When you are thinking about fly fishing, you might have to spend a lot of money for all the equipment. Just with the total cost of fly rods and fly reels, the cost gets above $500 and when you get artificial flies, fly line, tippet, leader, etc., the entire cost reaches over $1000 and you could spend over $2000 until the time your equipment gets damaged. However, with certain choices of equipment, you don’t have to spend any amount of money near this amount. You might be thinking there are low-quality instruments for low cost, but there are still some equipment which include amazing features and are priced at a very low price tag. To prove you wrong, we are going to talk about some of the best fly reels under 200 only.
If you have got the other equipment for a certain amount of money, and want to get a fly reel for a lower cost, you have several options available. You could also get a cheaper fly reel first, and look over the other equipment. Out of the several fly reels we analyzed, we found out the 10 best fly reels which you can find under 200 bucks only. Along with that, you would also be able to achieve much out of your money for these superb fly reels.
What Is A Fly Reel!!!
Fly reel is one of the major components of fly fishing kit along with fly rod, leader, tippet and flies. Usually, the fly reel handle offers one spool revolution when the handle makes one complete revolution. You can find fly reels made for multi-action purposes as well, but they aren’t as successful as the single-action ones.
A fly reel includes an external frame, a reel foot, an arbor, dispensing, retrieval and a reel handle. The functions of each component in a fly reel are listed below:
- External Frame: It saves the fly reel from getting damaged for many years.
- Reel Foot: It allows you to attach the reel with the fly rod easily.
- Arbor: It allows you to store fly lines.
- Dispensing and Retrieval: It is a drag system located inside the reel which allows you to maintain ideal pressure while catching the fish.
- Fly Reel Handle: It allows you to perform revolution of the reel.
A fly reel is used as a storage for your fly fishing lines. It also allows you to store sufficient backing while fly fishing. With the use of a fly reel, you may not expect any sort of help while casting, but it might help you in catching the fish in some cases.
Types of Fly Reel Designs
Fly reels are available in several forms out there. Every different type of reel has its own unique design and is used for its own purpose. While choosing the perfect fly reel design, you need to consider the way you will be fly fishing. Here are three major types of fly reel designs based on their arbor. Arbor refers to the distance between the center spindle and the location where the spool base is formed (the same position where the backing is fixed).
Standard Arbor Fly Reels
This traditional fly reel design includes the spool base in the middle part of the reel. Although this kind of design has been used for a very long time, it is still preferred many fly fishers. Standard arbor fly reels are usually a good choice when you are fly fishing in smaller rivers using fly rods designed with a cane.
This kind of fly reel can store a large amount of backing despite having very narrow frames at the bottom. In the standard arbor fly reels, the fly line and backing are kept in coils of a tiny diameter so that the retrieval rate per revolution is decreased. These reels also allow you to keep more coil memory in the fly line. In these reels, the fly line can suffer from coil memory if it is tightly coiled in the fly line storage.
In this kind of fly reel, the reel base is kept a little away from the spindle located in the middle, which allows the reel to be wide for compensation. Mid arbor fly reels possess enough storage capacity for backing.
These reels can store the fly line in a larger loop so as to decrease the memory along with the increment in fly line retrieval rate. They also feature less metal in their design to minimize the weight.
Large Arbor Fly Reels
Large arbor fly reel is one of the most advanced types of fly reel designs. This reel is also larger in size while comparing with the mid arbor and standard arbor reels for the same size of the fly line. These reels are also wider and feature a large diameter, which lets you store a lot of backing. Large arbor fly reels also have a faster rate of retrieval which allows some reels of this type to recover over 14 inches in every revolution. Along with that, these reels also have a reduced fly line memory.
These fly reels can appear a lot bigger for your fly rod. However, these reels are also very lightweight and have the ability to balance any fly rod precisely. The components of this kind of reel are well-machined so that the weight can be reduced to the maximum extent, which doesn’t even reduce any structural stability.
Best Fly Reels Under 200
Now that you have known about fly reels as well as their different design types along with their features, you are ready to find out the 10 best fly reels that are available under $200 only. Here’s a comparison chart of all the top fly reels before getting onto the individual reviews of each fly reel.
