The Best Saltwater Fly Reels

The Best Saltwater Fly Reels
Saltwater fly fishing reels have advanced in recent years, and anglers have many options when searching for the best fly reels. Beginning saltwater anglers should consider anti-reverse drag reels that minimize the chances of injuring your hands. The direct drive drag systems are also commonly used among tarpon and bone fish anglers. The best saltwater reels will have a lightweight, corrosion-resistant design with a large arbor for holding large amounts of backing.


Abel manufactures numerous models of fly reels designed specifically for saltwater anglers. The Abel Big Game series is an anti-reverse reel that is ideal for catching multiple species. The reel is constructed of aerospace aluminum for a lightweight design, and the cork drag system can handle large tarpon and hard fighting bone fish. The Big Game reels are available with a standard and large arbor design. Abel also makes the Anti-Reverse series in the standard and large arbor. The reel is constructed of aerospace-grade aluminum and uses a cork drag system. The Anti-Reverse reel also has a sealed ball bearing design to prevent corrosion and rust.

Abel Automatics Inc.
165 Aviador St.
Camarillo, CA 93010

Bauer Fly Reels

Bauer manufactures several saltwater reels with the MacKenzie Xtreme Perfect model being a top choice for chasing big saltwater fish. The reel uses a combination of aerospace aluminum and stainless steel to create a corrosion-resistant exterior. The stainless steel ball bearings are sealed and the reel does not use any plastic parts. The lack of plastic parts combined with the sealed parts and corrosion-resistant exterior make this one of the best saltwater reels on the market. The reel is also lightweight at 5.8 ounces in the 7 to 8 weight model. Bauer also makes the MacKenzie SuperLight model for chasing big game. The SuperLights comes in models ranging from 1 to 3 weight to 11 to 12 weights. The reel construction is similar to the Xtreme Perfect in construction, but it uses clutch-style disc drag without backlash and without noise.

Bauer Premium Fly Reels Inc.
585 Clover Lane Suite 1
Ashland, OR 97520


Waterworks-Lamson manufactures the ULA Force model reel. The reel is functional for saltwater and spey casting and is available in sizes for game fish ranging from steelhead to tarpon. The reel is one of the best saltwater reels because of the diverse range of functions that can be performed with the open, large arbor design. The reel size ranges from 8 to 12 weight and most of the models can hold over 200 yards of 20 to 30 pound backing. The reel has an excellent review from Global Fly after being tested. The test results showed that the reel is durable and can perform repeatedly in harsh saltwater environments.

Waterworks Lamson
2772 South Cole Road
Boise, ID 83709

Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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