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Old 12-05-2009, 12:08 AM
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Default Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

Has anyone used the Orvis Battenkill Barstock reel in salt water? How well has it stood up?
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

By the number of views and lack of responses, there might not be anyone who has used a BBS for saltwater. Or that person might be on the water right now.

Here are a few questions for you.
  1. Which BBS model will you use?
  2. What fish do you plan on targeting?
  3. Will you use this reel regularly for saltwater?

I fished with a friend on a tarpon trip a few years back. He lost a fly to the mangrove Gods, so he grabbed his backup rod that had a BBS 4 rather than rig up his main rod. He fished the rest of the day with his backup without any failures. He hooked up with at least a dozen baby tarpon. About half of the fish were put to the reel. He told me that the drag wasn't as smooth or as powerful as his Abel, but it did the job.

MP
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:27 PM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

I had a speck of something get into the drag gear mechanism thingy on one
of my BBS III reels last spring, and it wouldn't wind until I rinsed it out. I've
owned BBS IV reels, and while the drag is dandy, that speck got me wondering about the design.....
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

Okay guys, bear with me cause I need your help and expertise. I live in central Florida and can get over to a place called Mosquito Lagoon- it's a big salt water bay that's pretty much can be waded and locals call it the redfish capital of the world. There are some giants but most are 26" or less. There is also sea trout that are smaller. So that's the target fish. I am guessing that anodized aluminum bar stock is anodized aluminum bar stock- I thought maybe there were different grades and less grades would not hold up to a steady diet of salt water use. So if the anodized bar stock is okay- that's one thing out of the way.
Next on the list is a "sealed drag" I don't think the Battenkill bar stock reel has one or they would say so in the ad in the catalog. That spec that got into the drag also tells me it must not be sealed. If a drag is not sealed- how much of a problem is that? Big problem or not too bad unless I lay the reel down in sand, etc.
As you can tell from my questions- this is a new type of fly fishing for me and I want workable tackle, not junk- but by workable- something I can use a year or two and at that point if salt water fly fishing is my thing I can think about better tackle. So I don't want junk, and I'm targeting trout and reds in inshore salt water. As adventuresome as I may get is bone fish down at the Keys. If I go after tarpon it will be with non-fly tackle.
I am looking for a Salt Water reel in the $150-175 bracket. There is also a Cabelas reel in that price range- any other suggestions- I'm all ears.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

My speck entered the BBS just from getting the reel wet while wading: a
short dunk into a swift current. The Battenkill Mid-Arbor might be a better
choice, and costs about the same. I've only handled that reel in the shop,
and it seems fine. Orvis has a money back satisfaction guarantee, so.....

The Lamson Konic gets mentioned here often enough when people are looking for saltwater reels in that price bracket. I've only handled the higher end
Lamsons, but even those aren't too pricey. I'd look at the Lamson Guru,
Orvis BBS Mid-Arbor, Pflueger President, and someone else will tell you that
even a $35 Pflueger will work (it will ). Just rinse them all off when finished.

P.S. I'm not an expert, just another angler .
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Owl View Post
Okay guys, bear with me cause I need your help and expertise. I live in central Florida and can get over to a place called Mosquito Lagoon- it's a big salt water bay that's pretty much can be waded and locals call it the redfish capital of the world. There are some giants but most are 26" or less. There is also sea trout that are smaller. So that's the target fish. I am guessing that anodized aluminum bar stock is anodized aluminum bar stock- I thought maybe there were different grades and less grades would not hold up to a steady diet of salt water use. So if the anodized bar stock is okay- that's one thing out of the way.
Most reels machined from barstock aluminum use aircraft grade aluminum alloys. The quality of the finishing (anodizing) will determine the succeptiblity to saltwater corrosion. But even the best made reels can corrode. Rinsing the reel with freshwater after each use and a more detailed cleaning periodically are the best ways to ensure the finish of the reel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Owl View Post
Next on the list is a "sealed drag" I don't think the Battenkill bar stock reel has one or they would say so in the ad in the catalog. That spec that got into the drag also tells me it must not be sealed. If a drag is not sealed- how much of a problem is that? Big problem or not too bad unless I lay the reel down in sand, etc.
The two reel brands that fly shops will push onto a person wanting a saltwater reel are Abel and Tibor. Guess what. The drag systems are not sealed. The best made unsealed drags won't be affected by sand particles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Owl View Post
As you can tell from my questions- this is a new type of fly fishing for me and I want workable tackle, not junk- but by workable- something I can use a year or two and at that point if salt water fly fishing is my thing I can think about better tackle. So I don't want junk, and I'm targeting trout and reds in inshore salt water. As adventuresome as I may get is bone fish down at the Keys. If I go after tarpon it will be with non-fly tackle.
I am looking for a Salt Water reel in the $150-175 bracket. There is also a Cabelas reel in that price range- any other suggestions- I'm all ears.
You are asking a reel to do a lot for you at that price point. The best reels that can work for you well are the Lamson Guru 3 (7/8) or Guru 3.5 (8/9). These reels are machined out of barstock aluminum and have a durable type 2 anodizing finish. The drags are sealed. I used another Lamson reel with the same drag system on baby tarpon. There were no failures. I still use that reel for different applications. The prices, however, are higher than your range at $199 and $229, respectively.