Comparison Chart of The Best Fly Reels
|Fly Reel||Arbor Size||Weight||Construction||Drag System||Performance||Price|
|Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel||Mid/Large Arbor||3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10||CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy||Corrosion Resistant||Smooth|
|Okuma SLV Fly Reel||Large Arbor||8/9||Diecast Aluminum||Stainless Steel Drag||Smooth|
|Maxcatch ECO Fly Reel||Large Arbor||2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8||Diecast Aluminum||Rugged Central Disc Drag||Smooth|
|Fiblink Fly Fishing Reels||Large Arbor||5/6, 7/8||CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy||Advanced Fiber-composite Drag||Smooth|
|Redington Behemoth Reel||Large Arbor||4/5, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10||Diecast||Heavy Duty Carbin Fiber Drag||Smooth|
|Okuma Sierra Fly Reel||Standard Arbor||4/5, 5/6, 7/8, 8/9, 10/11||Diecast Aluminum||Fully Adjustable Drag||Not so Smooth|
|Waterworks-Lamson Fly Reel||Large Arbor||3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10||Pressure-cast Aluminum||Conical Drag System||Smooth|
|Orvis Battenkill Reel||Large Arbor||1/3, 3/5, 5/7, 7/9, 9/11||Heavy-duty Bar-stock Aluminium||Four-Position Click-and-Pawl Drag||Smooth|
|Wright & McGill Fly Reel||Large Arbor||3/4, 7/8, 9/10||6061 Bar Stock Aluminum||Precision Graphite Disc Drag||Smooth|
|Okuma Helios Fly Reel||Large Arbor||3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 7/8, 8/9||Helios Machined Aluminum||Waterproof Multi-disc drag||Smooth|
The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel is the perfect fly reel choice for everyone who is new to fly fishing and are looking for the best fly reels under 200 bucks only. You’d be able to achieve much better features out of this entry-level reel in comparison to other expensive reels.
- This fly reel is available in 4 different weights; 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10.
- This reel includes a concavely shaped spool which offers an outstanding level of strength to the reel as well as higher fly line capacity than level arbor spool.
- This fly reel is available in Black, Gunmetal, Pink, Space Gray and features anodized finish to increase the durability of the reel.
- In case you need additional spool loaded with a sinking fly line, this reel can be very useful for you since Piscifun offers extra spools for the reel.
- It is a lightweight mid-arbor reel that offers you the proper fly line retrieval rate.
- It is highly affordable.
- It is highly durable and can’t be corroded easily.
- The CNC-machined aluminum alloy offers an outstanding level of strength and rigidity to the reel.
- It is lightweight.
- Its drag system can be difficult to adjust.
- Piscifun doesn’t offer proper instructions for the clean-up of drag system.
If you are looking for a lightweight, durable, affordable and powerful fly reel for under $200, the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body can be the perfect choice for you. In fact, there’s no better fly reel than this for a beginner in fly fishing.
The Okuma SLV Fly Reel is a highly affordable fly reel which offers amazing functions to fly fishers while fishing. This reel lets you experience an outstanding drag system with smooth performance.
- This fly reel is constructed with Diecast Aluminum.
- It features an enormous fly line retrieval rate.
- The drag system is designed with stainless steel and is easy to handle and offers a smooth performance.
- The manufacturer of this fly reel has included extra spools with the package which can turn out to be handy in several cases.
- The spool shaft is designed with precision machined stainless steel and features multi-disc cork.
- It is highly durable.
- The drag system is easy to handle.
- The drag system allows you to experience a smooth and efficient performance.
- It is very easy and comfortable to use.
- It doesn’t feature anti-corrosion coating.
- There are very few alternative fly lines available for the spool included in this reel.
If you’d like to experience an outstanding fly fishing performance for a very cheap price tag and simple adjustment features, there’s no better option than the Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel. The manufacturers have included complete user manual with proper instructions for the drag system, and proper maintenance of fly reel.
The Maxcatch ECO Fly Reel Large Arbor with Diecast Aluminum Body can be the perfect fly reel for everyone who is in search of a reel to use as an alternative to their main reel for backup purposes. This reel offers an easy-to-adjust drag system which lets you experience a smooth performance.
- This reel features a large-arbor design which offers very fast fly line retrieval rate.
- It included a rugged central disc drag which allows you to control the drag system in a smooth and consistent way.
- This reel is constructed with diecast aluminum which offers outstanding durability and lets you use the reel for many years with corrosion.
- It consists of a single way bearing which helps you in easier left-to-right hand conversion.
- This reel is highly resistant to corrosion.
- This reel offers an ultra fast line retrieval rate.
- The drag system is easier to handle.
- This reel offers adequate backing capacity.
- Despite being resistant to corrosion, this reel mayn’t be in usable condition for many years.
- This fly reel includes just a single-year warranty period.
If you are looking for a fly reel with large arbor design which is highly resistant to corrosion and offers a consistent drag performance, the Maxcatch ECO Fly Reel Large Arbor with Diecast Aluminum Body could be the perfect choice for you. With the use of diecast aluminum in its construction, this reel is very strong and powerful.
