Sometimes you come across a great, yet inexpensive product and you can’t figure out how it can be priced so low.  Nautilus Reels offer such a product with their line of FWX (Feather Weight Xtreme) models.  While Nautilus doesn’t use the same super sophisticated Cork and Carbon Fiber (CCF) composite disc braking system as its big brother in the NV-G series, it does offer a smooth and adequate drag of around 4.5lbs.  Nautilus achieves the fluid drag with the Sealed Carbon Fiber (SCF) disk brake that benefits from the Torq-X clutch system.  This combination allows for zero drag startup inertia.  This system has special bushings which completely seal the core of the reel from dirt, sand, slime, and any other substance a river can throw at it while never worrying about having to lubricate any part.

Braking System

The Sealed Carbon Fiber (SCF) braking system.

Torq-X Clutch

The 9 lug housing makes for instant drag engagement.

The build quality is amazing with its 305 steel construction.  This material allows it to hit the scale at only 3.8oz for the 5/6 weight model, making it one of the lightest on the market.  When matched with an ultralight rod like the Sage TXL-F rod it feels like you are casting line from a chop stick.  The handle, while it may look less sophisticated, is fantastic.  Even with my big hands, it is long and has great curves to fit the fingers perfectly.  The one feature that could use some work is the shape and size of the drag knob.  It is a little hard to grab, especially with the excitement of a fish on.  Did I mention it looks great?  When matched with its Florida based roots and laser etched metal, it is an American made thing of beauty!  And in case the standard black or silver models aren’t exciting enough, you can browse their custom shop and customize every individual piece on this beauty.  They also extend a lifetime warranty to the original owner for any defect in materials and workmanship.

Reel Handle

The reel handle has great ergonomics for even the largest fingers.

Drag Knob

The one downfall of the FWX is the undersized drag knob.

This lack of weight doesn’t mean Nautilus skimped on arbor size and the ability to hold adequate line, the 5/6 can hold 150 yards of WF-5F line with #20 backing.  The Giga arbor spool, as Nautilus calls it, allows for fast line pick up at 7.3 inches per turn and promotes fast drying of the backing.  With the quick flick of a lever the spools can easily be swapped out.  Nautilus also added a neat feature to the spool design with a laser etched white spot on the back of the spool they call the LaserID line identification system.  In short, it’s a space to write the line type and weight, making it one of my favorite features.  No more lost stickers or trying to read that worn out text on the end of the fly line.  You can easily wash off your markings with alcohol when you change lines.

Spool Release latch

The spool release latch makes changing to a different line easy.

Laser-ID

The Laser-ID space on the spool is a great way to keep track of your line.

Coming from the northeast wrestling Adirondack browns, small mountain brookies, and stockie bows this reel has performed superbly.  With the price at only $275 and being a reel that shares the same characteristics as the Nautilus NV-G flagship that comes in at $560, this reel can’t be beat!  Tack on that “Made in America” sticker and you have one of the best light weight fly fishing reels on the market!

Nautilus FWX 5/6 Review
Design9.5
Performance9
Durability 9.7
Price10
Overall Value9.8
Pros
  • Silky smooth drag
  • Great looks
  • Light weight
Cons
  • Drag knob could use some work
9.6Overall Score
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