Fly Reels

Dating from approximately 1165 AD in China, the fly reel has been an integral part of fly fishing for nearly a millennium, although it didn’t make its debut in England until 1650. The basic design for fly reels has changed little since the 1860s but, as always, improvements and innovations keep on coming, nonetheless.
Take the Daiwa Lochmor Large Arbor Fly Reels and Spools, available now from John Norris from £85 to £114. These precision fly reels are machined from solid bar stock aluminium, and house an ultra-smooth disc drag mechanism, which waters enables instantaneous line release and eliminates snatching, ensuring that those precious hook-holds are maintained (the drag effectively stops just about anything that swims in UK waters). The winding direction is easily converted and the reel has an elegant wooden handle. Diameters range from 3 inches to 4¼ inches and the fly reels come with a protective reel case. It compares favourably with the Hardy brand and, appealingly, is noticeably less expensive.
A bit further up the fly reel scale comes the gorgeous Sage 4500 Series. These gleaming beasts are constructed from advanced airplane-grade aluminium, and boast cutting-edge 3:1 geared graphite drag units, which are completely sealed from the elements for added protection. There’s also a one-revolution adjustment knob which allows you to make fast and accurate drag settings. Weighing in at just 4.5 ounces, it’s a quintessential high-performance fly reel, delivering the kind of smoothness and power you’d expect from a hefty, traditional drag system, minus the weight and bulk. And it looks fabulous with its minimalist lines and single rotation drag handle.
Angling veterans can’t praise its sharp responsiveness too highly, and its lightness means you can wade about with it for hours and hours without feeling the faintest twinge of strain. The drag system, compact though it may be, is gutsy enough to drag in the more warrior-like critters beneath the surface with ease – it’ll reel in big trout without a hitch. Not only is the design pleasingly elegant, but you‘ll get a choice of chromium or black finishes, and the fly reels come with ballistic cloth and protective neoprene reel case. It’s is amazingly flexible, too – you can effortlessly interchange spools with the Sage 4500CF and 2500 series fly reels. For intermediate and experienced anglers alike, the Sage 4500 series fly reels are impossible to beat.