Best Saltwater Reel for $500 or less? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Best Saltwater Reel for $500 or less?

07-22-2008, 07:34 AM
I'm looking for a reel for a 10 wt rod, which I'll be using for stripers (primarily) and other New England coastal fish (plus occasional muskies when I visit my wife's family in Northern Wisconsin). I want something pretty good, but would like to keep costs for reel plus two extra spools (three spools total) under $1,000.

Seems like folks like the Danielssons a lot, but those are just a tad more expensive than I'd like and, honestly, I have a chance to fish in the salt this week and would like to pick up the reel faster than I could probably get the Danielsson, which apparently needs to be mail ordered from Sweden.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

07-22-2008, 08:10 AM
You will get some good suggestions if you do a search. My reccomendation woudl be a bauer M5 superlight. I have had one for 6 years - it has taken a beating and still has no corrosion and has never been sent back for service. The lower forty in Worcester carries them...

07-22-2008, 08:35 AM
Why so many spools? Personally I never liked changing spools on the water if that is your intent. In my opinion you are better off just getting two whole reels for that amount rather than the 3rd spool. Like you eluded to in your earlier post about lines you can cheat a little when it comes to line selection and you can generally plan before you leave the house what two lines you will need most for the days fishing. Changing lines on the spool at home is a pretty easy chore especially if you pick up a line tool. Dave's suggestion sounds like a good one. Or you could get Tibor Riptide now and get the second reel later for a little more cash. No need for the QC model. The original is just fine.

My $.02


07-22-2008, 09:21 AM
Yes to two post..try doing a search on this forum and Sean does what I do....carry two reels. This way it makes no difference about the ease or difficulty in changing spools... I use Abel reels and it is cumbersome to change the spool but the reel is top notch.....also check ebay and you will find reels that are generally over $500 but you can get them, with luck, under that in the bidding process.

07-22-2008, 06:17 PM
I'll second the Buaer MSL5. On the water spool change is reasonable. May want to consider the MSL6 for a 10 wt. I have the MSL5 for 8 & 9 wt's and an older M5 (equivilent to the MSL6) for the 10 wt +. Lot's of bang for the buck with this tier of Buaer's.

07-22-2008, 07:40 PM
Striblue is right about ebay I have picked up a few great deals on Abel and other reels when I was not in a hurry. But you seem to be in a bit of a rush. If you can get to Taunton Ma, go see Scott at the Bearsden, I just checked his web site. He has Nautilus #10 reels advertised for $450 & spare spools for $164

There are a few guys who use Nautilus reels on the forum & they have given me good reports of their performance. I have never used one for what that is worth.

I have used & own Danielsson 8Eleven, Tibor riptide and a Able super seven. All of these reels are top notch & well made, albeit slightly out of your price range. The Bauer reels also get the thumbs up, I have used them but do not own one.
I also have an Orvis Mach VI. Not a good reel for wading in salt. drag collects sand & binds up. You cannot wash it out like a Abel or Tibor. You have to disect the damn thing. OK on the boat though.

Good luck in your quest, let us know what you decide on

07-22-2008, 08:29 PM
Thanks everyone for all the advice. I drove down to Taunton today to visit Scott at Bears Den and he was kind enough to let me cast a bunch of rods and look at all the reels. I haven't totally decided what to buy yet, but the Bauer, Nautilus and Ross Momentum all seem pretty good to me in the price range I'm aiming for. I liked the Hatch reel a lot too, but I think it might be a bit more money.

I spent most of my time casting rods, however (Scott spent about an hour with me casting--very kind of him). For those who are interested, I'm going to write up my impressions of the rods under my other post in the rod rack section.

07-27-2008, 04:45 PM
You looked at some very nice reels and other good ones have been mentioned. Cheaper but still great quality reels to look at are Redington CDL, Albright Tempest (now Sea Level Tempest), and a reel I think that is quickly gaining ground in the trust of many PNW fly fishers is the Galvan Torque, which is comparable to some of the american made reels mentioned.

Sandman Caranx
08-06-2008, 05:02 PM
Ever seen a Shilton Sl 6 ?, don't miss it !!

10-01-2008, 06:20 PM
Orvis Vortex VO2. $425, and has the best drag of any big game reel I have EVER fished. It can handle GTs with ease, and has a much bigger drag surface area than reels like the Tibors or Nautilus.