Cassette reel advice please

NoviceLes

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Jul 28, 2020
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I am new to fly fishing so would like some advice please. I am learning on small still waters and have a Shakespeare Agility 2 rod - 9ft #6 . At present I am using a cheap Shakespeare Grafite reel (with no drag) and am thinking of buying cassette reel system to I can try out different line types.

I have narrowed it down to 3 reels:
Airflo Switch
Snowbee Onyx
Wychwood SLA MkII

There aren't any local places (Somerset) where I can get my hands on any of the reels so it will have to be mail order.

Can anyone steer me towards which would be the best reel to get - quality, reliability, ease of use, etc?

Thanks in advance.
 

arkle

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Make sure that the models are going to stay in production, as I have 3 a Greys GTX reels & bought up a dozen or so spools for them, they're now discontinued/re-modelled & the new spools are different (planned obsolescence they call it !)
 

original cormorant

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Just to re-iterate the point about getting a good stock of spools.
One advantage of model changes is if you keep your eyes open there are opportunities to buy up stocks of spools when models change. Grey's typically have a cast and a machined version of the same reel, so that you can have the machined one for "best" and the cast one(s) bought for the price of the spools when the model changes.
 

NoviceLes

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How can you tell which reels will stay in production? At present each one has spools readily available. I assume spools will still be around if a munufacturer ceases a reel model. I have noticed some manufacturers upgrade a reel and the previous models spools are compatible.
 

original cormorant

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How can you tell which reels will stay in production? At present each one has spools readily available. I assume spools will still be around if a munufacturer ceases a reel model. I have noticed some manufacturers upgrade a reel and the previous models spools are compatible.
None of them will, and with cassettes in particular manufacturers will clear all stocks when they update the model, when that happens buy buy buy because they will be cheap and you won't get another chance. I wouldn't count on compatibility when reels are updated.
 

spade01

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Hi, i have been using the snowbee onyx in 5/6 for a couple of years and find them good for my needs, the cassettes are tight to put on/off when new but ease up after use. The cassettes are the same as the ones in the snowbee spectre as a bonus so you can use either.
 

Segami

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I have used a Greys GTS 500 for about 4 years now, they have been about for years, found a review from 2015. Greys still have spools for sale on their website, so looks like a 'stable' product. I think it is a great reel for the price.
 

Tangled

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I researched cassette reels a couple of years ago for a #5 rod. I eventually settled on the Snowbee Spectre which comes with 4 spare spools and a natty bag. I chose it because it was the lightest I could find. I like it a lot and would recommend it but it's £150.

SKB cassette reels have a good rep and are cheaper but I couldn't find one at the time.

I also have a Greys cassette reel for my sea trout/salmon rod which is also very good - good drag if you need it, I've pulled in Atlantic salmon with it. They are comparatively heavy. The Greys also have a useful peg system so you know what line is on the cassette.

Remember that if a reel says 3/4/5 or 5/6/7 it will be built to carry the highest line size so if you want a #5 line you should choose the lighter reel unless you need 400 yards of backing on it.

(If you buy the Snowbee, there's a trick to removing the cassette, it's easy but if you don't know it you'd likely chuck it in the bin.)
 

NoviceLes

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I have seen the Spectre but don't want to spend that much at this early stage in my fly fishing venture - maybe in future if I get 'hooked'! I have seen the SKB Cassette II reel but can't get any info about them (despite contacting SKB), and they are out of stock anyway. At present I am planning using 6 weight line on my rod.
 

Tangled

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I have seen the Spectre but don't want to spend that much at this early stage in my fly fishing venture - maybe in future if I get 'hooked'! I have seen the SKB Cassette II reel but can't get any info about them (despite contacting SKB), and they are out of stock anyway. At present I am planning using 6 weight line on my rod.

If you're on a low budget, look at Maxcatch. This is probably a Greys rip-off.


They're Chinese - but then almost all reels are now - Snowbee is a supply 'partner of Maxcatch.
 

anzac

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I have used a Greys GTS 500 for about 4 years now, they have been about for years, found a review from 2015. Greys still have spools for sale on their website, so looks like a 'stable' product. I think it is a great reel for the price.
Same here. The Grey's GTS 500 is an excellent reel for its cost. Mine came with 3 spools (2 spare) when I bought it from Glasgow Angling Centre.

The spools are of a durable plastic. One nice feature is the marking system for line weight and type.
 

Segami

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If you're on a low budget, look at Maxcatch. This is probably a Greys rip-off.


They're Chinese - but then almost all reels are now - Snowbee is a supply 'partner of Maxcatch.
Why buy a rip off for £50 when you can buy an original Greys GTS 500 for between £55 - £59?
 

NoviceLes

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I have looked at the Max catch but the reviews on Amazon are putting me off. I have narrowed it down to the three in my original post, I'm just looking for reports from people that gave them for some positive feedback.
 

JoeOh

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Same here. The Grey's GTS 500 is an excellent reel for its cost. Mine came with 3 spools (2 spare) when I bought it from Glasgow Angling Centre.

The spools are of a durable plastic. One nice feature is the marking system for line weight and type.
I use a Greys GTS 500 (#7/8/9) for most of my reservoir work. Great reel, very satisfied so purchased another from GAC, plus about 4 extra spools, great drag, large arbour and the red peg line indication system so useful.
 

LukeNZ

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If you're on a low budget, look at Maxcatch. This is probably a Greys rip-off.

They're Chinese - but then almost all reels are now - Snowbee is a supply 'partner of Maxcatch.

…ay? Reels are not almost all Chinese.

Off the top of my head in no particular order - Sage, Hardy, Hatch, Nautilus, Abel, Ross, Galvan, Baur, Tibor, Einerrson, Waterworks Lamson, Danielson, to name but a few.

….should you really be advising anyone, as you don’t seem to know anything?
 

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