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GAIA fly reel from Imago - the review

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Collectors Item for the Future? The GAIA fly reel from Imago Fly Fishing. Collectors Item for the Future? The GAIA fly reel from Imago Fly Fishing.

When I opened the very smart brown leather case and saw the Imago GAIA #2/3 reel, I thought “is it real?” This reel is minute! It is dwarfed by the size of the case.

First Thoughts

The design – by “the world-renowned fly reel designer Alex Kaplun” - is relatively traditional but the lack of a spindle makes it stand out. The reel is named after Mother Earth in Greek mythology, although the Game Angling Instructor Association might have other thoughts. Although the diameter of the spool is only 65mm, it has an internal width of 24mm, which is quite large for its size, and so the reel will hold a full line plus some backing. In fact, I took a line and backing off a Hardy Lightweight and it all fitted, somewhat to my surprise.


Imago_reel_caseThese reels are produced in a limited number each year, with a view to them becoming collectible. The design of the reel will change annually so that each year’s production is different.


Performance and Opinion

Once I had put a line on the reel and the reel on a rod ready to fish with it, it took-on a new personality. It was no longer a “toy” but a proper piece of fishing tackle. It grew up.


The reel consist of three parts: the spool, the main cage frame and the rear connecting screw. I would have taken it apart but when I removed the connecting screw on the back, the reel was reluctant to come apart so I left well alone. It all seems pretty simple and there is little or nothing to go wrong.


Imago_reelI would like the basic click drag system to be smoother and quieter. A richer, more “expensive” sound would be nice. While it may well be that there is not much material to absorb any noise, I did wonder if a change in the design, or materials used, of the drag system might help. The drag works in both directions so there is no need to, or indeed possibility of, switching the reel from left- to right-hand wind. You put the line on whichever way you want.


(John Zerihoun, Owner of IMAGO Fly Fishing replies..."The click drag system will get smoother and quieter within a short time of usage as it is custom built. Hence a "richer" sound.")


Once the reel is on a rod and you are fishing, its diminutive size is soon forgotten. It works just like any other small reel.


Anyone looking to buy a distinctive, small, light reel for a for a #2/3 rod (or even a #4/5 rod) for fishing small brooks and streams for funky little wild brownies will have fun doing it with one of these reels. And who knows how much it might be worth in a few years!



  • Click-drag system
  • Made out of a bar of D16T aircraft aluminium, matt anodised
  • Supplied in handmade leather reel case
  • #2/3 weighs 72.7 gram and the #4/5 weighs 81.7gr
  • Limited to 150 reels of #2/3 and #4/5 respectively per year. Reels are numbered from 1 to 300 regardless of size
  • 5 year warranty
  • Made in Europe


The GAIA reel, either #2/3 or #4/5, costs £276.00




Imago GAIA  - Seller: Imago

Price: £276.00


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Comments (8 posted):

Editor on 09/12/2009 10:40:03
We are just waiting to hear back from the lucky winner and then will make a proper announcement so check your inbox!
scotty9 on 09/12/2009 13:23:36
Looks like i didn't win :( Unless my pm's are broken :D Great competition, congratulations to the winner.
Editor on 10/12/2009 13:24:56
Stuart Menzies from Dundee! Congratulations to Stuart who just got in touch with us today - "Hi, I'm Delighted to hear I won this competition as I've never won anything before!" Thanks to everyone who entered and made this our most successful competition to date with over 400 correct entries! If you are still hankering after one of the lovely GAIA reels from Imago, and I know many of you are from your comments in your entries, then they are still available in the MarketPlace@Fly Forums.
BRUCE1 on 12/12/2009 12:14:20
sodding hell i missed this !!!!!!!!!!!!
graham a on 05/12/2013 22:08:56
Bought a similar one from China for 30 !
falsecast on 05/12/2013 22:18:22
Bought a similar one from China for 30 ! Do you have a link ?
luke troutstalker on 05/12/2013 22:26:00
Bought a similar one from China for 30 ! You have been stiffed, they are usually about 12 :D
ohanzee on 05/12/2013 22:40:26
Bit of a branding copyright blinder that surely:omg:
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