Originally Posted by kelkay
If you have tried both, which do you prefer? I heard they quit making the Battenkill. But if it is made better than the Access, I'd rather have that. This is for around December. I won't be getting one any time soon. But I wanted to hear opinions.
Do you mean Battenkill Bar Stock (BBS) or Battenkill Mid Arbor (BMA)?
Orvis discontinued the BMA's last year and replaced them with the Access series. The Access is basically the same design as the BMA with minor improvements -- fully sealed drag, a little less weight. The are both good choices for a durable mid-arbor reel that can hold plenty of backing and handle strong fish. Unless you really want the sealed drag, you can save a few bucks by buying the discontinued BMA at a clearance price if you can still find one, and you probably wouldn't ever notice a difference.
However, the BBS is a different model entirely. It's a lightweight, standard-arbor, more traditionally styled reel, a redesign of the classic old Battenkill that was the mainstay of the Orvis reel offerings for decades. It's still listed at the current Orvis website, so I don't think it has been discontinued, although I don't see the older Battenkill there any longer.
I like standard-arbor reels for smaller fish (like panfish and trout) and line sizes (up to 6), where you don't need to worry about having miles of backing that need a huge outer diameter when you're reeling it all back in. I like mid-or large-arbor reels for heavier line sizes and bigger fish, where you might find yourself with 100 or 150 yards of backing out, and you need a stronger drag to help control the fish and a bigger spool that can retrieve more line with every crank of the handle.
I wouldn't worry about where it was made. Orvis stands behind their stuff. The old CFO models were made in England by Hardy and are becoming collectors' items, but these days, among the better products in the market, it doesn't really matter. A couple of years ago a Hardy rep told me they moved the Lightweight and Marquis production to Korea from England not because of labor costs (the machining is done by computer), but because the quality of the aluminum barstock in Korea is higher, so they can produce a more consistent finished product with less material wastage and quality defects.