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Snowbee Onyx Fly Reel

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The Onyx #1/2 fly reel from Snowbee - perfect for small stream outfits The Onyx #1/2 fly reel from Snowbee - perfect for small stream outfits

With the rigours of drought affecting more and more rivers across England and the UK, we may all end up having to fish lighter outfits this year as a result of the lack of water as rivers turn into streams! Perfect timing then to investigate the nice little Onyx #1/2 fly reel from Snowbee.


New for 2012, the Onyx range of fly reels from UK-based Snowbee, addresses all the main weights and modern requirements for everything from tiny stream fishing up to salmon and seatrout plus covers the reservoir anglers love of cassette reel systems with not one but two options in this category with the #5/7 and #7/9 including the reel, case and 3 spare cassettes each. 

They Say

The new ONYX range of fly reels from Snowbee, offer a new dimension in fly reel design and technology. The main reel frame and spool are made from lightweight, durable die-cast aluminium. However, they are then finished on a precision CNC machine, so you get the best of both worlds – the finish, feel and precision of a CNC machined reel, but at a ‘die-cast’ price!

The large arbor design gives faster line retrieve, more consistent drag performance and minimal line memory. Add to this a multi-disc, centre drag system and you have a fly reel which performs way above its expectations at this price level.

The cork and stainless steel drag discs provide a smooth, powerful drag performance, with minimal start-up inertia, to avoid those ‘smash-takes’.

The new ONYX fly reels come in a full range of sizes from a tiny #1/2 model for the smallest brook rod, right up to a powerful #9/11 Salmon model. Both the #5/7 and #7/9 models come with an easy-change cassette spool system

Onyx Fly reels

  • snowbee_onyx_reel_1234_450978851.jpgCNC machine finished, die-cast aluminium frame and spool
  • Large arbor design for faster retrieve, more consistent drag performance and minimal line memory
  • Extra hard paint finish for salt-water and chip resistance
  • Multi-disc cork and stainless steel centre drag system
  • Easy left to right hand conversion
  • One-way roller clutch bearing
  • Stainless steel main spindle
  • Quick release spool

10536 Onyx #1/2
The smallest model in the range. At just 60mm diameter the baby #1/2 is designed for the smallest 6-7ft brook rods, where larger reels would unbalance them.
Diameter: 2.4” / 60mm
Weight: 87g.

We Say

Priced at £49.99 for the #1/2 model you get a lot of reel for your money (relatively speaking obviously with the smallest reel in the range!) Although there are cheaper reels available on the market if all you want is line storage, they will not be as well-made as the Onyx. On the flip side there are of course plenty of much more expensive reels out there also which essentially do the same job which is where I think the Onyx stands out as a good buy therefore.

I would question as to whether you really need the drag system on this #1/2 model but it is not a hindrance in any way although I wonder if it adds a little extra weight that could have been lost? In any case, in testing it was smooth enough which bodes well for the larger models in the range that will benefit much more from its inclusion.

What I did like in particular was the oversize reel handle which on other small reels can literally be hard to get a grip of - no problem here. As the blurb says, in the hand the reel does certainly give the feel of a quality reel and I have no doubt is sturdy and will stand up to many years of service and happily survive a knock or two along the way.

The Onyx pairs very well with Snowbee's own 6' or 7' Classic brook rods as a very affordable entry into the world of small stream fishing.

Where to Purchase

You can buy from your regular Snowbee dealer or directly online by clicking here.


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