What is the Wychwood Truefly SLA designed for?
Wychwood's Truefly SLA fly reels are what it refers to as Super Large Arbour. The bigger arbour (that's the bit of the spool that you wind the line around) means that the reel picks up line faster than other reels with smaller arbours. If you need to get a fish on the reel quickly or recover line to keep up with its movements, these reels will do a good job.
The other benefit of the larger arbour is that the fly line is stored on the reel in much wider coils, which reduces the likelihood of the line developing memory and unfurling from the reel like a coiled spring. It's designed to be a match for the Wychwood Truefly SLA fly rod.
What kind of spools do these take?
The Wychwood Truefly SLA reels use a cassette system. The spool consists solely of a cheap looking plastic spool and doesn't include the more expensive machined metal you find in more expensive reels.
This helps reduce weight, but the main benefit is that it's far less expensive to equip yourself with a single reel with a sinking, floating and intermediate line, each on a different spool. This represents a massive cost saving, given that most metal spools are typically around half of the price of the reel itself.
What's the build quality like?
Build quality is decent for the money. The Wychwood Truefly SLA reels are made from die cast aluminium and are painted various colours, from a sort of beige grey to a black grey. The cassette spools are made from polycarbonate plastic. They feel very strong, but don't have a particularly high end appearance.
Is the drag any good?
The drag is not bad. The marketing bumf says it's a semi-sealed Rulon drag, which doesn't mean much to me, apart from implying that it's not fully sealed, which might mean dirt gets in.
There's a big drag knob on one side with grooves to help with grip when you have cold, wet hands and there are helpful arrows to let you know whether you're tightening it up or loosening it. It feels much like the drag on the cheaper Wychwood Flow range of fly reels.
The power delivery is pretty good and feels fairly smooth, with minimal jerking when you give it a good yank. Like other Wychwood reels, the retrieve ratchet is a bit too clicky for my liking, but it does at least let you know when the fish is running and taking line off the reel.
What are the like to use?
Not bad for the money. I have the 9/11 model in warm grey (which is really a sort of beige colour) which I use for my pike fly fishing, generally on my TFO Ticr Lefty Kreh 9' 10 weight pike fly rod. It's a decent size and balances the rod well.
It holds a big 10 weight floating line with room to spare. However, if you fish with a thicker fly line or one with a heavier head (like the Airflo 40 Plus Extreme and similar lines) it may only just fit on the reel, despite the super large arbour design. Maybe they need to bring out an ELA (Extremely Large Arbour) for pike fishers?
Do they come with a reel pouch?
No, while most fly reels these days come are supplied with a soft fabric pouch, the Wychwood SLAs come with a very fancy looking hard cordura case. This includes holes for each spool and the reel, as well as big pockets in the lid into which you can store other bits and pieces, like leaders and lines. It makes the whole package look quite impressive when you buy it.
The cordura case supplied is very robust, but it's just too bulky to take with you on the bank, so mine tends to live in my cupboard instead. It's nice, but arguably the more typical neoprene reel pouch might actually be a little more convenient.
What models are in the range?
There are two sizes in the range, which come in two colours - black and warm grey (which is really brown to my eye, but maybe I'm warm-grey-brown colour blind).
The 5/6 is supposed to hold a 6# weight forward line and 75 yards of backing, while the 9/11 is supposed to hold an #11 weight forward line and 200 yards. That will very much depend on the style of line you're using, though, despite the super large arbour design.
|Model||Line weight||Line capacity|
|SLA 5/6||#5-6||#5-6 WF + 75 yards|
|SLA 9/11||#9-11||#9-11 WF11 + 200 yards|
How much are extra spools?
It comes with three spools, which is probably enough for most fly fishers. However, if you need extra ones you can buy them for about £11.99 each. This is way cheaper than most fly reel spools, but seems like quite a lot given the cheap, plasticky look and feel of the polycarbonate.
How much are they?
The smaller 5/6 model sells for £54.99, while the bigger 9/11 model costs £74.99. Now that the new model Wychwood Truefly SLA II is out, there are some shops selling these off a little cheaper. They're certainly not a bad reel for the money.