Trout Reels For The 2024 Season - #5/6 Review

Trout Reels For The 2024 Season - #5/6 Review

Why are we testing?

Simply put, we've never done a reel review. Our range of trout reels for the 2023 season was strong but we never shared our thoughts with our customers outside of the shop. There has also been some new reels enter the market which we have been super impressed with. Our range of trout reels for 2024 is larger than ever before, this makes it even harder to choose the correct reel for you. This review of 5/6 size reels aims to help with that prcocess.

A review of 7/8 and Salmon reels to follow.

Testing parameters

In order to bring some hard data into to the test we scored the reels on the following parameters. We will not flood this blog with the actual numbers but its worth noting what we were thinking about when reviewing the reels.

  • Price
  • Durability (Material / Finish)
  • Weight
  • Drag system
  • Counter balance
  • Arbor size
  • Sound
  • Frame design (full / half)
  • Spool Release method
  • Supplied case

A little bit more on reel materials and manufacter

For those fishers who have fished for a while or purchased many reels feel free to skip the next section.

Modern fly reels can be made from bar stock aluminiumn, die cast aluminium or a polymer (plastic). "Bar stock" (sometimes called billet) reels are machined by a computer controlled machine from a solid piece of aluminium. This solid piece of aluminium is dense, strong and uniform in structure. Reels made from this are inherantly stronger than any other. The downside is that this machining process takes time and is more expensive. Die cast reels are made by injecting molten aluminium into a mould or "die". Once cooled the metal is more granular than bar stock aluminium and thus is more brittle and more likely to crack. Cast reels can be mass produced and are generally cheaper than bar stock reels. Polymer or plastic reels are made in a very similar way to die cast reels with the exception of injecting a plastic instead of metal. Manufacturers may also include glass or carbon fibres in with the plastic to improve strength. Plastic reels tend to be the cheapest.

The next factor in durability and aestetics is how the aluminium is finished. We do not use aluminium in its raw form, this would corrode. The material is either anodised, powder coated or painted. Anodising is actually a chemical reaction on the surface of the metal which produces a very thin but very corrosion resistance finish. Anodising can also maintain the natural shine of machined aluminium. Powder coating is a sprayed on plastic powder that then gets backed in an oven to fuse the powder particals togther and to the reel. This is an incredibly hard wearing finish but can lack definition if too thick or of poor quality. The painted reels are much like any other part (like cars) which are spray painted. Its the cheapest may to finish a reel but can be prone to chipping.

Whos Reviewing?

Nick / Roland / Jose / George

* The reels are in order of price (high to low). Our personal favorites are at the bottom of the blog * 

Sage Spectrum LT

Price - £399

Weight - 120g

Link to reel HERE

The Sage Spectrum LT is the top the range Sage reel in this class. It's an improvement on the standard Spectrum in a number of areas. These are, weight (10gr lighter), The spool retain cap, the drag knob, and porting design. The drag knob is a work of art, its large, easy to turn and It's indexed 1 to 20. The reel and handle are made from hard anodized aluminium.


Sage Click


Price - £329

Weight - 86g

Link to reel HERE

This reel is incredibly lightweight. Sage has done a superb job removing lots of material from the reel while keeping strength and good looks. As the name suggests this is a click and pawl drag reel. The click sound is different from a normal disk drag reel, we find it has a traditional tone. Although the Sage Click has an adjustable clicker it doesn't change very much in sound or drag. Out of all of the reels on this review we found the push off spool on this reel the most difficult to remove (We are sure this will become easier with a little use). Constructed from hard anodized bar stock aluminium.


Vision XLV Stillmaniac (6/7) 


Price - £299

Weight - 170g

Link to reel HERE

The Vision XLV Stillmaniac is a striking looking reel and we like the colour combination. It's worth noting that it doesn’t come in the same sizes as the other reel on test so we are looking at a 6/7. To remove the cassettes you have to unscrew an aluminium ring, this might seem fiddly but it is quite simple and works well. The body is die cast aluminium with polycarbonate spools.


Sage Spectrum 


Price - £299

Weight - 130g

Link to reel HERE

The Sage Spectrum sits between the Spectrum C and the Spectrum LT. It is constructed from bar stock aluminium like the LT but has the similar styling, drag, and internals as the Spectrum C. It has a very high-quality gloss finish and would appeal to most anglers. Constructed from hard anodized bar stock aluminium.


Vision Rivermaniac


Price - £279.99

Weight - 124g

Link to reel HERE

At this price point, we expected the Vision Rivermaniac Reel to be one of the best on test, and it is. Once again from Vision, the machining is very high quality and all the mechanical parts are aluminium. The drag is smooth and consistent. Unfortunately, the drag knob is narrow and doesn't offer much grip. The reel comes in only one colour and this may not be to everyone's taste but it does match the Vision Rivermaniac rods perfectly. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Hardy Ultradisc UDC 6000 (6/7)


Price - £259.99

Weight - 184g

Link to reel HERE

The Hardy's Ultradisk cassette reel has very modern styling. We have to say the drag is strong and gets to a maximum in only one turn. The drag knob has a nice feeling to it and the spool changing system is easy to use and no parts could be lost. The body is bar stock aluminium with polycarbonate spools.


Hardy Ultraclick UCL


Price - £249.99

Weight - 70g

Link to reel HERE

The Ultraclick from Hardy is the lightest of the click reels we reviewed. We find it a bit difficult to change the wind direction because you have to remove components, you have to remove two screws and it can be a little fiddly. It comes in a gloss finish that gives it an elegant look. Being a click reel there isn't much drag and very little change on the drag strength. Constructed from bar stock aluminium.


