When highlighting some of our favorite gear, the easy starting place is with Allen Fly Fishing's reels. We could have picked the Alpha series, or even one of Allen's older XL series, but for now we'll focus on the Trout series. After all, we spend most of our time fishing for trout. You might say that evaluating a reel by how it performs when fishing for trout isn't all that telling, since many trout don't even require you to get them on the reel to land them. Fair enough.
However, we have 3 of these reels (all the 5/7 model), and each of them have performed well under various conditions. These reels have brought to hand trout, feisty bass and carp without skipping a beat. The model that stays permanently attached to my 5 weight rod was tested thoroughly on my recent trip to the Deschutes River in Oregon, whose powerful redside trout will take advantage of the Deschutes' powerful currents to show you your arbor not. The Allen Trout 5/7 performs, under all conditions, as you'd expect a high-end reel to perform.
Except, the Allen reels don't have a high-end price tag. You can pick up the Trout Series reels for $110 right now from the Allen Fly Fishing website, though frequent sales from Allen often make it obtainable for under $100.
Machined from 6061 bar stock aluminum and stainless steel the Trout Series features a carbon disc-drag, an oversized drag knob and stupid-easy conversion from left to right hand retrieve. The reel also has a large-arbor form factor, but doesn't skimp on spool capacity, leaving you plenty of room for backing. The design also doesn't skimp on style. This reel just looks good. You can pick the reel up in stainless, gunmetal, or green (formerly available in red and blue, and we're hoping for a return of the red).
To put it another way, the Allen Fly Fishing Trout 5/7 comes loaded with all of the features, design, and workmanship of reels that cost 3 times more. Hard to beat.