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GldstrmSamNovember 30th, 2011, 5:20 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
Hi Everyone,

A few days I posted asking a question about a buying good fly rod. This post is to ask the other half of the question.

I would like your opinion on a good trout reel and a good salmon reel.

I would like if they were each under 50$.


There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
SayfuNovember 30th, 2011, 6:11 pm
Posts: 560Ouch! I would say it is tough to get a good working reel for under $50. I'm a click drag reel guy that just wants enough resistance on my reel that it doesn't over run, and cause me a backlash when I pull line smartly off the reel. I get drag from the rod angle, and my index finger on the line...I never palm a reel. But click drags have gone by the wayside for the most part. The industry has convinced the consumer that they need a good disc drag, and that adds expense to the reel. If I were to buy a inexpensive reel that worked, and play the fish the way I do, I would buy a Chinese made Pflueger Medalist..internal spool reel. Durable, and works, and it comes in various sizes. I never put in my two bits on rods you need. I don't know your motivation, and situation, but I would only buy one, and that would be a trout outfit. I'd learn how to cast, learn good line control, learn how to present a fly properly, and many anglers never go beyond trout fishing with a fly rod. Salmon fishing is an advanced level of flyfishing. Bigger rods, bigger reels, bigger flies, harder to handle the outfit. You make adjustments in casting often just to keep the fly out of harms way. I would get good at handling a trout outfit, and then move to salmon fishing with a flyrod. That Pflueger Medalist costs about $35 ?? Just looked at some the other day, and saw a good fly angler buy one. but forget the exact price. There is also an external spool Pflueger as well if you think you'd palm a reel to add drag pressure. The downside is if you drop it, you can bend the spool rim in, and bind up the reel..internal spool ones can take some abuse as the spool is protected. The old, American made Pfluegers were considered not the best reels, but now, they get bought up quick when someone finds one on E-Bay, etc. They now run over $100. The Chinese made reels work just as well. I have about 3 of the Chinese reels, and several American made Pfluegers.
GooseDecember 1st, 2011, 10:05 am
Posts: 77Hey Sayfu, what click and pawl reels do you use? Every once in awhile I get the urge to buy one.
SayfuDecember 1st, 2011, 11:08 am
Posts: 560
You had to bring that up didn't you! I was the Tackle Mgr, at the now defunct Eddie Bauer store in Seattle Wa. in the early 80's. We put Hardy's on sale at one point, and I bought the series of Hardy Perfects for my dentist friend at the sale price plus my discount. Amounted to around $30 for the Hardy Perfects. They since went out of production, and now a copy has been made by Hardy at a retail price of $900 !!!!! And I didn't buy any!!!!! I do have 6 Hardy's though. Since then I have lots of reels, but wish I had been of the frame of mind during those days, to say that Hardy is my reel, and now only owned Hardy's. They are not necessarily the best, but they do have fly fishing history behind them. I think the industry makes a big mistake by promoting the need for a disc drag reel. I don't see the need. You set a disc drag the same as the tension on a click. I don't even buy that notion that a disc has a smoother start up, and a fish can break off a click because of the pressure needed to make that first click. I even like the obnoxious noise my Hardy clicks make!!...and hope another angler is close enough to hear it!...called a sore winner. Salt water anglers need not comment..a disc can be justified for salt water species.
PaulRobertsDecember 1st, 2011, 1:44 pm

Posts: 1776
Well...dunno if they are still made. But I still use an old Pflueger Medalist. Mine's a 1495, which holds a 6wt for me. It has a light drag which will keep the spool from over-running; the rest is easy. Last I saw them they were under $40.

I'm far from up on stuff so there is prolly better reels out there. I have a small Okuma (for $30+) that is AOK for trout.

Salmon? Hmmmmm -it'll need to hold together.

I've never been a "drag guy". I backreel with spinning tackle. For river fish that'll run I use the fly-line against them. For larger fish in stillwater, (like False Albacore) drag on a flyreel is certainly helpful.

