The Best 5 Weight Fly Reels in 2023 – Buyers Guide

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Below I will go through what I think are the best 5 weight fly reels on the market today. Every manufacturer in the world thinks they make the best 5 wt fly reel. The truth is most of these fly fishing reels are great products and will serve you well.

best 5 weight fly reel

So how can you decide on the best reel for you? A major factor is how much you are willing to spend. You can get 5 wt fly reels that go for under $100 and fly reels that sell for hundreds of dollars. They all serve a purpose or fulfill a specific need of the angler.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallRedington ZERO Fly Reel
  • Die-Cast Construction
  • Quick Interchangeable Spools
  • Clicker Drag System
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest ValueOrvis Clearwater
  • Die Cast Reel Frame And Spool
  • Click-Drag Knob
  • Large Arbor
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For TroutEcho Bravo LT Fly Reel
  • Instantly-Engaged Drag
  • Durable Construction
  • Easily Convertible
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest LightweightSage Spectrum C
  • Larger Arbor
  • Aluminum Die-Cast Construction
  • Easy Conversion
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Line RetrievalRedington RISE
  • Large Arbor Design
  • Oversized Drag Knob
  • Lifetime Warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest DurabilityGalvan Rush Light Fly Reel
  • Cast 6061 Aluminum
  • Torque Drag System
  • Lifetime Warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest DesignAbel TR 4/5 Fly Reel
  • Click-Pawl System
  • Ported Frame
  • Lifetime Warranty
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Detailed 5 Wt Fly Reel Reviews

Redington ZERO Fly Reel

redington zero

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Key Features:

  • Die-cast construction achieving a lightweight model
  • Quick interchangeable spools
  • Larger arbor design for speedy line retrieve and reduced line memory
  • Clicker drag system
  • Easily changed between left-hand and right-hand retrieve
  • Lifetime warranty

The Redington ZERO 5wt reel is a great general-purpose fly reel that will work for all fly fishing conditions.

The Redington Zero sets a new standard for lightweight performance and affordability.

Using an aluminum cast construction creates an incredibly lightweight design.

A durable clicker drag system makes for the ultimate experience in lightweight trout reels.

Retailing for $80 it is one of the best fly reels in its price range.

Colors: Black, Sand, Avocado

Orvis Clearwater

orvis clearwater

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Key Features:

  • Die cast reel frame and spool
  • Recommend as Best fly reel for the price
  • Rulon to stainless, stacked disc drag system
  • Click-drag knob
  • Line weight: 4-6
  • Matte-gray powder-coat finish
  • Large Arbor
  • Available with a fly rod as a kit

Said to be one of the best fly reels with a great performance-to-value ratio. The Orvis Clearwater 5wt reel is a very popular choice for anglers.

The Orvis Clearwater has a new cast reel frame with a stealthy matte-gray powder-coat finish.

The fly reel has a powerful Carbon-to-stainless, stacked disc drag that can hold its own against bigger fish and other fly reels in its range. The easily adjustable click drag knob allows for a consistent setting.

The larger arbor holds sufficient line and prevents memory.

At $98 the Orvis Clearwater fly reel 5wt makes for a great first-time fly reel or even as a spare fly reel.

Echo Bravo LT Fly Reel

echo bravo LT

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Key Features:

  • All-new 4 Carbon Disc Drag System
  • Instantly-engaged drag
  • Larger arbor design for faster line pick up and minimal line memory
  • Durable construction
  • Incoming/outgoing audible click
  • Easily convertible from left to right hand retrieve

Echo is a household name amongst anglers. They produce some great fly fishing gear at very affordable prices.

The Echo Bravo LT fly reels are built with the proven robust four-layer carbon fiber disc drag system.

Sufficient porting gives the reel a lovely light hand feel.

The 4/5 weight fly reel is perfect for targeting trout.

The sealed O-rings keep water and dirt from entering the inner parts of the reel, ensuring smooth, reliable performance.

Interchangeable left to right with ease.

Selling for $199 the Bravo LT is a great choice fly reel for the money!

Here is another fly reel from Echo that will surely give you the performance for it’s price, the Echo Bravo fly reel.

Sage Spectrum C

sage spectrum c

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Key Features:

  • SCS Drag, one Revolution Drag knob
  • Larger arbor for fast line pick-up
  • Well ported arbor for greater strength, line capacity, and lightness
  • Aluminum die-cast construction with machined finish
  • Easy conversion from left- to right-hand retrieve
  • Neoprene and embroidered ballistic nylon reel case

The Sage SPECTRUM C was designed and made as a multi-purpose fly reel. Covering all ranges of fly fishing from trout to tarpon.

The Spectrum C 5wt is no different and is a great choice for many anglers who mainly fish for trout.

