New Fly Reels: Fresh and Salt Water

New Fly Reels: Fresh and Salt Water

You've probably heard the myth that in trout fishing, your fly reel is nothing more than a line holder. Well, that might be true if your game is catching 14-inch hatchery trout on 3X tippets. If you're a serious fly fisher, however, it's likely that your sights are set much higher. Want to enter the 20/20 club and catch a 20-inch trout on a size 20 or smaller fly? You'll need a quality reel with a smooth drag system. And for saltwater fishing, your reel becomes even more important. Here are a few of the best new fly reels of 2014 for all types of fishing.

Engineered for a Purpose

Your go-to new fly reel could be anything from a functional, inexpensive workhorse like the Sage 3250, to a sealed-drag showpiece like the Tibor Signature Series. The Hardy Ultralite SDS is a saltwater big-game reel, while the Sage Evoke was developed with Spey fishers in mind.

Hardy Ultralite SDS $450-$495

Green means go on the color-coded drag system of Hardy's new Ultralite SDS reel. When you want to slow the fish down, you can visually adjust the drag into the amber color zone, and when you want that running tarpon to stop and turn, you crank it into the red zone. The Ultralite SDS has a one-turn drag knob that goes from zero to 13 pounds of drag — on the 12-weight version. (The six woven carbon-fiber pads in the drag system create a maximum of 8 pounds of drag in the smallest SDS.) While quick and easy stopping power is what you need with fish that streak away from you, many big, hard-mouth fish are lost when they run straight toward you and create slack. The 5.3"-diameter SDS solves this problem by picking up 14 inches of line with one crank of the handle. hardynorthamerica.com
Check out Fly Fisherman's review and insider video on this product! Hardy Ultralite SDS

Sage 3200 $200-$240

Our tester took Sage's affordable new trout reel across the country's trout belt — from Montana, east to the limestone spring creeks of Cumberland County, and up into New England. 'It's trout fishing, not rocket science, ' he said. 'All you need is a reliable reel that looks good on your favorite rod, and more importantly feels good. The 3200 series has a dependable, smooth drag system that protects light tippets and keeps small hooks in place. The thing I like best is the oversize, numbered drag knob that lets me quickly and easily set my drag exactly where I want it every time. ' The reels have a sealed carbon fiber drag system with a stainless steel one-way clutch bearing so the drag engages instantly. They are available in three sizes for 3/4-, 5/6-, and 7/8-weight lines, and either black/platinum or platinum colors. sageflyfish.com

Sage Evoke $575-$595

Yes Spey anglers, you can have your cake and eat it too. The new Evoke from Sage is a completely enclosed 3/4-cage design, which means your thin running line can't slip out from between the frame and the spool, causing hassles on the water. For traditionalists, the open portion on the bottom gives you access to the spool rim so you can palm it for instant drag adjustments. Our tester used the distinctive reel for fresh-run Chinook salmon and said 'The palming feature is nice, but with a drag system like that, you don't really need it. I just enjoy the clean lines of this reel, and the functionality of the old-school closed cage. ' The sealed carbon fiber drag system has a large, easy-to-grab, one-revolution knob with detents from 1 to 39. There are two reel sizes for 8- and 10-weight lines, and three colors: stealth/platinum, bronze/platinum, and stealth/blaze. sageflyfish.com

Tibor Signature Series $685

Ted Juracsik set the saltwater world on its head when he reinvented the Tibor brand with his Signature Series. The reels are lighter than the original Tibor series and have a sealed, waterproof drag system that's easy to change from right- to left-hand retrieve. The esthetics and stopping power of the Signature Series quickly made it a staple for everything for bonefish and redfish, up to billfish and tarpon with the giant 11-12 size. In 2014 this saltwater stalwart is coming down in size to a 31/4"x23„8" trout-size reel that holds 200 yards of 20-pound-test gel-spun backing and a 6-weight line. The 5-6 Signature reel has a lighter foot to balance with smaller trout rods, and there's also a speciality color scheme for the lightweight of the family that allows you to choose a distinctive lime, aqua, crimson, or black drag system to match with the standard frame and spool colors that Tibor has offered for years. tiborreel.com
For other award winners see our 2014 Gear Guide Awards

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Finding giant Mongolia taimen and a state of enlightenment.

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

A backhand cast is when you use your backcast to deliver the fly.

Trending Articles

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most common applications you'll encounter on the water. Beginners

Picking the Perfect Fly-Fishing Leader

George Daniel - January 22, 2018

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most...

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

Drift boats help you search through miles of river quickly and effectively. Here's the top models on the market today. Gear

Top Drift Boats of 2019

John Fedorka - April 02, 2019

Drift boats help you search through miles of river quickly and effectively. Here's the top...

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones are brightly colored treasures. Trout

Alpine Lakes for Remote Monsters

Landon Mayer - April 18, 2018

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones...

See More Trending Articles

More Reels

Features a “taper lock” quick-change spool and a three-ball bearing spindle assembly. Reels

Mako 9550 Medium Saltwater Reel

Ross Purnell

Features a “taper lock” quick-change spool and a three-ball bearing spindle assembly.

The Hardy Bougle (pronounced BOOG-lay) is a variation of the original Perfect that was produced at the request of Louis Bougl', a French cyclist. Reels

Hardy Bougle The "Perfect" Reel

Ross Purnell, Editor - September 05, 2013

The Hardy Bougle (pronounced BOOG-lay) is a variation of the original Perfect that was...

VAYA is said to be the new 'go-to' reel for everything from freshwater to light salt. Reels

Abel VAYA

Jeff Simpson - October 01, 2019

VAYA is said to be the new 'go-to' reel for everything from freshwater to light salt.

Here's how the Nautilus CCF-X2 is such a lightweight reel with heavyweight stopping power. Reels

Nautilus CCF-X2

Fly Fisherman - October 23, 2013

Here's how the Nautilus CCF-X2 is such a lightweight reel with heavyweight stopping power.

See More Reels

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.