I have an old Hardy Princess too, that holds a 6wt for me. It's a 1960's model, pale green with bronze/brass trim -very pretty. It was given to me by a retired physician when I was a new but die-hard FF. Man was I thrilled. The only thing I don't like about it now is the noise! Sounds like a chainsaw!
EntomanDecember 1st, 2011, 2:35 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604

IMHO you aren't going to find a new reel worth owning for under $50. Look into the used market on Ebay or other sites. Makers like Ross, Galvan, Teton, Orvis, Hardy, and a few others have entry level models that should be found in that price range, and in very good condition.


"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
StrmanglrDecember 6th, 2011, 11:22 am
Posts: 156
I have a friend with an Okuma and he's landed many a steelhead on it with no problem. I've used it and it's pretty nice. Good reel for the price. He has the SLV model. That's a cast aluminum frame, when you get into machined $$$ go up, that and drag quality are the big differences. Make sure you have enough backing capacity for the salmon reel.

The trout reel, like the Pflueger thread says you don't need much reel for trout fishing. Don't go as cheap as you can, get something put together well. A well made, simple reel will last you a long time. It's expensive to buy cheap things.

SayfuDecember 6th, 2011, 11:44 am
Posts: 560strmanglr..Here's the downside to the Okuma..maybe not the model you are referring to, but check it out. Okuma sold big time because of the price point. A disc drag reel for not much of an investment. BUT the dial nob on the drag setting did not have a positive click-stop point for adjustment. As a result it was easily tightened, or loosened with a simple bump. or your finger running over it. And when tightened that can mean you can hardly pull line off the reel, OR, visa-vera..spool spins with no resistance.
OldredbarnDecember 6th, 2011, 11:48 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
What do you guy's think of Hatch reels?

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SofthackleDecember 7th, 2011, 3:12 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540

I have held this reel in my hands and find it of pretty good quality for the price. Of course, you can find better, but for the price, it's not bad. You should find a dealer, and examine the reel for yourself. In the correct size for salmon, it will work for you. I don't think you will find a reel for both salmon and trout, unless the salmon are small or the trout are big. These reels come in different sizes.

Another to look at is this one: Again I'd want to look at the reel in person. These also come in various sizes

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
StrmanglrDecember 7th, 2011, 4:05 pm
Posts: 156
You've been around the retail end more than me on that stuff but I could have sworn that the slv has a click system drag, even though it has a dial I believe it clicks into a setting.

It is true that the click in setting is better imo. Why, because it can easily be adjusted when a fish is on. More used on salmon than trout, for me anyways.

I have the same reel on my trout rod as I do for my salmon rod, just different sizes. It is kind of a hybrid between the click and simple dial in drag setting. It has a soft click to it with room for adjustment inbetween those clicks. If I could change one thing about my reel it would be a full click in drag setting, no inbetween. That being said though I don't have much trouble with it. I check it before I start casting and I can monitor it when I'm pulling out line.
SayfuDecember 7th, 2011, 4:59 pm
Posts: 560Not my position on effective use of a reel strmangir. You stumped me on the slv thing. If it is an Okuma it is a disc drag. Any setting you make should be a positive stop setting, and some effort should have to be made to advance it, or lessen it. That is why I don't like disc reels that do not have a setting I can depend on to remain where I set it. Put it down, pick it up and cast, then hook a fish, and wonder why in the heck the drag is so tight? That can cost you a break off. If it loosened, you can get a big backlash. The Okuma I had would loosen while line was going out playing a fish because of no stops on the setting. A click reel?..always little drag tension coming from the reel. You should never have to increase your drag setting, or loosen it while playing a light setting, and not have to worry about it again. You get your drag from the ROD, and the angle you are holding it at. Raise the rod to 60 degrees elevated, and you apply maximum drag. At this elevation you're applying BUTT pressure, the big section of the rod is included in the drag. Raise it to vertical, and you are back to just using the thin tip section for drag. You can change the drag pressure in a heart beat lowering the rod, and letting the fish run with just tip pressure to cushion your leader, or raise it to apply a lot more pressure. The reel should have very little effect in applying drag. Tighten up on a disc drag, and the drag may be fine when the fish is some distance out in the river, but now have the fish close to being netted, and have it dive while your reel has a tighter than it should be drag?...good luck. And the often comment told to the angler that has a big fish on by a bystander watching?.."Keep the rod tip up" Can be bad advice given the fish takes off close to being landed, and you do not lower the rod, and reduce the drag allowing the fish to take out line.
EntomanDecember 7th, 2011, 6:29 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Don't know anything about Okuma reels, but ditto Jere's comments across the board regarding drag and reel use - Especially comments about high rod with a big fish in close. I've seen more large Steelhead lost at the last second by thrashing at the surface with a rod held high above them than you could shake a stick at (or should I say broken rig :)). Especially frustrating for the angler that may have days of casting into that fish.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GldstrmSamDecember 8th, 2011, 8:34 pm
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
Thanks Everyone,

