Welcome to our reviews of the Best Fly Reels Under $50!
You need a good fly reel for a great fishing experience. But you don’t need to break the bank for a quality reel. So we have reviewed some of the top-rated yet affordable fishing reels on the market to find you the Best Fly Reels Under $50.
If you have in a hurry: Piscifun Sword is the Best Fly Reel Under $50.
- Solid and Lightweight: Precision CNC-machined from 6061-T6...
- Silky Smooth Drag: Experience a silky smooth drag with the...
- Corrosion Resistance: Hard anodized for surface protection...
Last update on 2024-02-21 / Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Here is our list of the top 10 fly fishing reels under 50.
Our Top 10 Picks
- Piscifun Sword – Overall Winner
- Sougayilang Oscar – Runner-up
- Maxcatch Eco – Best Preloaded
- Redington Crosswater – For Saltwater
- Angler Dream – Best 1/2wt
- Maxcatch Avid – Best 3/4wt
- Piscifun Aoka – Best 5/6wt
- Pflueger Automatic – Best Automatic
- Aventik HVCE – Best Under $30
- Croch Fly Reel – Best Under $25
Best Fly Reels Under $50 Reviews
Now, let us move to our detailed reviews.
1. Piscifun Sword
Piscifun Sword is one of the top-rated budget fly fishing reels. It is built with CNC-machined aluminum alloy which makes the reel strong, durable, and lightweight.
The reel is tough enough to sustain rough handling and different weather conditions. The hard-anodized surface increases corrosion resistance.
Piscifun Sword comes in different sizes: 3/4 weight, 5/6 weight, 7/8 weight, and 9/10 weight. The 5/6 weight may be the right size for most anglers as you can use it to catch a variety of small to medium-sized fish. But you will need a 7/8 or 9/10 weight reel if you plan to target larger fish.
We have extensively tested the Piscifun Sword over a couple of fishing trips. We can attest the multi-disc drag system is smooth, solid, and durable. It is unlike the drag system we generally see at this price point.
First, we tested the 5/6 weight reel for catching large rainbows and browns on the Missouri River in Montana. The drag worked better than reels costing several times more. The large knob makes it very easy to crank down the drag. We caught several fish up to 18″ using this reel.
Next, we decided to test the 7/8 weight reel during our Alaskan salmon fishing trip. When you hook a salmon in the river, they instantly run downstream. Most fly reels don’t have much drag, but Piscifun Sword was more than capable of handling such fish. We caught several salmon in the 15-25 lbs range.
2. Sougayilang Oscar
Sougayilang Oscar comes in two sizes, 5/6 weight, and 7/8 weight. It has a nice bargain price tag so you can get one without stretching your wallet.
Out of the box, the reel feels quite light due to its hollow body construction. It is built with CNC-machined aluminum alloy which makes it durable and corrosion-resistant. The design is lightweight and functional. Sougaylang’s signature gold color decorates the arbor.
We recently tested the Sougayilang Oscar 5/6wt reel with a variety of lines and lures on one of our fishing trips. Whether you like using dry flies or nymphs, this reel can handle it all. It also works well with both floating and sinking lines.
We found the drag system smooth and reliable. We were able to bring in several large fish with ease fish, and the drag never felt jerky or unpredictable.
Overall, Sougayilang Oscar is a great reel for the price. You can use it to make your mark whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler. It is easily one of the best fly reels under $50.
Another factor is the supportive customer service team. Sougayilang offers a three years warranty. Replacements and repairs are quickly handled.
3. Maxcatch Eco
Maxcatch Eco is a die-cast reel unlike the Piscifun Sword and Sougayilang Oscar. Although die-cast reels tend to be heavier than CNC-machined ones, Maxcatch Eco weighs only 4.5 oz.
We recently tested the 7/8 weight reel during our steelhead fishing trip to Lake Erie, PA. Out of the box, the fit and fishing seem durable. The reel feels strong and sturdy in hand.
The reel comes with the fly line, backing, and tapered leader all included. Our black color reel came preloaded with a moss green colored line and the leader was nail knotted to the line.
We paired the reel with our new 11 feet 8-weight fly rod and it balanced well. The drag was smooth and easy to adjust. We caught around ten running steelheads in the 5-7 pounds range.
The reel held up well and did a great job picking up the line that the fish would scream out of our reel. We also liked the quiet no clicking sound when reeling in.
Overall, we are happy to recommend Maxcatch Eco. For the price, it performs well above its pay grade. Available in many different colors, Maxcatch Eco is a showstopper!
4. Redington Crosswater
Redington Crosswater is one of the best saltwater fly reels under $50. But don’t let the low price fool you. We have tested the Crosswater extensively in the field, and it can handle tough conditions just as well as expensive reels.
Specifically, we tested the 4/5/6 weight model for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
First, we tested it during our fishing trip to the Rocky Mountains. We spooled the reel with a weight-forward floating line and paired it with a 4-weight rod for floating dry flies.
We caught a nice 16-inch cutthroat trout and the reel’s drag system helped us tire the fish out. It let us land the fish without worrying about breaking the line.
