1. Okuma Cold water 153DLX
Simply put, we loved this premium line-counter reel, which handled everything we threw at it over the course of the year and kept performing flawlessly every time we pulled it back out of the bag. Constructed with a powerful star-drag foundation including heavy-duty machine-cut brass gears, dual anti-reverse systems and full Carbonite drag system with up to 20 pounds of maximum drag output, the reel remains lightweight (14.6 ounces) and yet plenty durable.
2. SpeyCo 3 ¾-inch River Switch Reel
The River Switch is an extremely solid reel built for switch rods and shorter Spey sticks. At 9.7 ounces (or heavier if any brass is used), it is not light, but it’s not supposed to be, as this reel is meant to balance two-handed rods. It features the SpeyCo Hexad check system that is internally adjustable, and the River Switch will easily hold 150 yards of 30-pound Dacron backing, 100 feet of monofilament running line and a 420-grain Skagit head. This reel is perfect for fish from Kenai rainbows to Kanektok silvers and on to Karluk steelhead.
3. Daiwa AccuDepth ICV Low-Profile Reel
The first-of-its-kind hybrid solar/battery-powered reel features a waterproof IC digital display that measures line out in feet, as well as a 3+1 bearing system that we found to deliver smooth performance. The low-profile design features one-hand clutch operation and a swept handle.
4. Daiwa LEXA 100H Baitcasting Reel
Offering smooth operation with Magforce Cast Control and Infinite Anti-Reverse the LEXA series reels performed flawlessly on the water, but what our testers appreciated most was extra capacity for heavy lines, and heavy fish. With a massive, UTD Carbon drag, these reels also feature maximum fish-stopping power, along with a wider drag adjustment range for fine-tuning the pressure you want to apply.