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6 Best Vintage Fly Reels- Fish Your Way Using a Modern Classic

Are you looking for some best vintage fly reels to add to your antique collection? Or thinking of going fishing with a classic and antique fly reel in your backpack? We have got you covered.

This guide will unveil the six best vintage fly reels followed by a buying guide to make your buying decision worthwhile.

Let’s begin!

Sr. No.ProductSpecifications
1Orvis Battenkill Disc Drag Fly Fishing ReelStructurally Durable
Composed of aircraft aluminium
Available in three different sizes
2Martin Caddis Creek Fly Fishing ReelFeatures a lightweight aluminium spool
Uses traditional click and pawl system
Efficient spool release
3Pflueger Medalist Fly ReelComposed of machined aluminium
Supports click and pawl system
Comes in three different sizes
4M MAXIMUMCATCH Flying Fishing ReelMade up of stainless steel and aluminium
Engineered by a combination of die-casting and machine cutting
The drag system has stainless steel and Teflon disc
5Aventik HVCE Graphite Fly ReelComposed of GraphiteAvailable in three different sizes
You can buy with or without a cassette
6Hardy Marquis LWT Fly Fishing ReelComposed of bar stock aluminium
The drag system contains titanium and stainless steel
Most parts are handmade

1. Orvis Battenkill

Orvis Battenkill disc drag fly reel is a smooth combination of the vintage look of the Battenkill click reel and modern drag technology. With a multi-stacked drag system and aircraft aluminium body of this vintage fly reel, you can conveniently capture a hard-fighting fish.

Its drag system is sealed and anodized to ensure minimum dust and rust inside the vulnerable parts. You can choose different models of this reel ranging from the size I to V. Size I-II with a traditional style for small fish, size III for larger trout, whereas Size IV-V for salt water.

Product Specifications

  • The reel is produced in China by Orvis
  • The weight of the reel is 0.57 pounds
  • It is made up of the aircraft aluminium
  • It supports a mid arbor
  • It is an ambidextrous reel
  • Simple and durable design
  • Lightweight
  • Easy left to a right shift
  • Sometimes the brake is difficult to adjust while fighting the fish

If you are looking for a hard-on-a-rock, durable, antique fly reel, look no further and buy this one of the best vintage fly reels here.

2. Martin Caddis Creek

This reel will be a classic addition to your fishing tools, featuring a lightweight aluminium spool pre-spooled with 20lb backing and a traditional click and pawl system. Since the spool and the spool frame are made of aluminium, this reel can handle more pressure than plástic spools.

The reel is available at a very reasonable price. There is an on/off button and an efficient spool release by just using the push button. It is a perfect choice for anglers inspired by history, traditions, and a love for fishing.

Product Specifications

  • Zebco produces this item
  • The model name is Caddle Creek 65 Fly Reel
  • It has an ambidextrous hand retriever.
  • The aluminium spool and monofilament help it bears the pressure.
  • It is a cost-effective reel.
  • The preloaded spool makes it a good choice for beginners.
  • It is easy to use and lightweight.
  • There is no drag system which might be a minus point for some users.

If you are a beginner learning how to set up a fly reel, try practising on this cost-effective click and pawl reel. Buy it from here.

3. Pflueger Medalist Fly Reel- A nostalgic Piece

With its classic click and pawl drag, America’s iconic fly reel, relaunched by China, will bring back nostalgic memories for many anglers. The click and pawl drag is adjustable, and the reel has a high backing spool.

The hand retriever is a lightweight polymer with easy left and right switching. It comes in different sizes ranging from ¾, ⅚, and ⅞. It has a nice sound that can make you smile when the fish runs. The reel contains stainless steel components to be used in saltwater. Don’t forget to rinse the reel with fresh water if you use it in saltwater.

Product Specifications

  • Pflueger produces the reel.
  • Made up of high-grade machined aluminium
  • The reel is available in three different sizes
  • The weight of the reel is 0.5 pounds
  • It is an ambidextrous reel
  • Classic click and pawl drag for tradition lovers
  • It is not overweight
  • It comes with a high-capacity backing spool
  • It can be used in saltwater
  • The handle gives a feel of cheap plastic
  • The arbor is small

If you are a retro styling lover, buy this one of the best vintage fly reels and pair it with your grandfather’s rod. Pflueger medalist fly reel is ready to become your next favourite. Buy it from here.

