Another important feature to look out for is spool interchangeability. In this type of reel the line is held on a spool that can be removed from the rest of the reel (sometimes referred to as a cartridge) so that a different spool with a different line can be easily installed onto the reel as circumstances change. You may wish to change from a fast sink line to an intermediate line during the day and this cartridge system will make this a quicker and easier job. Of course, the perfect answer would be to have a second rod, reel and line set up so that you can put one rod down and start fishing with the other straight away. But an interchangeable spool is an awful lot cheaper when you are starting out.
As with most things, you get what you pay for. A cheap plastic reel will do the job of carrying the line but is likely to crack after being knocked about a few times. Equally, you could pay a small fortune for a reel made from an exotic material which will impress the other anglers a lot more than it will impress the fish! However, expensive reels tend to be sturdier and are equipped with superior drag systems and if you are intent on playing your fish with the assistance of your reel then it makes sense to buy the best drag system you can afford. You pay your money and you take your choice!
Fly fishing reels are unlike coarse and sea fishing reels in that they are not actively involved in the normal fishing process. By the very nature of the sport the reel is not used to cast the line. This is done by the angler, the line having been previously stripped from the reel in preparation. This means the fly fishing reel is effectively relegated to the job of a line carrier. There is one exception to this statement - the playing of a fish can be done with the use of the reel, its drag system operating to help tire the fish.