Today I will discuss and review the best fly reels under $100 dollars and some fly reels under 50 USD.
Why such a cheap price point?
First, I’m on a mission to make angling an affordable sport for all kinds of lads out there. Second, many experienced anglers will agree that fly reels are needed but are not the most pivotal gear for angling. So, if someone is on a budget, I suggest saving some bucks by picking up the best fly reel under $100 and splurging on something more necessary, say an excellent fly rod.
And from my experience, Redington BEHEMOTH is the best fly reel under 100$ which ticks every box.
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Best Fly Reels Under $100: Quick Overview
- Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel – Overall Best
- OKUMA SLV Fly Reels – Best Fly Reel Under 50$
- Echo Base Fly Reel – Best Beginner Fly Reel under 100
- CHANNELMAY Classic Fly Fishing Reel – Best Spey Fly Reel under $100
- Piscifun Crest Fly Fishing Reel – Best Saltwater Fly Reel Under $100
- M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tino Fly Fishing Reel – Best Fly Reel Under 50
- Piscifun Sword ‖ Fly Fishing Reel – Best Rated Fly Reel under $50
- Piscifun Aoka Fly Fishing Reel – Best Cheapest Fly Reel under $100
- Riverruns Z Fly Fishing Reel – Best Fly Reel For Trout Under $100
- ANGRYFISH Fly Fishing Reel – Best Entry-Level Fly Reel
Best Fly Reels Under $100 – Reviews
Let’s start our best fly reels under $100 reviews:
1. Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel – Best Overall
The Redington Behemoth is BIG! Not only the size but the power is also tremendous. It is one of the most potent fly reels you’ll get, irrespective of the price. I’ve tested its drag with the sailfish, bonefish, gigantic albacore, and even a dolphin. The strength of this reel has always left me in awe.
And if you think that Behemoth has only got the muscles, you’re wrong! The drag system not only stops the biggest fish on their tracks but is also pretty smooth. Not as smooth as the most extravagant reels, say a Nautilus, but it is pretty good. One noteworthy thing is that the drag is not sealed, so if you are using it at sea, you’ll need to wash it every time to avoid messing up the system.
But enough about drag! Let’s talk about its construction. The die-cast body may not be the most durable, but it has slacked the price down to under $100, so I’ll give it that. You will have to be a little careful with it because mishandling can break this reel or its components.
Also, the capacity to hold lines and backing on this reel is vast because of the giant spool size. The handles and knob are a good size too, with lots of grip on them, but mine seemed to attract the line and get stuck with it a lot.
- Behemoth has the most substantial drag
- The size is enormous, which means loads of storage
- Drag is also pretty smooth
- Pretty good grip
- The handles and knobs are ergonomic
- Needs a little maintenance
2. OKUMA SLV Fly Reels – Best Fly Reel Under 50$
Okuma is a Chinese brand based in Taiwan that is famous for its budget-friendly fly reels and rods. The SLV reel is another of their reels under $100. The extra-large arbor and the stainless steel drag make this reel fit for seawater fishing too.
The line’s storage capacity is ample due to its big radius. You can go after the fastest fish and not get short of backing. Also, the drag system is corrosion-resistant and can be easily used for catching sea fish. The drag strength is also sufficient, if not too much. Furthermore, the roller bearings glide the drag smoothly and without any bumps.
I have a few questions about its durability, although because of its die-cast construction. You’ll need to handle it with delicacy if you want your reel to last you a long time.
The handle and knobs are ergonomic, but they are fragile too. I have had complaints about the handle breaking or the knob jamming, so I’ll deduct a few points here.
- Extra-large arbor with lots of space for backing
- The drag is corrosion-resistant, hence suitable for seawater fishing
- The drag is also powerful enough
- The reel spins smoothly
- Handle, and knob are ergonomic
- The handle and knob may have some issues in long future.
3. Echo Base Fly Reel – Best Beginner Fly Reel Under $100
If you are a beginner and want to try your luck fishing without getting stuck in the complex mechanisms of a fancy reel, the Echo Base is perfect for you. With only a spool, a knob, and a handle, it is the most basic fly reel for under 100 dollars.
The arbor is big and is V-shaped, meaning you can store as many lines as you want. The V-shape looks pretty cool too. Next, the drag is sealed, so you won’t have it all stuck with sand and salt. Also, the drag strength may not be extraordinary but is still sufficient enough to be functional.
The thing I like the most about this reel is its subtle sound. It is not loud enough to let everybody at the shore know that you are reeling in your fish and also clear enough so that only you can hear it when a fish is trying to run. Plus, this reel looks pretty solid even though it is made up of some kind of plastic.
But yeah, durability isn’t its main selling point since the foot of my reel broke from a corner. I can still mount it on the fly rod, so it causes no problem, but it disappointed me a bit. Also, you may find this reel heavier than other reels of the same class.
