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In this article, I’m going to share with you the absolute best 9 weight fly reels on the market today, including some of the best brands for heavier reels and the features to look for in this weight class.
The nine weight fly reel is one of the most popular sizes for targeting big, strong freshwater fish or going after small to medium-sized saltwater species.
It has the strength to haul in bruisers and is also able to cast heavy flies in the wind. Combined with a fly rod in the same weight, it’s perfect for targeting big and strong fish.
So, if that’s what you’re looking, for then this article’s for you. Below I’ll cover 4 different reels as well as some of their features that will help you out there on the water.
When to Use a 9 Weight Fly Reel
The 9 weight fly fishing reel may be the most versatile size out there. You can effectively go out and catch just about any freshwater fish anywhere from Florida to Washington.
The same goes for saltwater fishing. It’s heavy enough that you can catch just about any size fish you can get your fly out to.
Of course, whenever picking a fly reel weight, you should also match it up to the same weight rod. So, if you’re purchasing a 9 or 10 weight reel, then you’ll want to set it up with your 9 or 10 weight rod.
What Makes a Good 9 Weight Fly Reel?
A good nine weight fly reel is strong and sturdy enough to head out on the water with you and bring in those big fish that you’re after.
That means you’ll need a drag that can handle such a strong fish. This will allow you to wear them out so you can easily bring them into the boat. Below I’ll go more into depth on drag and other features.
The larger the reel gets, the more important it is to have a drag system that’s strong and works well. Unless you plan on using some very heavy leader, a good drag system will help you immensely.
A disc drag system is the best one for you. The click and pawls work well, but not for the type of fish you’ll be targeting.
The sound of the line flying off the drag is a beautiful thing. It can get the heart racing and is an auditory clue that you have a major fish on the end of your line.
That being said, the truth is that the sound of your drag doesn’t assist you in catching fish. It’s purely for aesthetics.
Once you start getting into bigger reels, their weight starts coming into play. The larger they are, the heavier they are, and you can wear out your arm from casting them all day.
You should find something that’s not too heavy and won’t give you casting fatigue. More importantly, make sure it’s balanced on your rod.
Price is all up to you. If you can afford an $800 reel, then go for it. However, this isn’t realistic for most of the fly anglers.
You can easily find a reel for under $100 that will work for you. If you want something even cheaper, you should be able to find that too. It just may take a little bit more effort searching.
Milled or machined aluminum is the best 9 weight fly reel material out there. They are both strong and durable, allowing hardcore anglers to hit the water day after day without worrying about their reel breaking.
Cast aluminum, plastic, and composite materials are the cheaper options, and they aren’t as durable. This doesn’t mean they are bad pieces of equipment, though.
The Arbor Size
Arbor size is important when chasing large fish. The larger the arbor, the more quickly the reel will bring the line in.
This will help you land the fish quicker, making the fight shorter and giving the fish less of a chance to break off and swim away.
The Best 9 Weight Reel Brands
Below I’ll cover a few different types of reel brands. These are some of the best 9 weight fly fishing reels out there.
Known worldwide as one of the leaders in fly fishing gear, they make great reels. They have several different 9 weights that can be used in just about any situation.
Redington is known for making some of the best reels out there, and you won’t have to empty your bank account. You can get some great reels for only $100.
Their reels are similar to Redington, except these are more budget to mid-range reels. They’re ideal for someone just starting out in fly fishing.
The Best 9 Weight Fly Reels You Can Buy
Below I’ll go over four different reels. Each of them will help you out on the water, and they also come in a range of prices suitable for all anglers.
- Drag system: Disc
- Pros: Great price, easy-adjust drag
- Cons: Drag is not sealed against saltwater. Bright green color could be ugly to some.
The Aventik Z is a great reel for anyone looking to start out fly fishing. It comes at a great price point and has a solid drag system.
Of course, in this price range, you won’t get the quality and warranty that you’ll find with some higher-priced brands. The low price means that it might not be made that well, but for $33 it’s hard to pass up that kind of a deal.
- Drag system: Disc
- Pros: Strong drag system and is buttery smooth
- Cons: Small arbor, and drag loses its sound after a while
The arbor is small, so you’ll need to put a fair amount of backing on there.
- Drag system: Disc
- Pros: Used in both fresh and salt water
- Cons: Doesn’t hold much backing
This one is ideal for anglers who’ve decided they need a better piece of equipment strapped to their rod. The Piscifun Crest reel can be used in both fresh and salt water. It has a great drag system. Also, it might be the best 9 weight fly reel for the money.
It doesn’t hold much backing, so if you plan on catching big fish, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Drag System: Disc
- Pros: Excellent sealed drag, huge arbor, sturdy interlocked design
- Cons: Lower ranges of the drag are still very high
The Behemoth reel is one of Redington’s best offerings. It easily has one of the best drags in its class, especially when considering the lower price tag. Anglers love this reel in all weights, but as you get up into the 9s and 10s, the power of the drag really starts to shine.
It’s a sealed drag system, so it’s perfect for saltwater. I love this reel and I’d love to get it in more sizes, but the 9 is a real winner in the mid-range category of 9 weight fly reels.
If you’re looking to pick up one of these awesome reels, check out my full hands-on Redington Behemoth Review.
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Nine weight reels are extremely versatile. They can be used in fresh and salt water all over the world. If you’re a saltwater angler who will travel the world with only one reel, it should be a 9wt.
Hopefully, the above information has helped you in your search for a 9 weight. So, go ahead and shop online and order one to arrive at your door. It’ll likely be there in just a couple of days, and for an angler, it’ll feel like Christmas!
Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.
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