Home » Gear Review – Wright & McGill Dragon Fly Large Arbor Fly Reel

Gear Review – Wright & McGill Dragon Fly Large Arbor Fly Reel

Wright & McGill Large Arbor Fly Reel

The Wright & McGill Dragon Fly caught my eye recently because it offered fully machined components and a clean stylish look. Keeping in mind of course that Wright & McGill Co. is owned by Eagle Claw, I wasn’t about to pay anywhere near MSRP for one. Nothing personal against Eagle Claw but let’s face it, they’re no Orvis or Sage.

A few months ago, the Dragon Fly large arbor reel in 7/8 weight appeared on DepartmentOfGoods.com for a mere $78 with free shipping! Needless to say, this was a deal too good to pass up, especially considering I am newly married and have a wife imposed fishing budget to worry about.

The bad,

Although it is large arbor, the line bed itself is narrower than many reels and is also fairly shallow. Combine that with an older bulky eight weight line (all I had on hand at the time) and you’ve got trouble. With 175 yards of 20lb Dacron backing the line BARELY fits. This problem, of course, is easily fixed by using less backing but is good to be aware of as in my first fight with this new reel the line became jammed on the reel and didn’t allow me to reel in fully. Thankfully I have a good friend on the net so the fish was landed (and released) safely.

The good,

The drag is smooth and the super large arbor means line take up is very fast. The matte silver finish (accented with metallic orange) seems durable enough and gives the reel a good feel. It will, I’m sure, chip as it is not anodized. The drag although not fully sealed seems to be fairly tight and with proper care should last.


Is this reel worth the MSRP of more than $200? No, I really don’t feel it is. That being said, if you happen to find one of these reels floating around on Ebay or Amazon for less than $100, I say buy it. Overall it’s a good fishable reel and considering the price point, it’s a good deal. I look forward to pitting this reel against big Bull trout this year and will post updates here on the reels continued performance. Wright & McGill seem to be going through some changes so I imagine getting anything taken care of by warranty might be tricky in the near future.

I hope someone out there finds this review helpful. In this ever changing world of fishing gear it’s easy to lose your way and end up paying too much for lousy gear. Keep those hooks barbless and lines tight!


Wright & McGill Large Arbor Fly Reel

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