The best fly fishing reels for under $100 will allow you to get out on the water and fish without having to break the bank. That way, you can spend the money elsewhere.
They may not be as durable or on the same level as some more expensive reels, but they’ll work just fine. The reality is that most fly anglers don’t need to spend a car payment or more for a reel.
Quick Look: Best Fly Reels Under $100
★ #1 Best $100 Fly Reel Overall: Orvis Clearwater ★
- Best 3 Weight for Under $100: Redington Zero
- Best 5 Weight for Under $100: MaximumCatch Tail
- Best Fly Reel for Trout Under $100: Piscifun Sword
- Best Saltwater Fly Reel for Under $100: Piscifun Crest
So, below I’ll cover some of the best fly reels for under $100. Check them out and see which one will work the best for you!
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What to Expect from a Fly Reel Under $100
You’ll get a reel that’ll get the job done, nothing more and nothing less. Sure, some may come with more bells and whistles, but for the most part, you’ll just get a solid piece of equipment.
Some of the more expensive models may be better equipped, with a stronger drag system or more durability, but in reality, as long as you take care of your reel, then you can hold onto it for years.
Are There Good Reels Under $100?
The short answer is, yes. You can find good reels for under $100. It may take some looking, research, and testing, but they do exist.
Read as many reviews of the reel as possible. Not all $100 fly reels are created equal, so you need to ensure you’re getting something that will hold up to the general wear and tear that happens to a reel.
Best Brands for Under $100
Below I’ll go over several different brands of fly reel that make products for under $100. Each of them is ideal for an angler on a budget, so check them out and see which one you like!
Known as a discount fishing brand, Piscifun may have a reputation for making cheap products, but they also make some of the top fly reels for under $100.
So, if you’re looking for several different products for under $100, check out Piscifun. They make a reel that anyone would be happy to use out on the river.
Orvis’s most popular reel for under $100 is easily the Clearwater. It’s a great reel for a beginner because it’s not super expensive but has all of the components needed to go out and catch big fish.
I recommend this reel for anyone looking to get into the sport. Or, it’s a great backup reel for someone to take on multi-night trips.
This brand is very similar to Piscifun. They’re known for cheaper fishing reels and other gear that’s ideal for anglers on a budget or new anglers who don’t want to spend too much.
These are great reels for getting started. Most of them are under $50 and will allow you to get out on the water and learn the sport without having to drop a car payment in order to do so.
Features of the Best Reels Under $100
They may not have some of the best features like a $500 reel, but they make do with they have. In the right hands, they’ll consistently catch fish.
So, if you’re looking for a great reel for under $100, check out some of the features of them below. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find.
The drag system isn’t so important if you plan on targeting smaller species of fish. Average sized trout, bass, or panfish can be played with a hand on the spool. Most cheaper reels are lacking in the drag system department.
So, if you plan on chasing bigger fish, you should do adequate research to ensure you’re getting a reel with a drag system that can handle large and strong fish.
It’s hard to find both a lightweight and durable reel for under $100. Usually, you’re only going to get one or the other. Something lightweight could be made of plastic, meaning it will break more quickly.
So, with weight, you’ll have to compromise some. Figure out a weight that you want in a reel and then bump it up a little. That will ensure you can find a reel that you like.
Arbor size and price isn’t something I normally see going together. There are expensive reels with small arbors and large arbors, and there are cheap reels with large arbors and small ones.
It all depends on what you prefer. A smaller arbor is great for targeting smaller fish since you don’t need to wind in line as quickly, while a large arbor is great for targeting larger species.
The cheaper models are made of either plastic, which is lightweight but brittle, or molded metals. These are heavier pieces of equipment.
It’s tough to find a cheap reel that’s durable. That’s just part of the deal when you go the cheaper route. So, it’s important that you’re always careful when fishing to ensure it will stay with you for years to come.
As far as aesthetics go, the sound of a fly reel is tough to beat. The ripping of line coming off a click and pawl reel is unmatched. Luckily, the sound of the reel is not dependent on its price.
