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The click and pawl drag fly reel is an old school fan favorite that not only makes fishing easier but they also get the job done very well.
We are often asked what are the best click and pawl fly reels so today we have picked out our current favourite 3 reels and done a detailed review of each (the Redington Zero is our top pick, you can see it on Amazon here). They are all good options in our opinion but separating them just comes down to your preference but hopefully this gives you some suggestions.
Top 3 Click And Pawl Fly Reels: Our Reviews
Here is a rundown of each of our picks, the good and also the downsides to be aware of which we hope helps you out making a decision.
1. Redington Zero Fly Reel
Perhaps one of our favorite options out there at this time is this one, the Redington Zero Fly Reel.
Now, this is a high quality fly reel no doubt, one that is made out of die cast aluminum, a material that is very resistant to physical damage, UV light, water damage, corrosion, and more. It’s one of the heavier duty click and pawl fly reels for sure.
Moreover, something else you might appreciate here is that this thing is one of the lightest click and pawl reels in its class, which is beneficial because the less weight you have on your rod, the better off you are.
Another beneficial aspect of this particular fly reel is the fact that it features a quick change spool system, so you can quickly and easily change the spool of line you are using.
Something else that you might like here is that the Redington Zero Fly Reel comes with a very large reel design, something which helps to increase overall retrieval speed, while also reducing line memory issues, both big benefits as far as we are concerned.
Yes, this thing uses a spring loaded clicker drag system, but beware that the drag on this fly reel is not adjustable.
- Heavy duty.
- Good for fast retrievals.
- Quick spool change design.
- Does not allow for drag adjustment.
2. Pflueger Medalist Fly Reel
Here we have another high quality click and pawl fly reel, the Pflueger Medalist Fly Reel.
Just like the previous option we looked at, this thing is made out of machined aluminum, which is about as tough as can be. It’s a precision machined reel and spool that is highly resistant to corrosion, UV damage, and physical damage too.
It’s definitely a tough customer. However, do keep in mind that it is aluminum, so it is also very lightweight, which is nice because it helps keep the overall weight of your fly fishing setup to a minimum.
Something you might like about this particular fly reel is that it comes with an ambidextrous design, or in other words, it can be used by both left handed and right handed people, something you don’t see too often.
The polymer handle is both lightweight and durable, yet another bonus to keep in mind here. Moreover, the high quality click and pawl drag system here is very reliable, but once again, the drag on it cannot be adjusted.
The arbor on the Pflueger Medalist Fly Reel is a standard model, but it does have a high capacity for fly fishing line.
- Very durable.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Left and right handed use.
- High capacity spool.
- Changing the spool takes a little work.
- Drag is not adjustable.
3. Orvis Battenkill Reel
One thing which stands out about the Orvis Battenkill Reel is the fact that it comes with a narrow spool, which is good because it means that there is less line stacking, which then leads to easier casting and retrieval.
Moreover, this thing also comes with a very large spool diameter, which is good because it allows for really fast retrievals so you can haul in those fish as quickly as possible.
What is really nice about this particular reel is that it does have a 4 position click and pawl drag system. In other words, it is actually the only fly reel on our list today that features some level of adjustment when it comes to the drag.
Yet another thing which you may appreciate about the Orvis Battenkill Reel is that it comes with an adjustable left or right handed retrieval system, so you can use it whether you are left or right handed.
This reel is also very lightweight, something we can all get behind because nobody wants a super heavy fly reel, plus it does have a decent level of durability, although maybe not as much as the two other options we reviewed here today.
- 4 position drag.
- Less line stacking.
- Fast retrieval.
- Somewhat limited durability.
What Is A Click And Pawl Fly Reel?
So, you might be wondering what exactly a click and pawl fly reel is. Well, it is the type of fly fishing reel that was traditionally used, that is up until the disc drag system was invented, but that is a whole different story.
A click and pawl fly reel features have a spring loaded pawl which sits on the interior of the fly reel frame and it engages a small wheel with teeth on the center of the reel frame.
The pawl will ratchet against the teeth of the wheel and the tension on the spring then creates resistance as the spool turns to release line off it.
Yes, there are options with single pawls or dual pawls, and some are adjustable while others are not. Those which allow for the adjustments to be made are nice because here you can actually adjust the drag.
This is the type of fly reel which generates that clicking sound which most fly fisherman are used to.
Disc Drag VS Click & Pawl Drag
Ok, so now we have discussed what exactly a click and pawl fly reel is, but we have also mentioned disc drag fly reels. So, what is the difference between a disc drag fly reel and a click and pawl fly reel?
Well, when it comes down to it, the disc drag option is the better, more advanced, and more expensive option to go with. It really is a step up in the world of fly fishing. Just think about these like the disc drags on your bike.
A disc drag fly reel features a metal disc and a piece of friction material, combined with washers, which then apply even drag to your reel as you make a cast. The washers can be made of various materials, with cork being one of the most popular and widely used materials.
Generally speaking, these disc drag options are much heavier duty, much easier to adjust, have a wider range of adjustment, and are much more consistent and reliable in the amount of drag which they produce, when compared to click and pawl fly reels, plus they don’t make that noise either.
Yes, click and pawl fly reels are fine, but they are generally seen as the precursor to the more advanced disc drag system fly reel.
There you have it folks, what exactly a click and pawl drag fly reel is, and what the differences between it and disc drag fly reels are. When it comes down to it, we do like the old school click and pawl option. Now it is up to you to choose one for yourself and hopefully our picks have given you some suggestions for your next reel purchase.