I went down to Sportsmans Warehouse and decided that it would be best to spend the extra money and get an Okuma SLV reel. Also to all you who posted on my rod question I have decided on a TFO 8 1/2 foot rod for trout.


There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
SayfuDecember 9th, 2011, 8:53 am
Posts: 560Entomen..Now that I think about it more, a good disc drag reel, and you will pay some money for one, comes into play more when using light tippets, small flies, and decent sized fish..maybe Spring Creek waters. The smooth startup can make a difference, on 7x, or 8x. And the high rod thing with a fish in close. Extremely dangers for me as a salmon netter in AK. The angler, and the netter have to work as a team when the salmon enters the net. Often the Sport as a high, bent rod, and the netter can take a treble hook in the face. I'd always tell them to drop the rod tip when the salmon goes in the net, but it often didn't work that way.
OldredbarnDecember 9th, 2011, 11:08 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Extremely dangers for me as a salmon netter in AK. The angler, and the netter have to work as a team when the salmon enters the net.


I was fishing with a guide and a friend in September on the Pere Marquette here in Michigan for King Salmon...I was fishing to males jostling below this rather large female...I really wanted to leave her alone...I had hooked an aggressive male below her and decided to try for one of the others there...Unfortunately as I was running my flies through there she decided to smack my fly...Why? I'll never know...She fought like nothing I had ever hooked and ran up/down and across the river with me chasing her...At one point she decided to run by our boat and the guide who was standing a few feet out in the river...She blew by him like a freight train...He just let her go, "She's still too hot, Spence!"

After one hell of a battle we finally got her near the net and I thought I was helping out and at the last minute grabbed the line thinking I was doing the right thing...She made one last monster thrust and away she went...No picture, just memories...:)

When there is some weight involved everyone needs to be a little cautious or as you said someone could get bonked or worse seriously hooked. They don't call it "chuck-n-duck" for nothing! :) I have tossed streamers at small-mouth and had something go wrong on my back-cast, only to see my streamer heading back at me at full force, right for my head...I've ducked a time-or-two...:)

I was using a "Hatch" reel and a 10' 8wt Orvis...No one has commented here about my question about the Hatch reel...It had a really nice drag system on it...Not that any of the fish seemed to notice...:)


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsDecember 9th, 2011, 12:32 pm

Posts: 1776
I can see having a nice drag, but...I've caught a lot of hot steelies and other stuff with old/inexpensive reels. I set my reels not to overrun, then used rod pressure, and the drag of the water on the line, to fight them.

The problem in close is three-fold:

-When thrashing, beaching, as in jumping, when a fish leaves the water it suddenly/instantaneously weighs something -not being supported in the water. I never carried a net for steehead, either tailing or beaching. Every newb I fished with had to learn for themselves that when a fish touches terra firma, it suddenly gains mass. Time to back off -be very careful.

