Leland Reel Company Vintage Fly Reel Review

Leland Reel Co. Vintage Series Fly Reels

• Models: Sierra Nevada Golden Trout, New Zealand Brown Trout, British Columbia Sea Run, British Columbia Steelhead
• Time-Honored Click and Pawl Drag System
• Machined and Anodized Bar Stock Aluminum
• Full Cage Reel Frame with Inside Palming Access
• Brass Fittings, Reel Foot and Line Guard
• Agatine Handle
• Laser Engraved

In keeping with Leland Reel Company’s commitment to timeless aesthetics and contemporary fishing performance, we announce the arrival of the new Leland Reel Co. Vintage Series Fly Reels.

Taking a Step Back: Conceived for fly anglers who find that today’s loudly colored, tech-ed out fly reels don’t match the greater feel of their day on the water, Leland Vintage Series have engineered the fishing function you need into the traditional aesthetic that brought you to the sport in the first place. Fully-machined from solid blocks of cold-finished aluminum, then teflon-anodized for generations of reliable companionship, the Vintage Brass Series of fly reels represents Leland Reel Company’s determination to fuse the rich aesthetic of bygone times to the functional advantages of modern reel technology.

The Line-Up: Recognizing that tradition-minded anglers exist in more than one of fly fishing’s sub-disciplines, the Leland Vintage Series of reels features three sizes: the Sierra Nevada Golden Trout, appropriate for small stream dry fly fishing and line sizes 2 to 4; the New Zealand Brown Trout, sized for all-around trout fishing with lines 4 to 6; and the British Columbia Sea Run, our take on a traditional Spey reel, appropriate for mid- or long-belly lines up to line weight 7/8 and Skagit or Scandi shooting heads to 450 grains. Finally, our British Columbia Steelhead Spey reel will suck up all your big Skagit lines for two-handed lines in weights 8/9.

Click-Pawl Drag: As the most time-honored and fool-proof type of drag design, the click-pawl is built to perform for decades, not years. With a base level of care, the stainless steel components of the drag can function admirably for generations. Did we mention the sound this reel makes? It’s enough to make you reflect on our sport’s long and distinguished history.

Meant for Palming: We’ve designed every Leland Vintage Fly Reel to allow finger tips through the bottom of the reel cage when additional braking power is required. For centuries, such palming was an essential skill in fly fishing, just like casting and fly selection, but it’s fallen away in recent years. We feel it provides a more intimate experience for the angler who is connected to a fish, and we want to bring it back. That said, the British Columbia Sea Run reel, designed for pursuing powerful anadromous fish, has dual pawls and an adjustable drag knob to provide the considerable braking power that this application requires.

Brass Hardware: The machined brass line guard, reel foot and screws are another deliberate touch. Selected because they develop a subtle patina over many hard seasons of fishing, these components — unlike the impervious components of the drag — are meant to show the distinction that comes with age. The same is true with the hand-sewn leather case that houses each Leland Reel Co. Vintage Reels: each fishing trip further enhances its appearance, each blemish becomes a reminder of a day well spent. We are confident that you will treasure your Leland Vintage Reel more with each season you own it.

Superior Fishing Tools: Built with a standard arbor and a narrow and tall geometry to maximize line pick-up while also maximizing line capacity, Leland Vintage Fly Reels are performance fishing tools — make no mistake about that. With high-end materials, peerless machining and top-notch anodizing, they are built to provide the on-the-water fishing function you need, for seasons to come. But we feel the Leland Vintage Reels are more than tools. They are a reminder of a simpler time, a physical connection to a past when anglers could access nature’s majesty and mystery whenever they set foot in moving water.

pro review:

What’s the Word…

As the latest addition to the Leland Reel Company line-up, the Vintage Brass Series of fly reels offer anglers everywhere what many reel manufacturers believe you no longer want: well-built, traditionally styled fly reels.

Fit and Finish…

With the Vintage Brass Series, we wanted to build genuine fly fishing artifacts, reels that fished great and stood the test of time, both functionally and aesthetically. By scrutinizing the classics in our personal reel collections, by using a carefully selected roster of materials and the most advanced manufacturing methods, and by revising over and over, we’ve created three very unique reels. Functionally, they balance well with a variety of the premium fly rods we sell, and aesthetically, they enrich any rod, whether graphite, fiberglass, or bamboo.

Why We Did It…

When we go fly fishing, it’s sometimes as though we’re trying to connect with the past. For those of us who were fortunate enough to have a grandfather or other elder introduce us to the sport, fly fishing can be a way of remembering or honoring them, especially after their passing. For others among us, going fishing in fertile, pristine places is a way of imagining a time when more of the world was that way. With Leland Vintage Brass, we wanted to build reels that enhanced this feeling of return, that took their cues from our sport’s long history, that consecrated your time on the water by anchoring you in the traditions of fly fishing.


Pros: We knew that if we designed a reel that you’d want to give to your grandchildren, we’d better build it tough enough to last that long. So we did. Like the most legendary reels of old, the Leland Reel Co. Vintage Fly Reels are tanks.

Cons: To stay true to our vision of a fly reel that any creel-toting fisherman from the 19th century would be proud to fish, we elected to go with the full reel cage and screw-operated spool release that held sway for so long. If you’re looking for a classically styled reel that offers tool-free spool release and features a half-cage frame, check out the Leland Classic Reels.

Bottom Line: Extraordinarily well-made reels with a timeless aesthetic.

A Final Thought…

In our rapidly changing and always-distracting world, it’s easy to lose sight of all our connections to the past. We forget, for example, that the water moving down spring creeks and glacial freestones today fell as snow thousands and thousands of years ago. And that the native trout of the Sierra and the steelhead of coastal BC were spawning in those waters thousands of generations before that. To be sure, the Leland Vintage Fly Reels are nothing more than what they are: fly reels. Fishing with one isn’t going to make you a better angler or a wiser person. But it might make you reflect just a little bit more. About our world. About ourselves and our history. About why we do the things we do. At least, it’s done that for me.