In this Florida Fishing Products Osprey review, we’re taking a look at the ins and outs of what makes this reel qualify as a premium saltwater spinning option. By the end, you should be able to determine if the Osprey is the right choice for your inshore fishing.
Much of the motivation for the Florida Fishing Products Osprey came from anglers desire to fish the mangroves and the flats with the same reel. They needed one that was lightweight enough to cast artificial baits all day but also had the drag and durability to pull in larger redfish and snook.
It seems like most reels usually compromise one thing or the other. You have a reel that costs an arm and a leg and you get everything you want, or you sacrifice something like durability and comfort. Florida Fishing Products intends to eliminate the skepticism around that subject.
The end result of years of research and networking with anglers is the Florida Fishing Products Osprey. This reel combines elements of a lightweight finesse reel while still packing enough drag capacity and strength to hook the big fish and turn their heads in your direction.
When you compare this reel to some other spinning reels like the Penn Battle II, you’ll find the Osprey to be much lighter while offering more drag capacity.
The Bottom Line
- A quality mid-tier priced saltwater reel ideal inshore fishing
- Very smooth reel with quality carbon fiber drag
- Lightweight reel starting at 7.4 oz.
- Very durable aircraft grade aluminum body
The Florida Fishing products Osprey is available HERE.
Florida Fishing Products is new to the saltwater fishing scene being founded in 2016, so we were immediately interested in grabbing this reel and getting it on the water.
We ran into Ty Nelson one of the founders at ICAST this year and one of the things that he said to us was that the company was founded on maintaining quality and integrity in their reels. They wanted to build the best fishing reels at a price that was affordable to the average fisherperson.
Florida Fishing Products noticed that reel manufacturers were using cheaper and cheaper materials while the prices were still increasing. One thing that the founders couldn’t understand was the fact that technology and development of reels is getting easier and easier, so why is the quality decreasing?
The goal of the company is to provide anglers with the tools they need to catch the fish they want to catch. They’re always seeking feedback, researching, and developing ways to improve their products. To learn more about the company visit their site FloridaFishingProducts.com
Aircraft Grade Aluminum Body – An issue that a lot of anglers have is choosing between lightweight and durability. You shouldn’t have to do that. The Florida Fishing Products Osprey uses aircraft-grade aluminum for their reel body which is lightweight enough for finesse fishing but more durable than plastic and most composites. This factor will prevent flexing when battling larger fish and adds to the overall durability of the reel and the components.
Lightweight Composite Rotor – The lightweight rotor is made of a composite material which doesn’t add much weight to the reel yet is strong enough to stand up to larger fish.
Lightweight Aluminum Spool – It’s all in the name of durability and weight control with this reel. In addition to a lightweight aluminum body, they’ve extended that design into the spool itself.
The spool is made with CNC aluminum and if you remove the spool you can see where there is a steel insert for the drag clicker. It is features like this that make us feel confident that this reel will withstand the test of time.
Lightweight Aluminum Bail – The bail on the Florida Fishing Products Osprey is also aluminum, so you won’t have to concern yourself with any flexing or bending. We found that the bail is very solid and quiet.
It snaps open and close without making a lot of noise which is nice. We always recommend flipping the bail manually and in the case of the Osprey it is much easier to flip manually than to try and get it to close by turning the handle.
Strong Carbon Fiber Drag – We’ve talked about it a lot so far, and I’ll say it again. This reel has a powerful drag system thanks to the carbon fiber discs that will provide you with an amazing 18 lbs of drag on the tiny 1000 and 24 lbs of drag on the 4000 & 5000 sizes. The drag is very smooth in addition to being strong and we did not feel any catchiness when it engaged.
Water Resistant Front Drag Adjustment Knob – When fishing saltwater, protecting the internals from salt corrosion is important. The design of the drag adjustment knob is smart because it’s well sealed, which prevents saltwater from getting in around the main shaft and working its way into the body of the reel and down into the main gear and bearings.
I like the fact that the knob has an opening under the adjustment that allows you to easily grab it when your fingers are slimed as compared to some adjustment knobs that look nice as they are smooth but do not provide the same level of grip especially in wet and slimy conditions.