Vision XLV


Price - £249.99

Weight - 118g

Link to reel HERE

The Vision XLV is a very lightweight, heavily ported design, the machining is very high quality, and that adds to the attractiveness of the reel. Like other Vision reels the maximum drag is low but it is strong enough for must trout fishing. It has an EVA (foam) handle which feels great in the fingers. We all agreed that it is one of the better looking reels on test. Constructed from bar stock aluminium.   


Redington Rise 


Price - £239.99

Weight - 132g

Link to reel HERE

This reel sits at the top of the Redington range. The styling, machining and construction are excellent. The drag has a wide working range and it is very smooth in its function. The clicker sound is the same in the retrieve and drag directions and is subtle compared to others. We really like the way the spools are released by the press of a button. The only downside of the reel is the process of changing from left hand to right-hand wind, this involves removing a small 'e' clip which can be easily lost and the replacement of the clip is fiddly. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Greys Tital 


Price - £239.99

Weight - 198g

Link to reel HERE

With its heavily ported construction and combination of colours the Greys Tital is a good looking reel, the edges in the drag knob make it easy and precise to use. Nice size on the palming ring. It is a heavy duty reel and a great addition to any angler's equipment. Constructed from bar stock aluminium.


Sage Spectrum C


Price - £165

Weight - 140g

Link to reel HERE

The Sage Spectrum C was our best selling reel of 2023. The reason we think it sold so well is that it represents good value for money. It contains features found on the high end Sage reels but at much lower price. We notice that the spool has a slight wobble due to the way it is retained but it doesn't affect performance. The drag Knob on this and all of the Sage reels is fantastic, its large, single turn and indexed. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Redington Behemoth 


Price - £139.99

Weight - 160g

Link to reel HERE

The two big selling points of this reel are; 1. The drag is superb. It is designed for the saltwater environment so it's strong and it feels as if it could go forever. 2. The price. The design is not for everybody, we Like it, it is unique and feels solid in the hand. The Redington Behemoth is a great reel and offers good value for money. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Redington Run


Price - £129.99

Weight - 136g

Link to reel HERE

The Redington Run is a fantastic reel for the price, the styling is great and the satin finish is good quality. The Redington Run and Redington Rise spools are interchangeable which is a nice feature. Even though this reel is Die cast the spool base/hub is bar stock and this stands out like a little gem behind the spool. If we have to pick a fault with the reel it will be the plastic drag knob. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Vision Hero


Price - £129.99

Weight - 140g

Link to reel HERE

The Vision Hero has an attractive design with its heavily ported modern styling. Like the other high end Vision reels it come with an EVA handle. If we have to pick a fault it will be the drag knob, it's small, plastic, and recessed. This can make it difficult to adjust the drag. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Redington Zero (4/5) 


Price - £119.99

Weight - 84g

Link to reel HERE

Being a click reel the Redington Zero is incredibly light at just 84g. It's worth noting that the reel on test is a 4/5 as this reel is not made in a 5/6. For its intended purpose as a lightweight, small water reel it is hard to beat. What lets it down is the general finish of the reel, some small casting marks are visible and the powder coating lacks some definition. The black version of this reel is the most popular, but the wolf grey it is an exciting addition to the reel market and is worth checking out. Constructed from die-cast aluminium. 


Greys Tail 


Price - £116.99

Weight - 186g

Link to reel HERE

With its modern styling, low profile reel seat, and large palming ring this reel really stands out. On the downside, the drag knob is a bit too small with a round finish making it a bit uncomfortable to handle but at the end of the day, that is always a matter of taste. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Vision Koma


Price - £99.99

Weight - 180g

Link to reel HERE

The Vision Koma reel has a very basic design, with classic looks. It is silent on retrieve which is not to everybody's liking. The maximum drag is not on the strong side compared to the other reels on the test. However, the drag knob is rubberised which gives a nice grip to it. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Shakespeare Oracle


Price - £94.99

Weight - 188g

Link to reel HERE

The only Shakespeare reel on test. It has a classic appearance, but the grey colour brings a modern look. It has a wide arbor for easy retrieve, and the drag system seems to work after a few turns, the downside of this reel is the finish isn’t great and detracts from an otherwise nice reel. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Vision Deep


Price - £79.99

Weight - 162g

Link to reel HERE

A classic looking small arbor reel. In the hand, it feels much smaller than the other reels on the test but its extra weight makes it feel robust. The Vision Deep is a good reel for the price only to be let down by the plastic handle, drag knob, and spool cap. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Greys Fin


Price - £69.99

Weight - 188g

Link to reel HERE

The Greys Fin in its class represents a strong option with its matt black finish giving a nice look to the reel. The drag knob and the spool cap could be a bit bigger so you don’t have to use just your fingertips to handle them. Constructed from die-cast aluminium.


Redington Crosswater IV 


Price - £69.99

Weight - 144g

Link to reel HERE

The new Crosswater is the only composite reel on test. If you want more information on the construction of this reel and others go to the top of the blog. In short, glass fiber reinforced reels have a place in any fishers kit bag. As an entry-level reel or for those that do not look after their kit this reel is pretty indestructible. The drag for this reel is sealed and provides enough power to stop most trout that it comes across. Composite construction.


The Results

We decided to split the reels into 4 categories. Those are; cassette, click, above £130 and below £130. We each picked a favourite in each category.

Cassette Reels

We all chose the Vision XLV Stillmaniac

Click reels

Nick and Roland - Sage Click

Jose and George - Hardy Ultraclick

Above £130

Nick - Sage Spectrum LT

Roland & George - Redington Rise

Jose - Sage Spectrum

Below £130

Nick & George - Redington Run

Roland & Jose - Vision Hero





Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.