Review: Allen Kraken Fly Reel

Allen Fly Fishing has been mentioned quite a few times on this site so far because, well, I really like them. Allen is one of those companies which are in rare form today; great products and even better customer service. They take the time to speak with customers and get them what they need. If something goes wrong with their products, they replace and/or service them in a timely manner and communicate with the customer throughout the process.

Allen first caught my eye with the Alpha II series of reel they currently offer and you can see some photos I took of the Alpha II here. The Alpha II was released in a turquise/red colorway which was awesome! It turned out to be a great reel to use as well, and not just ‘cool looking’. To my knowledge, the Alpha II was designed as a steelhead reel, and not really made for saltwater use; though it definitely could (and did) be used in salt.

Allen just recently one-upped their line-up of reels and released the Kraken. The Kraken is Allen’s first fully sealed drag reel which is being marketed to both intercontinental steelhead fishermen as well as inshore fisherman who want to use the reel out on the flats or anywhere else their adventures may take them.

Here are the reel specs from the Allen website:


Model Diameter Weight Spool Depth Spool Width Reel Capacity Size Suggestions Price
3  3.81″  5.90oz/167g  1.65″  1.18″ 8wt WFF + 200yd 30lb backing 7wt to 9wt WFF
350gr to 500gr Shooting Heads
4  4.10″  7.74oz/208g  1.85″  1.38″ 10wt WFF + 250yd 30lb backing 9wt to 12wt WFF
500 to 600gr Shooting Heads
5  4.45″  8.11oz/230g  2.17″  1.58″ 12wt WFF + 300yd 30lb backing 12wt to 14wt WFF
600gr to 1000gr Shooting Heads


One thing to notice is the price point. Following their other reel offerings, Allen has priced this reel very competitively.

But what else sets this reel apart?

The other Allen reels, the Trout II and Alpha II, both contain flat spools. While not an issue, I prefer the ‘V’ shaped spools which allow your backing to guide back on easier.

The craftsmanship on the Allen reels is amazing for the price, and especially the new Kraken. The machining and assembly of these reels is top notch, and they are fully anodized in an array of colorways. Currently the Kraken is available in all black or green/red.

An excerpt from the Allen website’s description of the Kraken:

The Kraken delivers on all criteria laid out by our guides and pros who get their thrills from pursuing the biggest, fastest fish this sport has to offer.  Featuring our first sealed drag system, it is ready to take on whatever situation your freshwater and saltwater situation calls for.  With its incredibly lightweight design machined from aerospace grade barstock aluminum, you’ll be able to hold the arm fatigue at bay without sacrificing structural integrity.


I took the Kraken out a few times last week and it performed well and did was it was supposed to do each time. The fully sealed cork drag system held up just fine to multiple redfish and trout out on the flats of Mosquito Lagoon. The drag knob is easy to adjust, and you can turn the drag from very loose to tight in just one full turn instead of multiple turns, another positive to this reel’s design.

One red in particular took the reel out for a few nice runs and the drag held up just fine:

What I didn’t like…

The reel has very little to pick on as a negative, but one thing I found was that it has a ‘click retrieve’ instead of a smooth one. While this isn’t really a ‘negative’, it’s more of a personal preference that doesn’t effect the performance of the reel. I was told by Allen that this ‘click retrieve’ can be disabled if the user so chooses. I didn’t ask how, though.

All in all, I think this is another home run for Allen Fly Fishing and the reel is a great deal at its price point of just $209.

Allen Kraken in the center, on top of the Trout II and Alpha II reels:

Allen Kraken:


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