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Freshwater Reels
Saltwater Reels

Cheeky Spray 350 Fly Reel

With reels, it’s often the little details that matter most.
Kirk Deeter author.
Kirk Deeter
February 5, 2024
Cheeky | Spray 350 Fly Reel
product description
“The Spray Fly Reel is the premium reel from Cheeky Fishing. All Spray Reels are fully machined from the highest-grade, aerospace aluminum and feature a newly updated frame and spool design with improved strength plus lighter weight.” – Cheeky Fishing
company ethos
“Cheeky Fishing is committed to continuing to push the performance, innovation and design of its products. Moving forward, you will continue to see more products from Cheeky Fishing in our quest to provide every angler with what they need on the water, while always mindful of smart solutions and inclusive demeanor.” – Cheeky Fishing

Cheeky made a “splash” when it jumped into the ultra-competitive reel market a number of years ago with colorful, fairly-priced, utilitarian models that carved a niche where most fly industry insiders wondered if there was even a niche to be had. After all, for a while there, it seemed like anyone with access to a metal machining shop and an interest in fly fishing could build a pretty compelling reel.

Product story

Thing is, Cheeky was based in Massachusetts, when everyone thought the center of the fly-fishing universe was Bozeman, MT (which is still very much open to discussion). The company didn’t hide its penchant for the salt and striped bass fishing in particular, so it jumped right in with the big boys where things like disc drags really mattered. And they did it in a way that proved you didn’t need to spend several hundred dollars to fish with a perfectly capable, functional saltwater reel. And now, they’re not only still hanging around, they’ve also made a reel that I think puts them in the big leagues for keeps.  

The “Spray” is Cheeky’s newest, premium reel, though it costs considerably less ($400) than other premium disc-drag reels. I’ve fished the smallest version, the 350, on trout rivers, very late in the Rocky Mountain season. The 350 is the trout-sized model. 


The startup smoothness is fine. There’s one, tiny micro-bump between where you left your last crank of the reel and where the drag engages after the fish takes the fly and starts the run. Most people won’t even notice, it’s pretty nominal and the drag–a fully-sealed gasket system–is quite smooth. That you will notice.


It’s a light reel, crafted of aluminum and ported both in frame and spool. I wouldn’t call it dainty though. I’d try not to drop in on the rocks as I fished, but if that happened, I wouldn’t automatically think I just ruined my reel, which is the concern I have with many reels that are ultra-ported, and look like metallic spider webs, presumably just to keep them light.

One of the main “hooks” of the Spray is the contrast of colors to be had between spool and frame: blue on gold, orange on silver, and so forth.  

But to me, the really appealing attributes are the tiny details that show the reel was designed by people who care about the little things when it comes to fishing–the stem of the reel foot is rounded, for example. Why does that matter? If you wrap your leader/tippet around the reel foot, do you want it pulled taut around on a hard edge that crimps, creates memory or chafing on the leader, or one that is rounded and smooth? And then there’s a drilled-in hook holder hole, so if your rod doesn’t have a hook keep, and you don’t want to hang your fly in the rod guide, you can stick it on the reel. It’s a nice detail. 

The counterbalance on the spool, opposite the handle, is ergonomic and fairly flush, so it balances the rotation, without knocking knuckles or catching loose fly line.  

The arbor is large (it holds a lot of backing with the line), the drag adjustment is easy and accessible and all it takes to pop the spool is a few easy twists of a screw that remains attached when the spool disengages. The drag is sealed, so it’s impervious to grit and gunk; so too are the tolerances tight, which also keeps things running smoothly, even if they get a bit muddy. 

For $400, which is what you’d pay for some fancy, dressed-up click pawls, it’s a pretty fair deal.


We love the rounded foot, and the integrated hook keeper. Those are details anglers should appreciate.

Pretty simple means to pop the spool, and easy left-to-right hand conversion.

Lightweight and balances most rods very well.

Dependable, adjustable drag.


Maybe you aren’t a fan of the color combos offered, or colorful reels in general.

The noise produced in either direction, cranking or delving out line is pretty subdued. That’s fine by me, but if you want the dramatic “fish on!” sound, this isn’t it.

Foreign manufactured, for what that’s worth (or not).


$400 for a slick, perfectly functional, disc-drag reel is a pretty good bargain in my world. The larger models (Spray 400, 450) are also bargains.


The level detail and engineering is what you’d find in many higher-end reels.


We’re still beating the Spray 350 on every rock and boat gunwale we can, and it’s taking the punishment.

  • Price: $399
  • Sizes: Line weights 4-6
  • Weight: 5.9 ounces
  • Colors: Electric Blue/Gold; Burn/Steel
  • Drag: Fully-sealed Gasket Drag System (GDS)
  • Handle: Anodized aluminum handle; low-profile counterbalance eliminates line catching at the base, ergonomic for long fights
  • Arbor: Large (3.5-inch diameter)
  • Warranty: Cheeky warranty

Cheeky warranty.

“All Cheeky fly fishing reels except PreLoad reels carry a limited lifetime warranty to the original owner covering defects in materials or workmanship. Cheeky PreLoad reels carry a limited one year warranty to the original owner covering defects in materials or workmanship. Cheeky Fishing will repair or replace any Cheeky fly reels under this warranty (the "Warranty") at no cost for parts or labor. Cheeky has sole discretion as to whether a reel is covered under Warranty.”

Likely buyers

Someone who wants a solid disc-drag reel and doesn’t want to spend a ton–heck, there are many click-pawl reels that cost more than Spray. If you don’t care where it’s made, if you like colors (or don’t mind them), or if you’re looking for a fresh option that’s easy to fish, this works. If you want a more “classic” or “traditional” looking reel, Spray might not flip your switch. 


This reel puts Cheeky in the Bigs. Not that other models they made weren’t worthy of big-league attention, but this is going to piss off a lot of the companies that over-engineer reels, because they can serve up the patter that you need a reel with race car brakes in order to fish well, and they have a following who buys into that BS.

When choosing reels, you should ultimately ask yourself if you want to support some company’s engineering/science project, or find a well-designed, durable and fairly-priced tool to fish with.

As that relates to the 350 specifically, for trout and bass and other small-to-medium freshwater fishing situations, if I were making a living by marketing $600+ reels, I’d be worried. This reel delivers what most anglers will ever need to tackle any trout between Maine and California. And the cool thing is that it features some legitimate angler-inspired design elements that you don’t find everywhere else.

I like the Cheeky team. They care about trout rivers and saltwater flats. They’ve proven that, time and time again. They’ve also made a winner of a reel.

Find the Cheeky Spray 350 Fly Reel with our trusted partners or direct: 

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