for a 9 wt switch, a Lamson V4 (check Sierra Outfitters or Madison River for clearance prices) or a Meiser S2H 7/9. 245 bucks, shipped from the Red Shed. Poppy'll fix you up
I'm sure there's others, but these two spring to mind right away.
Saw some very positive reviews on the Lamson VelocityV4, just received a discount voucher from Sierra Trading Post, went to their website and bought the V4 for $164....think the stars algined and that is about as good a reel for the money as I will find.
Regarding what's important in a reel - think we would all agree a smooth drag and reliability. Funny how back in the day when I was on a real shoestring budget, I was able to bring to hand a fair number of double digit trout at Crane Prairie and Klamath lakes using a cheap little SA 5/6 reel.
Scierra XDP 7/9 takes #7/9 WF9F + 130 yards 30 lbs, on sale at a store in Canada for $225.00 CND , i think there is only a couple left.
If you want one PM me and i will send the detail.
One of these Caps reels was on ebay about a week ago. The listing expired at $135 without a single bid. I don't know anything about them, but they are made in Japan and appear to be fully machined. They are obviously a Hardy knock off. For the price, I might be tempted to try one, but I'm a sucker for the classic click pawl style. Anyone know anything about them?
Anyone looking for a great bargain for a large capacity quality spey reel might want to check out Sierra Trading Post, currently offering Orvis MACH VI 10-13WT reels for $149, and the 7-10 models for $139. Not sure how you could find a better reel for that price...