I’ve never been a big one for reels. They’ve always felt like something I need just to wind the line on and nothing more. I don’t manically wind in the line and then play the fish on the reel ratchet like I see a lot of fishermen do, I prefer to play the fish with line in hand. For years I stuck with the basic large arbour plastic reels that you can buy for £10. I had heaps of them, all with different lines on, so a few years ago I decided to simplify things a little.
After looking on eBay for other reel options I developed a liking for old fashioned retro shinny chrome reels (sometimes it doesn’t help being a designers when aesthetics take over from practicality!). For the past few years I’ve been using quite small old Ryobi fly reels which have been very good and look great but recently I’ve noticed how much memory stays in the line and leader when wound on the small reels. Maybe a bigger modern reel would help?
While moping around at home after an aborted fly fishing trip due to a neck strain shortly after new year I decided to soften the blow and buy some new gear. After doing a bit of research I plumped for the Greys GX500 fly fishing reel. It was a good price, came with spare spools and a bag and I’d heard good things about it. I also like Greys equipment and have a Greys rod so throughout it would be a good match.
After not using a modern large reel for a few years I was pleasantly surprised how light and solid it felt and how it balanced the rod nicely. In hindsight I think the old reels I’d been using were a little heavy for my rod so the move to a lighter reel felt good. The GX500 has a cassette spool system which works very well. You just unscrew the main dial on the front, take the outer reel off, pop off the old spool and put the new one on then screw the outer back on again. Not as easy as the other reels I’ve used with the little catch on the spool but definitely more secure and robust.
The spools come with a handy identification system where you can push in small red plastic dots into pre cut and labelled holes on the side of the spools so you can mark the spool with the type of line on it.
I’ve used the Greys GX500 fly fishing reel out on the water once and it performed very well, felt balanced on the rod and was easy to change lines with. It does everything I need it to do so far and the line definitely seems to lie straighter and hold less memory. On the next fly fishing trip out we’ll get to test it with a brand new setup including a shinny new Barrio fly line and Varivas tapered leader.
Maybe, if the weather holds and work stays quiet, I’ll get out this week…