I need some help w/ 8wt Reel suggestions

I have invested in a Sage 890XP-4 to target steelhead and salmon. I need to match it with reel of the same caliber. I am thinking of ross canyon big game or the bauer mackenzie, any others I should be looking at? I want this reel to last as long as the Sage rod.

thanks for any input :THUMBSUP



The quality of both the Ross and Bauer is superb, but I hate the drag adjustment on the crank side on the Bauer (knuckle buster). Maybe a Teton Tioga for less buck$ (I own three and couldn't be happier with the performance and savings) including a 12LA for my Sage spey rod. Until I find any faults with them they will be MY go to reel...



Active Member
My favorite right now is the Lamson Litespeed. The 3.5 is perfect for an 8 weight. What a reel; super fast retrieve (the best I have ever used), incredibly light, and the conical drag works great. I've landed bonefish, steelhead, dorado, and bonito on the thing and it acts like it is still fresh out of the box. Many large arbor reels force you to lose backing capacity, but not the litespeed; I still got about 225 yards of regular Micron back on the 3.5. I can't recommend it highly enough.

I have two Tiogas ( a 4 and a 12); maybe they've been improved recently but I had major issues with both of them. When I tightened down the drag once it threw something off on the inside; now both of them are so loose that they wobble and slip on the retrieve when the drag is loose. I sent one in for repair but when I got it back the same thing happened. Kaufmann's said it happens to those reels all the time. That said, I do like the drag on both of them, and they do work allright when the drag is tightened a bit (so that they don't slip).

As for the other reels you mention, I think the Ross Canyons are overpriced; unless you are getting a BG 5 or above, they used the smaller drag from the Cimarron not the larger Gunnison drag. I'm not sure why they chose to do that. The new super size ones have a larger drag, but those are too big for your 8 weight. Bauers are a different story. The neat thing about the Bauer is that it's cork. I have an LM-4 that I have used for years and love it; it's probably landed 200 bonefish. FYI: I don't think that the Mackenzies are worth the additional investment over the Little Macs; it's basically the same reel for an additional $100-150.


Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
And if you don't have the cash for the Litespeed, then the Lamson Velocity is one fine reel. And go the 3.0 or 3.5 based on how much backing you want.

I got a 4.0 for my 10 wt for the ocean and it is holding 400 yards of gel-spun backing and my 10 weight shooting heads with room to spare. The gel-spun is premium backing and is about half the diameter of Micron and twice the strength. I only state the capacity of gel-spun as it shows how big the 4.0 really is.

I have a Ross Canyon 3 that I fish on a 7 weight 9' Winston XTR. It has great balance and the adjustable drag will stop a train. I carry 2 extra spools with me (I interchange full sink, sink tip, and WF). The spools are a bargain at $94 a piece. It has performed flawlessly. In my opinion, it is the best large arbor reel for the money on the market.


Active Member
Another option would be Islander Reels out of Vancouver Island BC: http://www.islander.com/

I'm a big Ross Reels fan and I agree that the BG Canyon is probably the best LA reel for the money. They are a great company with a solid reputation. The Little Mac seems to be a great reel for the money as well. I'd be wary of some large arbor reels that are traditional reels with less capacity turned out for the market opportunity. I was really impressed with a Sage reel I fished recently- made by Lamson I think? But they don't come cheap ;) Tioga has been around for a long time. Drag is important for Salmon/Steelhead :WINK
I would have to agree with stumpfisher. I have 4 Sage rods and on them 4 Teton Tioga reels, in sizes 6 through 12LA. Never had a problem or a complaint. Fish them in salt and fresh water. Currently have my eye on a new 4wt and on it will go a new Tioga 4. I don't think you can beat them for the money. Steve

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I would go directly to the Ross line of reels, the "Big Game" series. You can't go wrong for value for the price, and they work great and feel good to handle too. I just rinse em off after salt fishing, never had a problem with my Ross reels. I have Tibors, etc, and they are good too, but the Ross has been easiest to live with and rely on; simple with few working parts and a smooooottthhhhheeee drag.And in remote areas for extended times of stay I wouldnt take along anything but my Ross reels. I have the Canyon 3 and the San Miguel, and have used several Big Game reels and they are really easy fishing. When I look for a reel these days, after over 20 years of fly fishing expenses, I go for the best buy for the money and the best quality I can get for what I can afford.Just my opinion, but it's based on allot of salt and freshwater fishing all over the country including Alaska and Russia.