Gear Review: Galvan Rush Light Fly Reel

Over the past couple of seasons I've been fishing with the Galvan Rush Light on one of my trout setups. I carry a couple of rods with me, and this is usually rigged on one of them. Originally purchased the R5 for a 10' 4wt, I needed a reel with a little more weight to help balance it out. But, also applicable on other 9' 5wts for my general trout fishing. If I had tried to get the lightest reel possible, its versatility on other rods/setups would be minimal. A lot of trout reels made these days are an effort to make it as light as possible. For some situations this is great. But I wanted a little more balance on this setup and found that the Galvan Rush Light R5 was a perfect weighted match for my 10' 4wt. I thought at the time that it would only be used for this longer rod, but quickly found that this wasn't true. Now, I am using it on various 9' 5wt outfits as well. 

Galvan Rush Light Fly Reel Review

So your first question, and albeit a warranted one, would be: "is it too heavy?" While this reel does weigh more than other ultra-light reels in its class, I have not found it to be necessarily too heavy. It comes in at roughly 5ozs which is about middle-of-the road for comparable reels. What the Rush Light loses in points due to its weight, it gains back in durability. I've fished this reel for quite a while and combined with my clumsiness, it has seen its fair share of bumps/drops/falls. Notably, some situations where I've instinctively used my hand to brace a slip/fall on rocks, the Rush Light has taken the brunt of the fall as my "brace." No dents or significant damage. This is really important! When a lot of reel companies are making lighter and lighter reels, this usually means sacrificing durability. I find a lot of modern trout reels do not hold up well to normal wear and tear. 

Galvan Rush Light Fly Reel Review

The quality of the drag is also a strong suit for this reel. Sharing an almost identical drag system to the Torque, the Rush LT not only as a lot of drag but it's smooth and has minimal startup inertia. Although Galvan notes the Rush as having the same drag to the Torque, I'm sure this is true but, they are clearly tuned slightly differently. This is fairly common with reel manufacturers. Aside from that, the Rush has one of the best overall drag systems on the market. Further, the counterbalance is almost perfect. When that spool is spinning, there is almost no wobbling or degree of shaking that happens. This helps keep the outgoing (drag) as smooth as it is and keep the angler in control. 

The Small Stuff

  • Price: $280 Reel / $135 Spool
  • Made in USA
  • Drag knob when set to the lowest drag settings is loose. This opens the possibility of unintentional drag adjustment during the day or while stored. Very secure however when increased drag is applied.
  • Weight is 5oz. Not the lightest - not the heaviest.
  • Top of the line carbon fiber disc drag system. Very smooth and plenty of it.
  • Very durable construction. However lack of porting on the spool could require a little more time for your line/backing to dry out.
  • Incoming click sound is great. Outgoing drag/click is different and slightly more muted. The only time this was an "issue" was when fishing in heavier water/rapids/noise - drag sound was drowned out a little.
  • Design and aesthetics are not awe inspiring. The Torque clearly takes longer to make, but I do like the "traditional" look of this Rush.
  • Drag system is not sealed (same as Torque). Although I've only used this in freshwater, there have been no issues so far.
  • Push button spool release is dependable and easy to use.
  • Reel/spool dimensions are very similar to the Torque. Good retrieval rate and has plenty of capacity of backing and virtually any fly line one would use for this sized reel. The R5 can still hold around 100yds of 20# backing with a WF6F line.

Words + Photos: Josh Thelin

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