Fly Fishing Reel

BVK Fly Fishing Reel
BVK Fly Fishing Reel

Looking for the best value in Fly Fishing Reels. Hands down I recommend the Temple Fork Outfitters BVK (Amazon Link to check prices and reviews).? For the money you’ll be hard pressed to find a better reel.

So, what makes me qualified to recommend a fly reel.’ In one of my little side ventures I’ve designed a couple reels for sale on my website River Traditions.? I’ve sold thousands of these reels and have learned about the features and specs that make a great reel.

This review is recommending a fly reel that provides the MOST VALUE.? TFO has concentrated on designing the important things into their fly reels namely performance.

What makes the BVK such a High-Performance Fly Reel for the Money: Drag, Weight and Capacity

  1. Drag: or the ability to slow down a trophy fish when hooked
  2. Weight: a lighter reel will provide less fatigue allowing a fisherman to fish longer more comfortable.
  3. Capacity: A fly reel should hold the “correct” amount of line given the sizes. For me I like a little safety added on for those surprise fish. 200 feet of backing and line for a small setups, up to +600 feet for big boy salt water setups.

What the Reel is designed to do Well – Stop Fish with the Drag

The BVK uses a sealed Delrin and stainless-steel disc drag system. Note the size 0 is a clip and pawl drag and not a disc. These same materials are used on reels costing twice as much. Because the drag system is sealed the BVK is safe for use in saltwater. Delrin does two things exceptionally well; the first is a super low friction coefficient which gives the BVK a low start-up force. The next is it provides an ultra-smooth drag during the run.

The drag should also be easy to adjust with a positive detent to allow for precise adjustment. The BVK is a stand-out with these features the drag knob is over an inch in diameter on the size II reel.

A nice feature is that the drag can be turned almost all the way off to have the reel nearly free spool in the “pull” direction. Don’t let that fool you into thinking you can’t crank the drag down, in my experiment I was able to get 8-9 lbs. of straight line pulling force.

A Light Weight Fly Fishing Reel is More Comfortable

Being machined from bar stock aluminum allows the reel designer to lighten the reel. The lighter the reel, the easier it is to cast and reels for extended periods of time. I’m in my 50’s and having things even a little help. I can’t even guess how many times a person will cast a fly rod in the course of a day. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the thousands. My BVK II weighs in at 4.9 ounces. A comparable Tibor is 7 ounces and Hardy Ultralite is 5.3 ounces.

What having a lighter reel also means is that you have more flexibility in your rod selection. Every year fly rods are being developed to be lighter. Having a light reel means you can upgrade in the future without lighter rod.

Case in point, I specifically bought the BVK II to match-up with my TFO Drift. The rod and reel perfectly balance with the extra rod sections in use.

Capacity – Large Arbor Means BIG Line Capacity

I own the BVK II. Like I said I bought it to specifically match up with my Drift fly rod. the BVK comes in 5 sizes. Below is the capacity:

  • BVK 0 – holds 50 yards of 20lb backing with a 1 weight forward floating line. Spool diameter = 2.75″
  • BVK I – holds 75 yards of 20lb backing with a 4 weight forward floating line. Spool diameter = 3.3″
  • BVK II – holds +150 yards of 20lb backing with a 6 weight forward floating line. Spool diameter = 3.75″
  • BVK III – holds +200 yards of 20lb backing with a 8 weight forward floating line. Spool diameter = 4.1″
  • BVK III+ – holds +200 yards of 20lb backing with a 10 weight forward floating line. Spool diameter = 4.3″

Something to always consider when looking at line capacity is GEL SPUN backing can add a considerable amount of capacity. I only put 100 yards of backing on my setup. I figure that if a fish runs ~ 400 feet of line out I deserve to loose it.

Read all about the different backings in this article. What is Fly Line Backing

What’s included with the BVK Fly Reel?

The reel comes with a parts list and a nice Nylon Pouch that can be used with the reel on a fly rod.

TFO BVK Fly Fishing Reel

Features of the BVK Series Fly Reel

  • Spool runs on two ball bearings like the highest end reels Abel and Tibor.
  • Easily switches from right hand to left hand by removing a clip and flipping a “clutch bearing”
  • Sound – yes the BVK has a muted click, both reeling in and when line is being pulled out. I’ve had mixed opinions about clicking reels in the past, but after hooking into a nice brown trout and hearing the reel scream I’m leaning more toward a nice muted click like the BVK.
  • Durability, The BVK is a FULLY MACHINED aircraft grade aluminum. The finished is a hardened light green anodized, good for both freshwater and salt.
  • Being a fully machined reel the tolerances can be held much tighter. This means the the sealed drag will be more effective and you don’t have to worry about the line slipping between the spool and frame.
  • Warranty, the free download has the full warranty details, but basically you send the reel to TFO for inspection to determine if it can be repaired or replaced.
  • Comfort the handle is a machined aluminum with a cool cove that comfortably fits your index finger and thumb. Another comfort consideration is that all the machined corners have been radiused slightly, give a smooth “slick” feeling to the reel.
  • Color a nice sage green. Easily matches with gray, black and the natural color of cork.
  • Spool removal, is with a small lever on the arbor of the spool. You slide the lever over and pull the spool off the reel frame.
BVK II Fly Fishing Reel
BVK II Fly Fishing Reel
  • Low maintenance, being made from anodized aluminum with a sealed drag the BVK is nearly maintenance free. I rise and clean mine and occasionally oil the bearings. Check out the video I did on how to clean and maintain a fly reel.


I don’t want to over sell the TFO BVK fly reel, but after a year of use in every imaginable weather conditions this reel has’t let me down. For the price I don’t think you can find a fly reel that packs more VALUE into the reel. So yes with confidence I highly recommend the TFO BVK Fly Fishing Reel. (Link to Amazon to see the reviews and pricing)

(Latest 2018 UPDATE) – I’ve bought 2 more of these reels in 2018 I’ve been so happy with my first one!