4. M MAXIMUMCATCH Flying Fishing Reel

This high-quality reel would secure a place in your fishing toolkit after you know its specs compared to its price. This reel won’t disappoint you at any point; composed of strong and durable aluminium and engineered by a combination of die-casting and machine cutting.

Stainless steel and Teflon disc composition smooth the drag system, and the quick-release spool adds to its beauty. You get an option to buy the reel only or the reel with the line preloaded. Moreover, this reel comes in three different sizes, i.e., ¾ wt, ⅚ wt, and ⅞ wt.

Product Specifications

  • Maxcatch manufactures it under the brand name M MAXIMUMCATCH.
  • The reel is made up of stainless steel and aluminium.
  • Teflon disc and stainless steel drag system.
  • The weight of the reel is 0.39 pounds.
  • It is an ambidextrous reel.
  • It can be used for freshwater.
  • Smooth feeling drag
  • Lightweight
  • It has a one-year warranty
  • Good value for money
  • Mid-sized arbor with enough backing.
  • Sand gets inside the reel sometimes

M MAXIMUMCATCH fly reel is set to hop into your vintage fly fishing equipment if you are eager to buy a high-quality reel at a reasonable price.

5. Aventik HVCE Graphite Fly Reel

Whether you are looking for a vintage fly reel for your lovely self, your teenager newbie in fishing, or your father with years of fishing experience, this reel is an absolute yes for you all. Its super reasonable price and plenty of specs will exceed your expectations.

The reel is composed of graphite for durability and corrosion resistance. The central disc drag is rugged for smooth drag control.

The large arbor spool and the oversized handle enhance the backing capacity with the easy shift. The reel is available in ¾, ⅚, and ⅞ sizes, and you get an option to buy the reel with cassettes too.

Product Specifications:

  • The reel is composed of a graphite
  • Aventick manufactures it
  • The weight of the reel is 0.4 pounds
  • Available in three different sizes
  • It is an ambidextrous reel.
  • Easy to switch left and right hand
  • Responsive clicker on drag
  • Able to stop decent-sized fish quickly
  • Lightweight and smooth reel
  • It can be used in saltwater
  • Bit rough finish

Aventic HVCE fly reel is our pick for the cost-effective, lightweight, and smooth reel for the newbies, occasional and regular anglers equally.

6. Hardy Marquis LWT Fly Fishing Reel

This remodelled classic reel is a treat for traditional fly reel lovers. Built in Alnwick, England, this reel is the best version of the original Marquis; that was a functional gem.

This new edition of Hardy Marquis is updated in its classic style and increased portability and range. It has a traditional click and pawl drag system, a standard arbor size, and an old-fashioned handle.

Most of its parts are hand-made, adding beauty to this modern classic. Composed of aluminium, it is anodized for extended durability and corrosion resistance. The drag system is easy to clean, and the arbor size lets you add the backing without overfilling fear.

Product Specifications:

  • Made up of bar stock aluminium to ensure durability
  • The weight of the reel is 0.5 pounds
  • Manufactured by Hardy, a company known for its rich traditions
  • The drag system is composed of titanium and stainless steel
  • It comes with five years of warranty
  • It is an ambidextrous reel
  • Beautiful and traditional vintage fly reel
  • Lightweight
  • Reliable and sturdy
  • Reliable braking system
  • Someone still say it’s not vintage

If you are a Hardy fan looking for an antique fly reel with a modern touch and fantastic performance, don’t miss this one. This oh-so classic and must-have vintage fly reel is available here.

Buying Guide for Best Vintage Fly Reel

If you’re looking to invest in one of the best vintage fly reels, follow our buying guide before making any purchases. This way, you’ll find a fly reel that matches your needs perfectly! Remember, not all fly reels are created equal, so don’t fall for an inferior product just because it looks old or has the word vintage in the name.

