Nautilus GTX Reel Review

Nautilus GTX Reel Review: A GT Fly Fisherman’s Dream [2020]

For all you fly rodders out there looking for your GT specific fly reel, look no further as we think that Nautilus has made a reel suitable for the abuse that our favorite reef gangster will put our gear to the test.

Let’s check out what this new reel is made of.

Body and Spool

100% made by CNC machining a solid billet of aircraft grade aluminum, the Nautilus GTX Fly Reel is a solid reel that can take on daily abuse like dropping, dragging, dunking and crushing from anglers, luggage, baggage handlers and fish.

Apart from being super strong, it is also very lightweight for its size. The GTX is a purpose build big-game fly reel that is also “BIG” in size. The diameter of the reel is a total of 5 inches, but Nautilus minimized its width, providing users with a narrow 1.1-inch-wide spool, with plenty of porting to keep the weight down to 8.7oz or 247grams.

“GTX is a reel designed for big GT and other monsters of the deep and is a 12 weight specific reel that is fit for the job at hand.”

The Giga Spool, as they call it, has porting that is not randomly cut but strategically applied for strength and rigidity, both needed when battling monsters of the deep.

The porting also helps with fast line drying, helping prevent corrosion on the spool when you store your reel after an epic fishing adventure. True to its name, the GTX is a reel designed for big GT and other monsters of the deep and is a 12 weight specific reel that is fit for the job at hand.

nautilus gtx reel


The GTX has a new drag design that they call the Pentadrag braking system. If you’ve used Nautilus reels before, imagine the combination of the NV-G, CCF-X2, and X-series’ drags but put on steroids! On paper they produce 25 plus pounds of drag when locked up but we’ve yet to test this out ourselves.

Penta means five and the drag system has 5 total components that work together to provide this monstrous drag strength. It features 3 cork and carbon fiber hybrid discs plus 2 free floating carbon fiber discs in the system matched with a Kevlar / carbon fiber hybrid precision plate for smooth and powerful stopping power.

Have hand tested the reel and can say that the drag is smooth as butter, partly due to the cork discs that act as a compression material for when the drag discs are pushed together.

nautilus reel

We all love a big and solid drag knob and Nautilus has provided us with a pretty chunky piece of aluminum for drag adjustments which we love. The GripTorq drag knob is 1.9 inches in diameter and has great knurling providing us with a lot of grip when adjusting the knob.

There isn’t much turns needed to reach full drag from zero as it only requires 1 and a half turns from 0 to max. The minimal turns is great for quick adjustments for in action battles but is not as good for fine tuning your drag settings.

A small mistake and an over eager angler changing the drag settings may cause plenty of bust offs until the user gets used to the drag adjustment settings. Well, more practice it is.

Line Capacity

It’s a big reel and it can take big line for sure. Load it up with a weight forward 12 weight fly line and 500 yards or 450m of 60lb braid backing!

That’s a lot of backing that can provide users with confidence needed to play and battle with hooked fish.

Feel free to upsize your backing for more power as this reel can surely take in big amounts of backing with no dramas.


With a whopping price tag of US$1300 for the reel and US$575 for a spare spool, it is an investment that needs proper thought.

Nautilus has invested all the best in innovation and design into this reel coupled with their personal on the water experience to achieve the best that they can provide to their customers.

nautilus gtx

If you feel that you are not ready to invest in a new GTX reel just yet, have a look at its older competitors like the Hatch Finatic Gen2 11 plus reel that is one of our favorites.

It clocks in at US$ 875 and is also not on the affordable side of the market. But it has been performing magic in the saltwater world as well so it’s surely not a lightweight. Another great option is the Hardy Fortuna XDS 12 plus reel. It clocks in at US$949. A great option in itself but is due for an update as the last design change was back in 2016.

Still great reels though and is worth considering. I, however feel that the GTX by Nautilus is a reel worth betting all my chips with as they have been making big fish worthy reels since day one.

Can’t wait to get my hands on these and try them out while fishing in Vanuatu with the crew!

If you are looking for a true sport fishing company that offers specialized topwater and jigging adventures anywhere in the Pacific Islands, contact Ocean Blue Fishing now for your Vanuatu Fishing trips and needs!

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Nautilus GTX Reel Review: A GT Fly Fisherman’s Dream [2020]

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more
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