Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Orvis Fly Fishing Reel

I recently purchased a new fly reel and to say that I am pleasantly surprised is an understatement! The new Orvis Mid-Arbor reel is one nice piece of machinery! I shouldn't be surprised actually, because Orvis makes quality products but for approximately $120 I thought I'd be getting some cheaply made reel with an expensive name on it. Not so; it's machined from the same bar stock aluminum as their Battenkill Bar Stock reel and has a nice solid feel to it without being heavy. The mid arbor design strikes a nice balance between the traditional sized reel and the wide arbor models that seemed to be all the rage just a few years ago. I found it to be slimmer than the wide arbor and only a slightly larger than the regular reel I had. Another enticing draw is the line capacity. I usually fish small streams and rivers so I'm not going get zipped into my backing by a monster, although I once had a submarine in near Bishop, CA nearly take my canoe for a ride! (You can read about it in Random Acts of Fishing). It is nice, however, to have a little extra "insurance" when you least expect it!

The drag system according to Orvis is a glass composite centerline drag that has an adjustment from free spinning to stopping a locomotive dead in its tracks! The drag knob is easy to handle too. Speaking of knobs, the crank handle is made from a flattened composite material that is wide with small bumps for gripping similar to those found on the bigger reels. Again, great for when you have to put the brakes on that 8 inch Golden trout! The reel is easily switched from right to left hand retrieve like most and has a spool that is simple to remove. According to Orvis, the reel is made from a corrosion-proof material with a scratch resistant finish so it can also be used by those of you who are salty dogs.

Being a traditionalist, I went with the black finish rather that the titanium but I'll tell you, it was a difficult decision as both are equally attractive. My test drive came on the Owens River a few weeks ago and I have to say, the reel performed flawlessly. The drag seemed infinitely adjustable and the reel was smooth as silk. I did get a chance to hear this baby sing when a nice Brown darted out from an under-cut bank and munched my juicy nymph. Overall, I think this reel is a great buy that competes with the Loomis and several others in the same price range but the quality here is first rate.
Note: This NOT a paid review.