Fly fishing can quickly become an extremely expensive hobby, so it's important to get a great reel that won't cost so much that it strains all of your other expenses. Luckily, you can find a number of high quality fly fishing reels for less than $300, in addition to a few that will work well for beginners at prices lower than $100. Once you've got your reel, you'll still have a ways to go before you get in the water, but you'll be on the right track!
The famous outdoors store Cabela's sells this budget model for just $90, a price that's hard to match in this market. The Prestige line uses carbon discs for heat-dispersion and features a large-arbor design that lets you get a faster line pull. The outer body of the reel uses cast-aluminum construction techniques for a low weight and has a pressure-fit spool for quick exchanges. This one comes in four diameters with a weight range of four to eight ounces.
Sierra Trading Post sells this great model, which originally went for $295 but now sells for $221. The black reel also has an aluminum body that will help avoid corrosion, and uses a recessed-star drag build that lets you make single finger drag adjustments without using two hands. The Mackenzie has a cork and FXB polymer disc for quick pulls and a quick-release spool, as well. This one has a three inch diameter and weighs 4.1 ounces.
This high end reel sells for $255 or $265 depending on the size you choose. This competition-level reel has a conical drag that reduced initial friction to minimal rates and uses a Derlin 500AF material for heat dissipation. It has a largely aluminum body with a large-arbor frame and oil bronze brushing. The American made spool is available from Cabela's in 2.75 inch diameter and 3 inch diameter models, which weigh 3.8 and 3.9 ounces respectively.