Fly reels can be expensive. REALLY expensive. Those new to fly fishing must be astounded when they see some of these prices for the first time. The premium stuff can be downright amazing to fish with, but thankfully there's some really good moderately-priced reels available these days that are far more budget-friendly. But what if you're looking for an even bigger bargain? Finding a reel at what I'd call an extremely-affordable price is not hard, but in my mind low prices always bring up the question of quality. Coming in at this extremely-affordable price point, the Ross EDDY is a reel that I was so curious about that I asked the good folks at Ross to loan me one for this review. It has been MANY years since I've fished a reel priced in the sub-$100 range, and being that Ross is one of the most respected names around, I wanted to see what they had to offer at such low cost!
Line Size: 5/6
Weight: 5.68 ounces
Diameter: 3.39 inches
Backing Capacity: 125 yards/WF5F
Drag: Rulon (semi-sealed)
Machined/Cast: Cast Aluminum
Spool Removal: No Tools Needed
Reel Pouch: Yes
The frame and spool of the EDDY are made from cast aluminum alloy and sport a proprietary AGP coating for extra durability. This proprietary Aerospace-Grade Polyurethane coating is said to add elasticity to the frame/spool which in turn increases durability. The reel is somewhat of a satin-type finish and doesn't have much shine or glare.
Tipping the scales at 5.6 ounces, I definitely wouldn't label the EDDY a "lightweight," but it's not what I'd call "excessive" either. While this is far from a blinging premium offering, I was actually really surprised by the reel's clean and composed looks. The craftsmanship is quite nice and actually has a satisfyingly solid feel to it. The satin-black finish of the EDDY won't elicit many "oooohs" or "ahhhs", but at this price point I don't think anyone should be expecting off-the-charts looks.
The front of the spool features a small counterweight and an adjacent reverse-tapered handle. The handle's surface is void of any added texturing so it won't provide any extra grip, but the length/width is very good. Cranking the reel gives off a modest clicking sound that I thought sounded decent, while pulling line off the spool exhibited the same tone. Removing the spool is done via the front centercap that is somewhat "sunken" into the face of the spool. This cap doesn't come fully off which is a nice feature so you won't drop it in the river only to watch it drift away. Unscrewing it and removing the spool was simple, but sometimes when putting everything back together the cap didn't initially seat right.
The cap features ridges on it for added grip. When grabbing this "grippiest" portion of the cap to loosen or tighten it, my knuckles would sometimes rub against the slots on the spool or the counterbalance, thus causing some discomfort. Slow and easy was the best way for me to do it.
Like the front cap, the drag knob is sunken into the back of the frame a bit, but since it's normally under less initial tension and has some nice flanges to grab it can be easily adjusted with just fingertips. The shape of it is very user-friendly and it operates with clicks you can distinctly hear and feel. I was able to go from zero drag to maximum in a hair over two revolutions. Line flow off the spool starts up with just a hint of startup inertia, but after it gets going the line pays out quite smoothly. The power exhibited at the drag's maximum setting is stout and I can't imagine anyone ever needing anywhere that much oomph when using this thing on a 5 or 6 weight rod. Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to trust this drag in any reasonable situation.
As a whole, this is a really good buy for just 75 bucks. You obviously aren't going to get the most premium package at this pricing, but this is a capable large-arbor reel that's suitable for fresh or light saltwater pursuits. Also available in 3/4 and 7/8 sizes, whether you're just starting out in the sport or simply have a tight budget, the Ross EDDY gets the job done for not a lot of coin!