Our 11 Best Fly Fishing Reels For Under 300: [2020]

Shows what the best fly fishing reels of 2020 are.

In the market for a new reel?  There are a ton of options to choose from right now so to help you out, I created this article about what the best 11 fly fishing reels for under $300 are.

Reels are an extremely important piece of fly fishing equipment.  You’ll use it nearly as much as you would your rod, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

A lot of fly reels will work, only some of them will perform great.  Especially when you are getting a budget reel.  You want to make sure that you are buying something of high quality, before you pay for it.

Here are the 11 best fly fishing reels for under $300

Best Fly Fishing Reels for Under $300

A couple of different factors that play into choosing the right reel are, quality, size, material, weight, noise and performance in general.

Personal recommendation, buy a reel within your budget.  You don’t need a $300 fly reel as a beginner, a cheaper reel will work.  Just as long as you take great care of it.

With that being said, let’s look at what I believe to be are the best fly fishing reels for under 300 dollars.

Ross Animas Fly Reel

This reel is the best fly reel under 300 dollars.  It’s very lightweight, durable and is one of the better performing reels on this list.  Not only that, but it’s balanced and has an easily adjusted drag.  It’s one of Ross’s newer designed reels, specifically to give a new look.

The spool release is improved on from previous models, and the drag is made of extremely durable composite.  The drag is easily adjustable, and the handle is interchangeable.  This reel is one of the better fly reels that you can get for only a couple hundred dollars.

Pros: 

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Balanced
  • Composite drag
  • Easily adjusted drag
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Expensive

picture of ross animas fly reel

CHECK PRICE ON AVENTURON    CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Galvan Rush Light Fly Reel

The Galvan Rush Light fly reel is the second best reel for under $300.  It’s corrosion resistant, balanced and has a large arbor design.  It’s made of machined aluminum and is also sealed for better protection of the working components.  You can adjust the drag super easily on this reel and the rotation of it is super smooth.  Check latest price here.

Not only that, but this fly reel is another lightweight one.  It’s made in the USA too.

Pros:

  • Balanced
  • Large arbor
  • Machined aluminum
  • Easily adjustable drag
  • Sealed
  • Built in the USA

Cons:

  • Price

 

picture of galvan rush fly reel

Bottom line, if you are looking for a smooth and durable fly reel for a reasonable price – I recommend this one.

CHECK PRICE ON AVENTURON   CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Related Article: Best Fly Rod and Reel Combos Under $300

Hardy Ultralite CADD Fly Reel

Here is another one of the best fly fishing reels available today.  The Hardy Ultralite is made of 6061 alloy (that really good stuff that last a long time) and is two tone anodized for corrosion resistance.  It’s also very lightweight, strong and sealed for extra protection from sand and mud.  Check latest price here.

The drag on this reel is extremely easy to adjust.  Plus, it has a color system on it which shows the user what the drag is set at.  When that giant Rainbow Trout is yanking your fly out into the river, just a quick little twist of the dial and you’re set!  Just like that.  Start yanking that fish back in!

Pros: 

  • Large arbor
  • Machined aluminum
  • Color system on drag
  • Durable
  • Sealed
  • Two tone anodized

Cons:

  • Price

 

CHECK PRICE ON TRIDENT FLY FISHING    CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON 

Waterworks-Lamson Guru S Fly Reel (2020)

Alright, this has to be one of the coolest looking fly reels of the year.  Very, very clean look, 10/10.  Not only that, but it’s made of 6061 machined aluminum.  The drag is a conical design and it’s also sealed up, so no worries of getting it jammed with sand.  Check latest price here.

This is the 3rd generation of this reel.  The first two were incredibly popular so for 2020, Waterworks-Lamson decided to up the technology and performance for the third one.   It’s smooth, strong and durable.  Looks play a part here, but this is one of my favorite reels from 2020.

Pros:

  • Looks great
  • Lightweight
  • Conical drag
  • Sealed
  • Durable
  • Machined aluminum

Cons:

  • Price

CHECK PRICE ON AVIDMAX  CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Related: Best Fly Rods Under $400

Redington Grande Fly Reel

The Redington Grande is one of the best fly reels for under 300.  It’s made with CNC machined aluminum and the reel is fully sealed.  Nothing is going to break this reel or get stuck in it, unless you smash it with a hammer and pour mud into it!

redington grande fly reel

This reel is a sleeper reel that performs like a reel that is worthy of a $500 dollar price tag.  It’s super smooth and the drag is very easy to adjust.   It’s very balanced on the rod and it just feels like it belongs on your rod.

Because it’s made of the some of the best quality and the design of this reel is to provide strength, you’ll have no issues worrying about durability.  Even years down the road, this might be one of the better fly reel purchases that you can make, especially for the price.

Pros: 

  • Machined aluminum
  • Looks great
  • Balanced
  • Smooth
  • Easily adjusted drag
  • Feel good reel

Cons:

  • Another expensive reel

CHECK PRICE ON AVIDMAX   CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Orvis Hydros Large Arbor Fly Reel (2020)

This is the first Orvis reel on the list of best reels for less than 300.  It has a carbon and stainless steel drag system and a large arbor design.  It weighs less and is more balanced on a rod than its predecessor the Hydros SL.

It has a silky smooth rotation and the drag is super easy to adjust.  You can switch which hand the reel is quickly and it also comes pre spooled with line.  This reel comes in a wide variety of sizes, so it will most likely fit your needs.  Orvis is overall one of the best fly fishing companies on the planet.