The Fiblink Fly Fishing Reels with Large Arbor is an extremely lightweight fly reel which is very powerful and durable. This fly reel can be the perfect choice if you need a proper strength-to-weight ratio.
- This fly reel is constructed with premium CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy.
- It features a large-arbor design offering very high fly line retrieval rate with less stacking.
- It includes an advanced fiber-composite drag system.
- It consists of an adjustable retrieve from left-to-right hand along with a single-way bearing.
- It has 2 + 1 Ball Bearing.
- It is highly durable.
- It is extremely lightweight.
- The drag system designed with fiber is flexible.
- It offers an outstanding strength-to-weight ratio.
- It is difficult to set up the fly line with the fly reel.
- It doesn’t contain proper spool tolerance.
The Fiblink Fly Fishing Reels with Large Arbor can be one of the perfect fly reel choices for everyone who is planning to get a lightweight, powerful and durable fly reel designed with premium quality aluminum. With this fly reel, you can experience a flexible drag system performance.
The Redington Behemoth Reel is an affordable fly reel featuring an ultra-powerful drag system with an outstanding level of aesthetics. It is one of the best affordable fly reels for both entry-level as well as experienced fly fishers.
- This fly reel is designed with a diecast construction.
- The large-arbor spool design of this reel is highly durable and can provide you the feel of an expensive premium fly reel.
- It features a large-sized drag knob which allows you to make adjustments quickly.
- Along with the reel package, you also get a reel case designed with nylon.
- The drag system designed with super-heavy-duty carbon fiber increases the strength and reliability of this fly reel.
- It features one of the strongest drag systems while comparing with the others in the list.
- The fly line retrieval rate is very high due to the reduction of line memory with its large-arbor design.
- Its Deep V-Spool allows you to store adequate amount of backing.
- You can adjust the carbon fiber drag system easily.
- Along with all these outstanding features, you also get a lifetime warranty.
- It might wear faster than the other fly reels.
- It offers complex spool tolerance.
If you are looking for a strong, durable, reliable and adjustable fly reel which also features large backing capacity, making it feel like a premium fly reel, the Redington Behemoth Reel can be one of the best choices available out there for you. With this fly reel, you also get a complete lifetime warranty.
The Okuma Sierra Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel is one of the best fly reels if you are thinking to get a fly reel featuring a tough drag system. You might even want to get this fly reel in multiple weight range if you are willing to catch different kinds of fishes.
- The diecast aluminum construction of this outstanding fly reel makes it one of the most lightweight options available.
- It consists of diecast standard arbor spool design.
- The left-to-right hand retrieval conversion is easier to control.
- It features a roller bearing which lets you engage the drag in a single direction.
- The spool shaft is designed with precision machined stainless steel.
- Precision machined brass bushing has been used for the reel’s drive system.
- The drag system of this outstanding reel is fully adjustable.
- You can adjust the drag system in any way you like.
- It is ultra lightweight.
- You can easily change the left-to-right retrieval conversion.
- It is resistant to corrosion.
- It doesn’t have a drag system as smooth as its competitors.
- You might have to go through a tedious task while fine-tuning the reel.
If you are planning to get a backup reel with a tough drag system for a very less price tag, you might want to go for the Okuma Sierra Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel which features a fully adjustable drag system. Also, it is highly durable and can easily resist corrosion.
The Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel is a unique fly reel designed with pressure-cast aluminum for its frame and spool. This reel features outstanding quality of casting and is manufactured along with premium fly reels in the United States.
- This fly reel features full-radiused compound curves having nearly 0 radius inside the corners.
- The drag system in this fly reel is CNC-machined.
- The reel’s frame and spool are constructed with the unique pressure-cast aluminum.
- It features a conical drag system which is properly sealed.
- It has a polyurethane finish.
- It is available in several weights (4/5, 5/6, 7/8, 8/9, 10/11).
- It has a concavely curved spool which can hold the fly line with adequate backing capacity.
- It offers enough backing capacity for fly line.
- It is highly durable.
- It can be used in any conditions, including tougher ones.
- Its stealth black finish resists its surface from getting corroded.
- The manufacturer has offered lifetime warranty with this reel.
- It isn’t so easy-to-use for beginners.
- Its clicker produces a loud noise, which easily disturbs the fish.
If you are an experienced fly fisher and want to get a new, affordable fly fishing reel with properly sealed drag system along with sufficient backing capacity, the Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel can be one of the best fly reel options available for you. With this fly reel, you also get a lifetime warranty period, which might be useless due to its high durability.
