Cheeky Fly Fishing Reels Giving Us Lots to Think About

in Fly Fishing Insider Podcast Blog

Cheeky PreLoad 2.0, Launch 350, and Spray 400 Fly Fishing Reels

Fly fishing enthusiasts looking to get into quality reels then you may want to think about Cheeky Fly Reels.  Whether you're a seasoned angler or just starting out, Cheeky Fly Reels has a wide variety of reels to offer that can fit your needs. I’m going to dive into three models of the Cheeky Fly Reels, particularly the PreLoad 2.0, Launch 350, and Spray 400 models, to help provide a bit of background on what they have available.
Overall, Cheeky reels are some of the more affordable reels on the market without losing quality! The reels range from the PreLoad 2.0 series at $119, Sighter series reels are all under $200, the Launch series are all under $300, and the Spray series are all under $500.  If you are a cost effective angler looking for a great reel then Cheeky should be a top brand of choice to select from.

Cheeky PreLoad 2.0: The Reel Beginner-Friendly Choice

Features & Benefits:

Pre-Rigged Convenience: The Cheeky PreLoad 2.0 fly fishing reel stands out for its ready-to-fish setup. It comes pre-spooled with 20-lb Cheeky Premium backing, a weight-forward fly line, and a 9-foot leader, eliminating the hassle of rigging. You can literally open the box, put it on a rod, and start fishing. 

Drag System: The partially-sealed drag, consisting of stainless/PTFE composite discs, offers adequate drag pressure and smoothness, particularly at higher settings. For a trout reel, the setup is ideal.  Good quality drag but not a crazy top-of-the-line system, which in my opinion is not needed.  The fly fishing reel is also, ready to use, durable, and won’t break the bank. 

Design & Build: With a CNC machined blade design of the frame, the reel is lightweight (4.1 oz) and strong.  Durability is one of the strong points of this reel. Its machined handle is smoothly integrated, ensuring no play during rapid reeling. 

Affordability: At under $100, it's a budget-friendly option for those new to fly fishing. The value it offers, including the quality of included Cheeky backing and fly line, is impressive. Reels have come a long way and to be able to find something with the backing, line and leader in place for under $100 is really phenomenal deal. 

Ideal For: Beginners or those seeking an affordable, hassle-free reel. These are also excellent reels for guides or boat situations where reels tend to take a beating going in and out of boats and being used by all sorts of anglers. 

Where to Buy: Cheeky 

Cheeky Launch 350: The Performance-Driven Choice

Features & Benefits:

Rev Carbon Drag System: Known for its buttery smooth drag and silent retrieve, this system offers an excellent experience. The reel is so smooth and has an extremely consistent and durable drag that you with one of the highest quality drag systems available on the market.  

MAX Arbor Design: The 3.50” diameter arbor ensures less reel rotation and quick line retrieval, beneficial during intense fishing sessions with long runs. What I love about this is that it can be used for multipurpose. Any species, that wants to test your drag and needs to be retrieved rapidly. The larger arbor is beyond suitable for freshwater runs that test your drag.

Durability & Weight: Fully machined from high-grade aluminum, the Launch 350 is both lightweight (4.9 oz) and robust. It passes my tests for durability.  The reel has held up against rocks, boat bays, etc. The fact that it is not over-machined but doesn’t look it helps tremendously in these scenarios. 

Additional Features: The reel comes with a torque-dispersing reel foot, B2 Backing Channel for extra line capacity, and a quick change spool for easy left/right retrieve conversion.

Ideal For: Anglers looking for a light yet durable reel, with smooth and reliable performance.

Bonus: The Launch 350 was chosen by Outside Magazine as best.

Where to Buy: Cheeky 

Cheeky Spray 400: The Premium, Award-Winning Fly Fishing Reel Choice

Features & Benefits:

Gasket Drag System (GDS): This fully-sealed system offers efficient drag control, crucial for handling larger fish. Seeing that it is sealed the reel can be utilized in freshwater and saltwater applications. 

Construction: Crafted from aerospace aluminum, the Spray 400 features an updated frame and spool design for improved strength and lighter weight (6.9 oz). Although the weight is low the design is robust enough to remain durable and effective. 

Arbor Size: The large 4.00” arbor facilitates quick line retrieval (up to 12.6” per revolution), a key advantage in the 8 weight and up reel options.  Knowing you can suck line in quickly after long runs then again utilize the drag to it’s full potential is really a necessity in 8 weight reels and above. The former is especially true in saltwater applications.

Ergonomics: The anodized aluminum handle and low-profile counterbalance are designed to reduce line catching and provide comfort during long fights. Lastly, the large grip knurled drag knob is easy to find and control.

Ideal For: Serious anglers seeking top-tier performance and durability, perfect for both freshwater and saltwater applications where run and retrieve scenarios will be common. 

Where to Buy: Cheeky 

Wrap Up

Selecting the optimum fly reel can be deliberating, exhausting and down right over complicated in most cases. Regardless, the selection process and result can significantly impact your fishing experience. The Cheeky PreLoad 2.0 is excellent for beginners or those on a budget, offering great value and ease of use. The Launch 350, with its lightweight design and smooth drag system, is perfect for those seeking performance without breaking the bank. For the more experienced angler, the Spray 400 stands out as a premium option, boasting robust construction and advanced features. What I love about the Cheeky brand is that they offer something for each level along with backing and fly lines. They have come a long way and truly focused their mission on making the purchasing of a reel a one stop shop with a simplified due diligence process. Having used them for several years now, seen the progression of the business and the results of their effort they are an excellent choice for fly reels in a land of many worthy competitors. 

Again, each reel caters to different needs and preferences, ensuring that whatever your fly fishing ambitions are, there's a Cheeky reel that's just right for you. Remember, the right gear enhances your fishing and elevates your enjoyment of the sport. Have fun exploring and let us know if we can answer any questions. 

Want to get detailed on your reel purchasing decision?  Check out the Overall Guide I created that is followed by 7 detailed breakouts. 

FFIP does receive a small commission from affiliate sales links. However, not all links are directed towards affiliate programs as I stay neutral and base recommendations more so on my own experiences. These commissions are used to support the FFIP expenses related to maintaining and hosting the show, blog, etc. Thank you for your support and by purchasing through the links within my articles when applicable!

Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
@dupeafish Watch on YouTube