When I dove headfirst into small stream fly fishing last summer, my 9 foot 5 weight rod was a bit too much for tight spaces and 8-inch brook trout. So I shopped for a smaller outfit. My fly fishing gear budget was tight, but I didn’t want to buy junk either. But how to avoid potentially low quality Chinese knockoffs without breaking the bank?
The best quality for the price I could find was the Okuma SLV 2.3. I did have to drop about $60 bucks for it, and after a few months of use I think the reel is just about the perfect balance between quality and price. It has many of the qualities of the highest end reels, including comfort, smooth operation and a better drag system than I’ll ever need in the places it will fish.
Here are a few of the reel’s features from Okuma:
SLV features: Multi-disk cork and stainless drag washers; roller bearing engages drag in one direction; precision machined brass bushing drive system; precision machined stainless steel spool shafts; Alumilite diecast aluminum frame design; diecast aluminum super large arbor spool design; non-slip positive grip rubberized handle knobs; left/right retrieve.
The first summer I used the reel for about 15 days. I’m super hard on equipment and aside from a slightly beat-up appearance from constant dropping on rocks, gravel and underwater baths, the reel is in fine shape.
Finally, let me tell you what tipped my decision on buying the Okuma SLV. I’ve owned an Okuma spinning reel for a few years now. On a smallmouth fishing trip to a nearby river I lost an important piece of the reel that rendered it unusable. I emailed Okuma about the part I needed and asked them how to order it and how much it would cost. Literally three days later, I received the exact part I needed, postpaid and at zero charge to me, from Okuma. That one action sold me on the company. I know if I ever need something for this reel, they’ll be good for it.
If you’re looking for a good quality fly reel at a reasonable price, try the SLV. It should get the job done.