Next trip, we paired the reel with 6 weight rod for saltwater fishing in the back bays. We used the reel to catch several schoolie stripers that were putting up a strong fight in the surf. The drag system proved to be reliable enough to help us land these fish.
The reel held up well despite the sand and saltwater. We only had to rinse it in fresh water at the end of the day to remove any grit or debris.
5. Angler Dream
Angler Dream is an affordable reel that comes in an attractive design with different sizes and color options. Performance coupled with an attractive price makes this reel a great pick.
We picked the 1/2 weight reel to test it out during our ultra-finesse fishing trip. It is ideal for making a delicate presentation targeting small fish such as crappies, sunfish, or perch. But if you are planning to catch trout, bass, or other medium-sized fish then you can go for a 3/4 wt or 5/6 wt reel.
When we opened the box, we found our reel preloaded with a weight forward floating fly line, backing, and leader. It is not easy to find a budget fly reel that comes preloaded. We didn’t even have to tie a knot, as the line, backing, and leader were all pre-tied.
As the 1/2-weight reel is only 4.2oz, we paired it with a 6’6″ 2wt ultralight fly rod to make a balanced setup. Using this killer combination, we caught several common panfish in the 1/4lb to 1lb range during our trip.
We have used it a few times and the reel doesn’t show any sign of wear yet. On our next trip, we will try to land fish in the 2-3 lbs range using this reel and let you know the results.
6. Maxcatch Avid
Maxcatch Avid comes in the 1/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10 weights. You can order the reel in blue, green, black, or silver colors. Like the Angler Dream, there’s an option to buy the reel and line together.
Out of the box, the Avid sports a CNC-machined aluminum body and a hard-anodized surface. Another feature we noticed is the single-revolution drag knob engraved with numbered settings. It lets you easily adjust the drag and set it to exactly where you want it.
We really like the signature blue color of the reel we ordered. But there are no bells and whistles so to speak. You will find Maxcatch Avid a simple reel balancing the price and the features.
Maxcatch Avid is an excellent middle-of-the-road reel. The price is not too cheap but not too expensive. If you buy both the reel and line, that’s an even better bargain.
It is an easy-to-use reel that isn’t weighted down with too many extra features. If you tend to the reel, it should last for quite a while. But if you run into any problems, Maxcatch offers great customer service.
7. Piscifun Aoka
We picked the Piscifun Aoka XS 6wt reel during our fishing trip to Florida. Out of the box, it is a sharp-looking reel with sound machining and quality construction. It’s a narrow reel, making it perfect for dry and streamer fishing.
We extensively tested it for dry and streamer fishing with a 6wt rod. It was able to handle everything we have thrown at it with ease. We caught quite a few panfish, smallmouth bass, and even some largemouth bass. The drag and reel worked perfectly.
The drag was perfect for catching anything a 6wt can handle. The reel was incredibly smooth and responsive. So far, we’ve used this reel for more than 50 hours in different conditions, and it still works perfectly. In fact, it has held up well even after getting dunked in the river a couple of times.
There are plenty of 5/6 weight reels on the market, but the Piscifun Aoka XS stands out from the pack. In fact, some anglers have tested the Aoka XS with more expensive options and found that it performs just as well. It’s one of the best 5/6wt fly reels under $50.
8. Pflueger Automatic
Next on the list is the Pflueger Automatic. Unlike all other manual reels on our list, this one lets you automatically reel in the line.
It only comes in one size: 5/6 weight. It is a versatile size for targeting small to medium-sized fish. The lack of size options can be a limitation if you are a serious angler going after larger fish. But anyway, automatic reels are not meant for seasoned fishermen.
Out of the box, you will notice the frame and spool are made of aluminum alloy. But the body is made out of plastic. When you open the reel for loading the line, you can see the main spring is made of stainless steel.
We recently tested the Pflueger Automatic on a fishing trip to our local ponds and streams. With the 5/6 weight, it made sense to use it for catching small to medium fish. So we spooled it with a 5-weight line and paired it with a nice 6-weight rod.
Some fly fishing purists may not agree, but using this automatic reel made it easier to manage the line. Even landing or netting a fish was easier. We caught several trout and bream using this combination. It’s an excellent reel but you should be wary of heavy use.
9. Aventik HVCE
Aventik HVCE is a new lightweight fly reel made with graphite. The lightweight design ensures that you won’t get tired even after using the reel for a long time. The graphite construction makes it strong and durable.
It is available in three sizes – 3/4, 5/6, and 7/8 weight. We suggest you pick the one with extra cassettes. So you can quickly take a cassette off and add another one.
Out of the box, the reel looks stylish in the attractive black color. You can easily disassemble the reel for any repairs or maintenance. All the components look well-built and sturdy for the price. There is no wobble or noise of any kind.
We recently tested the 3/4 weight reel during one of our fishing trips. We spooled the reel with 4 weight sinking fly line and backing and paired it with our Fenwick 3wt 10″ fly rod.
