Best 9wt Fly Reel for Throwing Big Flies

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The best 9wt fly reel is going to be a workhorse. You’ll be out there throwing large flies in potentially windy conditions to fish that are going fight hard and give long runs.

With this being the case you’ll need something that can hold up when out in tough situations. You’ll need something that’s durable, has a strong drag, and holds enough line to give you confidence in fighting big fish.

Check out the info we’ve gathered and see which one is going to be the best reel for your style of fishing.

First, we’re going to go over some of the different features of a 9wt reel and when to use them.

Table of Contents

When Should you use a 9wt?

9wt’s are a very versatile reel. You could take it out and use it to catch just about any freshwater fish in North America. The same goes for saltwater fishing as well.

Ensure you’re setting up your reel with another 9wt rod and line. This ensures a properly balanced setup and will help keep your casting consistent.

What’s a good 9wt Reel Look Like?

A good 9wt reel is going to be perfectly balanced with your rod. On top of that, it needs to be strong and sturdy enough to handle any tough situations that you might find yourself in. A strong drag doesn’t hurt either.


The larger the reel, the more important the drag system becomes. This is because you’ll be targeting fish that are larger and put up a fight so you need to something to help even the odds.

Look for a disc drag system. These are the strongest and most dependable drag systems out there. Click and pawls can work well and can be effective, but it’s just not as good as a disc drag system.


Once you start getting into 7 weights and higher, then the actual weight in ounces starts to come into play. These larger reels are going to be heavier and if you choose one that’s too big then you could be looking at some serious arm fatigue by the end of a trip.

So, it’s important to find something that’s not too heavy and will keep you casting strong all day.


If you’re new to fly fishing then you may be surprised at just how pricy some reels can be. Don’t worry though, you’ll be able to find a solid reel in your price range.

However, if you want the latest and greatest and the price is no issue then you can have some serious fun looking at all kinds of reels. Don’t think that every four-figure reel is great though. Ensure you try it out yourself before purchasing.

What’s it Made of?

If you want a strong and durable reel then look for one made out of milled or machined aluminum. These are perfect for hardcore anglers who expect as much out of their gear as they do themselves.

Cast aluminum, composite, and plastic are going to be cheaper options. Perfect for someone starting out who doesn’t want to drop too much money on a reel.


When chasing large fish you’ll find that the arbor size does come into play. The larger the arbor the quicker you’ll be able to reel in line. Resulting in more fish in the net.

What Species can I Target with a 9wt?

When using a 9wt you’ll primrily be throwing larger flies, or targeting hard fighting fish. So you need the extra backbone of the rod and power of the reel help bring these fihs in.

Below, we’re going to go over a few different species that you’ll be primarily targeting with a 9wt. It’s not a complete list, but these are some of the more popular fish that anglers go after.


You could potentially use a 9wt for smaller fish like largemouth or smallmouth, but really this size is ideal for throwing large streamers to these freshwater monsters.

Big flies are needed to entice these toothy fish to strike and you’ll need extra power to propel the oversized flies out to where these fish are hiding. A solid drag system will help as well.

Red Drum

Red Drum, or Red Fish, might be one of the most popular saltwater gamefish to chase with a fly rod. This is because you do a lot of spot and stalk casting and because these fish are strong and can put up a big fight.

You won’t be using giant flies on these fish, but you do need something that is strong and will help you even the odds when fighting a bull red. Occasionally you will need to throw a big streamer and that’s where you’ll be happy you have a 9wt.


Striped bass, or to the folks in the DC area, Rockfish are a prime example of a species that needs to be fished with a 9wt set up. These guys can get big and often you’re throwing larger streamers.


Now that we know a little bit more about the different features of reels and what kind of fish can be caught on them, let’s go over the products.

Sage Fly Fishing Spectrum

Sage Fly Fishing Spectrum C Fly Reel

This large arbored reel is perfect for getting out there and chasing after big fish. The size of the arbor will play to your benefit if you ever have to put the fish on the reel.

the machined die-cast frame is also incredibly strong. Perfect for anglers who expect their gear to be as tough as them. This reel could last you a long time if treated properly.

