Fly Reel Vs. Centerpin: What Are The Differences?

Okay, fellow fishers, here’s a question for you: fly reels or centerpins? What are the differences, and which one should you use?

Even the most experienced anglers can get themselves confused about this one, so we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn more about fly reels and centerpins and find out which one’s right for you. 

Fly Reel Vs. Centerpin: What Are The Differences?

What’s The Difference Between Fly Reels And Centerpins? 

First off, let’s answer one of the most important questions: what’s the difference between a flyreel and a centerpin? 

Fly Reel

A fly reel is an excellent choice if you like fishing with small flies on smaller fish. It has a large spool that holds lots of line, making it perfect for longer casts.

A fly reel also has a drag system that allows you to control how much tension your line gets when you pull back on the handle. This helps keep your line tight and tangle-free while you cast.


A centerpin is great for casting larger flies, such as nymphs and streamers because it gives you better distance and accuracy than a fly reel.

You’ll need to be able to set the hook quickly and accurately, though, since there isn’t any drag on the line.

When Should You Use A Fly Reel? 

Wondering when you should be using a fly reel? Here’s a quick guide to help you decide:

If You Want To Fish From Shore Or Boat

You will probably want to use a fly reel since they have a lot of advantages over centerpins. They give you greater distance and accuracy, plus you don’t have to worry about tangling your line.

If You Want To Catch Big Fish

If you plan to catch really big fish, then a centerpin may be the way to go. It provides more distance and accuracy than a traditional fly reel, but you won’t have the same amount of control.

If You Want A Versatile Tool

If you’re looking for versatility in your fishing equipment, then a fly reel is the best option. It lets you easily switch between different types of flies, and you can even use it to land bigger fish.

When Should You Use A Centerpin? 

What about centerpins? When should you be using them, and what are they best for? Let’s take a look.

For Smaller Flies

If you’re planning on catching small trout, bass, catfish, etc., then a centerpin is the way to go. Since it doesn’t have a drag mechanism, you’ll need to set the hook quickly after each cast.

But once you do, you’ll find that it’s easier to hold onto the fish.

What About Bigger Flies?

If you plan on landing big fish, then a fly reel might not be the best choice. It will only allow you to cast shorter distances, and it won’t provide enough control to land those monsters.

So if you’re going to try to land a huge fish, then stick with a centerpin instead.

Fly Reel And Centerpin: Size Differences 

Reel Materials

Now, let’s take a look at the size differences between fly reels and centerpins. 

Fly Reel Size

A fly reel usually comes in two sizes: 6’6″ (2m) and 8′. If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably want to start with the smaller model. It’s easy to maneuver and it’s light enough to carry around.

Plus, you can always upgrade later.

Centerpin Size 

On the other hand, a centerpin usually comes in one size: 10′ (3m). That means you’ll have to buy a new one every time you want to change out your gear.

Also, some models come with a built-in swivel, which makes changing out hooks easier.


Another thing you’ll need to consider is the durability of each model. Is one more durable than the other, and which is best for you? 

Fly Reel Durability

Fly reels tend to be made from high-quality stainless steel and aluminum materials. This helps make them last longer and stronger.

However, they also cost more money. On average, a good quality fly reel will run $200-$300.

Centerpin Durability 

So how long will a centerpin last? Well, it depends on its material. Some centerpins are made of stainless steel, while others are made of carbon fiber.

Those materials tend to last much longer than their counterparts.

Reel Materials

Now, let’s take a closer look at the reel materials of centerpins and fly reels.

Fly Reels

Most fly reels are made from either aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum tends to be cheaper, but it doesn’t last as long as stainless steel.

And since most fly reels are designed to handle heavy loads, they require extra care when cleaning them.

Stainless Steel Fly Reels 

Most fly reels are made out of stainless steel. They’re strong, lightweight, and affordable. They’re also great for beginners because they don’t require any special maintenance.

Aluminum Fly Reels 

Some people prefer to use an aluminum fly reel because it’s lighter than a stainless steel one. But it’s also less durable. In fact, it tends to bend over time.


There are many different types of centerpins available. Most are made from carbon fiber, although some are made from stainless steel.

Carbon fiber is lighter than stainless steel, so it’s better for casting short distances.

Carbon Fiber Centerpins 

Carbon centerpins are much lighter than their steel counterparts, so if you’re looking for a more manageable setup, carbon fiber is the way to go.

Stainless Steel Centerpins

Stainless steel is more durable. So if you’re looking for something that will last a lifetime, then this is what you should choose.

The bottom line is that both fly reels and centerpins are pretty similar. So you just need to decide which type works best for you.

Fly Reel: Pros And Cons

Fly Reel: Pros And Cons

What’s the best way to choose between two options? First, look through a pros and cons list. We’ve compiled one for both fly reels and centerpins below. 

Fly Reel Pros

  • Lightweight – Fly reels are typically very light, making them easy to cast with.
  • Affordable – A fly reel is relatively inexpensive compared to other fishing equipment.
  • Easy to Use – Fly reels are simple to set up and operate.

Fly Reel Cons

  • Not For Heavy Loads – Fly reels aren’t meant to hold large amounts of weight.
  • Lacks Versatility – Fly reels only work with certain kinds of flies.

Centerpin: Pros And Cons

Centerpin Pros

  • Great For Casting Short Distances – Centerpins are generally used for shorter casts, such as those under 20 feet.
  • Cheaper Than Fly Reels – Centerpins are often less expensive than fly reels.
  • Versatile – Many centerpins can be adjusted to fit your needs.

Centerpin Cons

  • Heavy Weight – Centerpins are heavier than fly reels. So they may not be suitable for all anglers.
  • Requires Maintenance – Like fly reels, centerpins must be cleaned regularly.

Fly Reel Vs. Centerpin: Which Is Better? 

And now, it’s time for the ultimate question: which is better? Fly reels or centerpins? Let’s find out!

Fly Reels have a few advantages over centerpins. First, they’re easier to use. That means you’ll spend less time setting them up. Second, fly reels are usually lighter than centerpins.

This makes them easier to cast with. Third, fly reels are more versatile. They can be used with almost any kind of fly.

However, centerpins have several advantages over fly reels. First, they weigh less. This makes them easier for beginners to use. Second, they’re more durable.

They tend to last longer than fly reels. Third, there’s a lot of them; there are many different sizes and styles available.

However, if we had to settle on just one, we think fly reels are better than centerpins, but if you want to save money, then centerpins might be a good choice!

Read also: Best Saltwater Baitcasting Reels

The Bottom Line 

We hope this article has helped you learn more about the differences between fly reels and centerpins and given you the information you need to choose the right one for you!

They both have their pros and cons, but which one you choose is down to you and you alone – happy fishing!

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