The folks at Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters recently introduced their Red Truck Diesel line of fly fishing reels. I had a chance to check them out – and hear some of the company’s other plans – on a recent visit to their fly fishing ranch in Sonoma.

Red Truck Diesel Fly Reels

First, let’s talk about the Diesels. These reels are the latest from the Leland I-guess-I’d-call-it “value brand” known as Red Truck Fly Fishing. Leland manufactures these reels overseas allowing them to keep the prices in check. They’re machined from anodized aluminum making them rugged and lightweight. The finish is handsome and unadorned, although Leland adds a few nice touches to dress up the reels including a brass line guard. The Diesel line starts with a nice 3/4 weight and runs up to a 7/8. They easily switch from right to left hand retrieve.

Diesel Reel

Leland made some interesting design choices with the Diesels (and many of the other reels the company makes under the Leland Reel Company brand). In particular, they turned away from disk drags and large arbors going instead with standard arbor and click and pawl. Pretty classic stuff. When asked why they took this approach, the Leland folks were unapologetic. They see a real (pun intended, sorry) shortage of the classic gear in the increasingly competitive fly fishing market where every company is innovating new disk drag systems, metallurgic science and advancing the state of the art. By going retro, they’re differentiating the Leland product lines and serving a core market. Being a small stream guy myself, these classic approaches work for me. By the way, I’m not saying these reels are low tech. The Leland reels are made on some of the most space-age machining systems around.

I give the Red Truck Diesel line of fly reels 4.5 out of 5 stars. Starting at $199, the quality is very apparent. Definitely consider them when you’re shopping for your next classic fly reel.

Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters

What’s next for Leland? The new line for fly reels is not the end of the company’s ambitions. They’ve had a private label rod business for a couple of years now and Leland will expand that further this year. Expect a broader offering, more small stream rods and the like. The reel line will also expand thanks to some private label deals with American manufacturers. Expect to see Leland branded technical apparel as well some time in the future.

So watch out. Leland has already built itself into one of the largest fly fishing retailers on the planet. Soon, they may also be one of the largest manufacturers of branded fly fishing gear as well. Keep an eye on these guys. And get to the fly fishing ranch in Sonoma as I did. You’ll be impressed by the company’s commitment to the sport.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. Written by Matt K.