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Until you get into Pelagics or big sharks a fly reel is really just a line holder. There are very few inshore gamefish that’s will even warm up a quality reel, much lest put it to the test. With that said there are great reels and absolute crap at both ends of the price spectrum.

The Redington Grande for example, under $100 and I know people who have been using them for like 5 years now in salt and they are still ticking. Then you have the reels that are marketed well and pushed by influencers to retail for $600 and beyond that are absolute dogsh*t. I won’t name names but I had three of the same brand reel that are produced in Florida and very popular with the flatbill crowd fail catastrophically on my skiff just this fall and we are talking redfish here........ Not exactly tackle busters even at their largest.

It’s no secret that I am a Tibor guy for life. They are what I choose to use for my own use and my guide business, and my grandkids will get them From me some day. I use them hard, hose them off and put them away with very little maintenance aside from the occasional soak and re-greasing of the drag. Plus Ted is the American Dream in real time, and I like that.
 

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I've bought a piscifun sword fly reel and was given one of their torrent baitcasters for christmas by a family member. Figured since both were cheap/free they'd be worth a try to just experiment with as the have great reviews on amazon, but the sword free spooled fishing for trout in the rockies and the baitcaster literally blew up in my hands on a redfish here in NOLA.

Will one of tir reels work anecdotally? Sure... but the variance in their build quality is so bad that if you're going to need to rely on a reel to be anything more than a line holder then you'll need to invest at least a few bucks into something that has a reliable reputation. For $200 new or $100 used you could by an Orvis Hydros that would be substantially safer to fish with.
Thought the Hydros was built in China!?
I've bought a piscifun sword fly reel and was given one of their torrent baitcasters for christmas by a family member. Figured since both were cheap/free they'd be worth a try to just experiment with as the have great reviews on amazon, but the sword free spooled fishing for trout in the rockies and the baitcaster literally blew up in my hands on a redfish here in NOLA.

Will one of their reels work anecdotally? Sure... but the variance in their build quality is so bad that if you're going to need to rely on a reel to be anything more than a line holder then you'll need to invest at least a few bucks into something that has a reliable reputation. For $200 new or $100 used you could by an Orvis Hydros that would be substantially safer to fish with.
 

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I hardly ever join in y'alls arguments or discussions, but I thought I would interject some thoughts on this subject. I am all for saving money and getting stuff for less, but.....
here's some food for thought.

I try to buy all of my fishing and hunting gear from local vendors in hopes that the money for these hugely important funding programs is not lost in the shuffle.

Pittman - Robertson Act
Dingel - Johnson Act
Wallop - Breaux Act

Here's an article that speaks to the point.

..... besides.. I like losing once in a lifetime fish due to cheap ass fishing gear. The stories that they produce....LOL!

56131648661__9E9A392D-1AD2-4931-9542-5212D33FB9B6.JPG
80# steel leader, suck ass snap, 8 foot black tip... well he was only about 5 feet, but he gets longer every year.
 

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Thought the Hydros was built in China!?
Had to look it up, but you're right! Even still, having fished with both the difference between that reel and a piscifun is night and day. The hydros is typically the reel I recommend to new saltwater anglers, and the battenkill is what I recommend for fresh. If either fails you can simply take it into your nearest orvis and get a new one!

I personally fish hatches and abels, but that's just my preference
 

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People wanting to go after juvenile redfish or whatever in the marsh, yea, there’s nothing I can see where anything fancy or high end is needed for that. I don’t like the cast aluminum reels simply because they have invariably pitted and deformed under the paint or finish via saltwater corrosion, but the machined and anodized AL holds up much better in the saltwater, in my experience. Fly reels are stupid simple as compared to low profile baitcasting reels, I’ve never had a fly reel stop functioning in spite of my much less than diligent maintenance and care, can’t say the same for low profile baitcasting reels. Even the cast Al fly reels like the Old Lamson Konic still function, they just end up looking terrible with the saltwater working on the cast Aluminum. The kayak and marsh is a rough environment for gear. Grit and mud, lots of banging this or that and hard knocks. Not sure I’d want a pretty and pricey reel out there.

