A 4wt fly reel might be one of the most underutilized sizes. The best 4 weight fly fishing reel can allow you to efficiently nymph with it, but you can also place dry flies to waiting trout or smaller wooly buggers to bass.
Throwing smaller setups can be great fun. Feeling a 3-pound bass fighting on the best 4wt fly reel can feel like a fish of double that size.
So if you’re looking to downsize your selection then a 4wt reel is a great place to start. Below, we’re going to go over three different reels as well as some features of a 4wt reel.
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When To Use a 4 Weight Fly Reel
4 weight fly fishing reels are quickly becoming the most popular weight to use for nymphing. Paired with a long rod you’re able to quickly and easily flick out the smallest of nymphs into runs that trout hold in.
They can also be used to entice bass, panfish, perch, or other smaller sized species. You can throw hoppers underneath bushes where hungry panfish await and the fight on a 4wt is incredible.
What Makes a Good 4 Weight Fly Reel
If you have the ability to do so then you should be purchasing a machined metal fly reel. These are much stronger and will give you great durability when out on the water.
Also, a solid drag system is going to be key. You’ll eventually hook something that might make it feel like your 4wt is going to keel over. So having a solid drag system that can properly wear the fish out is going to make the difference between a fish landed and a fish lost.
Like we mentioned above, the drag system is going to be key. 4wt’s are not doing to have the muscle to haul in massive trout or bass.
So if you plan on using this weight of reel in bodies of water where big fish are present then you would be good to have a disc drag system. You could get away with a click and pawl if need be.
Hearing line ripping off a reel and the drag screeching is the finest noise in 4 weight fly fishing. Click and pawls have a great clicking noise and disc drags have a high pitched wind.
That being said, it’s all aesthetics. A great sounding drag is not going to result in more fish hooked or landed. It’s just a noise of reassurance that you’ve hooked something big enough to pull line.
A nice and lightweight reel is going to be your friend. Most fly anglers are not spending an hour or two on the water and then calling it a day. They’re spending afternoons or days out there. Look for something light and comfortable.
However, you should really be focusing on the balance of the reel on your rod. Look for a reel that has a weight that will perfectly balance your rig. It will lead to better days fishing.
There are some great reels out there that will cost less than $100. So don’t feel like you need to pay half your rent or mortgage in order to have a solid reel.
With the more expensive reels, you’ll typically be getting something with a strong drag system and a strong piece of equipment. It’s not needed but it’s nice if you can afford it.
Fly reels can be made either in precast or machines. A machined reel is going to be much stronger and more lightweight than something that is precast.
That being said, machined reels are much more expensive. So if you’re not rough on gear and don’t mind a little extra weight then a precast reel is going to work just fine.
The Arbor Size
The arbor is the center of the reel that either backing or the fly line is wound on to. A larger arbor is nice for catching larger fish since you can bring in more line quickly.
Smaller arbors are typically used in trout fishing. The arbor size really all depends on what you need as an angler. If you want to put fish on the reel then a larger arbor will be best.
The Best 4 Weight Reel Brands
There are many different types of 8 weight reels out there so it can be confusing when trying to find a great brand. Below we list three to help you make the decision easier.
Galvan makes a very strong and reliable reel. They come in all sizes but they have great low weight models.
They usually come in at a solid price point too. You don’t have to worry about spending your mortgage or rent for one.
One of the most trusted names in fly fishing. Orvis makes great gear and this also includes its reels.
With an incredible design and smooth performance, it’s hard to beat a Bauer. It also features a narrow and lightweight design.
The Best 4 Weight Fly Reels You Can Buy
Below we’re going to go over some of the best 4wt reels out there. These are based on the above criteria, as well as my own personal preference. Take a look and see what you think.
- Drag System – Disc
- Pros – Jewel Finish, and a strong drag
- Cons – too brightly colored and can be tough to adjust drag while a fish is on
The Orvis Battenkill 3-5wt is a great reel if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars. It has a solid drag system that will hold fish and will help you land them.
This reel was tested out in the field so you know it’s going to be good. Arguably the best 4 weight fly reel for the money.
- Drag System -Disc
- Pros – Price, and lightweight
- Cons – not a strong drag system
The Piscifun Sword 3/4 weight fly reel is a deceptive reel. Based on the rice you would not expect much, but it will come th9rhg in the clutch for you again and again.
It might not be the best for hardcore or people chasing trophy fish, but the everyday angler will find this to be great.
- Drag System – Disc
- pros- Smooth and adjustable drag
- Cons – Price
There is not much wrong with the Galvan Torque T4 reel and even the above con is up for debate. Flat out, this reel is great and worth the money.
A buttery smooth, self-lubricating, maitenance-free, nearly frictionless fly reel that not only looks great but will also feel great attached to your rod.
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4 Weight fly reels can be a great tool in your arsenal. You have the ability to nymph well as well as throw small streamers as well as dries.
Hopefully, with the above information, you have a better understanding of what to look for. So head on out to your local fly shop and pick one up!
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