Pros:

  • Carbon/ Stainless drag
  • Large arbor
  • Balanced
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Price

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Related: All Redington Rod and Reel Combos Reviews

Redington Rise Fly Reel

The Redington Rise is another one of those reels in the 100 to 200 dollar range that will perform at an elite level.  It’s made of CNC anodized aluminum (6061) and has a massive arbor (as I always say, the bigger the arbor the bigger the fish!)  Nah that’s not true actually – but I would recommend this reel if you are a big fan of very large arbor reels.

The performance of this reel is again, one of the best (don’t get mad at me!  All of these reels are top of the line!)   Because it’s made of CNC aluminum, this sucker is going to last you a while.  And if it doesn’t, it has a lifetime warranty so you’re covered!

Performance wise, you aren’t going to find a bunch of reels better than this one at this price range.  That’s just the bottom line.

Pros: 

  • Lightweight
  • Great performance
  • CNC machined
  • Looks awesome
  • Fair price

Cons:

  • Very large arbor adds bulk

CHECK PRICE ON AVENTURON   CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Sage Spectrum C Fly Reel

The Sage Spectrum C is the best fly fishing reel that you can get for the amount of money that it costs.  It’s not very much.  It’s made of machined die cast material which is good, but definitely not CNC aluminum though.  This, like a lot of reels on this list, it has a large arbor design.  One cool feature on this reel is, the drag knob has numbers on it.  This will show you what your drag is set at with a quick glance down. Check latest price here.  

Despite this reel not being CNC aluminum, it’s still very strong and durable.  It has a concave design that increases the strength of the reel, without needing the best aluminum.

Overall, this is an awesome fly reel.  It’s sturdy, smooth and inexpensive.  Not much more to look for in a reel.

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Orvis Clearwater ll Fly Reel

Best Fly Fishing Reel Under 100 Dollars 

This is the best fly reel in the very budget end of the spectrum for fly fishing.  It’s designed and created by Orvis, so it automatically gets a few points for that.  This reel has a rulon and stainless drag system for long lasting a consistent wear.  Check latest price here. 

It’s made of die cast material and has the ability to take a little beating.  Now, it’s not CNC aluminum, but it’s still very strong.  For the price that you pay in this reel, it’s one of the best fly reels that cost less than a hundred dollars.  It will hold up for as long as you continue to take care of it, and won’t bend like other reels that cost $80.

Performance-wise you are still getting a high level of performance due to the craftsmanship of Orvis.  If you are a beginner fly angler or are looking for an awesome back up fly reel, I would suggest this one to you!

Pros: 

  • Inexpensive
  • Die cast material
  • Orvis brand
  • Quality performance
  • Large arbor
  • Rulon and stainless drag

Cons:

  • Not CNC machined
  • Not fully sealed

CHECK LATEST PRICE

 

Related Article: How To Choose The Right Fly Fishing Vest 

These next couple fly reels are going to be for beginner fly anglers looking for a decent fly reel.  These are some of the better reels that you are going to find in this price range.  If decide that you aren’t digging these reels and want to buy something different, at least try and make sure that the reel is metal.  Seriously, for your own good!

There are reels that are made of polymer and while they do work, I wouldn’t recommend them.  Unless you are buying a combo fly outfit.  But if you are buying your rod and reel separate, stick away from any reel that isn’t metal.  Thanks!

Redington Zero Fly Reel

I’ll start with the Redington Zero.  It’s made of die cast material and is quite lightweight.  It’s a large arbor reel and has a spring loaded drag system.  This reel can be changed from left handed to right handed fairly quickly too.  Check latest price here. 

One complaint people have had with this reel is the clicking noise.  So if you are looking for a quiet reel maybe don’t buy this one, but if the clicking sound is cool with you scoop it.  This reel does come with a life time warranty so that’s a huge upside.

Pros:

  • Die cast material
  • Inexpensive
  • Large arbor
  • Spring loaded
  • Life time warranty

Cons:

  • Louder than average reel
  • Quality concerns

CHECK LATEST PRICE

 

Piscifun Sword ll Fly Fishing Reel

The material of the Piscifun Sword is made of machined aluminum. That is a plus.  This reel is lightweight and it has smooth drag system.  It is corrosion resistant and does have a three year warranty!  If you do want a smaller arbor on your real, this one does come with a mid-arbor design.

A complaint of this reel was that sand and gunk got caught in the mechanical part of the reel, because it isn’t sealed.  Which is a downfall, but also understandable.  The reviews on this reel are incredible on amazon.

CHECK LATEST PRICE

Related: Best Fly Fishing Packs of 2020

In the end, do yourself a favor and pick something up that you will be happy with for a long time.

Listen, I realize that fly fishing can get expensive quickly, and that you want to budget some of your gear, and maybe you want to go with a cheap reel.  Go for it!  Seriously, all the props to you!  Just don’t come whining to me when your reel falls apart in your hands though.

Take a few minutes when you are coming to a decision about buying a reel.  It’s an important piece of the game!  Even if you disagree with my list, I only ask one thing of you; before you purchase a reel ask yourself “is this reel going to work for me? and am I going to be happy with this reel?”.  That’s it.  And if you can answer yes to both questions, buy it!

All in all, I really hope that this list helped you out in some way or shape.  Best of luck this season and tight lines!!

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