-A short line has little stretch. On big fish, with the potential for a great change in mass in short order, I NEVER touch a short line.

-Problem is, trying to get a fish close enough when its tethered to the other end of a long stick means the rod has to move upward or sideways far enough that it takes the load off the butt and out to the tip. I liked to beach really large fish, as it was darn difficult to get them close enough to net or tail -and I fished alone most often. When large trout or salmon fishing, before I fish each spot, I look upstream and down looking for hazards, and potential landing spots. If I had to get them closer they had to be tired, or psychologically whipped, and on their side and able to be towed.

I remember one big deep-shouldered small-stream brown I hooked on a 6ft 3wt and 6X, while standing shrouded by overhanging brush. There was no place to beach it. It was so strong it was able to stay upright and, in close, I had no power to lift it. So...instead of risking killing the fish by completely whipping it (it showed no signs of psychological confusion -it remained composed) I guided it into lazy circles around me and passing right by my leg, I holding the net submerged hidden behind that leg. On the third pass I popped the net out and it swam right in. Problem solved.
StrmanglrDecember 9th, 2011, 1:46 pm
Posts: 156
I understand how to work a rod to work a fish. When a 15 lb salmon takes off fifteen yards of line like it's nothing and the next turn in the river is only 20 yards down, with several trees on the corner, you've only got a couple choices. Imo, and practice, run after the fish-which can be extremely dangerous, let it run and hope you can find it's way back, or tighten up your drag and hope, cause when you hook a fresh salmon, it's gone. . . I don't care how your holding your pole. Most of the rivers I fish here in Michigan are narrow and bendy. I use heavy line, much heavier than say if I'm fishing the Muskegon where a fish can run and you can use that finer drag of working the pole. There is something to be said of quiet resistance as well. Little Manistee, upper PM, your done, hope you brought a lot of flies and tippet.

I also do not use a net.
PaulRobertsDecember 9th, 2011, 2:53 pm

Posts: 1776
Yeah, each river is different. You do what you gotta do.

I came to hate chinooks -'mud sharks' we called them. "Like hooking a 55gal drum", I used to say. I MUCH preferred steelhead, or trout, on scaled tackle. It was rare, but fresh run --still silvery-- chinooks could be fun as they'd jump too. But other than that, forget it.

As to steelies, if they got below me I could be in trouble. I move with them trying to stay just below them. My first order of business was keeping them in the pool, or in a pool that offered the best chance of landing them. One thing I did to keep a fish in the pool was to throw line to create a bow below the fish. The pressure from downstream would often cause the fish to run back up. Some fish go berserk though, esp when water temps are up, and sometimes there's not much you can do but say, "Holy Sh..." I got pretty good at ballet dancing on slick rock in current. Amazing what motivation can do.

SayfuDecember 9th, 2011, 3:39 pm
Posts: 560Paul Roberts...Me too. Kings in the right place are OK I guess, but I do not like long battles...spirited runs like a steelhead, or silver, and unhook it, and get back to fishin! Heavy gear for Kings, having to get down deep..not that fun for me. Here is a story about rod angle I hope you can appreciate. I'm behind the retail counter, and a guy comes in, and tells me, "You sold me a reel that cost me the biggest trout I have ever had on! The reel seized up!" I ask the customer what reel I sold him, he tells me, and I guessed what might have happened thinking the reel was not a cheap disc drag reel, and should not have seized up. I told the customer that I had one behind the counter with a line on it. I had him take the end of the line, and then had him run like a fish out to the main isle that was about 10-12 feet away..not run, but walk. The drag was set light, I lowered the rod tip and let him take out line towards the isle. Just before he got to the main isle, I raised the rod to the 60 degree upward angle I mentioned in my post. He said, " Wait, I can't pull out any line!" and I said, "I know, I raised the rod on you." He responded, "Oh my God, that is exactly what I did!" End of a very true story.

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