First cast, and we caught a 4lb catfish! The winding was smooth and the drag worked well enough. We used this same setup for catching several trout and bass during our trip.
Aventik HVCE is the best fly reel under $30 as per our field tests. It is cheap yet strong enough to tolerate some mishandling without getting damaged. It offers you all the essential features so you can direct all your energy toward fighting the fish.
10. Croch Fly Reel
The Croch fly fishing reel comes in the 1/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10 weights. You can order the reel in different colors including black, army green, gold, and silver. The reel delivers excellent performance for its price making it the best fly reel under $25.
We ordered the 5/6wt reel in a nice army green color to test it out. Out of the box, the reel features a die-cast aluminum frame and a CNC-machined aluminum alloy body. But despite the aluminum construction, the Croch is heavier than many reels that we have used.
Maybe the Croch was designed with bigger rods in mind so the extra heft makes it easier to balance. This makes the 5/6 weight reel more suitable for 9 or 10 feet fly rods.
We spooled our new 5/6wt reel with a 5 ft leader, 100 ft of full sinking fly line, and 100 yards of 20lb backing.
With all the line and backing, our reel weighed over 6 oz. So we paired it with a 9 ft 7/8 wt fly rod to balance the setup. We used this combination for catching several smallmouths in the Great Lakes.
How to Choose a Fly Reel Under $50
This is the thin line between an ok reel and a quality reel that serves you a lifetime. And for a low price, a reel like that would be an asset. But it is not easy to find the best fly reels under $50 on the market.
The quality of a reel depends on many different factors such as the material, construction, drag system, and arbor size.
So we’ll share some useful tips about these factors to help you pick the right fly reel for your needs.
Material and Construction
Many different materials are used in making fly reels. While plastic, aluminum, and metals are common, aluminum is the most reliable choice.
If you intend to use your fly fishing equipment in saltwater as well, there is no choice but aluminum. It is resistant to corrosion and damage by rough use and dirty water. Aluminum is also comparatively cheap.
You must also pay attention to the construction of the fly reel. Most top-quality reels use machining or CNC machining.
The next choice in line is die-casting. These reels will not be as strong as machined reels but they will be durable and resistant to corrosion.
Composite plastics are also very popular in the realm of fly reels. For one thing, they are very light in weight and extremely comfortable to use. But they are not durable.
You can catch bigger fish with a heavier line. Keep in mind that the size of your target fish will determine the weight of your fishing line and reel. For small fish, you require a 3wt or a 4wt line and a 3/4 weight reel.
Most anglers choose a 5/6 weight reel for fly fishing. It works well enough for both small and medium-sized fish.
You must also ensure that your reel weight matches the rod weight. For example, you should use only 3/4 weight fly reels with 3/4 weight fly rods.
You can check out our reviews of the Best Fly Fishing Combos Under 300 so that you are assured of buying a matching reel and rod.
The performance of your fly reel depends upon the size of the arbor to a great extent. The arbor refers to the large wheel on the reel that holds your fishing line.
It is economical to go for a small-sized arbor which will make your equipment lightweight. Small and light arbors are also more comfortable to use.
But you must pick a reel with a large arbor if you are targeting fish that make fast runs.
The purpose of a drag system is to stop the line so that the fish cannot escape. So a quality drag system is essential to land the fish.
A drag system provides the requisite power when you have to stop your catch from running away.
Your drag system needs to be smooth. Otherwise, the fish might just break your tippet and escape.
Some of the best budget fly reels either have click-and-pawl drag systems or disc drag systems.
The click-and-pawl systems involve a gear in combination with a spring to create drag for the reel. A disc drag system relies on carbon discs to provide friction to stop the reel.
Experienced anglers prefer disc drag systems over click-and-pawl. But it is extremely difficult to find a disc drag system on a reel under $50. Most of the reels on our list use click-and-pawl drag.
If you are looking for more options, you can check out our reviews of the Best Fly Reels Under $100.
Fly reels have to retrieve a lot of lines while reeling in a hooked fish. It is accomplished by the means of manual or automatic retrieval.
Manual reels are the ones in which you manually reel in the line. Whereas automatic reels work by storing the tension in the spring and then releasing it to retrieve the line.
Beginners can work well with automatic reels. But experienced anglers always go for manual reels.
We have tested some of the top-rated fly fishing reels on the market to find Piscifun Sword as the Best Fly Reel Under $50.
Sougayilang Oscar is another great option if you want to save money. It offers unbelievable performance for the price.
Maxcatch Eco offers some of the same features for an even lower price. It even comes preloaded with the line and backing.
Redington Crosswater is one of the few fly reels under $50 that you can use for saltwater fishing.
All of the reels that we have picked are affordable and cheap. Each one will fit your budget and still deliver an excellent performance.
But your choice of the new reel will depend on your needs. So, please feel free to contact us if you need help picking the right one for your specific requirements. We are happy to answer all the queries we get.
We hope you like our pick of the Best Fly Reels Under $50. Please let us know if you would like us to review any particular reel. We will include it in our next update. You can contact us using the comments sections.
Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Blaine Townsend