Rated 5 out of 5 by BrettS Worth much more than what you pay
I've been fly fishing for about 15 years, and have always used Ross reels since day one. Back then, you had to spend $200 or more to get a good quality reel with smooth drag and not that obnoxious click pawl system. Not anymore!
After taking inventory of my equipment in preparation for this year's season, I realized my 5wt Ross reel went missing over the winter. I figured I might as well pick up another reel until I find the Ross, and that way I'll always have a backup. The Streamlight Ultra looked like a good inexpensive reel to fill in temporarily.
It arrived in the mail yesterday (three days after ordering) and I am extremely impressed. I haven't put backing or line on it yet, but I will say that I won't be in any hurry to find the old Ross. The Ultra is very well made, has a very balanced spin and just the right clicking sound. Apparently I'm a bit picky about the sound my reels make, and this one is almost musical. Quiet enough that people might hear it from 10 feet away, but it's not going to bother anyone, even if they're standing right next to you.
As others have mentioned, the finish on the reel is good quality, as well. Some people have said the drag adjustment knob is hard to grip. I suppose that might be the case while wearing gloves, but I think it's just about right (at least for my fingers). The drag is very easy to adjust (even more so than my old Ross), and the spool is easy to remove and replace.
My only minor complaint is that some of the edges of the spool feel slightly sharp. Not enough that you are likely to cut yourself, and probably not in a way that could damage the line. It's noticeable when running your fingers over it, but it's probably a non-issue once you get line and backing on it and actually mount it on your rod. Maybe it's common with large arbor reels. Again, my experience has only been with one brand and style.
I bought the #2 size and I expect it'll look and handle great on my 5 wt rod. I might pick up a #1 to see how it works on a 4 wt too.
I doubt I'll ever feel the need to buy a Ross again.
March 29, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Troutfins Streamlight Ultra Large Arbor Fly Reel
What's not to like? This is a high quality, good looking reel with a purposeful drag system. Mine is spooled with backing and 3 wt WFF line to make a perfect match to a small stream rod that I need to fit and cast under annoying mid summer brush. Its large arbor makes a controlled retrieve a breeze. A baked on black paint finish blends so as to not frighten those easily spooked small stream brookies. Add the solid feel of a well designed potential heirloom, and Bean's satisfaction guarantee, you can't go wrong.
March 27, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by lhblues So much more reel than I expected
My wife bought me this reel several years ago along with the streamlight Ultra 3 wt rod. I've fished all over the country for brook and rainbows (and even landed a few 18 inch browns) with much success. I had the same trouble with the reel binding after being submerged and Bean sent me the replacement drag part and no trouble after that. Christmas 2011 my wife bought me a high end reel and I liked the look so the SL Ultra 1 became a backup. This is where this reel saved me. I was in California early in 2012 fishing for steelhead and I hooked into a salmon which destroyed the drag on my 6 wt reel, rendering the reel useless. I didn't have a back up reel (I know, I know) so I turned to the SL Ultra 1. On a lark I moved my line over to it and fished for the rest of the trip. It did so well (landing several 10+ lb steelhead) that I've just left it on my 6wt Scott rod and fished several more times for steelhead and it has outperformed my old reel everytime. Just so I'm clear about this, I am using the Stramlight Ultra 1 reel, rated for 1-3 wt line, with 100 yds of 20lb backing and 105 yds of WF6F line and landing several large fish and I've been doing it for almost a year. If the 1 is putting up with this abuse I can't even imagine what the 2 or 3 can handle. While I don't advocate doing this, its working out for me. In my opinion you can't buy a better reel for less than 200 bucks.
December 30, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by yelko Very good
I've purchased #2 this summer and have been using since than in fresh and salt water. For this price range, it is the most strongest and neatly produced fly reel I've ever found. It should be throughly washed after salt water use by dismounting the drag system, if submerged. Do not satisfy to spraywash or submerge in fresh water. It is very easy to dis/re-assemble the drag system by a Phillips screwdriver.
No problem in fresh water use. LLBean customer support is also super and ready to solve any problem. Thank you LLBean.
December 19, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Jiffles 3 seasons and still good as new
I bought this reel 3 years ago with my 4wt streamlight in a combo during the March Fishing Weekend up at the Freeport store. At the time, these reels still had the problem where if they were submerged, the reel would seize up. I called customer service and they sent me a replacement for free, no questions asked. I've been using the same reel since. This reel is extremely smooth, even after years of abuse. I've tortured this reel in front of my friends to prove that L.L. Bean's products are the best. I've tied my line to a car and spooled the entire reel to test the drag. I've left the reel submerged in water for hours to test the seals on the drag. I've also dropped the reel on rocks (by accident of course) and the reel only received minor scratches. The Streamlight Ultra fly reel has exceeded my expectations in every way, and the next time I'm on the hunt for a sub-$100 reel, it will definitely be another Streamlight.
December 13, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by Yooper Changing retrieve info
I wish Bean would put the instructions for changing the retrieve on all reels on the website. I can't find any info on how to change it.
June 16, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by newrock24 Great reel for the price
I think this is a great reel for the price.
I just got back from a 3 day fishing trip where I used this reel for the first time on my 4 weight Sage rod.
I am one of those that thinks that a reel is just a place to store your line. Most of the fish I am catching are under 15" so I am not too concerned with the drag system on this reel.
The audible click on this reel when reeling/stripping is not loud, which was a concern of mine when ordering a new reel. It has a nice metallic click which lets you know the reel is turning, but isn't so loud that the whole river will hear what you are doing.
For the price I think you would be hard pressed to find a nicer reel. The overall looks are sharp and LL Bean's warranty makes this a no-brainer.
June 13, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by avidflyfisherman Streamlight Fly Reel Drag adjustment
Drag knob does not protrude far enough above the surface of the reel.
Very difficult to adjust with wet or cold hands especially to a high drag setting. Knob should be taller and have large indents to grab on to instead of a fine knurled o.d. Also the full range drag adjustment is only one full turn or less. Would be a great reel for a great price with these improvements.
April 26, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by karnesy Can't Go Wrong With This Reel
I purchased this reel in hopes of getting a reel that was both priced right and very dependable. I feel I got it. It has a smooth drag that is easy to adjust. I even made it a point to submerge the reel as I had read about earlier issues. The reel continued to work great. I feel for the money this reel will do the job for many years to come.
April 9, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Mukilteo Excellent Entry Level Reel
Bought this reel and an extra spool, both as gifts to a beginner fly fisher. The reel has floating line and the spool has sinking line. If the person doesn't like fly fishing I didn't break the bank, but the quality is such that both reel and spool should be encouragement and will last a long time. Nothing here to ashamed of, even though the price is less than half as much as a comparable setup.
April 4, 2012