by Guide Blog


Fly Line Frenzy

Unlike the rest of the fly-fishing community, here in the UK we love to have the full range of options when it comes to fly lines.

For many, a floating line, intermediate and some kind of sinker is all that’s required. However, this often isn’t the case with us Brits. Take a peak in the ‘average angler’s’ tackle bag and you’ll likely see an array of fly lines for covering the whole water column and presenting flies from the surface, right down to the lake bed.

The problem with having so many fly lines, and yes we probably do have too many, is storage. They need to be spooled up and ready to go. Obviously, we can’t have a dozen or more fly reels sitting in our box. What’s needed is a cassette reel!

Ahead Of The Game

With the continuing growth of the Vision brand in the UK and the popularity of the new Stillmaniac range, it was time to give the UK stillwater angler the option of a complete Stillmaniac outfit by introducing a new cassette reel.

Vision knows a thing or two about cassette fly reels. The Koma reel was a massive hit in the UK and probably one of the best sellers of its time. It was a classic, large arbor reel – my favourite when it came out – and was sold in its own pouch with additional spare spools.

Vision’s new reel, the XLV Stillmaniac Cassette Reel, blows the Koma clear out of the water. It really is the ultimate in modern cassette fly reel design. It features amazing good looks and extremely pleasing lines but it is the ease of use and functionality that really grab the attention.

Killer Looks

It has been designed around the incredibly popular XLV series and like its predecessors has been engineered to be very light and robust. It’s an anodised, very funky looking reel with a large arbor design. The mix of slate grey and coppery orange body, bright orange handle (to match the fighting butts on the Stillmaniac rods) and clear polycarbonate spool really make this reel stand out from the crowd.

But looks aside, it’s the functionality and performance that does it for me. Like other XLVs it features an awesome and easily adjustable, smooth disc brake drag system that will stop anything you’re likely to encounter. I also love the unique V-shape design on the frame. This not only looks great but brings extra strength to the overall reel build.

Fast & Fuss-Free

The quick change system means lines can be changed in the blink of an eye and with minimal effort. The spool is released from the frame with a ‘push in’ lever, a quick press and it comes away. Then to release the spool, simply turn the locking ring with the help of the raised ridges half a turn and it’s done. Stick the next spool on by lining up the recess in the cassette with the handle and lock in place, and you’re good to go!

The cassettes also feature a large flat area on the outer rim, perfect for marking which line is on the spool. I’d suggest a marker pen for this, a fast and easy ID system.

TIP: For even quicker spool changes mark the handle recesses with a permanent marker for super quick alignment.

The reels also feature a built-in counter balance system so their operation is ultra-smooth. And incidentally, the clicker sounds amazing, it’s a dream noise that I want for my phone’s ring tone! The 7 and 8wts come in a very stylish and handy blue and orange neoprene case with a trio of cassettes (spare cassettes are available separately)  – a pretty awesome set up to get you on your way.

A Marriage Made In Heaven

The XLV Cassette reels offer a dream package, the ultimate bang for your buck and a welcome addition to the already massively popular Stillmaniac range.


Steve Cullen

Steve Cullen Fly Fishing

Steve Cullen YouTube Channel

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