Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Fly Fishing Reel – IMHO – Post 5

with 2 comments

If there is one theme across the multiple posts, there is no singular answer, and you must look at the requirements for the use.

Spey Reels

There is a lot of similarity between Saltwater Reels and Speys, with a few notable differences – drag and weight.

  • Drag: Supporting pressure for 8-20# tippet is nice, and it will assist you in landing a fish, but it is a not absolute.  As takes are often strong, so a soft (low) startup is nice, but not critical. To be clear, I usually keep the drag setting light, and if necessary, I may increase.
  • Noise: Still do not care, but it appears there are many who like a noisy reel and will define this as the only requirement.
  • Rate of Retrieve: High rate of retrieve with a minimum of 150m of 30# backing. Given manufacturer’s boastful claims, make sure the reel is specified supporting 200m of backing.
  • Weight:  A standard reel works weighing less than 10oz can work for spey rods of less than 13′ in length, but long rods need a heavy reel to reduce fatigue.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: If you are only fishing freshwater in summer, this is not a requirement, but it you like me fish in the estuaries and in winter, a seal drag is a good thing.
  • User Maintenance: Not critical, but nice to have.
  • Cross-Functional: Nice to have, as these reels can provide good service for streamer and saltwater fishing
  • Spool Changes: Nice to have for cross-functional use, but as many spey lines are now shooting heads, this is not critical.

So priority is rate of retrieve with backing that has the weight to balance the rod.


Sadly Nautilus has moved away from this line and stopped supporting their older (heavier) reels suited for Spey Rods.  In affect they dropped me, so I have decided to find a new company.

  • Drag: A. and easy to palm it.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A for the Older Discontinued Reels, D for the new line up.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: D, given move their move away.
  • Spool Changes: D, given their lack of commitment to support their old product lines and show no interest in maintaining forwards-backwards compatibility.

The now discontinued and unsupported 12S. Fortunately, when I realize they were abandoning this segment, I got spare reel and spool.


Danielsson – Traditional

  • Drag: B
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  D – only for short spey rods. I use them on 10′ rods.
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: B
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: C
  • Spool Changes: A


Danielsson – L5W and H5D

  • Drag: A.
  • Noise: NR
  • Rate of Retrieve and Backing: A
  • Weight:  A
  • Problem Free in a Harsh Environment: A
  • User Maintenance: A
  • Cross-Functional: A
  • Spool Changes: A

My new standard for Salt and Spey




Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/27 at 05:38

Posted in Fly-Fishing

2 Responses

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  1. […] everything else, except for long spey rods, look to Danielsson L5W and H5D series.  As Danielsson is producing a great product at a great price, with a Swedish sense […]

  2. […] a previous series of postings, I discussed my thoughts on reels for the intended use. I wrote this series, as I often see passion mixed with industry marketing override solid thought […]

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