First Look: Guideline Nova Fly Reel Review

Leonard Schoenberger

As fly fishermen and women we have an impact on our planet and the waters we fish. The products we use to pursue our passion have a footprint.

Scandinavian manufacturer Guideline is now trying to reduce the carbon footprint of their products by introducing their first ever line of fly reels made from recycled raw materials: the Guideline NOVA.

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Specs and Features of the NOVA

Guideline Nova Fly Reel
The new NOVA reel comes in multiple sizes: #46, #79 and 810. Pictured here is the #46 in black. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Highlights:

Sizes available: #46, #79 and 810

Drag System: Carbon

Free of single-use plastic

Price: €179 (#46), €189 (#79) and €199 (#810)

Guideline NOVA fly reel size guide
Source: Guideline

Design and Style: Recycled Minimalism

Guideline Nova Fly Reel
The NOVA fly reels comes in three sizes and two colors (black as pictured here) and silver. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

The NOVA’s entire focus is on reducing its carbon footprint. Not only is the reel made from recycled aluminum but the reel case and packacking are from re-used material as well. When first laying my hands on the NOVA it felt like a reel from a 3D-printer. It features a very delicate looking cage design that turned out to be surprisingly durable. Guideline did a good job here in my eyes by making the reel look like a little piece of art. As a #46 it’s a great overall trout reel.

Guideline Nova Fly Reel
The Guideline NOVA reel in the #46 version that weighs in at 152gr and features an arbor diameter of 58mm. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

Size and Weight

We took the #46 on our trip to Bornholm for some sea trout fishing. It worked well paired with a #6 rod. We also took the #79 version and paired it with an #8 rod for slightly windier conditions. I can see the size #79 also being a great reel for pike fishing. The #810 version is certainly aimed at salmon fishermen of which you’ll find quite a few in Scandinavia.

Performance on the Water

Guideline Nova Fly Reel
The NOVA comes in a beautiful black finish with some colorful accents. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

While out fishing the Baltic coast I found the NOVA to deliver a very solid performance. The reel is light and hence a good choice when casting all day. It also balances any 9′ rod in the #5 and #6 range nicely. What I also liked (remember this reel comes in at about $200) is the fact that the reel is nicely adjustable and has very little startup inertia. This makes it a good choice for dry fly fishing as well in my eyes when targeting big trout with delicate tippets.

Lightness and Durability

Guideline Nova Fly Reel
I love the modern and minimalistic cage design of the Guideline NOVA. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger

The Guideline is an excellent allrounder as well. Thanks to its low weight and large arbor you can even consider using it for euro nymphing. The #79 is worth a thought for such as setup as it will nicely balance a slightly longer nymph rod.

Pros and Cons of the NOVA Series

Pros

Minimalistic, cool, modern look

Solid drag system

Made from recycled materials

Cons

I think the black reel looks a lot cooler with the golden accent around the drag knob than the silver one with the black accent. But that obviously doesn’t affect performance at all.

Conclusion: Sleek Looks for an Excellent Price

Guideline has started a new era of reel making with the NOVA. With a strong focus on sustainabilty they still managed to produce a very cool looking, modern and fresh fly reel. A full aluminum body makes it a great choice for salty environments as well.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Guideline NOVA

What makes the Guideline NOVA fly reel special?

The new Guideline NOVA fly reel is the company’s first ever fly reel made from recycled materials. This includes the reel itself but also the reel case and the box.

What sizes are available for the Guideline NOVA fly reel?

The NOVA comes in three sizes: #46 (ideal for trout fishing), #79 (best suited for saltwater predators such as pike) and #810 which works nicely with double-handed rods for salmon fishing.

Is the NOVA available in different colors?

Yes, the Guideline NOVA reel comes in black and silver.