Catching any species of salmon on a fly means that you are in for a hell of a fight, so it is important that you use the right fly fishing reels for freshwater salmon fishing. Fly fishing reels for the most part have the same basic design, and the difference that will mean a great story with a picture or a steelhead to back you up and a great story about one that got away will often lie in the makeup of the reel itself. Here are some of the components you will want to look at in order to land those spawners when they are on their way upstream; always keep in mind that although the techniques and casting may be the same for salmon and trout, the salmon are the fish that are going to give a bigger fight in the landing.
The handle of your reel can make all the difference in a salmon strike on fresh water. There are a couple of considerations here. The first is comfort. Fresh water salmon are notoriously fickle in their tastes; one day can see hardly any bites, the next day your line is hopping. Western steelhead in particular are one of the greatest fly fishing catches there are in terms of bragging rights, both because of their fight and their reluctance to rise to the fly. It’s important that the handle on your reel is suited to your palm so that you won’t find your hand is getting tired or sore after hours of reeling. A big handle will provide this comfort, and will also come in useful when after a few hours out, throwing and retrieving with no action, you suddenly get a bite. The size of the handle allows you to make a quick grab even from the doldrums, in time to play your line.
Fly fishing reels for freshwater salmon fishing need to have materials that get rid of heat and that have a good amount of surface area for the drag. The drag itself will assist you in playing the fish out, while heat dissipation is critical in order to keep a line from snapping with a fish on the other end. The very highest quality (and also of course the costliest) material used to create drag on a fly reel is carbon fiber. With this material any concerns about losing a big fish due to heat friction are gone, but then so is a lot of money. The next material down, Rulon, is also acceptable and presents a minimal amount of heat exposure to the line. In order to prevent friction caused by debris, it is important to look for a fly reel that has a sealed drag on it.
Fly fishing for salmon, even land locked species, can mean quite an arduous days’ work with little or nothing to show for it at the end. When looking for the best fly fishing reels for freshwater salmon fishing, you need to be aware both of the level of comfort and the possibility of tempting a really big fish onto the fly. Any fisherman will tell you that the latter consideration is the most important, but the qualifications of a reel to meet the two distinct needs are no longer mutually exclusive, so look for a reel that offers the heavy duty materials needed to land those big fish without a lot of additional weight and handling.
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