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Fly Fishing Reel Improvements

jreinke10jreinke10 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
Hey all,
Doing some research on fly fishing reels and wanted some opinions. If you could answer one or all the questions and state your primary targeted species it would be very helpful on my journey to develop a superior fly reel.

1. What features on fly fishing reels do you have the most problems with or need the most improvements?

2. Are there any features or systems you want to see added to fly fishing reels?

3. What parts fail first in your fly reel?

4. Is there anything that makes the experience of owning or purchasing a fly reel that you find unenjoyable?

5. Would you be interested in a reel which has the drag knob placed more conveniently so you do not have to reach across the reel or switch hands to adjust the drag?

Thank you all,


  • idlerickidlerick Posts: 247 Deckhand
    I keep checking to see if anyone responds to this post, but so far ...

    Thought at first it sounded like a solution in search of a problem, but now seems more like you're after the problem first with no solution in mind yet. Fly reels are a tough market. There are plenty of quality reels out there with efficient manufacturing, advertising, and distribution solutions in place. You'll spend a fortune trying to break in with a new product. Maybe if you do develop patent-able concepts, approaching an established manufacturer with licensing is a better path.

    I've never had many problems with quality reels. If anything, I'd say drag adjustments/failures are the one thing that does crop up occasionally. But not often enough to justify buying new reels to solve it.

    My pet peeve is the line building up on one side, making it necessary to use my rod-hand little finger to guide it on. But I'm so used to that I doubt if I'd change even if the reel didn't need it. Ross Reels, BTW, has a design solution to that in their new Evolution R, but I haven't seen one.

    #5 might interest me if it didn't involve sticking my fingers inside the spinning handle on a spool. I think that's why the drag knob is on the other side now. I'd rather just use the rim to add drag if necessary, as I rarely change the drag once I'm fishing.

    I fish freshwater trout 75% and the FL salt bays 25%, BTW. In the FW I'm 80% lakes and 20% streams.
  • mro1mro1 Posts: 77 Greenhorn
    Once upon a time I thought about making a fly reel with a hydrolic drag.
    Tiny vane pump, needle valves, one or two pressure release valves.
    Just one of the many things I never got around to.

  • jreinke10jreinke10 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the feedback! The line getting bunched in one area is definitely a peeve worth considering either way.
  • mro1mro1 Posts: 77 Greenhorn
    Sounds like you want to have a “level wind” on a fly reel. (I see no reason it can't be done)
    Personally I don’t have a problem with guiding the line (backing or fly).
    Sometimes I get a little excited when a fish turns and runs back toward the boat and reel like crazy to catch it up, and the line gets uneven on the spool but its never gotten to the point that I didn't notice in time to guide the line still out with a finger to get even.

  • jreinke10jreinke10 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    I assume if it were to get to a point you didn't notice it would likely result in slack in the line and potentially cause issues while reeling in the fish?
  • mro1mro1 Posts: 77 Greenhorn
    I've been fly fishing for more than 55 years............ Line control on/off the reel became automatic long ago.

  • TgrassTgrass Posts: 204 Deckhand
    The advances in fly reels I think have pretty much been maxed out at far as I am concerned. Line being wound back on the reel evenly is a user issue. If people have a problem with a reel it is in many cases lack of proper maintenance and neglect that lead to issues.

    Reels come in all levels and the more you pay the better they perform, however poor care will always win out in the end when it comes to a failure in performance.
  • hooknsnookhooknsnook Posts: 63 Greenhorn
    #5 bauer fly reels did this years ago...they are good reels but I'm happy enough with the standard drag setup
  • mro1mro1 Posts: 77 Greenhorn
    happy enough with the standard drag setup

    I agree.
    Even though my Ross Canyon big game reels are generations old and have seen a lot of use I doubt that I'll ever replace one.

  • Bimini15Bimini15 Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    I love the relative simplicity of fly reels. Anything that adds complexity to a saltwater reel is a minus in my book.
  • jaymjaym Posts: 121 Deckhand
    For #5. Billy Pate reels have the drag knob inside the spool where the handle is. My BP bonefish was my first high end reel and I like it but I hate trying to adjust the drag.

    The only things that I ever needed replaced were drag components because these wear out. Maybe the newer carbon fiber drags will not wear out. I fish almost exclusively with Tibor reels now and I am 100% confident in these reels handling anything I hook.

    Honestly if you want a challenge figure out how to design a good spinning reel.
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