Shielded Stainless Ball Bearings (10+1) – Smoothness is another important factor that everyone looks for in a reel, and you always want to ensure that the bearings are stainless steel so they will last. This reel uses a 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball-bearing design which is great for smooth performance and longevity.
The reel also ships with its own bottle of Clenzoil lubricant that should be used before you take it out for the first time.
Stainless Steel Main Shaft – The main shaft of the Florida Fishing Products Osprey is also stainless steel which promotes additional durability and strength in the reel. When you have a larger fish on, it is nice to know that you have the strength or steel backing you up and that since it is stainless it will not corrode due to the saltwater.
Die Cast Zinc Main Gear – Die-cast zinc is ideal for the main gear on fishing reels because it can withstand a lot of pressure without fracturing and it is a lightweight material. In the event that you find yourself with something larger than you bargained for at the end of your line, you won’t have to stress with the Osprey.
Brass Pinion Gear – The pinion gear is made from solid brass and will stand the test of time. We found when looking inside the reel that the pinion gear and the main gear had about 3 teeth engaged at all times which means that the reel is going to last longer as there is less stress on each tooth.
Anti-Reverse Switch – Having an anti-reverse switch is a nice feature if you are going to be fishing live bait especially. It offers you the freedom to choose if you want to back-reel or not. Personally, we don’t use it very often and the anti-reverse switch acts as an entry point for saltwater so make sure to rinse your reel thoroughly after each use.
Swept Threaded Aluminum Handle – The aluminum handle adds more durability and strength to reel without sacrificing too much in weight. We like how the swept handle places the hand closer to the center of the reel which allows for greater cranking power especially when you have the power handle option.
Teardrop or Oversized EVA Handle Knob – You have the choice of picking your handle knob depending on what type of fishing you plan on doing. If you’re really looking to crank that baby, you might want to choose the power handle. For light lures and smaller inshore species on your smaller 1000 and 2500 size reels I might go with the teardrop design. Options are always nice, though.
Features at a Glance
- Aircraft Grade Aluminum Body
- Lightweight Composite Rotor
- Aluminum Spool
- Strong Carbon Fiber Drag
- Water Resistant Front Drag Adjustment Knob
- Shielded Stainless Ball Bearings (10+1)
- Stainless Steel Main Shaft
- Die Cast Zinc Main Gear
- Brass Pinion Gear
- Anti-Reverse Switch
- Swept Threaded Aluminum Handle
- Teardrop or Oversized EVA Handle Knob
It’s critical that you have a good drag system on your reel. When you’re hooking into a fish, the number one goal is for you to turn their head around. Once you’ve accomplished that, the battle is stacked in your favor. They decided to use a carbon fiber disc drag which offers a lot of strength and it is very smooth.
The other thing that we need to make mention is that the drag adjustment knob allows for 5 full rotations in the adjustment. This is important to note as it gives you a wide range of setting and allows you to fine tune the drag based on what you happen to be catchng that day.
If we talk a little about drag strength, you’ll be surprised to find out that the Osprey offers between 18 pounds of drag on the 1000 size to 24 pounds of drag on the 5000 size. The 3000 model has 22 pounds of drag which I find is more than enough. For finesse anglers fishing inshore, you won’t need more than a few pounds of drag and again it is easy to let off the drag with the adjustment knob.
The drag strength really comes into play for you guys who want to load up heavier braid and go at it. By all means, but we did receive some information from the owner of Florida Fishing Products. He said that the reel is great for inshore finesse fishing, but many people will push the reel harder than they should.
Going after fish larger than your standard snook and redfish in the 30″-36″ range may result in gear problems, bent shafts, and bent frames. We are assuming that this is from literally trying to see if you can land a big grouper, tarpon or monster snook on one of the smaller models as we felt that the 3000 we tested made short work of a 32″ redfish.
The good news is that there are some new models on the horizon that are going to be geared towards the larger species or gamefish and will will be testing those shortly.