- It is the best fly reel under $100 for beginners
- Big and V-shaped arbor can store tons of lines
- Drag strength is enough to get the job done
- The reel sounds moderate, neither too loud nor too mellow
- It looks pretty solid and is made up of a composite
- It feels heavier than other similar reels
4. CHANNELMAY Classic Fly Fishing Reel – Best Spey Fly Reel Under $100
I was looking for the best fly reel under $100 for my Spey rod when I discovered this hidden gem. Just like its name, the looks of this reel are really “classic.” It was the looks that lured me into buying it in the first place. But when I tested it for performance, it showed promising results too.
The reel runs smoothly, and there is no resistance between the spool and the frame. Moreover, it looks strongly built. The description says that it is CNC machined from light aluminum, and I have no doubts. The finishing shows, and the durability is incredible as it does not rust in seawater too.
And since this reel is aimed towards salmon, the drag is pretty powerful. I landed a steelhead with it and was impressed. But I also faced a few issues with the drag system because it got jammed after a few uses. I cleaned and greased it thoroughly, but it still didn’t perform as well as before.
Also, taking this reel apart was quite a struggle, and I had to spend hours taking off the spools and cleaning them. I guess you get what you pay for.
- Best spey fly reel under $100
- The classical design looks very appealing
- It runs smoothly
- It is durable and all-metal
- Suitable for seawater too
- The drag is powerful
- Taking it apart is a little difficult
Fly Reels By Weight:
5. Piscifun Crest Fly Fishing Reel – Best Saltwater Fly Reel Under $100
The Piscifun Crest is the best fly reel under $100 for saltwater fishing. The rust-proof materials, sealed and robust drag system, and large arbor make this fly reel fit for any sea adventure.
The lightweight aluminum body is neat, and I found no imperfections in the craftsmanship. It is machined and durable, and the ported design helps shed weight and quickly dry up the lines. Also, the color green is eye-catching and goes very well with my Echo Boost fly rod.
It also sounds decent when a fish is making a chase but is silent on the retrieve. The drag is very smooth and is extremely easy to adjust. Some may even say it is a little too easy because it changes even with the slightest touch. Plus, since the drag is sealed, you don’t need a lot of maintenance. Only rinsing with fresh water will do.
However, there are a few problems. First, the spare spools are rarely available on the Piscifun website. It is difficult to find one in the first place, and even if you do, changing the spools is a pain. I bent my reel when I was trying to take it apart. But the good thing is the company offers a lifetime warranty. I’ll surely add it as the best saltwater fly reel under a budget.
- The best saltwater fly reel on a budget
- Its materials are rust-proof and lightweight
- The drag is powerful enough for sea monsters
- The finishing on this reel is exceptional
- It sounds decent and is silent on the retrieve
- Drag adjustment changes with even a slight bump
- Replacing spare spools can be a bit challanging
6. M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Tino Fly Fishing Reel – Best Fly Reel Under $50
Meet the Maxcatch Tino, a fly reel that is not only durable but also good enough for any freshwater fish. This fly reel is a decent option when you need a fly reel for fishing at the lake. My favorite thing about it is the price to quality ratio.
For the price, the arbor size is quite extensive, and you can store tons of backing in it. The drag is smooth and well-built, and I had no difficulty retrieving it too. And even though it is a die-cast reel, I was amazed at how light it weighs.
You may not get an insanely powerful drag, but it still does the job. Also, if you set it to zero, the Tino freewheels effortlessly and is very quick to pick up loose lines. I found no sideways movement in the reel and the spools, even though the space between the two is pretty noticeable. It didn’t happen to me, but I am confident that the fly lines can sneak in the gap if you are not careful enough.
Another complaint I have is related to the finishing. To save cost, Maxcatch painted their reels rather than anodizing them, and paint naturally starts to come off because of water after some time.
- Best fly reel for 100 for freshwater fishing
- The arbor is big and has lots of storage capacity
- It is lightweight
- This reel freewheels very quickly
- No side movements between the spool and the reel
- Paint can come off after a few uses
7. Piscifun Sword ‖ Fly Fishing Reel – Top Rated Fly Reel Under $50
Piscifun specializes in producing budget fly reels priced under $100; that is why you see more than one of their products in these fly reels under 100 reviews. The Sword II is another of their best value reels that lets you enjoy fly fishing at a fraction of expensive reels’ cost.
The Sword is machined to perfection and uses lightweight aluminum metal for its making. The body of the reel is abrasion-resistant and stands up against the abuse of its environment.
The ergonomics are on point too. The drag adjustment knob and the reel handle are big enough to hold correctly. The spool-release mechanism is not the best, though. Also, changing hand orientation took some effort.
But the best thing about this reel is its smooth drag. I did not expect such an inexpensive reel to be so easy gliding, and I didn’t notice any startup inertia. However, the drag adjustment is where this fly reel disappoints. First, there is little room for adjustment, and the force skyrockets with the slightest turn rather than increasing gradually. Second, it loosens itself. You set the drag to your sweet spot, but it won’t stay put.
- The reel has a machined and durable body
- It is lightweight
- The handle and knob is ergonomic
- The drag is smoother than what I expected
- It has no noticeable startup inertia
- Drag adjustment is average
8. Piscifun Aoka Fly Fishing Reel – Best Fly Reel Under 30$
Here is another Piscifun’s best fly reel under 50 dollars (the last one, I promise). What’s different about the Aoka? First, it is die-cast, hence even cheaper than the Sword. But it is still pretty solid and will last you long enough if you treat it gently. Plus, it is considerably lightweight for a die-cast reel.
