draw on the line. Particularly when using lighter tippets, this type is a good choice, since it protects the tipper better.
The Disc Drag Reel
This is the newer type of reel, designed much like a disc brake on a car. These types of reels are good for larger species or larger fish, as they can more easily exert a stronger tension once a bigger fish has attacked. Their main drawback is that they tend to be not as...