As a teenager and throughout my 20’s I sat behind the reel service bench at several tackle shops in southern California. Working as the in-house reel tech, I would turn my nose up at anything that didn’t have a Penn, Shimano or Abu Garcia or Newell badge on the side. New brands or anything out of the norm were relegated in my mind to either being a passing craze or something I would charge triple the service fee because I know I was going to be fabricating parts or that I would spend hours or weeks trying to locate parts from the manufacturer. To me, the decision on which reel to buy was an open and shut case. In my mind if it wasn’t US, Japanese or European, (like cars) it was junk. It wouldn’t be until a few months ago that I would change my mind.
Fast forward 15 years. This past summer, I was looking for a new kind of kick. I had spent the last 2 decades hunting trout in wild places with an ultra-light rod and reel and bags of mini jigs. I was bored with my tried and true way of catching fish and I needed a new way to connect with nature and a past time that I have embraced since my first memories of early childhood. I woke up one morning and decided I would shift my focus a few degrees. I decided to take up fly fishing.
The shift in my mind was huge. I learned quickly that most of what I had learned about fishing throughout my life was no longer relevant. The biggest difference was in the gear, not just the functionality. I had no idea what to buy. My local fly fishing shop was super helpful but the answer to the question, “What do I really need?” Along the back of the shop wall was a case of reels where they had everything you could imagine. Prices ranged from about $100 all the way up to $600 or $700 for the “top of the line”. After an in-depth discussion with the salesperson, I was informed that in fly fishing, a reel was basically a glorified line holder. The next question in my mind was “why would I spend $400 on a trout reel when I’d seen technology a lot more complex for a lot less money?” That didn’t stop me from leaving the shop with a souvenir of my new discovery. For a little over $100, I left the shop with a Lamson Waterworks Liquid. It was nice, light, smooth and it seemed to have a decent drag system. However, it wasn’t aluminum and although it was assembled in the USA, the parts were die cast and made overseas. This was perfectly fine with me until I got home and started perusing Amazon to see how I had really done with my purchase. I regularly check Amazon to read customer reviews and see what everyone else was buying and why. Being totally honest, I couldn’t find a negative thing about the purchase I had made and I was feeling quite satisfied until I noticed at the bottom of the listing the little field that read “customers who bought this item also bought” where I saw a gorgeous looking, aluminum fly reel listed for under $60 by a brand called Piscifun. I reluctantly clicked on the listing and started to read the reviews. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. I had just bought a nice reel but I felt compelled to try this one out. I had a lot of questions running through my mind. Was it light, was it tight, was it smooth? For the price, it couldn’t be, right? Well, I ended up with 5/6 wt in black and I will tell you that this was one of those times that my expectations were greatly exceeded. I won’t bother to compare to the other brands on the market but I will tell you this, it is far more than a glorified line holder.
Here are some of the impressive facts and compelling reasons why I’m glad that I gave this reel and Piscifun a shot:
External Construction – This reel features a machined anodized aluminum frame, spool and reel seat and handle. It had cleaner machine work and better finish than some of my $500 US made saltwater reels. The tolerances are super tight that even 7x tippet doesn’t stand a chance of getting caught on the side of the spool. I can’t say the same for more expensive options.
Internal Construction – This reel’s internal features include stainless steel bearings, shaft and drag cover. Again, reel offers the same materials used in more expensive reels.
Super Smooth Drag – Although you won’t get into much trouble chasing your average California trout, I would feel confident taking this reel out against much larger fish. The size of the washer and the sensitivity of the drag itself offers easy adjustment and could stop a much larger fish.
Lightweight – at 4.6 oz., without line. Loaded with Piscifun 5wF moss green fly line, it balances very nicely with my 5wt Sage Accel Fly rod.
Out of the Box – The first thing I did was take the reel apart. It was well greased (not over greased) with white lubrication which looks like the same thing that you get with much more expensive reels. The reel felt tuned and ready to go.
Color options – Not ultra-important but still very cool. I wouldn’t hesitate to go out there with the gun metal gray or even the pink! On this round, I played it safe and went with black but with the quality of the finish, I would be happy to end up with one of each.
Customer Service – Although I can’t foresee having any issues with these reels, as a reel mechanic, I had plenty of questions out of the gate. They were prompt in to get back to me with all the information that I requested within 24 hrs.
Concerns? The only concern I might have is that the drag and bearings are not truly sealed. However, unless you are going to dunk your reel in a bucket of salt water and leave it in the backyard for a month, you won’t run into any issues. If you plan to use the reel in salt water, I would recommend rinsing it off with fresh water after use. You can also pull the spool and give the reel a quick squirt and dry rag wipe with WD40 and you should be good to go for years.
The Bottom Line – This reel is awesome. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better value at a better price. This reel is now the backbone of my trout setup. I have also gone on to try several of their other products which include tippet, tapered leaders, line and had nothing but a great fishing experience. Below is a nice brown that I landed just a few weeks ago! To check this reel out or get one of your own you can visit the Piscifun Official Website website or on Piscifun on Amazon
Author - Graham Day