Next, it holds 100 yds of 4 wt line and still has room for some extra backing. The capacity is impressive for a reel that is marketed as a mid-range arbor. You can quickly go for species like trout, bluegill, and some bigger fish with it.
The drag strength is where this reel surprised me the most. It is dependable, and you can reel the line in quickly. The whole setup is a cork and Teflon disc drag, so you get the quality of a disc drag at the price of a click and pawl system. But this reel is not fully sealed, so you’ll need to disassemble it after every use and deep cleanse it for maintaining its efficiency.
But that’s not the real catch. The handle of this reel reeks of cheap material. I mean, it could have been more subtle considering the price, but this one looks like it is ready to fall apart any time. Also, the vast space between the spool and the reel is an open invitation for the lines to get stuck.
- It has a durable die-cast construction
- It is lighter than many die-cast reels
- The mid-range arbor can store a sufficient amount of line
- The drag is dependable and can stop many species of fish
- Cork and Teflon drag system comes at a price of a click and pawl one
- This reel needs maintenance
9. Riverruns Z Fly Fishing Reel – Best Fly Reel For Trout Under $100
The Riverruns Z fly fishing reel is an upgraded version of their Riverrun series with carbon disc drag. This reel features a lightweight aircraft aluminum material that is melted and then poured over a cast to attain its shape. The reel is then anodized for resistance against corrosion and environmental abuse. By its looks, this reel feels pretty sturdy, but I haven’t used it enough to give a final verdict on its durability.
The arbor is big enough for easy palming and quick line pick-up, so you get a bit of both. The drag is good, and I liked it better than the Piscifun Sword or Aoka in terms of strength. But contrary to the marketing, the drag is not fully sealed, so some sand or grit can enter and mess up the system. You’ll need proper maintenance after each use.
The easy change of hand retrieve is excellent attention to detail. The handle and knob are ergonomic too. Plus, the capacity for holding lines is ample. But I found the sizing of these reels a bit awkward. The 5/7 size reel feels too big for a ⅚ wt rod. The manufacturers should reanalyze their specs so they won’t mislead customers into buying the wrong size.
- The body is lightweight due to the aircraft aluminum material
- It looks pretty robust
- The arbor is a good size for palming and line pick-up both
- The drag strength is better than many similar reels
- Easy change of retrieve orientation
- Handle, and knob are ergonomic
- It is not fully sealed and requires regular maintenance
10. ANGRYFISH Fly Fishing Reel – Best Entry-Level Fly Reel Under $100
This last entry in our best fly reels under $100 reviews is a lesser-known Angryfish fly reel. I think it deserves more recognition because it gives some remarkable features compared to some of its market-leading rivals. I bought this reel for my kid when I planned on teaching him the sport but was tempted to buy one for myself too.
The machining is impeccable and has no irregular or sharp edges. The reel itself feels pretty durable too. The aluminum material makes it lightweight and adjusts beautifully on most of my rods, plus the size is perfect for storing a modest amount of lines and backing too. I found the drag is good enough for landing me a salmon.
There are some issues with the drag adjustment, though. The setting won’t gold, and it moves by itself. I had several freewheels and backlashes until I learned to use the reel more carefully.
- Machining is neat with no untidy spots
- The reel feels durable
- It is lightweight and balances on most rods
- Size is suitable for storage
- The drag is powerful
- The drag adjustment is pretty average
What to Look For When Buying The Best Fly Reel Under $100
Buying cheap doesn’t mean that you have to end up with a horrible product. If you pay attention to some details, you can get a decent product within your budget.
Always keep in mind where you’ll be using your fly reel. If you want to fish in the ocean, buy a fly reel compatible with seawater. Similarly, the best trout fly fishing reel often only serves as line storage, so you can save up by buying top fly reels under $100 with no fancy features. The key is to buy smart.
Related Fly Reels Posts:
Benefits of Fly Fishing
- Fly fishing boosts thinking capability and decision-making process.
- You get closer to nature by enjoying scenic settings.
- There is a fair deal of physical exercise in standing, wading, reeling, and tugging for fish.
- It is proven that watching the water flow improves eyesight.
- Spending time in nature takes much stress off one’s mind and offers mental peace.
Q. Which fly reels under 100 are best for trout?
Trout fishing generally does not require muscle power, and the reel only serves as storage for lines. With that being said, the Maxcatch Tio and the Piscifun Aoka and Sword are good enough options.
Q. How is a sealed drag better than an unsealed one?
Best sealed drag fly reel keeps the sand and salt away from the assembly, keeping your reel almost maintenance-free.
- Best fly reels for trout
- 10 Best Fly reels for salmon
- Best fly reels under 200
- Best fly reels for saltwater
The Wrap Up
It is wise to save some bucks by buying the best fly reel under $100.
The Redington Behemoth is a good all-rounder reel in this category for almost all kinds of conditions. I have tried it in lakes, rivers, and seas, and it has impressed me everywhere.
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