Guideline Favo fly reel review

The new Guideline Favo fly reel is a stylish die-cast aluminium reel with a strong drag aimed at trout and salmon anglers. It's one of the coolest looking fly reels you can get for the money.

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

What is the Guideline Favo fly reel?

The Guideline Favo is a die-cast aluminium fly reel designed primarily for trout and salmon anglers. It's a really stylish looking reel with a smooth "semi matt" gunmetal grey finish, a recessed reel seat to keep it nearer the rod blank and lots of porting in the case to reduce weight. The red drag knob gives it a small touch of bling.

All of the models in the range are large arbour fly reels, so they store the line in large coils to help reduce line memory and retrieve speeds are good when you're reeling rapidly during a fight.

GuidelineFlyFish / YouTube.

What are the benefits of a die-cast fly reel?

Most fly reels these days are made from aluminium, and are usually made of one of two methods - CNC machining and die-casting. CNC machined fly reels are cut from a single block of aluminium by a computer controlled cutting machine, resulting in a very smooth, robust but expensive-to-produce reel. Die-cast fly reels are made from moulding aluminium and then smoothing off any rough edges. This is a quicker process but results in reels that are slightly heavier and a little less robust, though still perfectly usable - and crucially much cheaper.

Most fly fishers use die-cast reels and providing you don't drop them hard onto the ground, they should continue to perform well for many years. The Guideline Favo is one of the better-produced ones and has no rough edges, a smooth finish and a low weight and good rigidity, thanks to the clever design. It's CNC finished after die casting and then painted so it's smoother and should be more hard wearing than some others on the market.

The Guideline Favo is a well made reel.

What models are in the range?

The Guideline Favo fly reels are made in sizes to suit fly rods from #4 to #11, including both single handed rods for trout and grayling, as well as bigger, specialist reels for targeting pike and carp on single handed rods and salmon and sea trout on double handers. Rather than just scaling up the design across the range, each reel size has slightly different features to suit its application, which is a really nice touch.

The 79 and the 810 models are designed to allow them to be used with shooting head lines which use a very thin running line. On a regular reel, this can sometimes creep through the gap between the spool and the reel housing, causing the line to snag. However, the Guideline Favo uses a line cage on this part of the reel to keep the thin running line in place, avoiding the problem. The largest 810 model also includes extra X-truss supports and extra spokes to help the reel cope better with huge salmon without buckling under pressure. As usual, each reel comes with a protective case.

Model Lines Size Weight Capacity
Favo 46 #4 to #6 94 x 62 x 30mm 136g WF5 + 95 yds of 20lb backing
Favo 79 #7 to #9 100 x 58 x 30mm 162g WF7 + 100 yds of 20lb backing
Favo 810 #8 to #10 110 x 64 x 36mm 216g PT 9/10 + 200 yds of 30 lb backing
The Favo 46 is ideal for most UK stillwater fly fishing.

What is the drag like?

Guideline describe the Favo drag as "well proven", so I am guessing this means the system is based on technology they've been using for years in the other fly reels in their range. It definitely works well and the drag nut makes it easy to adjust, even with wet hands. The drag unit isn't sealed so although you can use it in saltwater, you will need to wash it thoroughly afterwards. Also, it's not noisy, so isn't going to annoy other anglers every time you strip off line between casts.

Should you ever need it, the drag is pretty good.

Can you change the reel to right-hand wind?

Most people won't need to change the retrieve direction as the Guideline Favo, like most reels, comes pre-configured for right-handed people using left-hand wind. However, if you're part of the 10% of the population who are left-handed, you'll be pleased to hear that you can easily change this into a right-hand wind reel. The video below shows it's done.

GuidelineFlyFish / YouTube.

What is the Guideline Favo like to use?

The Favo is a lovely reel to use. It feels really good quality and has a smooth finish and seems robust and well manufactured. It's a nice looking reel - arguably one of the best looking die-cast fly reels around - and is of comparable quality to the excellent Sage 2200 fly reel range. The retrieve speed is good, the clicker isn't intrusive and the drag is smooth. Providing you keep it out of the mud and avoid banging it on rocks, I reckon it should work well and look good for years.

Build quality and finish is excellent.

How much is this fly reel?

As usual with fly reels, prices vary according to the reel size. The Favo 46 costs around €118 (£105), the Favo 79 costs around €138 (£122) while the Favo 810 costs around €158 (£140). This is a fraction less than the comparable Sage 2200 model, which is very good value for money for such a good looking and well-made reel. The Guideline Favo is available on its own, or as part of one of Guideline's fly fishing kits.

More information: Guideline

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