Value reel suggestions? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Value reel suggestions?

11-20-2003, 08:27 AM
Other than Lamson's Velocity, which I've seen recommended several times on the forum, what would be your top three choices for a saltwater-worthy 9/10wt reel that's <$350?

There are a few threads on just this topic, but they may be a bit outdated. And I haven't been keeping up with the latest in new releases.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Dble Haul
11-20-2003, 09:08 AM
The Orvis Battenkill large arbor goes for about $260 (last time I checked). I have one on my 10 weight and have absolutely no complaints with the drag system.....keep it salt and sand free, and you're in business.

11-20-2003, 09:17 AM
I use the Bauer Junior Macs, which I believe go for less than $350, as well as the Lamson Litespeed reels; never had any problem with either of them, very smooth, perform consistently, require relatively little care.
Good luck!

11-20-2003, 10:58 AM
You can frequently pick up a used Pate Bonefish or Tarpon reel on eBay for $350 or under. I once bought a used Abel Big Game 3 for $250. All the reels -- except for one -- I have purchased on eBay have been virtually new. Shopping on eBay or the online classified boards will definitely get you the most bang for your buck. The trick is to visit them often and be ready to pounce when you seem what you want.

My $0.02

11-20-2003, 02:31 PM
battenkill la can be used for salt
but orvis sell others specifically for salt
ithink 200 - 300

Dble Haul
11-20-2003, 03:04 PM
The only reel that Orvis markets exclusively for salt water is the Vortex, and for a 9/10 weight line it starts at $625. The Battenkill LA can do the same work in the salt for less than half the money.

11-20-2003, 03:30 PM
I think the Scientific Angler System II (SAII) is an excellent salt water workhorse reel. I have had one since '97, caught everything from trout to tuna to marlin on it, and it's still going strong. You've probably seen it if you fished with me.
I can't recommend these reels too highly, and they're quite reasonably priced.

11-20-2003, 03:35 PM
Redington makes a very worthy reel for a 9/10 as does Tioga that are less than $300.00.

11-20-2003, 03:47 PM
The responses so far with regards to the number of saltwater-ready reels that are affordable (or perhaps I should say "more reasonably priced than in former years") goes a long way towards illustrating how much the sport has advanced in the past several years. We're lucky to have so many quality choices.

As an aside, I find it interesting that the fly fishing sport is in many ways a paradox. We as fly fisherman are constantly looking for the next great rod and reel, but would like to see the prices come down in many cases in order to make the sport more affordable. We are also often accused of griping about the number of fly fisherman on our local waters, and how the number seems to rise yearly. The funny thing is that lowering costs of decent fly fishing tackle are likely responsible in some part for the increasing numbers of "fellow" anglers with the long rod. I imagine that it's this lowering of tackle prices that's had a lot to do with the conversion of many freshwater fly fisherman to the salt spray.

The French guy
11-21-2003, 09:49 AM
I would go for an Old Florida reel. These reels are bluilt like a Tibor or an Ablel: They are machined from 2 pieces of space grade aluminum bar stock, simple draw bar desing with a cork drag.
I have all the super arbor and the NAutilus 10. They never let me down and will certainly survive me. They cost a fraction of the High end reels. Hey, wait a minute...they are high end reels! to check them out!

11-21-2003, 02:09 PM
looking through a catalog and ross has some nice reels

11-21-2003, 02:43 PM
Jeff I think they discontinued the Velocity.

If you look around you might be able to get one w/extra
spools for a song...


11-21-2003, 02:52 PM
It might be a bit over your target, but when you buy your first spare spool you will be even, as spare spools are a lot cheaper then in most midpriced reels.

Above that you have the possibillity to change from a standard spool for your 10 wt to a large arbor spool for your 8 wt, or use RH retrieve on your 10wt and LH with your 8 wt, etc. all with just one reel.

Cheers, Gerald :smokin:

11-21-2003, 09:19 PM
Old Florida 66LA - $275.00

The French guy
11-21-2003, 09:53 PM
Not a gilmore reel.
I have tried these. They indeed look nice on the paper, but they feel really loosy once you hold one. Nothing like a tibor, Islander, Bauer and Old Florida.
I have to admit that the dd to ar change is bright. That is the only thing this reel has. But why would somebody change from DD to AR? two different worlds. For tarpon, I will never give up on my DD reels... Maybe, I would choose an AR if I go for bill fish and sharks over 12'. The thing is that with an AR (read anti reverse and DD for Direct drive) the capatin cannot really evaluate how fast the fish is moving. With a DD reel, he just need to have a look at this handle spinning with the spool and he can captain the boat accordingly.

Anyway, the gilmore has two cork discs that squeeze the spool and I like it. but the drag is not smooth at all. The smoothest drag I have used and tested is with the Nautilus (Old Florida), because the drag is floating in a sealed cylinder (improvement of the clutch mechanism). I have the #10 and it is beyond my expectations.
Back to the Gilmore, the spool was not well finished and the wholes still had burls. My advice is to stay away from that reel.

The best reels out there are the bauer and the old Florida. Light, cork drag, smooth drag, large arbor. Old Florida is sold at the right price. That is the only difference.

Ross reels have a loosy drag. They have a good marketing program and guides so people here a lot from them, but I was told some blew up or the spool popped up during a fight. Ouch! Same for the Stenzel and Henschel.

Beleive me, I tried/owned and have seen many reel out there and the two I mentioned above are my favorite.
but everyone has his own opinion to maintain a certain diversity... thanks god.

