I'm new to fishing for steelhead and am looking for a fly reel to go with my 8wt rod. Do you have any suggestions of good reels to check out? I want something that is reliable and not too pricey. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
You'll get lots of opinions! One idea is to pick a budget and stick with it - say $100 - then try to find a reel for that price - I find it too easy to get sucked into higher price reels. I also suggest getting one that accepts more backing so you can use it for kings or warm saltwater fishing when on vacation....you never know.
As Dan Blanton says - buy what you can afford, but only cry once.
Check ebay - Redington has unloaded a line of reels and they are going for 40-50$. Warranty may be an issue.
check the classifieds on this site, also do a web search for "For Sale by Flyfisher" - I've purchased from guys at that site. I picked up an Abel reel for 1/2 retail.
GLoomis as an Adventure series for $100. Teton Tioga reels work well too. Hear OK things about Okuma - great price if the reel is as people claim. Ross reels are always good - Cimarron and Gunnison. Saltwater approved too. Sage has a line out as well that is affordable.
About lines - I recommend getting a versatip system with floating, intermediate and 2 sinking tips - it will cover 90% of your fishing needs and save you $200 when you don't have to buy full length fly lines for each type. Also saves the extra spool cost if you were thinking of going that route.
I purchased a Tioga from H&H in Bellingham...suffered a "beating" from the wife on how much I spent, but well worth it! I purchased a #10, and I believe I paid 240? What I like about the Tioga is:
- the reel body excepts a large arbor spool
- the drag is very smooth!
Good luck with the reel search! My last bit of advice would be buy line and reel from same store so that they can load it with the correct amount of backing (should be free!).
Definately the Redington RS2 7/8 wt. You can't beat it for the money. I have two of them. $50 for a $140 reel is a no brainer. It is anodized so that you can fish salt as well. Go to the link provided at blue quil angler. That is the best place that I have found right now. And believe me I've been looking. Redington recently bought themselves back from Orvis and so Orvis is dumping their Redington stock through as many outlets as possible for dirt cheap. Here is a good non biased review of redington reels: http://www.flyanglersonline.com/prorevw/redreel.html
I'll be the contrarian and recommend the Pflueger Medalist. I've been using them exclusively for several years as has my flyfishing buddy. They're inexpensive (the US made ones are readily available on eBay) and they are practically indestructible. I would get the one that balances my rod.
I guess it depends on your definition of not too pricey. If you want to spend around $120, the Tioga is in my opinion the best reel in this price range. If your willing to spend a little more like around $200 then the Lamson Velocity would be tough to beat.
What I like about both of these reels is that they have a totally sealed drag, which is powerful enough to stop any fish in the river. Never need to wory about cleaning them, or getting water in them. The lamson is the better reel between the two though. Built stronger and has more fine tuning on the drag, but the cost is $80 more, plus spare spools are around $90.
Thanks for all of the advice everyone! It gives me a good place to start--I'm a little weary about reel shopping. A few years back I accidentally retired my "American made" Pfleuger medalist trout reel, after leaving it on the bumper of my truck--hopefully a fisherman smarter than me found it and is getting some use out of it. On the advise of a guy at the fly shop, I got a Lamson Velocity with the large arbor. It was great until the third time fishing it and the spool ripped apart when changing spools, leaving a huge bird's nest at my feet! There was some "defective epoxy" back at lamson, so they fixed it for free. A reputable company and I like the new reel well enough, but I'm not a confident with it as I was with the Medalist.
Now with fly lines for steelhead--You said that the Rio versi-tip is a good way to go. I understand with steelhead you've got to get the hang of presenting your fly at various depths with sink tips. I've been pricing lines and that multi-tip system is definitely cheaper than buying the different sink tip lines individually. So does the multi-tip line work as good? And what types of sink-tip lines do you guys use for steelhead here in the Northwest, for summer and winter run fish?
I am a fan of ORVIS Battenkill series. They are a solid reel with a great drag system that has landed trout, salmon, and steelies.The price is usually at $100. They also make an equivalent version in green that I use as a backup...same drag system. I think it is called the Rocky mt series. Best part about it is its cheap...$60-$70 and spare spools are $15. I have used the Battenkill for 15 years with no complaints or maintenance!