Brief Overview of Saltwater Fly Fishing Reels
While saltwater fly fishing is all about getting good casts and the excitement of the fight, one of your most important purchases behind the rod, is the reel used in this exciting sport. Most reels used in this “extreme” fishing are single action reels and for good reason as their counterparts (Multiplier reels) aren’t quite up to par. Multiplier reels are quite a bit more expensive and has many more moving parts. As anyone similar with fly fishing or saltwater can’t tell you, the more moving parts something has the more trouble one can expect.
In single action reels, you have the choice between direct drive and anti-reverse reels. There difference is how the reel goes about releasing line from the spool. In the sport of fly fishing the most popular all-round is direct drive, where the handle spins backwards when line is released. This makes it easy for fly fisherman to tell how much line is going out and how much there retrieving but keep in mind most fly fisherman aren’t trying to reel in line from a bonefish swimming at 20 mph which makes that spinning handle dangerous for your fingers, hands or anything else it could come in contact with. This is where anti-reverse reels come in for the rescue. The handle on an anti-reverse reel stays stationary as line is striped away from the reel. For lighter species the direct drive is a good choice. But for larger species both options have there pluses and minuses, because when the drag is set lightly on anti-reverse reels, they have a tendency to slip when reeling the line in.
It doesn’t matter what type of reel you choose, an efficient drag system is one of the most important parts of the reel in saltwater fly fishing. Saltwater fish are much stronger and faster then most equivalent freshwater species and for that fact they require a better smoother drag for a fun fight. As technology increases, drags in these saltwater fly reels continue to get better and most quality name reels have able drag systems.
Saltwater fly reels come in a variety of sizes and like freshwater reels and rods they are sized according to what weight line they are made for. In saltwater fly fishing the reel size is crucial because large reels have a greater diameter of line on the spool, meaning the more line you’re able to reel in per crank of the reel. This becomes important when you’re fighting fish that may take out hundreds of yards of line. The size of the reel depends on the fish your targeting and how much line and backing you plan to use in fighting the fish. Fish such as speckled trout require much less line capacity compared to a tarpon or billfish. Also remember the heavier the weight line, the more reel capacity it takes up.
Saltwater fly reels unlike most freshwater reels are made of corrosion resistant materials to fight the harsh elements of saltwater. These stainless steels and anodized aluminum materials are still not tuff enough to fight against these elements. To make your investment last, you must clean your reel after every saltwater outing. Many anglers use an old toothbrush, to lightly scrub the reel inside and out with warm freshwater and a mild dish soap and re-lubricating the reel when necessary.
The saltwater fly reel is an important purchase to help enjoy this wonderful sport. Read reviews and research the product your about to spend your money on, you’d hate to lose the fish of a lifetime due to a poor decision when it comes to purchasing a saltwater fly reel.
To learn more about saltwater fly fishing check out the authors website and forums at saltwaterflyfishers.com.
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