The One Revolution Carbon drag systems on these fly reels are the exclusive Sage SCS drag system. One adjustable knob providing reliable, consistent, repeatable drag pressure.

The SPECTRUM C features a machined aluminum cast frame and a generously vented spool.

The Sage Spectrum fly reel is priced at $150 and gives the fisherman more than just the fish bargained for.

Redington RISE

redington rise

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Key Features:

  • CNC machined, 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Ultra-large arbor for quick line retrieve
  • Smooth, compact carbon fiber drag system
  • Oversized drag setting
  • Easily converts between left-hand and right-hand retrieve.
  • Lifetime warranty

The Redington RISE is a great example of Redington’s ongoing quest to keep thinking beyond the norms of what a traditional fly reel needs to be capable of.

Featuring a U-shaped larger arbor that gives better line retrieval and less line memory.

The compact carbon fiber drag system offers a smooth fish stopping torque.

The modern aesthetic of the Redington Rise fly reel gives it a lightness that is very handy for those long days on the water.

For $190 this 5 wt has its Pros but I can’t help but feel it’s a little overpriced.

Galvan Rush Light Fly Reel

galvan rush LT

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Key Features:

  • Cast 6061 aluminum
  • Larger spool to minimalize memory in line and improve line retrieval
  • Torque Drag System
  • Well ported spool for lightness
  • lifetime warranty

These reels were first released over 10 years ago, the 5wt Galvan Rush Light fly reel has been a very popular choice ever since.

The Rush Light’s quality, ruggedness, and ultra-smooth Torque drag system does not disappoint.

This is a high-performance, mid-priced, 5 wt reel that has all the technological requirements need for its applications.

The durable construction is the most prominent feature of the Rush Light fly fishing reel.

Retails for $300 this reel will be with you for life.

Abel TR 4/5 Fly Reel

abel TR

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Key Features:

  • Click-pawl system protects light tippets and overruns.
  • Ported frame for a great balance of weight, sound, and aesthetics
  • Quick-change spool with a threaded release cap and arbor design
  • Made in the USA
  • lifetime warranty

The return of a classic, one of the best Abel fly reels around. The Abel TR 5wt keeps to its roots with a sticking new aesthetic and design.

The partial porting of the frame provides a new improved lightness.

Iconic click-pawl drag system and sound.

A pronounced palming rim is deliberately shaped to manually control drag pressure

The TR 5wt also boasts a large spool to reduce memory in the fly line and increase retrieval rate.

Retailing for $395 you will get a 5wt fly reel that will be with you for a lifetime.

What makes the best 5 Weight fly fishing reel

The Reel Weight

The weight of a 5 wt reel is important as you don’t want to be lugging this overly heavy reel around all day. With most 5 wt reels averaging between 125g and 135g the difference in weight is often attributed to the way the reel was made ie; Cast or CNC machined. Reels made by the Machined method are lighter but are often more expensive.

It’s also important the rod and reel match each other’s weight. If the fly rod weight isn’t the same the setup won’t balance well.

Which Arbor Size To Choose

Which Arbor Size To Choose

This is the distance from the center spindle to the beginning of the reel spool. The larger the arbor the more backing the reel can hold. With 5 weight reels, the arbor size isn’t of huge importance, if you are targeting your average river trout.

It’s important to note that many anglers think that the best reels come out with large arbors but this is not the case. Trout fishing with a standard arbor 5wt reel will more than suffice the general anglers’ needs.

Best 5 Weight Fly Reel drag

There will be two main types of reel drag on a 5wt reel. A click and pawl or a concealed drag.

It is important to remember that the drag on a 5wt reel isn’t going to be relied on like a big saltwater fly reel.

The click and pawl drag system is the classic kind of system that provides a medium pressure that the angler can further control with their palm.

The concealed drag is usually a stainless steel or carbon fully machined system that is entirely closed. This system is constantly being improved to lower startup inertia and increase strength smoothness of drag from the very beginning.


With so many great 5wt reels out there the above list is what I think are great 5wt reels for their prices. There are fly fishing brands like the Redington Behemoth, Lamson Liquid, and certain Ross reels that are also worth a look at.

Looking at the above 5wt choices I would have to choose the Sage SPECTRUM C. I have liked this reel for a long time and think it’s a great 5wt reel when fly fishing for trout and similar species.

The machined aluminum frame makes it very lightweight which I like. The sealed SCS drag and large arbor holds a 5 wt fly line comfortably with sufficient backing.

I would say it’s one of the best fly reels when it comes to trout fly fishing.

So whether you in the market for your first reel or just are wanting to spoil yourself with a new one, take the above into consideration and happy fishing.

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