Do you know the secret to catching fish effectively? It is befriending your fly fishing gear and getting to know it as if it were your spouse! Being an angler, I always look out for any information regarding my equipment. And recommend the same to all junior fishermen. So here’s an article about teaching you about the parts of a fly reel and what function each of them serves.
But before I start my dissection of the fly reel parts, let’s begin with a brief definition of what a fly reel is and what exactly it does.
What Is A Fly Reel?
A fly reel is that circular wheel-like equipment that sits near the end of your fly rod.
What Does A Fly Reel Do?
There are three basic functions of a fly reel;
- Storing lines
- Retracting the loose lines
- Stopping an escaping fish with its brake system
What Are The Parts Of A Fly Reel?
A fly reel has quite a few parts to help it perform its functions. Understanding the structure and mechanics of these parts is crucial in maintaining your reel and getting the most out of it.
Fly Reel Parts List
First, I am listing all the fishing reel parts names. I’ll elaborate on them later;
- Outer framework
- Reel foot
- Reel handle
- Spool-release mechanism
- Braking system
- Drag knob
Fly Reel Parts Diagram
This fly fishing diagram for a reel will explain the parts of a fly reel better:
Check my article about setting up a fly reel for the fly fishing line diagram.
Before explaining each part of a fly reel in detail, here is a short intro:
Fly Fishing Reel Parts – Explained
I’ll explain all fishing reel components in detail with an explanation first and the purpose next.
1. Outer Framework
Let’s start with what you see first when you hold a fly reel, its outer framework.
The framework is the metallic skeleton of a reel that houses all of the other parts of fishing reel.
It is mostly metallic, though it is not mandatory. We’ve seen many modern fly reels that use plastic or acrylic in their skeleton to keep the weight light and price to a minimum.
The metallic reels can either be machined or die-cast. The machined ones are cut from a solid metal block (mostly aluminum), while die-cast reels are made by pouring molten alloy into a mold. Machining gives better strength and greater durability, while die-casting saves considerable cost.
Purpose Of Outer Framework
The reel framework serves the same purpose your bones serve in your body. They provide support and protect the inner components. The more delicate braking system called the drag lies in its center while all other reel parts take its support.
2. Reel Foot
The broad base of the reel is called its foot.
It has a rear end and a front end. The front end goes into the fixed hood of the fly rod, which is a cutout portion. The moveable hood screws or slides on top of the reel foot’s rear end.
Purpose Of Reel Foot
The reel foot is one of those fishing reel parts that attach the reel to the rod. The position of the rod that receives the foot is called the reel seat or sleeve.
3. Reel Handle
The handle is the long appendage on one side of the reel.
Most reels allow you to change the side its handle is on to match your hand orientation. I reel with my left hand and cast with my right, so my handles are set on the left hand.
Purpose Of Reel Handle
The only purpose it serves is to rotate the reel spool to wind loose lines. It can either be done when you have cast and want to bring the extra back or when a fish hooks and you need to land it.
Reel spool is a term you must have come across several times. What is it?
It is a circular base where all the fishing lines go.
There is often an option to replace the spool with spare ones available for each reel model. These make changing lines during fishing much quicker and more straightforward.
Moreover, a spool can be big in large arbor reels and small in standard arbor ones. What are arbors? We’ll discuss them next!
Purpose Of Reel Spool
The arbor is the distance between the base of the spool to the center of the fly reel.
Most new reels come in gigantic arbor sizes due to their many advantages. They produce minimal line memory, have more storage space, and pickup lines quicker, but are more expensive than the standard or mid-range arbor reels. The standard arbor size, which was more common back in the day, is considered the smallest now.
Purpose Of Arbor
There is a spindle in the inner side of the arbor that connects to the base o the spool. When you rotate the reel handle, this spindle turns the reel.
6. Spool-Release Mechanism
A spool-release mechanism can either be a screw, latch, push-button, or simply pull the two rims of the reel apart.
Purpose Of Spool-Release Mechanism
As the name indicates, the function of this mechanism is to release the two spools of a reel so you can change them and the fly lines.
7. Braking System
The most vital and brilliantly engineered of all fly fishing parts is its braking or drag system. It is why reels are not just storage devices for fly lines now, but much more than that. What is a drag system, by the way?
The machinery of the fly reel situated in its core, which helps stop a fish while it is making a run, is known as the drag system.
There are two most common types of drag systems; the click-and-pawl and the disc drag. Click and pawl reel parts consist of a plastic tooth that clicks against a metal gear. It is the more primitive of the two and offers little to no brake force setting.
The disc drag is much fancier and features multiple gears and other complex parts to give a more advanced system. Thanks to the drag dial (that we will discuss next), you can tailor the drag force to whatever setting you like.
Purpose Of The Braking System
As discussed above, the brakes of a fly fishing reel help stop a hooked fish trying to run away from you. Also, the brakes create a certain level of tension in the lines so you can wind them properly and easily.
Learn about anti reverse fly reels.
8. Drag Knob
Now how do you control the amount of drag in your fly reel? By using the drag knob.
A drag knob is a rotatable dial at a side of the fly reel with indentations denoting the force of the drag.
You can have some predetermined settings for the drag force, or some fly reels feature a free dial where you can add the slightest increments to reach your sweet spot.
Purpose Of Drag Knob
The drag knob controls the drag force you exert on the lines.
So now you know that there are quite a few parts of a fly reel, each serving an important purpose.
Being aware of the fly reel parts is necessary for choosing the best fly reel for yourself and maintaining it to last longer.
Read how to choose a fly reel for buying a suitable one to start fishing!
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