Martin Caddis Creek Fly Reel - Review
By Ian Scott
For many fly anglers, the only real purpose of a fly reel is to hold the fly line. It isn't often I've needed to use the drag system on my fly reels unless I've hooked some pretty big fish. Tension on the fly line with my hand is usually enough, and I can bring fish in retrieving line with my hand and don't often need to resort to using the reel to wind in line when fighting fish.
My son David was pretty excited to get his rod and reel on his birthday, We put backing and line on the reel and the next day, headed out so David (and I) could try out the gear. David was pretty excited that he was going to learn to cast a fly rod. So, here's what the Martin website says about their Caddis Creek reel:
"For anyone after a simple, economical fly reel, Caddis Creek™ is just plain hard to beat.Martin claims this reel will "hold their own against the most stubborn fish." Well... I have my doubts. "But come on" you say, "you just want a reel that will hold the fly line, right?"
They're ideal for beginning fly anglers and particularly appealing for those who fish on a budget. But don't let the affordability fool you. These are serious reels that will more than hold their own against the most stubborn fish."
That's correct and this cheap reel can't even do that well. On the side opposite the handle, there is a gap between the spool and the frame of the reel. This gap is large enough to allow fly line to be wound around and between the spool and the frame. In other words, this fly reel could actually ruin your line. I was very disappointed in the lack of quality in this reel. Years and years ago, I owned one of the least expensive Martin fly reels, and it did it's job as far as holding fly line. So when I saw this Martin Caddis Creek, I had confidence it could at least do that well. I really didn't want to spend lots of dough on equipment for a 7 year old who may end up not even enjoying the sport.
But this seriously is junk. I would never recommend a beginner or a child be given a Caddis Creek reel to save money or because you're on a budget. They will have more frustrations than it's worth.
I ended up having to go down to Vaughan to Bass Pro Shops to pick up something non fly fishing related, and while in there, I met with my friend Brian Vickery who works in their fly shop. I told Brian the story of David's reel and that I needed to get him another one. And for about forty bucks, I picked up the White River Hobbs Creek reel, which is a lot of reel for the money. I have always advised people when asked what they should get as far as fly fishing gear when they are just starting out, "Don't get the cheapest, and don't get the most expensive." I should have taken my own advice in the first place as far as David's reel is concerned.
Do not buy this reel. If you really are on a budget, save up a bit more to get something that can hold fly line and where the line can be easily wound back onto the spool without the risk of damaging the line.