We always get excited when new reels hit the market, and the Florida Fishing Products Osprey didn’t disappoint.
I had a chance to talk with Tim, one of the owners, and he hooked us up with the Osprey 4000 for a recent trip to Baja. I told him that we were planning to go for some yellowtail, bonito, and whatever else Baja threw our way.
He recommended we check out the Osprey 4000. Let’s dive into what makes this reel good and bad so you can make up your mind if you’d like to add it to your arsenal.
Tim reached out and wanted to share one of his reels he’s been super excited about. He said he’d been hard at work with his partner to develop a high-quality reel at an attractive price point.
Their reels are lightweight, smooth, and pack a punch in the drag department.
On top of that, they give back 3% of their sales to conservation. That means if you buy a reel, you’re not only helping out a new and up-and-coming company but one who gives back.
Let’s dive into these Florida Fishing Products reviews!
Florida Fishing Reels
There are two main reels that FFP sells, their original Osprey Spinning Reel and their new Osprey Saltwater Series Spinning Reels.
Both are rated for saltwater, but the saltwater series can be looked at as their version 2 product. They have a bunch of veteran fishing guides who battle-test their reels and give them feedback on a regular. Version 2 is the culmination of all of this feedback.
10+1 Ball Bearing System: When you first take this reel out of the box and screw in the handle, you’ll notice…it’s smooth like butter. That’s due to the number of shielded ball bearings in this reel. As with any moving component, there is a risk of debris or corrosion to decrease the longevity of your reel.
Be sure to rinse it with water after each saltwater uses to keep it smooth like the first day you got it. Also, but sure to grease it often.
Light-Weight Build: This reel is a full aluminum build with a carbon rotor. It will not aggravate your arms during a full day of fishing.
Carbon Fiber Drag: The carbon fiber drag on these reels packs a punch. These reels come pre-greased, so you won’t have to worry about that until your next maintenance.
- Osprey 1000: you get 18 pounds of drag capacity
- The size 2500 and 3000 Ospreys: 22 pounds of drag
- Osprey 4000 and 5000: 24 pounds of drag
Zinc Main Gear: When compared to materials like magnesium, zinc is superior in its cost, precision, stiffness, tensile strength, corrosion, and many other benefits. All of this translates into added longevity for your reel.
Stainless Steel Main Shaft: Stainless steel is one of my favorite materials for its strength and corrosion resistance. You can rest assured that your main shaft won’t be what fails on you in this reel.
Large Foam Handle Grip: You have the option of going with the smaller teardrop handle or an oversized EVA handle knob. I liked the oversize feel, and it really helped to crank down when bringing in the bigger fish.
When it comes to stuffing your reel full of lines, the FFP Osprey is hard to beat. They are starting to phase out the older model Osprey for the Saltwater Series, so I’ve put SS in the name to help distinguish the two models for you.
|Size||Bearings||Drag Capacity||Gear Ratio||Weight||Braid Capacity|
|1000||10+1||20 lbs||5.2:1||7.4oz||6/196, 8/164, 10/130|
|3000SS||7+1||18 lbs||5.2:1||11.4oz||.25/250, .30/200|
|4000SS||7+1||26 lbs||5.2:1||11.7oz||.30-250, .35-190|
|6000SS||7+1||40 lbs||4.9:1||18.7oz||.35-210, .40-160|
|8000SS||7+1||49 lbs||4.9:1||23.9oz||.40-310, .45-260|
As you can see, with the new saltwater series, they have removed a few bearings from the reel. As much as we like to have bearings in our reels for smoothness, any moving part near salt can potentially be a problem in the future if not properly maintained. That’s why we’re ok with seeing a reduction in total components because that should help the reel over time.
We did like seeing nearly 50 pounds of drag capacity for the size 8000 saltwater series. This will surely put the breaks down on a big fish.
What We Liked:
- FFP gives back to conservation
- Customer Services is top-notch
What We Didn’t Like
- The price is a bit steeper than other battle-tested spinning reels like the Daiwa BG and Penn Battle II. It does cost less than a Shimano Stradic, which is a plus. However, some might consider this a Shimano Stradic killer based on the price point.
- It comes with an anti-reverse switch, which we don’t typically use often and could lead to corrosion issues if poorly maintained.
Osprey 4000 Battle Test
When I went down to Baja, I had a chance to spool up some 30-pound ice blue line from FFP onto the 4000-size Osprey. I threw it on my cheap Okuma rod and threw it off the panga while my crew was busy getting into their spearfishing gear.
Without much effort, I was casting far away from the panga and was able to quickly bring in my surface iron. Within a few minutes, I was pulling in bonitos.
The drag is loud, which I like, and it puts the breaks on the fish with ease. The large handle made it easy to reel the fish in and let them go since we’d caught enough fish by that point.
Unfortunately, this trip didn’t allow me to beat the reel up as much as I would’ve liked. That’s why I gave it to the Coach to do that for me. My gut says if you want to support a newer company and want something different than a BG or Battle II, it’s worth checking them out.
