Guideline has come a long way since the days when I myself worked there some 20 years ago. At the time, Guideline was mainly known in Sweden and Norway among salmon fishermen. A lot has changed in the last two decades. Their flagship reel at the time was called the iNEX and was a pretty good reel at the time. Their cheapest reel was called the Reelmaster, an early cast reel that was among the first affordable large disc brake reels.
Guideline's entry/cast reel timeline goes something like this: 2000s: (early) Reelmaster - open design, not sealed,
2010s: (plus or minus a couple of years) Reelmaster L.A - Full frame in #6-8 and #8-10, somewhat "protected" brake, not sealed,
2023 and earlier: FAVO - Full frame in all three sizes, excellent brake, not sealed.
2024 (yes, it's still 2023, but not for long) NOVA - Cast and then precision CNC machined from recycled aluminum. 8.8 lbs/4 kg brake on size 8-10. Available in three sizes.
The thing is, these cheaper reels made from casting used to both look and feel cheaper, in part because a reel made from cast stock simply doesn't have the "sheen" of a machined one, or the same texture and edges. But quite often these types of reels would reveal their price in other ways as well, such as in the braking system, tolerances, not to mention how these older cast reels would look after hitting gravel and rocks for a season.
Guideline's new NOVA fly reel appears to be a real contender in many ways. The look is modern and deviates from their previous designs. In my opinion, Guideline has had great designs and I think I can see some influences from both Lamson and Galvan in some of their earlier reels. But the appearance of the Nova reel is a new path. The integrated reel mount I have to give credit to Waterworks-Lamson and their old flagship reel "Vanquish" who had it many years ago (and maybe Lamson got it from someone else?). Other than that, the Nova reel looks new and different. Prior to the release of NOVA, it graced the cover of Angler International Magazine (September 2023, Issue: 188). Containing an in-depth story about Guidelines' ambition to go "clean all the way" and their commitment to create NOVA, the world's first recycled fly reel.
The fact that the reel is made from recycled materials and has a unique design and promising technical features makes me wonder what or if a reel like this will have an impact on the industry as a whole? And is this really a "cheap" or beginner reel we're talking about? I do not think so. When Lamson introduced their molded reel called Liquid, which had the same braking system as most of their premium reels, it was a game changer in the market! Although it was a cheaper reel, you could no longer tell that it was compromised in function. Just as Lamson Liquid changed the standard in its price range when it was introduced, the Guideline Nova reel can change it again, and in new ways.
Conclusion: It's a great time to be a fly fisherman if you like new gear (who doesn't?). But as we said in a previous blog post, make sure your boots never dry! New gear is cool, fly fishing is cooler.
You will find the product HERE.
/ Martin Karlsson.