Spending time on the ground (and /or in the water, sand, wind, rain, salt, sun as the case maybe) will over years reveal the strengths and weaknesses of fishing tackle. Time spent in a saltwater environment is no doubt a place where many items not up to the mark will find themselves in serious trouble.
After ten seasons of saltwater guiding and fishing on the Irish coast I have seen many rods and reels that claim to be suited to the Irish saltwater fishing environment – I will over the next few weeks take a look at some of these items and their performances over time. Looking first at saltwater fly reels the following items I have found to be excellent and are categorised under four headings tactical, functional, practical and optional!
The testing mix consisted of – the environment where we fish, the type of fish, price, functionality, longevity, personal experience over time, style and suitable application in a world where practicality is very important! We might all love to have an Abel but……
Tactical consider as my top recommendation, not necessarily the most expensive or indeed perfect solution but offering something truly special
Functional consider as an item that works, lasts and is not too expensive, and whilst it may not last forever it looks and feels a little different and gets the job done
Practical is a category that an item will fall under when it simply works, is very reasonably priced, will last but may not be the best looking item on the beach!
Optional looking for something different that works and lasts and is immediately recognisable through design and function then this is it – a perfect alternative at times to tactical!
Saltwater Fly Reels
- Tactical Danielsson L5W – 6nine or 4seven
- The L5W series what can I say that hasn’t been said – I’ve caught bass, seatrout, bonefish, pike, mullet, barracuda, garfish, pollack. jacks, lemon shark, and dolphin fish – on a reel that refuses to fail year after year, with a minimum of maintenance superior build quality and drag mechanism the reel is now more than a fishing tool to me.
- Functional Loop exact 5/8
- The Xact reel is totally made from composite, except the reel foot, handle and drag knob these are made from aluminium. Replacing the CLW (an old favourite) this reel is simply made for tough conditions. Just like its big brother, and more expensive, Evotec G3, this reel is made for tough environments and is perfectly suited to the demands of Irish saltwater bass, pollack and sea trout fishing. I’ve even taken it further around the world, it looks smart too!
- Practical Okuma airframe af 7/9
- The Okuma like the Xact is a carbon composite reel that’s very very tough and saltwater resilient. If you are the kind of person that just wants something to work without being too concerned about aesthetics or maintenance then this is the reel for you. Low cost high longevity and deals with the environment month after month.
- Optional Ross evolution LT
- The Ross LT is light in the hand and beautiful to look, at this series of reels is designed for those anglers who appreciate both art and function. The cosmetic innovation and precision workmanship of the Evolution LT series is only surpassed by its drag system which is precise and sensitive – I love this reel so much.