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  • How Do Fly Fishing Reels Work?

    How Do Fly Fishing Reels Work?
    A fly reel's main function is to hold the fly line, which is wound around a rotating spool within the reel housing. Line is stripped from the reel by hand and retrieved by turning a small handle attached to the spool.


    Reels should have an adjustable drag-system that maintains tension on the line. This is critical when attempting to land larger fish because it allows the fisherman to keep constant pressure on the line as the fish tries to escape.


    The fly line is attached to the spool with backing. Many rods have replaceable spools, allowing a fisherman to use different types of line with the same reel.

    Large Arbors

    The arbor is the center section of the spool to which line is attached. Large arbors are growing in popularity because they allow for quicker line retrieval, better drag-tension control and reduced line coiling.


    Most fly reels are single-action, which means one turn of the reel handle turns the spool a single time.

    Line Weight

    Reels are designed to cast a specific weight of line that must also match the specifications of the rod being used.

    Article Written By Richard Hansen

    Richard Hansen grew up and currently resides in Minnesota. He graduated from Dartmouth College and has traveled extensively in Africa and South America, including the Amazon jungle. He has worked as a wilderness guide in Yellowstone and northern Minnesota, and written for Fur-Fish-Game, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine and

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