The Orvis Battenkill Reel features a simple design and an outstanding drag system which lets you use this reel in any fly fishing conditions. It is an extremely lightweight fly reel featuring laser-engraved logos.
- This fly reel has an extremely lightweight design which makes it easier for you to balance the rods when you are using shorter fly rods.
- It features a narrow spool which offers minimum fly line stacking.
- It consists of a left-hand or right-hand retrieve which is highly adjustable.
- It is constructed with heavy-duty bar-stock aluminum.
- It has a large spool diameter which offers a large fly line retrieval rate.
- The four-position click-and-pawl drag system in this fly reel makes the fly reel compatible in any fly fishing situations, especially in freshwater.
- It is ultra lightweight.
- It has a highly adjustable retrieve.
- You can have minimum fly line stacking with this fly reel.
- It is easy-to-use.
- It has a narrow spool.
- It produces a loud pitch click.
If you are looking for a durable and extremely lightweight fly reel featuring minimal design, the Orvis Battenkill Reel/Extra Spool should be in your checklist while choosing the best fly reel. With this fly reel, you can expect to use it in any freshwater fly fishing situations.
The Wright & McGill Dragon Fly Reel can be your top priority if you are looking for a highly reliable fly fishing reel for the money. This fly reel features an excellent aluminum construction.
- This fly reel features a disc drag system designed with large precision graphite.
- It is constructed with 6061 bar-stock aluminum.
- This fly reel features one of the largest arbor designs available in the market.
- It also consists of a protective storage case.
- It is available in several weights; 3/4, 7/8, 9/10.
- It is highly reliable and dependable fly reel.
- It includes an outstanding aluminum construction.
- It lets you switch the hand orientation easily.
- It offers an advanced drag performance.
- You may not be able to store a large amount of backing.
- You have to clean the reel every time to prevent from getting damaged.
If you are looking for a reliable fly reel offering outstanding drag performance and allowing you to change the orientation of hand effectively, this large arbor Wright & McGill Dragon Fly Reel can be one of the best fly reel choices available for you. It is a great quality fly reel available at a lower price tag and can be carried to any place easily for fly fishing.
The Okuma Helios Fly Reel is an outstanding fly fishing reel for someone who is experienced in fly fishing. It features a multi-disk waterproof drag system along with several other specialties which makes it better than other best fly reels under 200 bucks.
- This fly reel is constructed with Helios Machined Aluminum.
- A beautiful machined aluminum finish containing a duller matte look.
- It features a singe-way clutch bearing.
- This reel includes a sealed and waterproof multi-disc drag system which can be easily adjusted by twisting its large doorknob along the opposite part of the reel.
- Despite being very powerful, this fly reel is also very lightweight.
- It features a waterproof drag system.
- The drag system can be adjusted easily.
- It is a very lightweight fly reel.
- It has enough backing for large fish.
- You can easily handle the drag wheel with its multi-disc drag system.
- Its aluminum surface might get scratched quickly.
- It has a shorter warranty period.
For an experienced fly fisher, the Okuma Helios Machined Aluminum Large Arbor Fly Reel can be the perfect fly fishing reel in case he/she is looking for a fly reel with a beautiful brushed aluminum finish along with high durability and multi-disc drag system for quick adjustment. This fly reel is also a robust fly fishing reel option for everyone who is looking to get an affordable fly reel.
Buyer’s Guide For Best Fly Reels
While choosing the best fly reel for fly fishing, you need to choose the one from which you can achieve the best performance out of your money. You need to look for a fly reel which is compatible with other fly fishing equipment that you have already purchased such as fly rods, fly lines, etc. There are several aspects you need to look for while choosing the best fly reel under 200.
Fly Reel Material and Quality
A fly reel can be found in two different varieties; cast and machined. When you are looking for the best fly reel in terms of quality, you need to look for the one which is easier to handle, and you need to look for the one which is coated well when looking in terms of materials.
Generally, cast fly reels are less durable as well as heavier than the machined fly reels. Also, machined fly reels cost way more than cast fly reels and aren’t so affordable in comparison to the latter one.
While looking for the materials of fly reels, you need to look for several fly fishing techniques as well as the anodization. If you are willing to get a fly reel that you can use for several years without any rust or corrosion, you need to look for the coated one.
Arbor refers to the radius of a certain part of the fly reel which holds the fly line. A large arbor uses a large diameter to hold the fly line and lets you utilize the most quantity of fly line during the revolution of a fly reel.
Here are certain factors you need to know regarding large arbor in fly fishing.
- Drag: A large arbor features a consistent drag which is why you don’t really need to adjust it during the time of catching fish. If you adjust the drag, you can easily prevent any sort of breaks off the fly fishing tippet.