We already listed some of the most popular and highest quality vintage fly reels above, but plenty are available on the market! Use our buying guide as a reference before making any decisions.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the History of Vintage Fly Reels

A study of the history of vintage fly reels may seem like an unlikely subject, but there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye. Though fishing has been around as long as humans have, some of the most important developments in fishing technology have occurred within the last century. Here are five things you might not know about the history of fly reels

1) The first flies were tied by hand

The first flies were tied by hand with silk thread and feathers. The process was time-consuming and required a lot of skill. Fly-fishing didn’t become popular until the early 1800s, when new technology made it possible to mass-produce flies. This made fly fishing more accessible and affordable for everyone. Today, fly fishing is a popular pastime all over the world. A quick look on eBay reveals thousands of vintage fly reels available at any moment.

2) Early flies resembled spiders

The history of vintage fly reels is a fascinating one. Early flies were made to resemble spiders and were used to catch fish. The first fly reel was invented in 1874 by Charles Orvis, and it revolutionized how people fished. Today, vintage fly reels are highly sought-after by collectors and fishermen alike.  They offer different varieties of both antique and modern designs.

A dry fly reel can be identified by its longer spool: It’s easy to identify a dry fly reel because they have longer spools that don’t need extra space for a backing storage compartment.

The history of vintage fly reels has been going on for over 100 years: Today’s antique market offers many different styles, including early metal models, bamboo varieties, wood composites, fibreglass models, and metal composition models like the first ever aluminium model created in 1954.

3) The first reels were made out of beef bone and cord

In the early days of fly fishing, reels were made of beef bone and cord. The first recorded use of a fly reel was in England in 1620, but it wasn’t until 1764 that the first known illustration of a fly reel appeared. The earliest known surviving fly reel is from 1768 and was made by George Sutton. Sutton’s reel was made of brass and had a ratchet device to prevent the line from being pulled out by the fish.

4) The early reel material wasn’t strong enough

In the early days of fly fishing, reels were made out of brass and other materials that weren’t strong enough to stand up to the elements. This meant that they had to be regularly replaced, which was costly.

The first fly reel was invented in 1874 (two sentences): The first fly reel was invented in 1874 by Charles F. Orvis, who is also credited with inventing the modern fly fishing rod.

5) The design hasn’t changed much in 200 years

The first recorded use of a fly reel was in England in 1808. The design and function of the fly reel have remained largely unchanged in the 200 years since then. Early fly reels were brass or wood and had a simple click-and-pawl drag system. Today, there are two main fly reels: geared and level wind.

Geared fly reels have an adjustable gear ratio that allows more lines to be spooled on the reel when casting but makes it harder to retrieve lines from the reel when playing fish. Level wind fly reels have an oscillating weight at one end of the spool that rotates across both sides, making it easier to retrieve line from the reel when playing fish, but requiring more effort to cast because less line is being spooled onto the reel as you cast.


1.   Click and Pawl or Disc Drag System?

Drag plays the role of a brake for your fly reel. It controls the spool rotation to increase pressure on the fish.

There are two types of drag systems, I.e., click and pawl and the Disc Drag system. The Disc Drag system contains washers that automatically pressure the fish when desired. Click and pawl is a manual drag that requires your hand to put pressure.

Most of our best vintage fly reel picks use click-and-pawl drag systems. The reason is this system is the traditional one. So, for an antique fly reel, the click and pawl drag system suits it.

2.   Is the Reel Durable?

Durability is the real matter of concern when choosing a classic fly reel. It depends upon the composition material and the overall composition of the fly reel.

Milled aluminium or machined aluminium composition results in more durable fly reels. On the other hand, cast aluminium and plastic composition is a matter of concern in terms of durability.

Although few plastic reels are available, cast aluminium and plastic reels are prone to denting and corrosion.

3.   Is the Cost Worth it?

Buy a vintage fly reel that is the best value for money. Look at its composition, features, and ease of use. If you find them worthwhile, buy the reel right away. Looking for a cheap or an expensive reel isn’t the aim, but an antique fly reel with a modern touch is what you are probably looking for.

4.   Is the Weight Acceptable?

You can’t do fishing on your lawn, nor can you leave the fly reel by the fishing sight. So portability is a matter of concern while making your purchase. Does that mean you should look for a reel as lightweight as possible? No.

A very light reel might result in an off-balanced fishing rod, making fishing difficult. A heavy reel would cause a portability issue. Look for a slightly heavier reel that matches the rod balance and doesn’t affect the portability.

5.   Is it Easy to Use?

 Finally, your buying decision stops at this question: is the reel easy to use? Whether you go for a click and pawl or a disc drag system, each has its pros and cons. Also, the arbor size, backing capacity, and spool size play an important role in deciding whether the reel is easy to use or not.