MP
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

Mosca has always seemed like an expert, so listen to him....Really

Look at part #7 on the BBS here: http://www.orvis.com/orvis_assets/fi...BKBarstock.pdf
The Drive Gear has components inside that allow the spool to turn in both
directions. It's fairly well open, but also closed enough to trap a speck of
sand. I had to pop the spool off, slide the drive gear off, and swish it in the
stream to clear the speck. All of my BBS reels were returned two weeks ago
for that very reason.

The open drag reels Mosca mentions are open enough that they can shed
little specks, and little specks don't have a big effect on their drag surfaces.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

You can use that Orvis reel in the salt. I don't have one myself, but plenty of people around here use them.
I use the SA System 2 reels, which are in your price range.
The oldest one of mine has seen about 15 years of hard use
I've rebuilt the drag twice and it has a little corrosion, but the reel has never failed and I like them well enough that I've bought two more.

I also use a Pflueger Supreme.
They don't make that model anymore. It was replaced by the Trion mid arbor and the President large arbor, but the only difference that I can see is that they have the larger arbors
These Pflueger reels are relatively cheap but have a hard anodized finish.
I had to polish the drag plate on mine to get it to work smoothly and the plastic ratchet looks like it might be trouble some day, but so far so good.
I have to strip this reel down completely once a year due to salt build up behind the drag plate, but all in all this reel was a good value ($65) and I use it a lot.
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Last edited by Rip Tide; 12-07-2009 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:36 AM
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Default Re: Orvis BBS reel for salt water?

Hey Red Owl - I know I am coming to this thread a little late, but since there were not many replies with actual experience I thought I would add my 2 cents. I have not used the BBS in salt-water, but I have used the Battenkill Mid Arbor in the salt.

I used the Orvis BK Mid-Arbor IV reel for salt-water fishing on an 8-weight TFO rod. I bought it as a low-cost travel rod for trips to Alaska and have used it for salmon fishing from the middle of the Kenai River (above Skilak Lake) down to the mouth of the river and into the Cook Inlet (which is salt water). The BK-MA easily handled sockeye (red) salmon, coho calmon and even a couple of king salmon.

The BK-MA reel is hard annodized, with a sealed glass composite drag with click-stop settings, and stainless steel gearing. The only precautions I took were to rinse the reel off with a splash of clean water after a day fishing in salt water. The reel performed absolutely great - the only complaint was that I used dacron backing and I had a couple of king salmon almost strip the reel to the bottom. Next time I will load it with Gel-Spun backing for additional length.

MSRPs on these reels run from $130 to $160, but you can get them a lot cheaper a lot of places. I bought my BK-MA IV from Bass Pro on a sale and got it for $99 (regularly priced at BP for about $25-$30 bucks more).

FYI - I have a couple of other BK-MA reels that I use on a regular basis, and they are absolutely bullet-proof. I have never had one break in all the years I have used them. Only complaint is that they are not the lightest reel on the market, but I am a big guy and can handle a whole extra ounce or so.

If you want to start salt-water fishing and need a low-to-mid cost reel that is still good quality and will last for years, I think the Ovis BK-MA will meet your needs.
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