Trout reel question [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Trout reel question

12-30-2003, 10:58 PM

I'm a newcomer here, though I've been lurking when I can for several months. Although I've been a serious bass fisherman for most of my life, I'm quite new to fly fishing -- I've only been at it for about a year. My first outfit was intended for bass, but has done a little double duty in the salt: an 8 weight St. Croix Legend Ultra and a Tibor Backcountry Wide (which I got a ridiculous deal on...). I know: that's pretty high end stuff for an amateur, but my tackle sensibilities are dictated by years of serious fishing in other styles. There's no place for junk.

This year, I received a very nice Christmas gift from my fishing buddy: a St. Croix Legend Ultra 905-4 and a Pflueger Trion 1934. The reel is surprisingly smooth with a really good feeling drag, but it has a couple of drawbacks that have me thinking about trade-in. The main one is weight: the 3-4 weight model weighs 6 ounces(!). I might not have thought too much about it, but my buddy said that the salesperson told him to get the 3-4 size instead of the 5-6 because the appropriate size would be too heavy, so I started checking what other reels weigh and was a bit shocked. It seems like even the 3-4 is at least an ounce heavier than almost everything else.

Do you think it makes sense to trade this in for something else while I can? Or am I making a big deal out of nothing?

If you think upgrading makes sense, let me say that, in spite of how it might sound, my pockets are of limited depth. On the other hand, I don't want to buy something else I'll be looking to upgrade as soon as I use it a couple of times. The shop has Lamson, Ross, Teton and maybe Bauer plus a few others I didn't recognize through the glass. My top bargain choice is a Tioga, but I'd be willing to look at reels up to about $225 if there's a lifetime of satisfaction to be gained (of course I'd love a Ross Evolution, but...)

Thanks in advance for your advice.


12-31-2003, 12:08 AM
In web vernacular IMHO/FWIW...

All of the alternate brands you listed will bring you many years of joy. The Prion may get an angler fishing quick but it will not be the reel an angler settles on, thus he/she will buy two.

High-end drag is not really important, as long as it's smooth and reliable. Even a click drag is plenty for trout.
Backing capacity, unless you live in big trout country, is fine with 100 yards of 20# dacron.
Buying a reel you will be proud to own prevents buying twice.
A trout reel is all about aesthetics for me, and that is all about taste - so it's up to you. It should make you stare at it when you sit down to take a break, or it's not the right one.

Good luck!

12-31-2003, 12:27 AM
There are probably more good trout reels than saltwater reels, so the conversations can get pretty deep and personal. You should fish what you can afford. Over the past 30 years I have used medalists, ross, scientific anglers, hardy, orvis and some I can't even remember the name of, all have worked well. I have yet to have a trout or steelhead spool me, so 100 yards of backing is plenty. I think the individuals' casting ability, the fly , the flyline, rod, leader system and then the reel is the order of importance in catching trout. (a little knowledge also helps). With that said, I was told several years ago that one needed to control the equipment and clothing variables as soon as possible, as "looking good" is still important. I have not always heeded that advice. Ther are usable reels under $50, there are several good trout reels under $100 and many great trout reels under $200. I would never be concerned about buying a used reel, once you decide what you like. I eventually graduated to Hardy Princess reels, and will most likely pass them onto my kids. They are great and I like the balance they give me on 3 wt thru 7 wt rods, but I would not take them to the salt.
Good luck and enjoy the journey. Welcome to the sport.

12-31-2003, 10:08 AM
fish the pfluger until you have saved up for a reel that matches your sensibilities. Like an evolution or a Tibor TailWater (my favorite for a 5wt.).

01-02-2004, 12:25 AM
I appreciate the responses, and I realize that I'm asking a question without a real answer. Obviously, you can't tell me how to spend my money. I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is whether I'm right to be concerned about the weight (an ounce or more heavier than any of the other reels I'm considering) and small spool diameter (3") of the Pflueger? It seems like casting fly gear is much more "Swing weight" sensitive than most other forms of tackle in the casting process. I also wonder if the extra weight at the end of the line will affect the sensitivity of the outfit. Are these concerns reasonable? Or am I merely making excuses to buy more expensive equipment?

Thanks again...

01-02-2004, 09:24 AM
The best way to answer the question about the affect that the reel's weight will have on the casting is to take it to a shop with a variety of reels in the size range you're after, and cast the rod several times with each reel. Just be sure to use the same type of line to keep the only variable to reel weight.
Yes, reel weight will affect the rod's perceived action, in my experience. Because everyone has their own optimal casting stroke speed, you're the best judge of what will work best for you, so take some time and try the different reels first. When you've decided which ones feel best, you can always look for a model of similar weight if the local shop doesn't carry one that has the aesthetics you're after.

01-28-2004, 12:41 PM
Thanks everyone for your comments. I ended up trading up for a Ross Rhythm. It should make me happy for many years to come.