By Steve Black
Saint Charles, MO
If your in the market for an upgrade from that old fly reel or just need a good back up, the Hobbs Creek reel is a perfect choice for under $50. Its an all metal reel with a black powder coat to prevent corrosion, an all metal disc drag that operates on a one way nut that can easily be flipped over for left to right hand conversion. You can get the reel in a 3/4, 5/6, or 7/8 weight sizes for just $39.99 and spare spools at $22.99 each. Or get our new fully loaded Hobbs Creek in a 5 or 6 weight size with 20lb backing and WF(Weight Forward) fly line preloaded for $59.99. I took the 7/8 weight reel up to the Kenai River in Alaska for big rainbows and sockeye salmon in July of 2006. My plan was to battle as many salmon and trout as this reel would take and then move on to my $300 reels once the Hobbs Creek failed. But for 3 weeks of fishing nearly all day, the reel held up strong and 6 years later I am still using it for local bass fishing. I can easily get 100 yds of 20 lb backing onto the reel with a WF 8 F fly fine and get nice retrieve rates when trying to get in line quickly. You'll be hard pressed to find any other reel under $40 or even $80 for that matter that can do that. The large arbor feature also helps with lower memory of your fly line so that you don't have small coils that you have to straighten out every time before you fish.
Here is a pic of a Sockeye Salmon from the Alaska trip which was caught out of a tributary of the Kenai River.