This guide will review the seven best fly reels under 200 and tell you what to look for when you need one.
There’s nothing wrong in going all flashy and splurging on an expensive and luxury reel. It’s just that buying a modest one won’t make you any bad at angling. So, how about I tell you the seven best fly reels under 200 that are pretty rad at their job and still won’t rob you of your earnings.
Best Fly Reels Under 200 – Quick Picks
- Redington RISE III Fly Fishing Reel – Best Overall
- Sage Spectrum C Fly Fishing Reel – Best in Die-Cast
- Redington Reels Crosswater – Beginners Friendly
7 Best Fly Reels Under 200 Reviews
Let’s dive deeper into our reviews for the best fly reels under 200;
1. Redington RISE III Fly Fishing Reel – Best Overall
There’s little Redington can get wrong. Their Rise series has some of the toughest fly reels on the market, and the third variant is no different. With its minimal weight and robust drag system, this fly reel is fit for a modest trout to a bluewater tarpon.
The U-shaped drag is exposed and powerful. Moreover, the carbon fibers that make up the entire drag assembly are tolerant to wear and tear. The entire system takes up little space in the reel and leaves more space available for line storage. I noticed some startup inertia, though.
Next, picking up lines is blazing fast thanks to the large-sized arbor. This feature is essential when you are fighting an active fish that just wants to run and run. Rise III makes stopping and catching such fish faster.
The machined aluminum construction is very durable. The anodizing finish helps keep the reel in shape after years of use. The handle is smooth to keep your hand comfortable while turning it.
The only thing I could find criticism-worthy is that the drag is not sealed so you need to be extra careful if you are using it in the sea. Also, the spool release mechanism failed a bit since it requires some effort to take off the spools and seat them back.
- This reel is tolerant to abuse
- The drag is powerful enough
- The drag is compact and takes little space
- Large arbor helps in picking up lines fast
- Machined aluminum construction and anodizing finish are durable
- I noticed some startup inertia
- The spool release mechanism is not very ergonomic
2. Sage Spectrum C Fly Fishing Reel – Best in Die-Cast
Sage reels are famous for their high-end designs and top-of-the-line performance. But of course, they are not affordable for every other angler. So Sage came up with Spectrum C, a comparatively cheaper reel with the quality living up to its maker’s name.
The Spectrum C is a die-cast reel with a finish as good as machined ones. The powder coating on top not only looks dope but is also good at keeping the scratches away. The handle and drag knob is machined and ergonomic.
When I took this reel out to the lake for testing, it left me fairly impressed. The drag is not the most powerful but is still good enough for trout and other similar fish. There is no startup inertia, and it spins smoothly too. The sound may not be my favorite thing, as it is on the mellower side. But I’ve decided to live with it. I found this reel to be a bit heavier for my 9 ft/5 wt fly rod as far as weight is concerned.
- Die-cast reel with a finish as good as machined ones
- Top powder coating is abrasion resistant
- The drag is smooth and good enough for trout
- I found zero startup inertia
- This reel sounds a bit mellow
- It may be heavy for a 5 wt rod
3. Redington Reels Crosswater – Beginners Friendly
With the very simple design and an affordable price tag, the Crosswater fly reel by Redington is the best fly reel under 200 for someone getting into angling. They may not be a professional’s favorite but show a lot of promise for amateurs.
The lightweight composite body is generally durable and won’t shatter if you drop it on a hard surface. But I feel that the handle or knob may break if not used lightly; after all, it’s plastic! The ergonomics are where this reel wins, though. The knob, handle, and drag have no complex mechanics involved which makes using this reel straightforward.
The drag system is sealed and is good enough for many kinds of fish, depending upon the size of the reel you purchase. However, the line’s capacity is not enough for saltwater fishing, and you will run out of backing when a bigger sea fish runs away from you.
Lastly, this fly reel is a bit silent which may or may not bother you, depending upon your preference. I, for instance, like my fly reel to be loud and clear, so for me, this reel is a failure when it comes to acoustics.
- The design and mechanics are straightforward
- This reel is suitable for beginners
- The composite material is not brittle
- It is pretty lightweight
- The drag system is sealed and suitable for any size of fish
- The handle or knob may break if mishandled
- The line holding capacity is not enough for seawater fishing
- This reel is kind of mute
4. Wetfly Nitrogen1 Fly Reel – Seawater Friendly
I was looking for the best fly reels under 200 for seawater fishing when I stumbled upon this Wetfly Nitrogen1. I searched it up online and couldn’t find many reviews for it. So I decided to risk my money and order one to see for myself. And to my surprise, this fly reel was better than my expectations!
The most impressive thing about it is the fact that this fly reel is machined. It is so rare to find a machined aluminum fly reel under the 200 price mark. Plus, there’s a lifetime guarantee too. And as if that was not enough to have me sold on it, the reel doesn’t feel very cheap in hand as I thought it would. The finish is pretty neat and there wasn’t much to criticize regarding its craftsmanship.
