Types of Fly Reels


There are 3 types of fly reels:


"single action"
distinguished by a reel spool that makes one revolution for each complete turn of the reel handle

Hardy single action reel

Pros: lighter than other styles; greatest selection; the "traditional" fly reel; most have interchangeable spools
Cons: line retrieval rate can be inadequate for the very largest, strongest-running fish

2. "multiplying":
type of reel that has a spool which turns multiple times (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times depending on the gear ratio) for each revolution of the reel handle

Orvis multiplying reel

Pros: line recovers more quickly than single action reels; usually heaviest duty reels; sturdy
Cons: higher cost; greater weight; selection is not as broad as single action reels

3. "automatic":
style of reel that uses a spring tension device that is activated by a lever to automatically retrieve line back onto the reel

Older automatic reel

Pros: you can really "zip" the line back onto the reel;
Cons: heavy, bulky; susceptible to inadvertent retrieval; too many parts to go wrong

Reel variations . . .

In addition to these 3 basic styles of fly reels, there are various features that have evolved over the years to accommodate the specific uses and needs for different types of fly fishing.  As the sport has branched out from its beginnings as a means to "trout fish" in freshwater, to where it now encompasses most every fish that swims, including the very largest of saltwater species, the reel has been required to adapt to meet these changes.  However, there are essentially just two basic reel styles: single action (usually with disc drag, but also available with click and pawl drag), and large arbor (or "wide arbor") (most often with disc drag, but also found with click and pawl systems.)



Scientific Anglers single action reel

Redington large arbor reel

Let's next take a look at the fundamentals of current fly reel construction