Gear Review: Galvan Grip Series Fly Reel

By Morgan Griffith

My first experience with Galvan Fly Reels came when I bought a used Torque T-6 from a coworker a few years ago. I loved that reel; the bronze color, the sound of the click, how smooth it was and it was the perfect size for my 6 weight streamer rod. I used it heavily and I still somewhat regret getting rid of it but I once again own a Galvan and I’m still as excited about the brand.

The reason I got rid of that T-6 was an upcoming bonefish trip to South Andros Lodge in the Bahamas. Had that T-6 been one size larger I probably would have kept it but I felt like I needed a more durable, sealed, 8 weight reel to put through a week of abuse in the ocean. There are so many high quality sealed drag options out there and nearly all of them can handle a week of flats fishing but I like owning fishing gear you don’t see on a regular basis. We had recently brought Galvan back into the shop after a few years without them and I thought that would be a great opportunity to try something new. I sold that T-6 and turned it into a new Galvan Grip in the G8 size.

I’m a tinkerer, I like taking things apart, I enjoy figuring out how things work and that was the first thing I did with my new Grip. When first pulling the spool off, you will notice the center cap does not separate from the frame of the reel like most other reels. The cap is designed to stay attached to the frame so no components can be lost. It’s a little different than most spool/frame interfaces but it’s a great concept and it holds tight. If you’re familiar with Galvan reels or you’re one of their diehard fans, then you’re likely very happy with their drag system found in the Torque and rush series of reels. The drag system found in the Grip is the same design upgraded with their Hybrid ceramic bearings and additional carbon fiber within. A waterproof hub now encloses the entire drag system making the well known Galvan drag even more bombproof. The use of 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and their T2 anodization assures traveling anglers, like myself, there won’t be any corrosion issues when used in saltwater fishing scenarios.

My Grip handled my first bonefish and many more throughout my week in the Bahamas and since then I’ve mainly used the Grip on my 11′ 6 weight spey rod. This is a rod I’ve been using to swing streamers on our larger western trout rivers as well as a smaller steelhead rod. I recently spent 3 days in Idaho swinging for steelhead and my Grip has now seen a variety of conditions; from sun, sand and salt to temperatures well below freezing and snow. This reel has never faltered, even after being put away wet and freezing overnight. First run of the day, I knocked the ice off the guides and hopped into the water with no reel issues whatsoever. The only downside to this reel being set up for steelhead fishing is the gap between the frame and the spool is too large for mono running lines. Over and over again I would make a cast and find the 30lb OPST Lazar Line coming out the back of the reel and wrapped around the stripping arm. I would disregard this complaint if you’re not using mono running line as I’ve never had an issue with any other traditional running line or single handed line in the year I’ve been using the reel.

Overall, I’ve been very happy with the addition of the Galvan Grip to my collection of reels. This is one of my higher end reels and it’s performed just as well as any other similarly priced reel I’ve used. Just as we’ve seen from other manufacturers and Galvan themselves, I’d expect to see some colors added to the lineup in the future, time will tell. The Grip shouldn’t disappear from the Galvan lineup anytime soon and I expect as more people give it a shot, the list of die hard Galvan fans will grow.

Regardless of what you’re fishing for, if you’re in need of a stout, sealed 8-12wt reel, the Galvan Grip is worth a look. Swing by the shop or stop by to check out our full selection of Made in U.S.A. Galvan Reels!