For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.
|Model||Mono Cap (lb/yds)||Braid Cap (lb/yds)||Bearings||Max Drag (lbs)||Gear ratio||Line Retrieve (in)||Weight (oz)|
Osprey Field Test
For our field test we paired an Osprey 3000 with one of our favorite spinning rods the St. Croix Mojo Yak Spinning rod in a 7’6″ MH.
We wanted to test this setup with a wide variety of fishing scenerios so we first set out to see if we could get into some of the larger specs in the area. We rigged up with a Z-Man MinnowZ on a 1/4 oz jighead under our favorite popping cork the VersaMaxx and went to casting.
We managed to get a few specs in the 18-20″ range that just hammered the lure and with the easily adjustable drag it was a fun fight. We were just about to switch over to some live bait when my buddy Dan got hammered with a 27″ red. The drag was super smooth and the oversized power handle made short work of getting the fish back to the yak.
We were really inpressed with how smooth the retrieve is on these reels. One thing to make sure you remember to do is read the instructions and oil your reel right out of the box. Mine was smooth but when I added a few drop of the included lubricant it became much smoother.
Evening was approaching us and we had loaded up on some live bait so we were getting excited to get into some of the larger redfish that are known to stalk our waters at night.
We switched over to carolina rigs with a 1 oz bullet weight and started to fish around some of our favorite docks. It only took a little while and we found where the bulls were hanging out. Both Dan and I got into some 32″-34″ bulls that let us really test the drag and strength of this reel.
Overall I have to say that I am very imnpressed with this reel from a new company and I look forward to continue fishing with it. I am also looking forward to seeing what other new products come out in the near future.
- Incredibly durable
- Powerful drag system
- Environmentally mindful company
- Few purchasing options
- Some sizes sold out
If we take a look at some other options that might compare to this reel, we should start by looking at the Shimano Stradic FK. This reel is priced slightly below the Osprey, and it’s also a little lighter in terms of weight.
You also get the rigid Hagane body which is known for being durable and not flexing under pressure. During my research, I noticed that a lot of people who like the Stradic FK have purchased the Osprey and liked it better.
One downside of the Stradic FK I noticed is the absence of an anti-reverse switch. There are also some plastic parts which may compromise the durability of the reel. This reel also falls a little short in max drag capabilities with a max drag of 20 lbs vs the Ospreys 24 lbs. It uses a 6+1 bearing design which doesn’t feel quite as smooth as the Florida Fishing Products Osprey. Overall, the Shimano Stradic FK is a good alternative. Read the full Shimano Stradic FK review HERE.
Next, let’s take a look at an incredibly popular reel the Penn Battle II. You’ll pick this one up at a fraction of the cost of the Osprey, but does it sacrifice in features? Well, it definitely sacrifices in weight because the 3000 model is 12.3 ounces compared to 9.6 ounces in the Osprey.
There are also some parts of the reel that are not fully sealed, which is not ideal for saltwater fishing. The Penn Battle II also falls short in terms of drag capacity, but they offer larger model sizes ranging between 1000 and 8000. You would have to step up to the 6000 model to match the drag capacity of a 3000 size Osprey. That decision would also increase the weight up to 22.1 ounces which is more than twice the weight. Read the full Penn Battle II review HERE.
Lastly, we have the Daiwa Fuego LT. This reel is a bit more affordable than the Florida Fishing Products Osprey, and it’s nearly two ounces lighter. The reel has a solid sealed build which is great for saltwater fishing. You also get 22 pounds of drag on their 2500 and 3000 models. The reels use a 6+1 bearing system which is smooth but not quite as smooth as the Osprey.
This reel performs well, but there are some issues with the light drag setting sticking. Overall, this reel is a great alternative if you’re looking to save a few bucks. Read the full Daiwa Fuego LT review HERE.
My final thoughts are for you to grab a Florida Fishing Products Osprey and find out for yourself. The reel performs exceptionally well as it offers a buttery smooth retrieval, great durability, and a lightweight design that is light enough to fish all day but still feels like you’ve got a strong reel in your hands.
At first it might seem as though it is priced a little high for a brand that no one knows, but when you compare it to the competition you are definitely getting your moneys worth and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
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