LL Bean Pocket Water Reel Review

LL Bean Pocket Water Reel Review

I decided to put together a small stream outfit and recently picked up a LL Bean Pocket water reel.  At $89, it seemed to be a nice option for a low cost small stream reel.  I love the look and feel of a click and pawl reel, and already own an Orvis CFO that I pair with a 4 weight rod.

I plan to pair the Pocket Water reel with my 3 weight to make a well balanced small stream rod.  My 7 foot 3 wt rod just came back from repair, so I’ll be testing this combo out in small brook trout steams in the near future.   If you have some extra cash to spend on gear, I think it’s worth it to put together a small stream rod.  It makes casting in close quarters so much easier than lugging around 10 foot rod like I usually do.

The Pocket Water reel has a nice feel to it, and has a loud click.  I love the sound of line peelng off these classic reels, so that has never bothered me.  As far as quality goes, it’s something only time will tell.  On initial inspection, it would be hard to tell this reel apart from other much more expensive options.  The plastic handle is the only part of the reel that feels a little flimsy.  Additionally, the drag on this reel doesn’t add much pressure, so I wouldn’t expect it to come in handy at all when fighting any small stream monsters.  You can always palm the reel to add some friction if need be, which is fitting for a reel of this style.  Can’t wait to hit a few small streams soon!


3 thoughts on “LL Bean Pocket Water Reel Review

  1. I bought a pocket water reel for the click pawl feature. Hooked a large brown. It ran ….reel drag spring snapped. Back lashed immediately. Poor design. Lifetime brown gone.

    1. Hi Phil,

      Sorry to hear about that. The drag on this reel seems to be one of the downfalls. I noticed that as well. I mostly use it for small streams and have never felt outgunned there. Having lost a lifetime brown, I know how it feels! I still can picture that fish at the bottom of the pool. Here’s hoping we’ll each have another shot at a brown like that.


  2. I had the same thing happen as Phil. Last week on the Madison I hooked a big trout (not sure which type as we caught big rainbows, browns, and cutbows from this stretch earlier) and the drag gave out completely. Upon inspection it’s clear that the spring designed to apply pressure to the pawl has failed. Here’s hoping LL Bean comes through with a replacement spring. In future I’ll limit the reel to small streams.

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