When anglers come in the shop to look for a new fly reel, we spend time discussing many features of a fly reel. One of the most important topics is what material is used in the construction of the reel. I point out that if you are going to fish a farm pond or a stream in a meadow, the material does not matter that much since if you drop the reel it will probably hit grass or dirt and not get damaged.
Once you start thinking about crawling around mountain streams, such as in the Smoky Mountains, then you have a much greater chance of your fly reel coming into contact with rocks and boulders. For most seasoned anglers, the value of a bar stock aluminum reel will be realized many times in their career.
While working the shop floor today I had the opportunity to see the most damaged fly reel I have ever witnessed in my life!
Our customer was getting his gear together for a saltwater trip that he is setting out on tomorrow and his wife drove over his fly reel with the family car. The cast aluminum reel did not have a chance!