Semi-automatic fly reels & accessories
Comfortable fly fishing: fast & practical retrieval avoids line tangles
SEMI-AUTOMATIC FLY REELS
Semi-automatic fly reels were born around the 1980s and literally revolutionised the tackle sector. Certainly one of the pioneers in the construction of these reels is Franco Vivarelli, who with his all-Italian company produced one of the first semi-automatic reels. Even today, the classic Vivarelli first edition fly reel is much sought after and appreciated all over the world. Since that distant 1982, when the Italian company was founded, Vivarelli reels have diversified in appearance and are now also available in finishes other than the classic all-black one.
In addition to Franco Vivarelli, over the years many other companies have started to produce semi-automatic reels, one of them being JMC. The design of JMC semiautomatic reels is truly eye-catching and is characterised by having the entire gear system exposed. Its most famous and popular semi-automatic reel is certainly the Yoto.
HOW DO SEMI-AUTOMATIC FLY REELS WORK?
Semi-automatic fly reels have internal gears that are operated by means of a lever that protrudes from the front of the reel. These gears, due to their very high recovery ratio, make the spool rotate very quickly. One stroke of the lever generally corresponds to four complete turns of the spool. Obviously, operating the lever decisively will cause the spool to start rotating and continue to do so by inertia, making more than four complete revolutions.
Classic semi-automatic reels have neither drags nor reel handles. With these reels you control the release of the fly line manually by pressing the line on the cork grip of the rod with the index finger. Retrieve can only be done with the lever. If you play a fish, we recommend to retrieve it by hand and to use the lever just to wind up the slack line.
Over the years, semi-automatic reels have evolved, and some have been created with both a reel drag and a reel handle. Only Vivarelli reels have always retained their classic shape, without the company making any structural changes to its products. However, the Spanish company Luckybur has made special spools and accessories that allow such modifications to Vivarelli reels. In a nutshell, Vivarelli semi-automatic reels are mainly designed for classic dry fly fishing. With Luckybur's replacement accessories, Vivarelli reels can also be used for euro nymphing.
If you are passionate about Euro nymph fly fishing and do not want to give up the convenience of a semi-automatic reel, just have a look at the YOTO NYMPH fly reel.
WHAT ARE SEMI-AUTOMATIC REELS FOR?
The main function of semi-automatic reels is to allow you to retrieve the fly line or monofilament line (in case of euro nymphing) extremely quickly. In addition, this retrieval is very easy to carry out because you only need to use one hand, i.e., the one holding the rod, while the other can be left free.
If, for example, you are fishing in the middle of the river and have just made the final cast, you can use one hand to hold the rod, the other hand to retrieve the fly line immediately. By some small strokes from time to time you prevent the slack line from being carried away by the current and always keep direct contact with your flies. But it is also useful when fishing from the shore, as it prevents the retrieved fly line from accumulating on branches or stones with the consequent risk of snagging just when you get a take.