Maxcatch Eco Fly Reel Review (Hands-on & Tested)

A complete hands-on review of the Maxcatch Eco Fly Reel from a fly fishing guide who's fished it extensively.

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Ultra-budget-friendly gear is frightening to purchase. Budget-conscious anglers are familiar with the phrase, “If it’s cheap, buy it twice.” Too often, we buy gear, and it breaks after a few uses. Every once in a while, however, you strike gold and find a piece of gear that lasts year after year despite the cheap price. The Maxcatch Eco Reel is one of those pieces of gear that consistently surprises you.

We saw the positive reviews of the Maxcatch Eco pre-spooled reel online and wanted to see if the reel lived up to the hype. We were pleasantly surprised at its performance and the overall quality of the reel itself.

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The Maxcatch Eco Fly Reel on top of its box.

Watch the Maxcatch Eco Fly Reel Review

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Why Trust My Maxcatch Eco Reel Review?

I was able to test out the Maxcatch on some local streams and small rivers in Arizona and test its limits. Since it’s a 3/4 weight reel, I didn’t want to overextend its limits but wanted to give it a fair test.

I tested it with my 4-weight Redington Path rod, and it balanced nicely.

Plus, at Into Fly Fishing, we only test the gear we use. I’ve tested numerous budget-friendly reels throughout my life as a fly angler, so I know what a quality reel should feel like. I enjoyed my time with the Maxcatch Eco and think it’s a quality reel.

Watch the Maxcatch Eco Reel Review

What’s in the Box?

Reel Case

Maxcatch sends anglers a rod sock when they purchase the reel. Since it’s an ultra-budget-friendly reel, Maxcatch doesn’t invest heavily in protecting the reel. If it becomes a reel in your regular rotation, I’d recommend switching it to a neoprene reel case.

I’ve left it in the back of my truck for weeks in the reel sock and have had no issues. A little goes a long way in protecting your reel.


The Maxcatch reel came exactly as expected. The line was spooled tightly and there weren’t any scratches or blemishes that stood out. The reel was lacking a little grease when I received it, but some reel lubricant got everything feeling smooth.

I was a little concerned at first about performance, but it didn’t seem to be affected by it too heavily. There were no instructions on how to change the retrieve, but it’s built like many other reels, so switching the pin isn’t any different than what you’d do on your other reels.

Maxcatch Eco Reel Features

The Maxcatch Eco is extremely affordable. I thought it’d be lacking in quality compared to other budget-friendly reels we’ve reviewed, but it wasn’t. It’s on par and a little better than several of the other reels we’ve reviewed.

We took a look at the 3/4 weight model, but Maxcatch offers numerous other sizes.

Build Quality

The Maxcatch Eco is made from die-cast aluminum. The aluminum keeps the reel light and more durable than some of the other composite plastic reels we’ve reviewed. The drag knob is the only composite piece on the reel. The handle, reel seat, and the rest of the materials are either stainless steel or aluminum.

Overall, the build feels solid. The porting on the sides of the reel keeps the line and backing dry, so it doesn’t begin to deteriorate after a few uses.

As mentioned, the reel could use more grease. It felt a little too dry for my liking.

The die-cast aluminum does scuff fairly easily. I knocked it against a couple of rocks along teh bank and noticed a few scuffs on it. I don’t mind because it makes the reel look more well-used, but if you want something that stays looking new, die-cast aluminum isn’t the best material.

For the price, the materials feel exactly how you want.

Arbor Size

The Maxcatch Eco reel is a large arbor. The 3/4 weight model has a 2.95-inch diameter and can hold 80 yards of 20 lb backing and 60 feet of 4-weight, weight-forward floating line. The retrieval rate is solid for the size of the reel. I don’t mind medium-arbor reels, but the large arbor helps in the retrieval process.

For a 3/4 weight reel, you have as much line as you need. Few fish you hook into with a 3/4 weight will pull all of that fly line and backing.

The 2/3 weight has a 2.7-inch diameter.

the 5/6 weight has a 3.35-inch diamater.

The 7/8 weight has a 3.74-inch diameter.

The arbors are plenty large and can hold as much line as you would need.


The Maxcatch Eco weighs as much as other reels in its price range.

The 3/4 weight weighs 4.97 ounces.

The 5/6 weight weighs 5.64 ounces.

The 7/8 weight weighs 6.6 ounces.

