Cheeky Boost 350
- Large arbor for fast line retrieval
- Smooth, problem-free drag
- Attractive design
- Heavier than others
- Some anglers don’t like the reel’s silent retrieve
The Cheeky Boost 350 reel earned praise from every angler I had testing it. The Boost’s fast line retrieval and ultra-smooth drag were universally praised as was the clean, yet vibrant design. The Boost’s silent retrieve did raise an eyebrow among the more traditionalist testers, but others loved the quiet action of the reel. All in all, the Boost was a favorite of all the testers, and an clear winner of the Best in Class award for this year’s general-purpose fly reels.
The Cheeky Boost 350 provided great performance and eye-catching good looks, making it a winner in everyone’s book. The biggest problem I had with the Boost was the limited color options.
Drag and Line Management
The Boost 350 features a large 3.5 inch spool diameter, making line management easy—getting slack line onto the spool was a matter of a few cranks, and then to bring in fish was the work of mere moments. The sealed carbon-fiber drag system proved remarkably smooth and reliable. Minute adjustments allowed for perfect tension adjustment to ensure no big fish broke off even when using tiny 7x tippets and #22 dry flies. The sealed system worked well in salt as well as fresh water, and showed no problems, even in sediment-heavy spring run-off rivers.
Durability and Design
Cheeky uses a single color on each reel size to help anglers (and I guess dealers) identify exactly which reel they have in hand even if they can’t see the model number. The Boost 350 (5-6 weight lines) is red, while the Boost 325 (2-4 weight lines) is green and the Boost 400 (7-8 wt) is blue. That color system makes is easy to manage multiple reels, but was a bit of a disappointment to some testers—one really wanted a bright green 350 to mount on their coal-black 5-wt Sage One rod.
The reel design is simple, yet elegant. An open three-spoked colored frame holds a black spool. A large easy-to-handle drag control knob centers the spokes, while the spool’s frame is largely exposed for easy palming when big fish take off on a run.
How We Tested It
The reels in this test were used while fishing for rainbow trout on the Upper Yakima River and the Rocky Ford spring creek (both in Washington State), as well as the Metolius and Crooked Rivers of central Oregon. We also fished small streams in eastern Washington and Oregon (notably the Lostine, Owyhee, John Day, Touchet, Tucannon, Wenaha and Walla Walla.). Testers included long time outdoor writers, game wardens, western fishing guides, and a few select blog readers.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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