A large arbor fly reel should really be the only design of fly reel that you should be considering. They have brought about a true revolution in the equipment available for the sports fly fisherman. There are a number of compelling advantages to these designs, and no real apparent disadvantages.
The larger diameter reel, and wider spool, allows you to carry a lot more line on the reel.
Quite possibly the single most compelling reason to have one of these is the very fast line pick-up speed. You can get exceptionally quick line retrieval without your wrist feeling like it is going to fall off. When a fish comes streaking towards you it is now a simple matter to keep the line taught.
The bigger reel diameter allows for a much enlarged area for the drag mechanism. This translates directly to higher stopping power for larger fish. The drag is also smoother across all tensions, and any heat build-up can be efficiently dissipated.
They all have a very low start up inertia because of the larger reel diameter (bigger radius of torque). This equates to much more control when getting strikes, and when fighting the fish.
Nowadays, all of the top manufacturers offer large arbor models, so there is no shortage of reels to choose from.
With all the obvious advantages, you may be wondering if these reels have any disadvantages. They do have a small disadvantage, and that is they are a little heavier. But, with today’s high-tech materials, and very efficient designs, this has become a much reduced consideration.
If you are in the market for a decent reel then you will really be selling yourself short if you select anything other than a large arbor fly reel.