But, saltwater fly fishing means a lot of things, croaker and whiting, sea run trout, jacks, reds, stripers, on up to marlin and tarpon. Kayaks to cabin cruisers. Inches of water to bottomless depths. Blazing tropical flats to Ice water cold Scandinavian shorelines. Saltwater fly fishing seems to or tends to be always lumped together into one big undifferentiated category. “I need a saltwater reel and rod, should I get an eight weight?” Or “what’s the best saltwater fly line?“

Cannot be one good answer for every question regarding saltwater fly fishing.
 

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I hardly ever join in y'alls arguments or discussions, but I thought I would interject some thoughts on this subject. I am all for saving money and getting stuff for less, but.....
here's some food for thought.

I try to buy all of my fishing and hunting gear from local vendors in hopes that the money for these hugely important funding programs is not lost in the shuffle.

Pittman - Robertson Act
Dingel - Johnson Act
Wallop - Breaux Act

Here's an article that speaks to the point.

..... besides.. I like losing once in a lifetime fish due to cheap ass fishing gear. The stories that they produce....LOL!

View attachment 173397
80# steel leader, suck ass snap, 8 foot black tip... well he was only about 5 feet, but he gets longer every year.
This is a really good point about the tax dollars that go to supporting our habits.

You can add marine gas to the list also.
 

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Buy whatever you want. Zebco reels have caught just as many fish as any other reels. It comes down to what you think is important. For me it is to buy fishing equipment from Americans. I will spend a little more for that. I try to support our local fishing stores before I go to a large retailor or online. I go for mid price and built good as the more expensive stuff. Galvan, Ross, Lamson, Colton and a few others. I started out with Pflueger Medalist like just about everybody else and slowly worked my way up. I can't bring myself to spend much more than $500 for reel that really only holds line and has a drag. I have better things to spend money on, but to each his own. Here is a Colton and a Galvan that I use quite a bit.
20170718_083412 (2).jpg
20160919_092407 (2).jpg
 

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I know you need a great reel for really big fish and deeper water: tarpon.

but let’s be honest, most fish under 6lbs can be caught without a reel at all. And fish under 30lbs can be caught on affordable reels with ease. a fly reel has way more simple mechanics than conventional reels, this should translate to possibilities of cheaper and more reliable products.

I bought the piscifun AOKA off Amazon for 30 bucks 2 years ago. I have fished it hard on my 8wt here in NC and ended up taking it to LA for a week last December. It didn’t disappoint and is still is working to this day. I understand the longevity is not going to stack up to a $400+ reel but for the money it’s hard to beat a $30 reel that will last 2+ years.
So we don't even need a reel to catch a fish under 6 lbs? I get your point but that is a stretch.
 

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Context is really key. For example, Lee Singleton says fish "under 30# can be caught on affordable reels with ease".

Ok first off what is "affordable."

And second have you caught tuna 30# tuna on fly? Can it be done on "affordable" gear? Sure. Is that smart? Probably not.
 

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Until you get into Pelagics or big sharks a fly reel is really just a line holder. There are very few inshore gamefish that’s will even warm up a quality reel, much lest put it to the test. With that said there are great reels and absolute crap at both ends of the price spectrum.

The Redington Grande for example, under $100 and I know people who have been using them for like 5 years now in salt and they are still ticking. Then you have the reels that are marketed well and pushed by influencers to retail for $600 and beyond that are absolute dogsh*t. I won’t name names but I had three of the same brand reel that are produced in Florida and very popular with the flatbill crowd fail catastrophically on my skiff just this fall and we are talking redfish here........ Not exactly tackle busters even at their largest.

It’s no secret that I am a Tibor guy for life. They are what I choose to use for my own use and my guide business, and my grandkids will get them From me some day. I use them hard, hose them off and put them away with very little maintenance aside from the occasional soak and re-greasing of the drag. Plus Ted is the American Dream in real time, and I like that.
And they will wack the end of your fingers just as hard as any! This from a jack guy... lol
 

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Just put in an order for a pile of upgrade medalist parts. Feet, drag plates, and counterweights. I feel like I am tuning up an old Chevelle, but I might be putting a spoiler on a Civic. Only 1 way to find out.
 
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