Published Sep 9. 2009 - 14 years ago
Updated or edited Aug 8. 2015

Asking your opinion: line capacities to finalize reel design

Asking your opinion about line capacities to finalize my fly reel designs.

Designing new fly reels were a lot of work and fun – I would like to ask your thoughts about line capacity. Did my best to create several value-added fly reel features – but line capacities still remain. The choice is copying others or guessing – I do not want to do either. I prefer your input.

I’ve decided to launch three styles: Spey, Center-Pin/Float, and a Palming reel - opting to hold back on the micro, very large, and classic re-makes. The question I have centers on user preferred line capacity – each reel will have a large arbor but the final arbor’s diameter and width are still under consideration for final dimensions to fit the angler’s water best.

For example: If the Center-Pin/Float reel has a 3 ¾”, 4 ½”, or 5” spool dia with ¾” or 1” wide spool rotating on a bushing or a bearing. That makes 12 variants. Which one or two might be best for your waters? – no need to make them all. Are there certain Spey, Float, or other fly reels that are preferred for specific waters? I am considering naming certain fly reels for specific areas or waters that will suit the fishing best.

Thanks so much for your thoughts,


Look at history?...

Your description of the reels reminds me of the Medalist reels that have been around for quite some time. For a brief history, see here:

I believe the general gist was that they came in a variety of diameters and two widths, and also click/prawl and drag models. It may be useful to see what models were the most popular in the past, either by researching sales or simply looking at ebay/online prices.

I do not have any real experience with center pinning, (no pun intended) but as far as fly fishing goes, it seems there needs to be a balance between the diameter of the spool for quick line pick up, less memory, etc.; and not becoming an unwieldy block of metal sticking out from the rod. Larger rods seem to allow larger spools to fit more comfortably. So from this perspective, you could look at what lengths of rods are appropriate for different areas, and base your reel size accordingly. The density of the material is also a consideration, as a less dense reel can be bigger before it becomes unwieldy.

Personally, I've never had to worry much about going into the backing fishing mostly inland lakes & streams, even pike fishing, so large backing capacity at the expense of weight would not interest me a whole lot. Sea-going fisherman I imagine would of course have quite a different perspective on this, so that is another factor.

Sorry no solid answers here...just more to think about if you haven't already. Sound like a fun project. Anyway, my two cents, for free even...

-Fly Walleye



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