It takes tons of lines, so you can easily pack it for your trip to the sea. The drag is silky smooth and is up for trout to bass depending upon the size of the reel you are using.
But alas, the low price often comes with some fundamental design faults. A slight bump can throw your spools out of alignment and fail the reel big time.
- It has a durable machined body
- It is suitable for seawater
- This reel comes with a lifetime guarantee
- The finish is neat
- It has an excellent capacity to hold lines
- It is suitable for trout to bass depending on the reel size
- A slight bump can derail its spool
5. OKUMA AVENTA CENTERPIN REELS – For Float Fishing
Talking of affordable machined reels, here is another. This float fishing reel under 200 is impressive because of its precise construction and durable structure. The dark brown shade matches my fly rod beautifully and the vintage-style porting gives a classy touch to the entire setup.
Furthermore, the stock bearings are really good and the reel runs as smooth as butter with them. I think that ceramic bearings do the job better but this Centerpin reel makes me change my view.
The clicker, however, is not as great as I would have liked, and the spring seems a bit weak. Also, the handle and knobs are not as durable as the rest of the reel body. Mine came off after a few uses and I had to glue them back in place.
- Machined stainless steel structure for precision
- Vintage style porting for decreasing the weight
- The dark brown shade goes beautifully with most fly rods, especially the wooden ones
- The stock bearings run the reel smoothly
- The clicker spring is fragile
- The handle and knob are not very durable
6. Maxcatch Toro Series Fly Fishing Reel – Smooth Drag
Maxcatch has been giving great value options for some time now. If you want to buy a fly reel under 200 that looks great and is also high on performance, you’ll always see at least one by Maxcatch in my recommendations. They give machined reels without breaking your bank, and I have yet to see a smoother drag than theirs.
The weight, size, and color are a perfect combination to go with your favorite fly rod. The drag is powerful enough to meet most of your needs, even in saltwater. But, make sure to rinse this reel with fresh water after you are done fishing in the sea. Moreover, the drag is substantial but has a small range of adjustment. It goes from inadequate to unnecessary drag in even less than a quarter of turn.
The spool, however, is my favorite thing about this reel. It is big enough to store tons of line, and picking up loose lines is convenient. The left-to-right change of retrieve is a nice touch too. In short, it is one of the best fly reels under 200 apart from one grave issue. The drag is smooth but does not hold well. The tension loses by itself and then the reel backlashes.
- The weight, size, and color match with most fly rods
- The drag is powerful enough for seawater fishing too
- Big spool can store lots of lines
- Picking up loose lines is easy
- Left-to-right hand change of retrieve
- Little room for drag adjustment
- The drag does not hold and causes backlashes
7. Piscifun Platte Fly Fishing Reel – Most Durable
Suppose you are thinking of beginning your angling career and buying a solid seawater fly reel while staying on a budget. In that case, Piscifun Platte is a worthy option for you. This fly reel is exceptionally tolerant to abuse and you can use it for years and it will stand its ground. The CNC machined aluminum body is anodized to give a fly reel resistant to corrosion by saltwater.
Furthermore, the large arbor holds lines enough for catching a king salmon in a swift current. The drag is powerful and smooth. The spool handle and the drag knob are functional, but I feel the knob is too slim to hold and adjust with cold, wet fingers.
This reel makes up for a reliable backup option. But for me, it cannot be a go-to reel because it’s a little bit heavier. I wouldn’t have minded the weight if the spool release button wasn’t this loose. The reel pops open often and the spools can get lost in the water.
- Perfect for beginners at seawater fishing
- This reel is very tolerant to abuse
- The anodizing on top of a CNC machined body makes it corrosion-resistant
- The drag is powerful
- The spool is big enough to hold ample lines
- The drag knob could be broader
- The spool-release lever is too loose
Buying Guide – How to Find The Best Fly Reel Under 200?
The key to finding the best fly reels under 200 is knowing what you are looking for. Fly fishing mainly targets a specific species, so you can always ditch a few fancy features in exchange for other good ones necessary to you.
1. Drag Strength
A muscly reel feels good but is not very necessary if you want to go trout fishing.
2. Big Arbor
Similarly, a large arbor comes in handy when fishing at sea, but a modest size will suffice in a smaller stream.
3. Ambidextrous Retrieve
It is good to have a reel that can interchange its retrieve orientation, but you can still live without it.
Q. Which is the best fly reel for 200?
The Redington Rise III is one of the best fly reels under 200 dollars in my experience. It is both good looking and efficient.
Q. Are reels under 200 dollars any good at seawater fishing?
Among the fly reels under 200 reviewed above, the Wetfly Nitrogen1 Fly Reel is suitable for seawater fishing.
Even when you are low on budget, the best fly reels under 200 will keep you fishing your heart out.
The top fly reels under 200 dollars give the best value by being light on pocket and heavy on performance. Such is the case with the Redington Rise III fly reel, which is the top fly reel for 200 in my list.