I’ve found that fly fishers fall into two camps: Those who think a reel is nothing more than an ornament that holds line, and those who think a high-performance disc drag is essential to effective fishing.

Where do you stand? I’m not sure myself.

On the one hand, I have a really hard time dropping hundreds of dollars for a spool, no matter how sexy it looks. On the other hand, having done the “[motorcycle reel test](/ node/1001313222)” I definitely see the performance advantages some reels offer over others.

Does that translate to catching fish vs. not catching fish? Depends on where you are. In saltwater, I think the reel is as important or more important than the rod itself. But I’m not sure I’d say the same for trout fishing.

Decoration… utility… form… function?

What “reely” matters?