Greys GX900 fly reel review

The Greys GX900 fly reel is a very well priced machined aluminium fly reel and can currently be picked up at a bargain price.

Greys GX900 fly reel review
© Fly and Lure
Greys GX900 fly reel review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Greys GX900 fly reel review
Greys Fly reels Fly lines Estimated reading time 6 - 9 minutes

What is the Greys GX900 fly reel made from?

The Greys GX900 is the top of the range model in Greys' range of fly reels and is made from 6061 bar stock aluminium, rather than the die cast aluminium you tend to find on lower end fly reels.

The dark grey machined bar stock aluminium of the GX900 means the reel is very strong and lightweight, thanks to the porting in the cage and spool to reduce the overall weight.

The GX900 is a large arbour fly reel, which means the central diameter of the arbour is bigger than you'll find on many other reels. This increases retrieve speed, so you can keep up with fast moving fish when playing them off the reel, and it means your line is less likely to get kinks.

Stylish build quality.

How's the build quality?

The GX900 feels like a very nice quality reel. It's got a flawless finish and looks and feels really good. It's hard anodised, so should stand up to abuse well - mine have no scratches yet after half a dozen trips out.

In everyday use it's a pleasure to use and feels robust and well put together. You're unlikely to be disappointed with the quality, especially given its price tag. It also comes with a nice neoprene pouch to protect it from knocks in transit and storage.

A couple of anglers on the fly fishing forums have mentioned that they've suffered an issue with their fly line slipping beneath the frame of the reel due to the presence of a small gap. However, that hasn't been an issue for either of my two GX900s.

The GX900 is a great quality fly reel.

What models are in the GX900 range?

There are four models in the range a #2/3/4 model, a #4/5/6 model, a #6/7/8 an #8/9/10 and a #10/11/12. I've got a #4/5/6 and an #8/9/10 and they're both splendid.

The #2/3/4 is well suited to river trout anglers, the #4/5/6 is fine for most stillwater work, while the #6/7/8 is better for larger stillwaters, reservoirs and larger lines.

The #8/9/10 comfortably holds a big thick line, while the #10/11/12 would be ideal for salmon or pike fly fishing. Capacity is comparable to my favourite Sage 2280

Model Capacity Weight Diameter
Greys GX900 #2/3/4 WF3 + 55m 20lb 137g 84mm
Greys GX900 #4/5/6 WF5 + 65m 20lb 148g 93mm
Greys GX900 #6/7/8 WF7 + 90m 30lb 159g 100mm
Greys GX900 #8/9/10 WF10 + 180m 30lb 209g 109mm
Greys GX900 #10/11/12 WF12 + 250m 30lb 221g 117mm
A pouch is included with the reel.

How heavy are these fly reels?

The machined aluminium design and clever use of porting means these are moderately lightweight fly reels, so they go well on lighter rods. I've been using the #4/5/6 on my Hardy Zephrus #5 and it balances it nicely. 

Weights range from 137g (4.83 oz) for the smallest model to 221g (7.8 oz) for the biggest. Though not the lightest on the market, they're similar in weight to many other machined aluminium reels.

What's the drag like?

The Greys GX900 series come with a centralised twin Rulon drag. This is strong and puts even pressure on without any slipping.

It emits a nice dull click when link is being pulled off, while there's a slightly flappy, plasticky click when the line is being reeled back in.

This is just splitting hairs, but the retrieve click sound is on the noisy side.

The GX900's drag knob is free turning and easy to adjust.

Is it easy to change from left to right hand wind?

The GX900 lets you change from left hand wind to right hand wind without using any tools. It comes in left hand wind mode by default, which means it's already set up for most of the population of right handers.

How much line and backing will they hold?

Backing capacities on all models are really good. I managed to fit on a very thick 10# pike fly line on my reel, plus a good amount of backing, and the smaller reel easily takes a spey line like the Barrio SLX which has a very thick head and a narrower running line.

The GX900 spool has a captive release knob so you can't lose it.

What are the spools like?

As with most other machined aluminium fly reels, the spool of these is also made from machined aluminium rather than using a cheaper plastic cartridge like some of the similar lower end Greys or Hardy models.

On the plus side, this means you get a really stylish and durable reel. The downside, of course, is that it's slightly heavier than a cartridge spool fly reel and the price of the spools is high, so it's not cheap if you need to spool up multiple lines to take with you.

The spool is easy to remove. There's a "captive nut" in the centre that you can unscrew and it stays attached so you can't lose it, and then the spool just pops off and pops back on again. Dead easy. 

How much do they cost?

As the top of the range model, these are not especially cheap, but they're less expensive than top of the range models from many other brands. Prices start from around £125 for the smallest model and rise to about £160 for the biggest.

The Greys GX900 series has recently been heavily discounted at quite a few UK retailers, which might be an indication that there's a new model coming out soon. If you're not bothered about having the latest design, this therefore represents quite a bargain. At half price, they're such good value that I bought two!

Available from: Amazon

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