What is the Guideline Haze v2 fly reel?
The Haze v2 is Guideline's "entry-level" CNC machined aluminium fly reel. It's a large arbour reel which is machined from a single block of aluminium, making it very strong as well as very light when compared to a cheaper die-cast fly reel.
While die-cast fly reels, like the excellent Guideline Favo, are perfectly serviceable, they can crack if dropped onto hard surfaces and tend to be a bit heavier. CNC machined fly reels are lighter, more resilient and often have more intricate designs due to the different manufacturing processes used, so are generally a better buy if you don't mind forking out the extra cash and bearing the more expensive cost of spare spools.
What's special about the Haze?
Made from T6061 bar stock aluminium, the Haze v2 features a full cage, rather than the half cage you find on some other reels. This means that thin running line can't get trapped anywhere or slip under the reel edges. It also adds additional torsional rigidity to the body to stop it twisting.
The design is heavily ported with little holes of varying sizes which reduce the weight without sacrificing too much strength and the overall aesthetics are really smart, with a jet black hard anodised finish, white text and logos and a stylish red drag housing in the middle.
What is the drag like?
The drag on the Haze seems quite large for what is a relatively small reel - or, at least, it does on my 2-4# model. It's a conical sealed drag unit with a robust clicky adjustment knob on the rear and it easily adjusts from almost free running with a nice quiet click to pretty much locked.
It uses a stacked drag system with discs made from cork, Teflon and stainless steel, all sealed in a chamber to keep out water and dirt. It's an impressive system, even if it is overkill for the size of trout and grayling I'll be exposing it to.
Is it easy to remove the spool?
On some reels, changing the spool can be a bit of a nuisance, with spool nuts that come off and can be lost and spools that need to be carefully aligned to little lugs before reattachment (sorry Loop). However, it couldn't be easier on the Haze. The spool nut is captive, so it can't be lost and there's no fiddly realignment process. It's very nicely engineered.
Does it come with a reel case?
Yes. The Haze is supplied with a neoprene reel pouch, which is much better than the simple cloth bag you often get with reels at this price range. The neoprene pouch protects against knocks and scratches when in transit and can also be used when the reel is attached to the rod, which helps protect the reel from scrapes and dings when not in use on the bank.
What sizes are available?
There are six models in the Haze range, starting from the small Haze 24 for 2-4# lines and going right up to the Haze 1012 for heavy salmon or saltwater fly fishing. There's a model for every type of fly fishing, really.
The Guideline Haze is available out of the box configured with either a left-hand or right-hand winder, which is useful and saves you the both of converting the winding direction yourself. However, both of them can be reconfigured to wind in the opposite direction if you've purchased the wrong one.
|Model||Weight||Size||Line capacity||Backing capacity|
|Haze 24||124g||81 x 52 x 28.5mm||WF 4||80 yards 20lb|
|Haze 46||135g||87 x 56 x 30mm||WF 5||100 yards 20lb|
|Haze 68||169g||93 x 58 x 32.5mm||WF 8||100 yards 20lb|
|Haze 79HD||191g||102 x 58 x 32.5mm||PT 8/9||150 yards 30lb|
|Haze 810||225g||106 x 56 x 35mm||PT 9/10||200 yards 30lb|
|Haze 1012||303g||115 x 66 x 38mm||PT 10/12||300 yards 30lb|
What's the Guideline Haze like to use?
I've got the smallest model which is designed for lines from 2wt to 4wt. The rating is pretty apt. My Barrio Mallard DT 4wt fits snugly with a bit of backing, but you'd probably not fit a larger line on here without sacrificing some backing. It's a great looking reel and works really well. The retrieve is silent and smooth, the drag is excellent and the reel works wonderfully.
It's pretty hard to fault, really. The only thing that lets it down, in my opinion - and this is splitting very fine hairs - is that the handle feels a little cheaper than the rest of the reel, as it's made from a cheaper, softer-feeling plastic rather than the aluminium of the rest of the reel.
How much does it cost?
The Guideline Haze v2 seems to have just been discontinued so you can currently pick them up for bargain prices. Originally retailing for £219.99, I picked up mine for around £110, which is amazing value given the quality. Definitely worth considering if you see one for this price.