- Line retrieval: A large arbor also includes a speedy retrieval which helps you to pull off the slackline when you are about to fight with the fish. This results in a consistent tension on the fly line.
- Line coil: A large arbor also includes a loose spool, which consists of several open coils that can produce less fly line memory. Due to this, the fly line lays out straight to the water column. If the line coil is huge, it is likely to have the fly line usable for several years since it doesn’t have to take more stress while fly fishing.
Are Small Arbors Bad?
These things easily display the pros of the larger arbor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean small arbors aren’t necessary. When you are going for fly fishing with small fly rods, using smaller arbors can be your top priority. Using a large arbor with small rods can totally destroy the balance while casting, which is why small fly reels are useful in case of small fly rods.
A large arbor might be bad in certain cases. When you are fly fishing in salt water, this kind of arbor can be the best choice, but still, it needs to be of a very large diameter so that it can hold adequate backing.
Due to these reasons, using a mid-arbor instead of smaller or larger ones can be the best choice for every fly fishers since this arbor possesses every specialty of both the fly reels and can be used for taking your fly line quickly without necessarily having a large diameter.
The drag of a fly reel is its ability to reduce the chances of a larger fish twisting your fly line on the fly reel and running away. While you are looking for the drag system in a fly reel, you might want to look for the one which includes an adjustable drag system so that you can achieve an outstanding level of tension. This kind of drag system lets you strip your fly line smoothly preventing the spool from running after strip.
You need to look for a fly reel which doesn’t feature a low-quality drag system, but instead, you need to look for the one which can be very smooth while stripping the fly line.
Weight is one of the most important things you need to consider while choosing the best fly reel. You need to look for a suitable weight of fly reel for your other fly fishing equipment, especially the fly rod and fly line. The weight of fly reel also needs to suit with your strength.
If you are using a fly line of the weight value 5, you need to look for a fly rod weighing in at around 4-6, and the same for the fly reel. When you use this weight combination for this equipment, you will be able to achieve the best results while fly fishing.
Here are some tips that will help you to choose the perfect fly reel weight for fly fishing:
- If you are thinking about catching fish like tarpon or scombrid fish, you need to look for fly fishing equipment of large weight values.
- In case of small fish like trout, you might want to look for equipment with the weight of around 1-3.
- Getting equipment with the weight range of 4-6 can be the best choice for catching large trout as well as smallmouth bass.
- Fly rods, reel, and lines weighing in at 7-9 can be your top priority for large fish like bonefish, salmon as well as largemouth bass.
With the completion of our product reviews of the 10 best fly reels under 200, we believe you’d be able to choose the best fly reel based on your requirements and depending on several factors including your other fly fishing equipment.
From our buyer’s guide to choosing the best fly reels, you can find out the several aspects you need to look for while purchasing the most suitable fly reel.
We highly recommend you to try out the Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel which is on the top of our list since it is highly affordable and you can achieve the most out of your money with this outstanding fly reel.
If you have any queries regarding anything mentioned in our reviews as well as the buyer’s guide, you might want to write down to us in the comments. If you’d like to know our recommendation for the best fly reel based on your requirements, you can feel free to write a comment including every detail. We’d try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions!
Q. What size fly reel should I get?
Answer: Generally, most fly reels are available with a notation like 3/4, 5/6, 9/10, etc. This notation denotes the size of fly line suitable with the reel. There’s no perfect fly reel size since it’s all dependent upon other fly fishing equipment that you own. The best size fly reel is the one which is suitable with your fly rod and fly line.
Q. I want to know the general drag systems in a fly reel. What are they?
Answer: You can find several drag systems in different fly reels such as the SCS system, click-and-pawl system, etc. With a click-and-pawl drag system, you can expect to use your fly reel for many years to come. The SCS system is generally a plate system designed with sealed carbon. There are some drag systems made up of modern plastics too. The major similarity is that you will be able to perform the same fly fishing actions with every drag system.
Q. Why are there extra spools in fly reels compatible with single line weight?
Answer: It doesn’t matter whether you own a fly reel compatible with a single line weight or not. The extra spools help you to change from floating to sinking fly line and vice-versa. These additional spools make it easier for you to switch between a weight forward line and a level line.
Q. What are some of the highly trusted fly reel manufacturers?
Answers: When it comes to choosing the best fly reel, it doesn’t depend upon their manufacturers, but on the fly reel specifications. However, if you choose a fly reel from a popular manufacturer, you can expect to get a fly reel with high-quality components. Some of the major fly reel manufacturers include Orvis, Okuma, Redington, Piscifun, etc.