You’ll find some cheaper reels that are loud and let everyone on the river know you’ve got a fish on, or you could find one with just enough zip that only you can hear.
If you’ve been fishing for a while, you know that the feel of a reel is important, and that it’s unique to each individual. What feels great to one angler may feel terrible to another.
In theory, a $20 reel could technically feel better than a $500 reel. It all depends on your personal preferences and what feels best in your hands.
Most of the cheaper reels don’t have the best aesthetics. Looks, colors, and unique designs are typically designated for more expensive models.
That being said, you can definitely find a good looking reel for under $100. It may just take a little bit more research and looking around, but it for sure can be done.
You can find just as many weights in cheaper models as you can in expensive models. The quality of the reels are different, but you shouldn’t be worried about being able to find a 2 weight for under $100.
Best Fly Reels Under $100
Now that I’ve gone over some different features of reels of under $100, let’s talk about some of the different products.
Below, I’ll cover five different reels. Each has its own pros and cons. So, check them out and see which one is right for you!
- Drag system: Click and pawl
- Pros: Large arbor, durable, works exceptionally well for the price
- Cons: Slightly heavier than other reels due to the sealed drag
The Piscifun Crest comes in several different sizes, meaning you’ll be able to target several different types of saltwater fish and throw a varying array of sized flies to the fish of your choice. This is the best saltwater reel for under $100.
The fully sealed drag system will help keep out the sand and saltwater that you’ll find when targeting reds, bonefish, or any other species. This is a great reel for the price.VIEW ON AMAZON
- Drag system: Click and pawl
- Pros: It’s super lightweight, durable and affordable
- Cons: The clicking is pretty loud and it has very little drag power
If you’re looking to get out on small streams and throw tiny bugs to brookies, then Redington Zero is a great reel for you. It comes in a 2/3 weight, so you can pair it to a smaller rod if need be.
It looks great and also has a large arbor, so you quickly retrieve line and get that fish into your net faster. The clicker drag system also sounds great if you wind up hooking into a big fish. It could be argued that this is the best fly fishing reel for under $100.VIEW ON AMAZON
- Drag system: Disc
- Pros: Both durable and effective at an incredible value
- Cons: Has very simple aesthetics and the texture isn’t the smoothest
There might not be a line of reels better known in fly fishing than the Orvis Clearwater. All of the pieces of equipment given this name are not only solid, but also very affordable.
Similar to the Redington Zero, it has a large arbor that can be utilized when reeling in bigger fish, so you can land them quicker and more efficiently. This is the best trout reel for under $100.VIEW ON AMAZON
- Drag system: Multi-disc
- Pros: Durable and high quality for the price
- Cons: Drag startup isn’t that smooth
One of the cheaper reels on this list, the Piscifun Sword is also one of the better reels for the price. It’s ideal for the new angler or for someone looking to bring along a backup reel in case their main reel breaks or is lost.
It’s stainless steel and has a great look to it. For the price, the reel is surprisingly durable, allowing you to fish hard with it.VIEW ON AMAZON
- Drag system: Click and pawl
- Pros: Lightweight and durable for the price
- Cons: Pre-spooled line isn’t great quality
The MaximumCatch Tail reels are similar to Piscifun. These are cheaper reels that are made to be affordable for just about any angler.
This is another great reel for someone looking to get into fly fishing without spending too much money. This might be the best value reel for under $100.VIEW ON AMAZON
I’ve had two of these Maxcatch Avid reels for over a year and I love them. No, they aren’t as high quality as the Redington Zero or the Orvis Clearwater (listed above), but this reel is still an incredible value for the money.
When you’re looking for the best fly reels under $100 in 2023, then this lineup is one of the best you’ll find.
With a high-quality die-cast design and a combination of cork and teflon disc drag system, this reel isn’t perfectly sealed for saltwater, but I’ve used the 7 weight plenty of times off my dock fishing snapper. Because I rinsed it after each use, it’s been fine so far.
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After looking over the information above, you hopefully have a better understanding of what to look for when purchasing a reel for under $100.
So, with that being said, go check out Amazon and see if you find one for yourself!