The best 3 wt fly reels are perfect for a light, refreshing day at a small stream. They are often called the panfish reels and are good for small trout, minnows, and other beginner-friendly fish. They lack the humongous size and weight but are really good at being delicate enough for light tippets.
Over my years in fly fishing, I found these seven to be the best 3 wt fly reel;
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The Best 3 Weight Fly Reels
Here are the reviews of the seven best 3 weight fly fishing reels:
1. Waterworks-Lamson Remix Fly Fishing Reel – Best 3 Wt Fly Reel For The Money
Just as the name suggests, Remix is a hybrid of a die-cast spool and a machined aluminum case. In other words, you get the best of both worlds. It is pretty lightweight as well and the price is unbelievably reasonable.
Next, the arbor is huge and helps in retrieving lines fast. The finishing is okayish, as to save cost, manufacturers used paint instead of anodizing it. The spool handle and the drag knob are the right sizes too, making the reel easy to use.
Now what’s troublesome is the drag system. It is considerably sticky with startup inertia of up to half a pound. The maximum drag is a mere 1.4 pounds which shouldn’t be objectionable if you view it as a 5 wt fly reel. But if you want it in even one size bigger, the drag would fall considerably inadequate.
- Remix has a mix of die-cast and machined parts for most quality within a budget
- It is pretty lightweight
- The arbor is huge for faster retrieval rates
- The finishing is okay for a die-cast reel
- There is some startup inertia
2. Cheeky Launch Fly Reel – Best Three Weight Fly Reel Overall
Cheeky has been producing some fine fly reels for some time now. The launch takes their standards up a notch further. With a stunning design, it may be Cheeky’s most elegant fly reel we’ve yet seen. The 2-4 weight comes in a pleasant green and black color that goes beautifully with almost all of my rods.
First, the finishing is terrific. New angles and cuts to the whole structure were not present in the previous models. Here, I would like to mention that not only is this reel machined, but it also uses the specific technique that displaces the metal to the most vulnerable spots, making it stronger than most.
Also, the drag system is fantastic. It is fully sealed and makes cranking super smooth. I detected absolutely no startup inertia. Plus, the reel handle and drag knob are user-friendly and add to the persona of the entire gear.
The only nitpicking I can do is on its weight. It is slightly heavier for its size than many other reels of the same category, but honestly, I don’t mind the extra ounces at all for the looks and the actual solid drag.
- The design, color, and finishing are fantastic
- The structure is machined to perfection
- Super smooth drag system with no startup inertia
- The internals are fully sealed
- All parts are ergonomic
- Best 3wt fly reel under 200
- It is slightly heavier than other best 2/3 weight fly reels.
3. Redington Run Fly Reel – Best Budget 3wt Fly Reel
Redington Run is an excellent option if you are up for the best 3 wt, fly reels but with an affordable price tag. It is a die-cast reel, so obviously, the durability and precision may be a little off, but it covers this one flaw with so many quality features.
First of all, when you compare it to other reels of its class, it is on the lighter side. The finishing is modest, with a few imperfections, but nothing catches the eye. Then, the drag is partially sealed but very smooth. To be honest, I expected some startup inertia but didn’t notice any.
Also, the drag knob is enlarged like most modern reels and is easy to find and grab. The spool removal mechanism uses a push-button which is very convenient and straightforward. The only problem is with the spool handle. First, it is plastic, so it may look a little cheap to some. Second, it is pretty tall for the sake of ergonomics but is prone to entangling lines.
- It is a lightweight reel
- The drag is partially sealed
- It reels very smoothly
- There is no startup inertia
- The knob and the spool-release mechanism is ergonomic
- The spool handle catches lines
4. Bozeman FlyWorks The Patriot Fly Fishing Reel – Best Reel For 3 Weight Fly Rod
Getting the 3 weight fly reel within a mid-price range is more accessible now with the Bozeman Patriot. It is affordable and has all the right specifications. It is machined, hence pretty accurate and sturdy, and the drag housing is sealed, ensuring a smooth performance.
Also, the arbor is quite extensive, and the storage capacity is enough. What I like most about it, though, is its color. Unlike many high-end reels, this one comes in a bright blue color and makes my fly fishing gear pop.
What’s not that great about it is the weight. The figure is considerably higher than other similar reels, and even though it balances on my rod, I would have liked it a little lighter.
- It is an excellent mid-price reel
- Machined construction, hence precise and durable
- The drag is sealed for smooth performance
- The arbor is big and stores enough lines
- The color is eye-catching
- The weight is more than I would’ve liked
5. Temple Fork Outfitters NXT Black Label Fly Fishing Reel – Best 3 Weight Fly Reel For Beginners
Next up, in our 3 wt fly reel reviews, is the NXT Black Label by TFO. not only is this brand good at making spectacular fly rods, but their fly reels are also unmatched when you need one to practice your skills on. They come at an affordable price, and the design is perfect for a great beginner reel.
The structure is machined aluminum, which is forgiving when you drop it on rock-solid ground. Also, the drag system is made of stainless steel, which is resistant to corrosion and smooth in action.
The black finish gives the reel an elegant look; however, since it is painted rather than anodized, you may see a few scratches on it over time. Overall it’s the best fly reel for beginners.
- Perfect for rookies and newbies
- The drag system is reliable and smooth
- The machined frame is resilient
- Best 3wt fly reel under 100
- The paint may scratch after a few uses
6. Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel – Best Small Stream Fly Reel
Redington is so good at making the best 3/4 wt fly reels that I have included another of their products in my shootout. Rise is an impressive reel in the water and is excellent looks-wise. The design is stylish and efficient at keeping the weight light and giving maximum performance.
The finishing is immaculate, and I did not find any blemishes in any corner. Then, at the lake, it impressed me with its smooth start. But, since the drag assembly isn’t sealed, I got some dirt and mud in it that slowed down the system a bit. Needs lots of maintenance, I suppose.
The reel handle was no trouble, but the drag knob felt cheap and uncomfortable to hold. Also, the line holding capacity is relatively small, but for a 3 wt fly reel, I won’t consider it something I can complain about.
- The design is very stylish
- The drag is smooth initially
- Finishing is perfect
- It is a good reel for lakes and ponds
- The drag knob feels a bit cheap
- It slowed down after a while since the drag isn’t sealed
7. Pflueger Supqrs Supreme Qrs Fly Cassette – Best 3wt Fly Fishing Reel With Changeable Spools
What if there’s a reel that can be the best 3wt fly reel or any size on your command? Behold the Pflueger’s engineering marvel; the Supreme Qrs fly cassette. You only need to switch the acrylic cassettes that come in the package in different sizes, and you are good to go for any fishing adventure. Plus, you save cost on extra spools.
Furthermore, it has a good enough drag. Yes, it isn’t sealed, so you cannot expect it to be a killer saltwater reel, but for small freshwater pursuits, it is perfect. The construction is lightweight and balances perfectly on most rods. And the framework is stainless steel for maximum durability.
- Switchable spool cassettes
- Cost-effective since you get extra spools in the package
- The drag is good enough
- Lightweight construction
- The framework is sturdy
- It isn’t ideal for saltwater
So, there you have it, the seven best 3 wt fly reels that I have tried myself. They are all pretty good at their job, but I think if there’s a competition, the Cheeky Launch fly reel wins. It is affordable yet very durable and reliable. I don’t think a 3 wt fly reel gets any better than this.
Relevant article: Best 5 Weight Fly Reels