I’ve read with great interest the sharp insights from John Merwin and Chad Love relative to the expense of fly tackle, specifically reels. For what it’s worth, I thought I’d make you aware of a promotion from Orvis that can cut expenses and meet the objective of having some “lifetime” gear in the process.
Between now and May 15, if you buy an Orvis fly rod (a Helios, a Superfine, a T3 or TLS model), you get a Battenkill Large Arbor, Mid Arbor, or Bar Stock reel for free. You can match any rod from those lines (which start at $325) with any Battenkill reel (which normally range up to $259); the reel doesn’t have to match the rod.
Granted, you have to buy a nice rod to get the free reel, but if you’re in the market… it’s worth taking a look. Any time I can save a couple hundred bucks and end up with stuff I know will perform well, last a long time, and be backed by a solid warranty, I think that’s a win. Hope this helps.