This year we've upped our game big time (see what I did there?) and we've brought our hallmark reel shootout to the world of tarpon and big game fishing. After all, is there any type of fishing that needs more drag than big game fishing?
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 Fortunas 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.
For our 2023 11wt Big Game Reel Shootout, we had the opportunity to test Shilton’s SR10. Shilton claims they built the reel specifically for remote and harsh environments and the hard-charging gamefish like GT that reside there. If you want to know more about why these reels are worth their weight in gold for Seychelles guides, you will not want to miss this review.
You may or may not be aware of Shilton Fly Reels. Although the South African company has been around for several decades, they’ve only recently gained momentum stateside. Their growing popularity can be attributed to holistic word-of-mouth spreading the gospel about their good looks, build quality, and alleged fish-stopping ability. After all, their slogan is “We Stop Fish.” We recently had a chance to test out the SL7 for our Big Game Fly Reel Shootout. If you are Shilton curious or looking for something a little different for your next big game or tarpon reel, you will not want to miss this review. Read on to see if ‘Stopping Fish’ is more than just a slogan.
The Mirage USA has been out for quite some time, and the 8wt placed highly in our 2018 8-weight Shootout. We loved it for its substantial drag, cush ergonomics, and bombproof construction. Four years later, the Mirage lives on without any significant upgrades. Going into our Tarpon Reel Shootout, we questioned whether it had grown a little long in the tooth. Once more, would the Mirage’s performance in a lighter size transfer to a monster gamefish-ready reel? Relax, grab your favorite beverage and read on to see how the Mirage stacks up against the rest of the competition.
We have always been impressed by the quality of reels offered by the California-based manufacturer, Galvan. While perhaps not the sexiest name in the shootout, Galvan knows how to build durable reels that work as intended. The Galvan Grip is a beefed-up, saltwater version of their beloved Torque. While the Grip placed solidly in our 2018 8-Weight Fly Reel Shootout, we were interested in seeing how the G-10 stacked up against the rest of the big game reels.
When Sage released the Thermo last year, we couldn’t help but roll our eyes at the thought of another big game reel bust. But that all changed when we got a chance to put it to the test in our Big Game Reel Shootout. So, did Sage push back the tides of history and make a reel to challenge the top dogs? Read on to find out!
The Orvis Hydros is a reel we’re very familiar with, especially in lighter sizes. We even awarded the previous version, ‘Best Buy,’ in our 2018 8-weight Reel Shootout for offering the best drag-to-weight ratio out of any reel we tested. However, this is a shootout for the best tarpon and big game reels on the planet. We put ‘poons in an entirely different category than most fish; they can legitimately blow up lesser reels, so our standards for this shootout are quite different and loftier. Are you short on cash but determined to land your first tarpon on the fly? Read on to see if we’d trust putting a 100+ pound leviathan on this sub-$300 reel!
Finding affordable gear can be challenging for those getting started in big-game saltwater fly fishing.
What are you to do if you want to pursue big game, but your budget isn’t as big as the species you’d like to tame? Call it quits? Not yet, thanks to brands like Redington, which are dedicated to bringing quality, affordable gear to the masses. This is where the Grande comes into play: A reel Redington designed with massive drag in mind at the most affordable price possible. What does Redington get right, and what doesn’t work? Read on to get our honest, unbiased take on what Redington claims is “the heavyweight champion of big game fly reels.”
The Evolution R Salt performed well in our 2018 8-Weight Reel Shootout, but this is a shootout to weed out the pretenders from the contenders and find the baddest reels on the planet built to subdue the gnarliest gamefish like tarpon and GT. Has Ross delivered a true powerhouse in a lightweight package? Read on because you will not want to miss this review- the final result is surprising!