What type of vintage reel are you looking for?

If you’re in the market for a vintage fly reel, you should keep a few things in mind. First, what type of fishing will you be doing? Freshwater or saltwater? Second, what size reel do you need? Third, what drag system do you prefer? Fourth, what is your budget? And fifth, what style do you like? With all these questions answered, you’ll be able to find the perfect vintage fly reel for you.

What type of fishing will you be doing?

If you want a big game fly reel that can handle huge fish and tackle any terrain, look no further than the WFFA XT-7 – Gray Salt. If freshwater is more your style, we recommend the Cortland 8100 Nautilus Fly Fishing Reel – Blue/Silver/Clear. Whether salt or fresh water, this three-speed reel with sealed drag delivers amazing performance at an affordable price point.

What size reel do you need?

To figure out what size reel you need, you’ll need to consider the type of fish you’re targeting and the weight of your line. If you’re going after smaller fish, you can get away with a smaller reel. But if you’re targeting larger fish, you’ll need a larger reel that can hold more lines. Heavier lines require stronger reels that can handle the extra strain.

How much are you willing to spend?

When it comes to vintage fly reels, there are a few things you should take into consideration before making your purchase. First, consider how much you are willing to spend. There is a wide range of prices for vintage fly reels, so knowing your budget will help narrow down your options. Second, think about what type of fishing you’ll often do.

 For example, if you’re only going to use the reel for saltwater and freshwater fishing, buy a reel with heavy-duty parts that can withstand saltwater exposure and different types of fish. Third, think about what size and weight the reel should be based on your personal preference and body size. You want the reel to feel right in your hand without being too heavy or too light. Finally, consider buying an extra spool of line and backing if you plan on buying a used fly reel because they usually come with one spool attached.

What are your experience levels?

You don’t need to be an experienced fly fisherman to buy a vintage fly reel, but it helps you know a little about what you’re looking for. This buying guide will cover the different types of vintage fly reels and what to look for when purchasing one. – One type is called the wet set, which means that after catching a fish, your line will not come off the spool unless you release it. If this is important to you, then make sure to get a wet set reel.

– Next is line weight. Make sure that if your fishing trips are going to be on freshwater and saltwater, buy a reel with more than one level of line weight available so that you can switch between them depending on where you are fishing at any given time.

– Choose a size too! There are small ones, medium ones, and large ones. The decision largely depends on how often you plan to use the reel and how much space in your fishing bag you have left for storage. Finally, there’s the price! Some vintage fly reels may be a few hundred dollars, while others might cost as much as a few thousand dollars. It’s always best to do some research before purchasing this because it could end up being worth every penny or something cheap that breaks easily

Are you looking for high-end, mid-range, or budget fly reels?

In this buying guide, we’ll go over the best vintage fly reels in each category. Whether you’re looking for a top-of-the-line reel to show off to your fishing buddies or a budget reel that will get the job done without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered. Many fishermen prefer high-end fly reels because they want their gear to last and be durable. Mid-range fly reels are an excellent option if you need something with great quality but don’t want to spend too much money on it. And if you’re just starting and on a tight budget, look no further than our low-end options!

We first need to figure out what type of reel suits your needs the best. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line reel to show off to your fishing buddies, look no further than our high-end fly reels. If you have some cash set aside and are looking for good quality, there’s nothing better than mid-range fly reels. Or if you’re just starting and can’t afford anything fancy, buy one of our budget models; these will work well enough to help you catch plenty of fish!

Which Fly Reel Would We Choose?

Two fly fishing reels of our choice from the six best vintage fly reels are:

  1. Orvis Battenkill Disc Drag Fly Fishing Reel
  2. Hardy Marquis LWT Fly Fishing Reel


In conclusion, when looking for the best vintage fly reel, it is important to consider your budget, the type of fishing you will be doing, and the important features. With so many different options on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, by taking the time to do your research and understand your needs, you can find the perfect reel for your next fishing adventure.

We have carefully selected and reviewed the six best vintage fly reels for you with their specs, pros, and cons. Moreover, our buying guide is there to help you finalize your decision. Choose any modern classics and make your fishing experience worth it.

Happy Fishing!






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