Beginners Fly Fishing.

Lesson 2: Reel

Again, there is a plethora of choices in choosing a reel. Your reel should have enough space to hold your backing line and your fly line.


The reel should be rated to match your rod.


The drag is the damping system that controls line shock when a fish bites. Setting the drag is essential also to control a fishes pull on the line when it is hooked.

There are several drag systems; but to simplify things you should first decide whether you wish to go with a click system, (which is usually cheaper),

or splash out with a disc drag.

Reel Materials:

The materials used in the reel are just like anything else; the more expensive, the more durable the materials used the less prone they are to failure.

These are the present day materials used, from cheapest to most expensive:

  • Stamped metal
  • Cast aluminum or aluminum alloys
  • Machined aluminum alloys

Reel Components:

There are two detachable parts: the body and the spool.

The foot of the body attaches to the rod. The spool can be changed and each spool can hold a different fly line. 

Here you can see a dismantled click-drag reel.

Regular arbor reels require many turns to retrieve the fly line. Large arbor reels require reduced activity to receive the same amount of line and the speed of retrieve is improved by the large arbor.

The large arbor spool also usually has a better, V shaped channel to accommodate the fly line and reduce the tendency for the line to become twisted and trapped on the spool.

Next Lesson: Fly Line