Similar to fly rods, fly reels don't have to be expensive to catch fish. There's no denying that fishing with a high-end reel is especially pleasing from both an aesthetic and performance point of view, but in many cases a much more affordable reel will get the job done just fine. In addition, you can't ignore the fact that not everyone has $600+ laying around to blow on an ultra-precision reel. To accommodate fly anglers with varying needs and budgets, Sage offers a large selection of products spanning a wide range of price points. For those seeking a good bang-for-the-buck reel at a reduced cost, luckily there's the Sage 2200 series of fly reels. I recently received a Sage FOUNDATION Outfit which just so happens to include a 2250 5/6 fly reel, so I thought I'd give the reel some added attention with a full review!
Line Size: 5/6
Weight: 5 1/4 ounces
Diameter: 3 5/8 inches
Width: 1 5/16 inches
Arbor Diameter: Approx 2 1/8 inches
Backing Capacity: 100 yards / 20 pound
Drag: Carbon Fiber (fully sealed)
Tested Max Drag: Approx 2 1/2 pounds
Machined/Cast: Cast frame/spool
Easy Release Spool: Yes (pull apart)
R/L Conversion: Yes
Colors: Black/Blaze accents; Black/Lime accents; Black/Platinum accents (tested)
Reel Pouch: Yes
Spare Spool Available: Yes ($69)
Reel Price: $139.00
There are affordable reels that look/feel cheap, then there are those that don't. This falls into the latter category. While it certainly lacks the bling and elegance of the high-priced reels, I was just really satisfied with the overall presentation of the 2250. It's relatively simplistic in its looks, however it maintains a refined appearance with enough going on to avoid boredom.
Like all reels in the 2200 series, our black/platinum 2250 test reel sports features like die-cast construction, large concave arbor, Sealed Carbon System (SCS) drag, large machined and numbered drag knob, and a machined handle. The matte-black finish of the reel isn't totally glossy-smooth, but rather has a very subtle textured feel to it. Our reel had a couple of light dings on it from previous testers, but I couldn't find anything that looked like a manufacturing imperfection.
The dimensions of the reel are very good with a "just right" size both in terms of diameter and width. Retrieve speed is pleasing and the modest clicking while reeling sounds very smooth and of good quality. For those of you that like to "slap" the spool to quickly retrieve line, the spool is relatively "free" and will spin several times per slap. Regarding cranking-in line, I do wish the machined aluminum handle had a little more taper and some added texture, but it gets the job done just fine as is.
The smoothness of the SCS drag system is quite good. Startup is butter-smooth as I couldn't detect any startup inertia even with the drag at full lock. Once the line starts to flow, the smoothness continues without any roughness, ratcheting, or binding. On the negative side is the approximate 2.5 pounds of max drag I saw when testing on my hand scale, but how much drag is really needed on a 5 or 6 weight rod? For most anglers it'll be perfectly fine. Like the retrieval, there's a similarly modest clicking sound on the outgo.
The large machined rear drag knob is textured for a solid grip with wet hands. This knob sits slightly sunken into the rear frame and because of this I find that my fingers sometimes contact the frame spokes during adjustment which makes for a slight annoyance.
The full range of drag settings can be had in just under one full revolution of the drag knob. The knob's face displays numbers 0–9 with 18 total adjustment points to choose from, while the detents are modest and easily felt. There's no mistaking when you hit the absolute highest (or lowest) drag setting, as the knob instantly stops turning with no associated "ramp up" in knob pressure or increased force needed to eek out those last couple of clicks.
To remove the spool, simply pull the frame/spool apart with enough force and they'll seperate with an audible suction pop. It's a nice quick way of removing the spool without having to mess with a button or fumble with unscrewing a cap. However, for me, mounting the spool back onto the frame wasn't always so easy. The spool/frame connect back together with a little push and wiggle, but sometimes it took me a few tries to get them to seat properly together and actually lock in place. Maybe there's a certain way to do it that I couldn't discover? Not a huge deal but I do wish this task was a little more seamless for me.
At just $139.00 the Sage 2250 is an attractive buy for not a lot of cash. In fact, the whole range of 2200 reels spans from just $129–$159 with spare spools running $69–$79. Aside from our 2250 5/6 reel, you can choose from a 3/4, 7/8, or 9/10. If you really want the Sage name but think you can't afford it.....think again!
Link: Sage 2200 Reels