Shop Spey Reels at Royal Treatment Fly Fishing
Choosing the best Spey reel for your Spey rod requires understanding how you intend to use your Spey outfit, the rod length, the type of Spey line you plan on using, and what other uses you may have for the Spey reel. For example, many larger reels that balance a Spey rod work great on a single-hand saltwater rod for use in warmer waters chasing Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon, and other tropical species.
The first question to ask is what weight Spey reel is required to balance the rod you are trying to match. Longer Spey rods need a reel with more physical weight to move the balance point to a comfortable hand placement on the handle. Too light of reel and the rod feels tip-heavy and unbalanced; too heavy a reel and you lose some of the feedback from the rod that allows you to adjust your cast. A heavy outfit also adds to fatigue and takes away from the overall pleasure of Spey casting. A balanced outfit casts better, increasing your success on the water.
Line choice also comes into play when choosing a Spey reel. Skagit, Scandi, and long-belly traditional lines take up a varied amount of space on the reel, so make sure the reel has enough capacity to hold the shooting head, running line, and the proper amount of backing for the species for which the outfit is intended. Large Salmon on big British Columbia rivers require more backing capacity than native Steelhead on a small coastal stream in Oregon.
You should also consider the other uses for your new Spey reel. Since a larger reel is required on a Spey rod, the same reel can be used for chasing larger species with single-hand rods. Having a reel that does double duty on a 13' 7wt. Spey rod and a 9' 10wt. Saltwater rod for that dream trip to the tropics helps justify the cost of a beautifully machined bar stock aluminum reel with a robust drag system. Offerings from Nautilus, Bauer, Abel, and most modern reels made in the USA are at home in fresh and salt water, but it should be noted that more traditional Spey reels, like Hardy Perfects, Bougle, or Cascapedias, while well suited for Spey rods, are not designed for the salt and should be enjoyed for their unique design and heritage on your favorite Spey rod.