Beginner Fly Fishing Tip – Choosing Your First Fly Reel

The Pflueger Fishing Tackle Co. has been manufacturing and selling fishing tackle since 1881. I am not sure when the first Medalist 1400 series fly reels were introduced but it had to be a long time ago. I am familiar with 6 models of the early Medalist 1400 series that Pflueger made. They include numbers: 1492, 1492-1/2, 1494, 1494-1/2, 1495, 1495-1/2, 1498, and the1498-1/2. The difference between the models that have the same number is the width of the spool. For example the 1495 and the 1495-1/2 have the same diameter spool but the 1495-1/2 had a wider spool that will hold more fly line backing.. The 1492 and the 1498 models did not seem to be very popular. The 1492’s are a very small fly reel with a 2-3/16″ dia. spool. The model 1498, which had a 3-11/16″ dia. spool, was large and heavy for its time. All of the 1400’s have a fair adjustable drag system and they originally came with a right hand crank, which can be converted to a left hand crank if so desired. All of the early 1400’s have a hard black enamel finish.

Consider the models that were made in the USA during the mid 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, they were and still are, a reliable and very durable fly reel. The 1400 series Medalist fly reels can make a good inexpensive backup reel, brother-in-law fly reel or a starter reel for the beginning fly fisher. Plus you can purchase one of these reels in almost like new condition at a very good price on the used market. There are three models to consider depending on your needs. The wide model #1494-1/2 is a nice little trout fly reel. It has a 2-11/16″ dia. spool that easily holds 50 yards of 20lb fly line backing and a WF-5 fly line. The narrow spool #1495 also for trout that has a 3 1/16″ dia. Spool will hold 75 yards of 20lb backing and a WF-7 fly line. The wide spool #1495-1/2 used for larger game fish has the same spool diameter as the #1495, and it can hold about 150 yards of 20 lb fly line backing and a WF-8 fly line.

The newest member to Medalist fly reels is the 1500RC series made overseas. These newer versions are basically the same reel as the 1400 series but the 1500RC’s have an aluminum alloy rim control spool and frame. The “RC” is a very popular feature with a lot of the newer fly reels on the market today. It allows the angler to “palm” the spool and if needed, to increase the drag pressure when fighting a large fish. Why is this so important to you if you own an older 1400 series Medalist? Here is the good news: The spools are inter-changeable. Therefore if you are the proud owner of a 1960’s Pflueger Medalist model #1495, you can go to your local sporting dealer or fly shop and order a new Medalist 1595 RC (rim control) spool and it will fit your old #1495.

The one and only problem you may have with the Medalist series fly reels is the screws that hold the reel frame together, may become loose and need tightening from time to time. This can be solved with Lock Tight cement found at local hardware stores.

For additional fly fishing information for the beginning fly fisher visit:

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