11-21-2003, 11:37 PM
Anyone heard about the NEW Orvis saltwater reels that are coming out?

11-22-2003, 12:23 AM
Originally posted by The French guy

Not a gilmore reel.
I have tried these. They indeed look nice on the paper, but they feel really loosy once you hold one. Anyway, the gilmore has two cork discs that squeeze the spool and I like it. but the drag is not smooth at all, the spool was not well finished and the wholes still had burls. My advice is to stay away from that reel.

The best reels out there are the bauer and the old Florida. Light, cork drag, smooth drag, large arbor.

That you've had a bad experience with one Gilmore reel doesn't mean that you are right on this subject, or can speak over the general quality of the Gilmore...... I have several Gilmores that are in the Tibor leage............, but cost 30% less !!! and a spare spool is 60% cheaper........

Bauer.....has lots of wobble in the spool.... unless they have improved now (I had these about 5 years ago) and my favourite SW reela are Abel Super 9 and Super 12, but these are way above $350 and IMHO worth the extra bucks. Islander is very good also as several friends of me use them for many years now, without any problems.

On the other hand, the best advise might be to pick up a Abel #3 or 4N, Pate Bonefish, Islander 3 or 4, Odyssey III or Tibor Riptide at eBay, most are (as) new and under $350 mostly or close.

Cheers, Gerald. :smokin:

11-22-2003, 06:20 AM
Lowlander, not to split hairs, but I've acquired several Bauer reels in the past few years and have not seen any of the spool wobble that you refer to. I research my tackle purchases in extreme (sometimes a bit too much I think :p ), and must say that I've never heard a bad word about a Bauer, else I never would have purchased one, let alone five, of these reels. The construction is solid, drag is smooth, the reels are overall very well-built and engineered. Just as you point out to The French guy, don't base your opinion of a reel on one experience (or even heresay, for that matter), particularly when the experience was five years ago.
Not meant as a sales pitch for Bauer, just my honest experiences with their line, and their customer service is as good as any that I've come across. Not trying to start an argument, but the Bauers are as good a value as any of the reels costing much more, IMO. Take care...

11-24-2003, 02:17 PM
I go with the french guy on the Old Florida. By far the best value out there. Their Nautilus reels, of which I picked up a No.8 in Silver 3 weeks ago, are about $100 more than the OF equivalent, but they have a pop off spool and sealed cork drag! I have a No.55 Old Florida and a No.4 Old Florida. Both great reels.

I also use the Old Florida grease on the cork drags of my abels. Never heard it squeak again...

11-25-2003, 09:20 AM
At $400, there are a number of tried and true reels the specifications of which compare to the Nautilus 8:

Abel Big Game 2 at $385
Pate Bonefish at $475
Pate Salmon at $450
Tibor Evergaldes at $580

None of those reels have a "sealed" drag. Only time will tell what "sealed" really means -- as people have found out with some other high end sealed drag reels that have been offered.

Finally, let us not forget the Van Staal C-Vex 7/8 which, if you can find one, sells for $385. It has a sealed drag and is a really fine piece of machinery. What the C-Vex will be like next year when Zebco starts building it remains to be seen, but I have my money on Zebco producing a fine product, as it does with its high end baitcasting reels.

My $0.02.

11-30-2003, 08:31 PM
I have to agree with one of the previous post regarding Bauer. One word. Awesome!! I picked up a M4 over the summer and want to buy a few more. I can't say enough about the reel.

Oh ya. I never experienced any wobble either.:)

11-30-2003, 08:50 PM
Lamson Velocity on sale now in the Bargain Barn at Cabela's.

Yes, on the sealed drag business it's a little dicey. Lamsons are nice (I've got a couple), but as has been mentioned before on the board, they do let water in after a bit, though Lamson is nice about replacing the innards.

12-14-2003, 12:26 PM
Take a look at the Harris Solitude reel. Many of the features of the big dawgs for less cash. Made in the U.S.A. too.

12-29-2003, 10:31 PM
I'll have to give my SA System II reels a thumbs up. I just purchased a System II (12/13 wt.) and a System III (11/12 wt) and am looking forward to trying it out in Baja (hopefully this summer).


The French guy
01-13-2004, 04:32 PM
It certainly helps to make my point. And I am very happy to own the Nautilus. A small company like Old Florida reels deserves that success. They build great high end reels at a fraction of the best. Way to go OF!


The French guy
01-13-2004, 04:33 PM
Also check this out:

01-13-2004, 06:09 PM
orvis has come out with a new reel near the price of 200 i think

01-14-2004, 08:28 AM
I think the new orvis reel is called the "Mach". Saw it in the catalog last night. The spin in the catalog was that it had a higher capacity that most large arbors. Based on this criteria and the price point I'd say it was meant to compete with the Velocity...

01-14-2004, 08:50 PM
I saw that reel, however I recall being disappointed by the drag; don't have the catalog in front of me, so I don't remember exactly what it was I didn't like.

yukon delta
02-10-2004, 05:10 PM
I just got another Sierra Outdoors catalog in the mail. I know there was some question about the Lamson Litespeeds. They are listed for the 2nd or 3rd time now. Most of them are about $100 under regular pricing. They also have Orvis sunglasses, fly boxes and fly lines at about 1/2 price.

Gilmore Reel
02-14-2004, 01:36 PM

We at Gilmore Reel are committed to your satisfaction. We haven't heard of this type of problem before. Please send in your warranty registration form with your reel to Gilmore Reel. We will immediately replace your reel.

David Gilmore