Speaking to its durability again, the sealed carbon drag will help you fight those big fish. While also ensuring that your drag is not affected by sand or saltwater that might get in there.

The numbered drag is also going to let you know exactly how tight you have it set. Perfect for when you chasing big fish as you don’t want to it too strong since that can lead to more break-offs and fish loss.

Max Catch Fly Fishing Reel

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Body Avid Series Best Value - 1/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 Weights(Black, Green, Blue, Silver, Black&Silver)(Matte Black, 5/6 wt)

The max catch might not be the best reel on this list but for the price, it is hard to beat. Coming in at under $50 you’ll be getting a solid piece of equipment that will help you get out there and catch fish.

The mid-arbor spool was designed so that the angler could decide if they wanted to have backing on the reel or not. Add backing and you’ll be picking up fly line faster, don’t add backing and it will be slower. It’s whatever the angler prefers.

The machined aluminum alloy is designed to withstand corrosion as well as high impact. Making it perfect for anglers who are hiking in and out of tough country.

The drag is made out of cork and Teflon discs. This provided immediate drag engagement. This way you’re ready to bring the fight to the fish the moment they take your fly.

Redington Behemoth

Redington Reels Behemoth 7/8 Reel, Black

Overall, this might be the best 9wt fly reel on this list. The Redington Behemoth has the most powerful drag in its class. Making it ideal for hooking into big fish. The disc drag system has an adjustable knob on the side of the reel and can be easily turned up or down when fighting fish.

It has a very large arbor design so you can bring in line quickly when using the handle on the reel. The handle can also easily be moved around and converted to use for a left or right-handed user.

The die-cast construction is strong and can hold up in tough conditions. Don’t worry if you drop this or bang it around in the boat because chances are it is going to be fine.

The reel is heavier than most though. Ensure that you take that into account when you’re out fishing as it can lead to arm fatigue quicker than other products.

Piscifun Sword

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body 5/6 Gunmetal

The Piscifun is similar to the Max Catch. It’s not going to be the best reel out there but for the price it is great. It’s perfect for a beginner looking to get started or for someone who wants to bring a solid backup reel with them on a trip.

The multi-disc cork drag and the stainless system is smooth and gives you immediate drag engagement when hooking into a fish. The drag is located on the side of the reel and is numbered so you know exactly how much tension is on there.

It’s corossion reistant so you can take it out in saltwater if you would like. Just remmeber to give the reel a good rinse with fresh water from the hose when you’re done for the day.

Overall this is a wonderful reel for the price and any angler would be happy to have this with them on the river.

Angler Dream Reel

ANGLER DREAM EX-ALC Fly Reel 5/6WT CNC Machined Aluminum Fly Fishing Reels Silver / Gunsmoke Fly Reels

If you’re looking for the best 9wt fly reel for beginners then look no further because this is it. It already comes equipped with line so you can go straight from the fly shop to the river.

The handle can be easily switched around to be used by either a righty or a lefty. Perfect for someone who wants to bring an extra reel out on the river for a friend.

The arbor is not very large but you can apply backing if you want to help increase line retrieval. The extra backing could suit you well if a fish spools you.

This is a very bare bones reel, so don’t expect all of the latest and greatest bells and whistles when you purchase this. However, what you are getting is a solid piece of equipment.


The best 9wt fly reel can be used for chasing after many different species. This is more true for larger fish where you need to throw larger flies, but it can also serve you well in bass fishing or chasing large trout.

Use the list above to help outfit yourself for your next trip or just use it as a guide. Just make sure you get out on the water!

Can I use a 9wt on smaller fish?

Yes, however throwing smaller flies with a more delicate presentation will be more difficult.

Can I use a different sized rod to pair with my 9wt reel?

Technically you can and in some very unique situations it can work better than pairing a 9wt rod with a 9wt reel. The majority of fly anglers out there should not worry about this though and should match their rod and reel as best they can.

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