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L.L.Bean Gear Review: The Double L. Reel

July 1, 2009

– Tonights review features the perfect companion for the Double L. rod, the L.L.Bean Double L. Reel!

Much fuss has been made about some of the more expensive reels on the market. New brands are introducing new technologies, flashy color schemes, and space age materials that can empty a pocket book faster than you can say Enron. While these expensive reels are by no means a bad thing, not everyone can afford the latest and greatest product on the market. Some prefer a solid, well crafted reel that performs well in the field, but won’t break the bank. For those fly fishermen, L.L.Bean offers the Double L. Reel.

Double L in various sizes

A perfect addition to any rod, the Double L reel is crafted from aerospace grade aluminum and sports a handsome copper color, giving the more modern reel a more classic look that dates back almost 20 years. The semi-sealed center disc drag is smooth and easily adjustable via a large knob, and the quick release spool makes changing spools quick and painless.

I use the Double L reel in size 2 paired with my Double L Trout rod. , and size 4 paired with my Orion salt water rod. While my experience fishing the larger reel is limited, I will say that sand and salt water seem to be no match for the Double L, which has run smoothly for me even after being dropped several times in the surf. Because I didn’t pay $500+ for the reel, I don’t cringe every time I stick it in the water or set it down on the beach for an afternoon nap.

My real experience with the reel comes with it’s smaller brother on my Trout rod. The same silky smooth drag holds up nicely when pesky Landlocks catch first sight of the boat and decide to run for cover. The mid-arbor design picks up line more quickly than traditional arbor reels, while maintaining a fairly small profile that helps prevent those annoying situations where line tends to get tangled around the reel and knobs. During the last 3+ months, I’ve put this reel through hell and back, using it to it’s full potential and pitting it up against the normal abuse of an every day fly fisherman. All scratches aside, the durability of the reel is top notch and it handles even the roughest conditions surprisingly well. Wet or dry, the Double L’s drag works flawlessly and never skips a beat. It balances nicely with both rods , and is actually a lot less heavy than it initially looks.

Double L-Top

I would recommend the Double L. to any fisherman on a budget who still wants a high quality, high performing reel. While it might not be as smooth or as flashy as the more expensive choices on the market today, it can hold it’s own in any number of conditions on the water. So if you want a great reel without all the bells and whistles, that will provide years of care free enjoyment on the water, the Double L is the reel for you.

For more information on the Double L reel, and the rest of L.L.Bean’s reel lineup, click HERE.

Happy Castings,


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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2009 6:04 pm

    I buy a lot of L.L.Bean gear. I’m am usually very happy, and if not you can’t beat the guarantee. I’ve been eyeing these reels for a while – thanks for the review, maybe I’ll get one.

  2. July 2, 2009 12:29 pm


    Have you had the need/opportunity to test it in freezing conditions? Any thoughts on semi- vs fully-sealed drag? Also, i noticed some considerable side-play in the spool on the floor models at our store; has anything loosened up on your reels?

    I’m thinking i’d like to invest in a quality reel for my winter lake-run trout fishing and this might be a best bet at a reasonable price.


    • July 12, 2009 11:13 pm

      Hey Ed, sorry I’m so late with the reply.

      I have yet to test the reel in freezing conditions, but plan on doing so (hopefully) if I get a chance to come fish in southern Maine during the early winter. (No year round fisheries in the North Country.)

      As for the semi vs full arguement, I tend to clean my reels pretty frequently, so I guess I really haven’t noticed any issues on either side. While I can see the advantages of a fully sealed system, I don’t find it necessary if you take a reasonable amount of caution to keep your reel out of the rough stuff.

      And finally, I really have had no issue with the “side play” on the reel, although I do know what you mean. After I read your comment I checked the reel and did notice it. The good news is, that’s the first time! It really has not made a difference in my fishing, but ill be sure to report if it does!

      For a reasonable price, you would be hard pressed to find a better reel for your buck!

      Tight Lines, Ben.


  1. Stuff worth reading between boozing and barbecuing – 07/02/09 | Michael Gracie

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