The reel balances nicely on any 3 or 4-weight rod you’re using. I like a little heavier reel, so this is exactly what I wanted. Again, for the price, you’re getting a reel that doesn’t feel any different than many other similar options.


The Maxcatch Eco has a Teflon disc drag system that’s fairly solid. The composite plastic drag knob needed some greasing in order to not catch, but it’s fairly accurate. It doesn’t adjust as much as you’d find on other high-performance reels, but it gets close enough to what you’d want.

The Teflon is built to withstand plenty of heat. Whatever fish you hook into with the 3/4 weight model isn’t going to strain the drag system. It produced around 6 pounds of drag, so the fish is really going to have to pull hard to push the drag beyond its limits.

Many other affordable fly reels have Teflon or Rulon disc drag systems because they keep everything affordable. You won’t find a carbon fiber disc drag system on any of these budget-friendly reels.

If you find a fish that tests the limit of the drag system, you’ll be in for a great fight.


There is a nice traditional sound as you’re stripping line, but there is no sound on the retrieve. Overall, it’s a quiet reel, so if you want people to know you’re on the water, I’d recommend a different reel.

Aesthetics & Color Options

The Maxcatch Eco has a nice amount of color and size options.

You have silver, black, brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout designs that all look great. The trout design reels are unlike many other reels you’ll find.


The price is the best part of the Maxcatch Eco. For $32, you get the reel, backing, line, and leader. You won’t find a better deal on the market for the price. The line is high enough quality to last for at least a season.

Purchasing a reel that’s ready to hit the water as soon as you take it out of the box is hard to find. It’s impressive how great this reel looks and feels as soon as you get it. The line and backing are tight and ready to go.

FAQs About the Maxcatch Eco

What is the Warranty on the Maxcatch Eco reel?

Maxcatch offers anglers a one-year, no-questions-asked warranty on the Eco. If you don’t like the reel, you can return it or get it replaced with a different model.

How Much Backing does the Maxcatch Eco have?

Depending on the model you choose, Maxcatch Eco can hold anywhere from 30 yards to 90 yards of backing.

What is the Advantage of a Large Arbor Fly Reel?

A large arbor allows you to retrieve more line on every rotation. You can reel up faster and keep moving.

Where are Maxcatch Reels Made?

The Maxcatch Reels are made in China.

What is the Maxcatch Eco Reel Made out of?

The Maxcatch Eco Reel is made of die-cast aluminum.

Maxcatch Eco Reel: My Personal Thoughts

Overall, I like the Maxcatch Eco. I think it’s the perfect option for the angler looking to get into the sport. It has all of the line, backing, and leader you’d need for the first couple of trips on the water. You’d only need to replace your leader once it’s fully used.

Sure, the drag knob sticks, and the aluminum doesn’t feel the same as a high-performance reel, but that isn’t the point. It’s built to get out and fish as soon as you get it. I have no concerns about it falling apart or breaking after a few uses.

It’s one of those reels you don’t quite know what it’s going to do. It continues to surprise you every single time you use it.

Shop The Maxcatch Eco Fly Reel

View the Maxcatch Eco Fly Reel and compare prices on AMAZON.

The Maxcatch Eco Fly Reel on top of its box.

As an experienced angler, I wouldn’t keep it at the top of my rotation, but it has a nice place as my backup or teaching reel. I often teach people how to fly fish, and it’s perfect to show people the ropes. I may switch out the fly line after a couple of months, but the first few uses proved that it feels solid and performs much better than I thought.

I can’t get over the price of the reel. I keep thinking it’s too good to be true and expect to take it out of the case and find it broken. It works and does very well for around $30. I trust that it’ll last for multiple seasons.

You can do no wrong by purchasing the Maxcatch Eco. It’ll do whatever you ask and more. Test its limits and see what it can do. If it breaks, oh well. You have a year warranty, and you’re only out around $30. You won’t find a better deal in the budget-friendly reel market.

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My name is Danny Mooers and I’ve been fly fishing for five years. As soon as I went to college, I dove headfirst into my obsession for fly angling. Every spare weekend or long break was dedicated to finding fish. I’ve fished all over North America in search of trout, salmon, steelhead and everything in between. I currently write articles for Guide Recommended and Reel Adventure Fishing. Fly angling is one of the most challenging yet rewarding hobbies any person can have. Don’t be afraid to give it a try.  It’s an addicting activity that tests everything from your fine motor skills to your patience, but it’s well worth your time.

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