For the full torture test, watch the video below.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t take some time to mention all of the upgrades they made with their new Saltwater Series. For a little extra in price, you’ll be accessing years of Research and Development by their team of saltwater fishing guides and ambassadors.
Here are some of the improvements they’ve made with their new reel:
- Quiet Dry Roller System
- Reinforced Gears
- Dual-Sealed C-Wave Drag System
These upgrades have turned this reel into a powerhouse. It’s ready for any coast and has been specifically tailored to go after the following:
- Bruiser Jack Crevalle
- Juvenile Tarpon up to 30 pounds
- and other inshore species on lures.
What was also nice of Tim is that he sent us some braided lines, fluorocarbon, and a few other items to check out. I wanted to do some reviews on them for you, so let’s go!
Distance Braid Line
I’m a huge fan of the ice-blue braided line color they sent me. For whatever reason, ice blue pops out against the black reel and just looks cool. I had a chance to try the 40-pound test which is a thin diameter 8-strand PE.
It’s a round line and super slick. I tied it to my spool using a standard Arbor Knot, but since the spool doesn’t have a rubber ring for friction, I had to first put some electrical tape on the spool so the line could dig in. I could have backfilled it with mono first, but I was tired from the long drive down to Baja and figured tape would work just fine.
Infinity 100% Fluorocarbon Leader
I also got my hands on some thick 60-pound fluorocarbon leader that is used more so for tarpon and other large fish with big teeth. Most of the time was going straight braid using surface irons and lures since that’s all that is required for bonito or yellowtail.
I did have a chance to play around with tying some line-to-line knots to practice for when I go to Florida, and they tied clean.
FFP Reel Service
One thing that sets FFP apart from other reel companies is that they have a reel service that you can pay to get your reel maintained so you can greatly increase its life. If you’re fishing a bunch, then it might be worth getting it quarterly tuned up, whereas if you don’t often fish, twice a year or maybe once a year would be fine.
It’s a pretty cool service, you just pay a flat fee and then ship your reel to them. They’ll fix it up and send it back to you in around a week’s time. Know for the old-school angler. You can do this type of maintenance at home. But there might be a time that you just don’t have the time to do it, and that’s when I feel this would be worth it to give it a shot.
Getting to Know the Brand
I wanted to save a little information about the brand for the end of the reviews, so you can get a full picture of who they are.
FFP was started by Ty Nelson and Tim Sommer, who wanted to make a difference in the fishing community. They noticed the trend in the high prices of low-quality gear that was flooding the market and decided enough was enough.
Fishing has always been about finding joy on the water and leaving them better than you found it. As much as anglers have started standing up for their local waterways, it seemed that the large fishing gear manufacturers weren’t doing enough to conserve the sport for future generations.
Bucking the Trend
Therefore, they set out the buck the trend. They started by designing a high-quality reel that could be sold at an affordable price. By taking 3% of the profits and reinventing that back into conservation, showing that the planet was also a shareholder of the company and should be treated like one.
They didn’t stop there. They decided that to have a good company that does right by its customers, they set out to have one of the better customer support teams in the industry. That’s why if you have a problem with your reel, you’re just a phone call or email away.
Lastly, they set out to lead by example and create a culture that is one of positivity and getting people excited to fish again. When you can get your hands around a quality product and turn that into memories that last a lifetime, more people will want to join in and participate.
That’s why you’re seeing people not just in Florida using their gear. There are people up in Maine, down around Texas, and even on the West Coast of California and Washington participating.
We’re huge advocates of conservation and giving back to the community. That’s why when we heard from Tim that they give back 3% to the environment, we knew they were something special.
They have partnered with multiple conservation organizations to bring awareness of the declining estuaries and educate the public on what can be done to protect them. They know a vital rule if there are no fish to catch, then fishing dies for all of us. That’s why it’s so important as a business to give back to the ocean that gives so much to us.
Outside of giving back to organizations, they also sponsor beach cleanups. This type of community involvement is refreshing, as we all need to do our part to keep our communities hospitable and our animals strong.
FFP has three main partners that they work with for conservation, and they include:
- Bonefish & Tarpon TRUST
- Captains for Clean Water
With the fact that everyone seems to have a podcast nowadays, it is pretty fun to go all the way back to the first episode and listen to how they all got started. FFP has a podcast that they started back in 2016, and it looks like they haven’t done one after 2017, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any good info still packed in there.
I went back to the first episode, and that’s where I was able to listen in to boy co-founders Ty Nelson and Tim Sommer talk about how they got their company started. They mentioned how they went to different Florida universities and, when they graduated, met up and decided to get into the fishing industry.
They mentioned that after looking around at what they could sell, they decided why not make the best saltwater fishing reel on the market. This was because they were doing tournaments and were constantly let down by the fishing reels they were using.
When he pinged some of the people in the community, they consistently said that they wanted a lightweight, reliable, and good-looking reel…for a good price. Paying $300-1000 for a reel is almost a crime, at least for the wallet.