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If you’ve been around the world of saltwater fly fishing this past decade, the name ‘Fortuna’ should ring a bell. The reel series from Hardy, designed by the legendary Andy Mill, has gained a near cult-like following from crusty salt diehards. There are good reasons for this, and previous models have placed well in our past shootouts. 

The Regent is the latest to bare the Fortuna name, but it’s been completely redesigned from the ground up, and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen from Hardy. While the Fortuna’s of yesteryear were noted for their burliness and run-stopping drag systems, upon first glance of the Regent, it’s noticeably sleeker and slimmer! How does this translate to performance? Thankfully we were able to get ahold of one just in time for our 2023 Big Game Reel Shootout. Read on to see how the Fortuna Regent stacks up against the rest of the competition.

Big Game Reel Shootout Full Results


Coming in at 9.8 ounces, the Fortuna Regent felt average for a reel of its size and finished around the middle of the pack in the shootout.


We immediately noticed the Fortuna Regent’s single-turn drag, which doesn’t have enough adjustability for our liking. One of the benchmarks for our shootout is a reel’s max drag, and unfortunately, we were left disappointed here. The 9.7 pounds of maximum stopping power was the second worst in the shootout, besting only the Orvis Hydros. On the bright side, you’ll have access to around 3.5 lbs at halfway, which is 36% of the reel’s total drag. The Hatch Iconic was the only reel we tested with a more linear drag. Another positive is free spooling shouldn’t be an issue, either.

Drag Test Graphs


The incoming and outgoing were pretty muted and definitely not what we want from a big game reel.

Spool & Retrieval Rate

One of the Fortuna Regent’s hallmarks is its spool design, and it's one of the best we’ve seen! With a 4.75-inch diameter and less than an inch wide, the Fortuna Regents has blazing-fast line pickup. Its line retrieval rate of 13 inches per turn is nearly a full inch greater than the second-fastest Mako 9600B! Unfortunately, We were ‘only’ able to get 250 yards of 30lb Dacron on the spool with an 11wt line. While this is more than enough, it was one of the lowest in the shootout.

Looks & Ergonomics

The Fortuna Regent looks the part of a high-performance machine with its sleek lines and minimalist body. The machining is excellent, and we really got the feeling that this is what a modern saltwater reel should look like. In fact, it bares little aesthetical resemblance to previous Fortuna models, which looked and felt (and weighed) like more traditional ‘heavy duty’ saltwater reels.

We really liked the spinning reel-esque handle, which provides the right amount of grip without being overly bulky. The original Fortuna’s drag knob was cush and one of our favorites, but it’s been replaced by something more minimalist and harder to grip. Hardy probably wanted to go with a knob a little more fitting to the Fortuna Regent’s trimmer build, but it’s definitely a little challenging to crank the drag down all the way.


Five-year warranty covering any manufacturing defects

Price: $850


The Fortuna Regent finished tied for fourth in our shootout, which isn’t too shabby considering there was a three-way tie for first. There is a lot to really like about the reel. Its well-thought-out spool design helps the Fortuna Regent produce a lightning-quick line retrieval rate. Hardy’s designers seemed to prioritize speed and sleekness instead of the brute force and cush ergonomics of previous Fortunas. The Fortuna Regent doesn’t have the show-stopping max drag as the other top reels in the shootout, and when you couple this with its somewhat limited backing capacity, it could be cause for concern for some tarpon diehards. In many ways, the Fortuna Regent is the complete anthesis of the clunky big game reels from the past, and Hardy firmly has their foot pointed towards the future.

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  • Great Spool Design
  • Lightning Quick
  • Sleek Aesthetics


  • Not as much drag as we would have liked