Declaring something “the best” in any category opens the door for immediate rebuttal. With the exception of a few givens in this world — think, Wayne Gretzky — the best is a matter of opinion and circumstance. That is why when tasked with writing about the best fly fishing reels of 2013, my stomach dropped a bit. Fly fishermen are a picky and opinionated bunch, all with unique preferences and their own trusted reels.
So in the name of stirring up as little controversy as possible, without ignoring the fact that there are reels that can undoubtedly be deemed to be one of the best, I decided to get specific. And the best way to do that was to head over to the Fly Fishing Shop at our Jans Park Avenue location and get the guides and experts talking about fly reels.
A Fan Favorite Fly Fishing Reel
After talking with both fly fishing guide, Larry Culley, and the founder of our company, Jan Peterson himself, one common theme emerged — the 4 Plus Finatic fly reel from Hatch Outdoors is the hottest trout reel on the market. What exactly makes this fly fishing reel so ideal for chasing trout? As Larry says, “the super sturdy, entirely sealed drag system on this reel could stop a freight train, but still makes for a really light set-up.” That means that whether you’re up in the headwaters with smaller trout, or down in the tailwaters with the bigger guys, the 4 Plus can handle any fish you hook without ever feeling like overkill.
How does the 4 Plus Finatic handle big fish with such an effortless feel? According to Larry, “low start up inertia combines with super smooth drag, which keeps you from over-tensioning and snapping a line and losing the fish of a lifetime.” With almost no chance of a fish taking line off of your reel, the modestly sized 4 Plus Fly Reel lets fly fishermen fight bigger fish without.
The Guides’ Favorite Spot for the 4 Plus
Once again the guides in the Jans fly shop were unanimous in naming a favorite spot to put the 4 Plus Finatic to use. The exclusive Thousand Peaks Ranch on the upper Weber River fits the bill. Providing private access to the headwaters of the Weber, Thousand Peaks Ranch offers access to the river trout on which the 4 Plus thrives. As Jan Peterson pointed out, “fishing the headwaters gets you closer to where the fish originate so they’re a little smaller, but, going after smaller fish gets you away from the crowds and to some beautifully isolated areas.”
Larry was quick to add that because the fish are “less pressured and less educated, they’re willing to rise to dry flies.” This allows for the use of more classic dry flies, and a return to a truly authentic fly fishing experience. Lightweight, but sturdy when it needs to be, the Hatch Outdoors 4 Plus Finatic is at its best when put to use on a classic set-up with dry flies.
Choosing the Best Fly Fishing Reel for You
Obviously this hypothetical pairing of reel with location is absurdly specific. You may not have access to private headwaters with such varied fish size and species. You may not even be fishing freshwater. But, as our fly fishing experts made clear, if you get the chance to take the Hatch 4 Plus Finatic in search of trout, you will not be disappointed by its performance.
As Larry says, “Choosing the best fly fishing reel comes down to three basic questions: Who are you? Where are you? What are you after?” Swing by Jans and get our guides and fly fishing experts talking. They’ll help you narrow it down, and make sure that you head to the river with the best fly fishing reel for your specific needs.
Nate Tomlinson, Content Writer