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Freshwater Reels

Galvan Rush Light Fly Reel

This American-made fly reel is tough, understated and a solid consumer value.
Kirk Deeter author.
Kirk Deeter
July 8, 2024
Galvan | Rush Light Fly Reel
product description
“The Rush Light’s quality, ruggedness and ultra-smooth, state of the art, Torque drag system does not disappoint. This high value, mid-priced, large arbor reel has all the technological hallmarks of its counterpart the Torque, while capturing the essence of the original Rush Series reels.” – Galvan Fly Reels
company ethos
“At Galvan, our fly reels are the result of over 25 years of dedicated design and innovation. More than that, they are part of an ongoing tradition of family-run business, American-made products and time-honored craftsmanship built into every reel we make.” – Galvan Fly Reels

Nobody needs to spend more than $400 to get a perfectly functional fly reel that should last a lifetime and work fine in any trout fishing situation, anywhere in the world.

The truth, however, is that there are really only a handful of American-made, sub-$400 fly reels that fit that bill, and the Galvan Rush Light is one of them. 

I’ve always considered Galvan Fly Reels to be more workhorse than racehorse, and that’s meant to be a compliment. They aren’t particularly flashy from a design aesthetic perspective–rather, they’re tough, reliable, rarely temperamental and easy to operate. The Galvan Rush Light is a bit heavier than other reels of similar profile, but the practical weight difference is negligible (think: several peanut M&M’s).

Releasing the spool couldn't be easier: You push a single button to disengage. The drag is fully sealed, and quite smooth, especially at the start-up. It has the largest diameter and narrowest spool of this class of reel, which is an important differentiation to consider if you want to pick up more line-per-crank. 

Don’t expect to see this reel on display at the Museum of Modern Art, however, with an understated, lunch pail design. 

It also doesn't have the slickest, space-age drag system, and the same basic components have been in play for nearly 20 years, because it would be stupid to mess with the guts inside. But it’s tough, smooth and perfectly capable of stopping bigger fish.

You naturally don’t want to drop any reel on the rocks, but if it happens, I’d rather it happened to a Galvan with its abrasion and corrosion-resistant aluminum. Like an American-made Stihl chainsaw, or pair of classic Danner boots, the Galvan is about rugged simplicity and the ability to stand the test of time.

Pros

Smooth startup–reliable, sealed drag.

Extremely simple to convert from left-to-right hand retrieve.

Easy to disengage the spool.

Tough and abrasion resistant.

Cons

Pedestrian looks.

If you’re into the sounds a fly reel can make, this one is pretty subdued.

Not the lightest, and not the newest.

At $315 for the size 4 Rush Light, this sets the bar for an American-made fly reel at, or under, $400. Anything more than that, and you’re paying for the name, aesthetics, or inflated marketing effort. 

For line holding and fish catching–this reel’s drag performance, reliability and durability should cover you for a long time.  

We think the pricing and long-term value are pretty self-evident.

  • Price: $315 (size 4)
  • Sizes: Line weights 4-5
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Materials: 6061 aluminum (abrasion and corrosion resistant)
  • Colors: Black, Clear, Green, Blue, Burnt-Orange
  • Drag: Proprietary “Torque” system (sealed disc drag, thermoplastic bushings)
  • Finish: Type T2 anodization (highly corrosion resistant)
  • Arbor: Large (3.25-inch diameter)
  • Left-Right Conversion: Simplest in class
  • Warranty: Galvan warranty

Galvan warranty.

“All Galvan fly reels carry a lifetime warranty covering all parts and workmanship under normal use and conditions. This warranty provides that your Galvan reels will be repaired or replaced at no charge to the original owner.”

Consider buying this fly reel if…

You’re a confident, self-reliant angler who doesn’t care about flashy accents, wants reliability and durability and is interested in stretching your dollar. 

You love the standard look–the simple lines are considered classic by many.

You’re a guide, and you know that despite your best efforts, your reels are going to take a daily pounding.

You care about “Made in America,” and want to support a family business. 

Look at other fly reel options if…

You want something iconic and distinctive to hang off your fly rod.

You want a click-pawl with a distinctive purr. 

You want a purebred, high-tech saltwater drag system to apply to trout fishing.

End of the day, if you haven’t tried a Galvan fly reel, they won’t let you down in many respects–a practical, safe consumer choice, especially in this size.

Find the Galvan Rush Light fly reel with our trusted partner:

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