Cheeky fly reels

WITH a few saltwater fly trips planned in the near future I was on the lookout for a few new fly reels.

I must admit I spent a lot of time on the internet checking specs, brands and cost and that was quite confusing. There are just so many reels out there these days that making a decision is very difficult. I ended up writing out a short list of what I needed in the new reels which eliminated about a third of the reels I had been considering. The list went something like this:

  • Machined from 6061-T6 aluminium bar stock
  • Saltwater grade anodising
  • Sealed drag system
  • Large arbour with maximum backing capacity
  • Availability of spare spools

That narrowed it down to all the major well known brands of fly reels. I needed a 6/7 reel for the local pelagics along with bonefish in Christmas Island and I also wanted an 8/9 for Hervey Bay bluefin and golden trevally along with the local kingfish and rat yellowfin/albacore. If possible I wanted matching reels of the same brand and type in both sizes. The price of some reels was just way beyond what I could justify so that narrowed the selection criteria down even further to about half a dozen reels that were within my price range and features list.

I was just about getting close to making a decision and spending about a grand when I came across a second hand Cheeky Mojo 425 on a fly fishing website. Cheeky reels hadn’t even been on my radar but this reel was “as new” and came with a spare spool. I started doing some internet investigation in a real hurry and discovered that Cheeky Reels ticked all the boxes of what I needed and I loved the quirky gold and blue colour scheme. I took a punt and 3 days later I had my 8/9 reel and spare spool.



Yes, I spent the next few days spooling it up and pulling it apart, playing with it and even casting it in the front yard on a couple of different rods. I was very impressed to say the least. I loaded it up with 300 metres of 50 pound braid backing and there was a heap of room for a 9 weight intermediate line on top. This was due to the Cheeky B2 Channel spool design which is scooped out and allows extra room for 20 per cent more backing – great idea.

The drag was as smooth as any I’ve seen and it’s fully sealed to prevent saltwater and sand getting in there. The drag consists of alternating stainless and PTFE composite discs that are designed to provide low inertia start up and dissipate heat more efficiently than cork, carbon fibre or Rulon. They are sealed with O-rings inside the drag housing that is patented by Cheeky. There’s a nice big drag dial on the back and a very good knurled spool knob on the front. At 108mm diameter and 200 grams the Mojo 425 is a little lighter than the industry standard for an 8/9 reel.

I was that impressed with my new Mojo 425 that I went out and bought a matching Cheeky Ambush 375 and spare spool for my 6/7 weight reel. This reel is 95mm in diameter and weighs in at 173 grams and balances perfectly on a 9 foot 6 weight rod and my 8’6” Loomis 6/7 GLX Mega. The Ambush 375 comes in a gold and green colour scheme but all Cheeky reels are also available in plain silver. The Cheeky range consists of five different sizes from an 82mm diameter 3/4 weight for trout to a 134mm diameter 14/16 reel for billfish, tuna and GTs.

Cheeky Fly Fishing is based in the US and has been in operation since 2009. The company's policy is to design products specifically for progressive fly fishermen.

The company is also committed to developing the highest quality reels available, designed to emphasise style rather than tradition.

You can find Cheeky Fly Fishing on Facebook and Instagram and at bluedamselfly.com.au

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