Access is made in China.
I've attached a pic of the box i got mine in (my 1 year old daughter saved up her allowance to get me it for fathers day - How sweet)
Anyways, in the time i've had it i've only fished it once (I really need to get out to fish more) on my 5 wt albright A5-NS. Balanced the rod well, carried the line well, nothing more i can really say. The drag is tight, i wound it for all its worth to test it.
I bought one of the Orvis Access mid arbor reels for my 4wt and liked it so much,,,I opted to buy another for my 2wt. I have one of the older B-bar stocks on my 5wt. I , personally, for fresh water ..just can not see spending 'several' hundred's of dollars on a fly reel. I want a 'good' reel..and IF I could fish 'big' fish, I might be of a different mind. But a 4lb trout here is a monster,,with 12 to 14 inch trout the norm...so,,I just dont see spending the farm on a reel. I'd rather put the saved money on a rod, waders, gear of some type,etc. Others mileage may vary.
Well,,as you know,the drag systems are different. I think the Access has a more advanced drag ,,but ,,,is that really unnecessary with the size fish I mentioned ? I really must say,,I like the Access mid arbor's very well. Better than the BBS ? Na, I wouldn't say that really. I guess they are very comparable in a way. I'd be more than satisfied with either one.
Well thank you on that. To tell the truth, I wouldn't mind having both. But in actuality, I don't NEED either. A friend of mine bought an Orvis reel last year, and it is a beauty. I like how fast he can change spools out too. I have quite a few reels already. But it seems I always want another one. You can never have TOO many now, can you?
Ok so I personally have not fished either of these, but I can share some info based on first hand experience.
The BBS reels have the obvious classic style and the drag is going to require some level of maintenance. Chi has one and he's used it to land many fish. He had one problem with it and sent it back to Orvis for repair. Good as new again! Nice lightweight reels. Still in production as far as I know. They did however discontinue the Battenkill Series, not to be confused with the Battenkill Barstock Series.
I have the previous model to the Access, the Battenkill Mid Arbor. Absolutely bullet proof reel. The design is similar to the Access which I'd describe as classic with a slightly modern twist to it and the Access having even more so of a modern twist than the previous version. They are a little heavier than the BBS reels but not by any means too heavy.
I am a gear fanatic, so yes Kelly I have to agree, one can never have TOO much gear
Thanks for your thoughts. I do hesitate to buy ANYTHING from China. But it does seem if I want an Orvis reel like this, I will have to bite the bullet. Since Orvis DOES back their product, that is the ONLY REASON I am seriously considering this. I really wish they would have these made somewhere else. I like how quick you can change the spools out. I love my two Allen reels, but they are not quick change at all. I think they are made in Korea. My favorite modern reel in my line up is the Alpha reel. I am kinda cheap on buying new reels. But I am slowly moving in the direction of spending more money, with the help of a little plastic that is. This reel that I choose will probably be in December. I have a birthday then. So you know I have to have something cool for THAT...lol.
About 5-6 years ago, I decided to buy a few BBS reels. They were all new, and all made in England. Two nearby shops just happened to have them still in stock, and at the same price as the MIC BBS reels. I bought two BBS III reels, an one BBS IV. They were all very nice. I decided I needed more when Orvis had a "Buy a Reel, Get a Free Spool" sale. The MIC BBS reels were hit and miss in terms of spool wobble, and I went through the store's entire stock before finding a reel and spool that didn't have lots of wobble. I decided I didn't want any made in China reels a few months later, and sold that reel and spool. I eventually sold the made in England BBS reels as well. I enjoy using mid arbor reels like the Ross Evo and Rhythm much more than the little dinky traditional reels. Speaking of dinky, the instructions and box for the made in England BBS tell a much different story than the MIC BBS reels. The made in England box and instructions show the BBS III as a 4/5wt reel (which it is), but the MIC BBS III box and instructions state that it's a 5-7wt reel. Good luck getting a 7wt line on that! Orvis's website has the same specs for the MIC reels, and that's ridiculous.
In addition, Orvis says they moved the machining equipment from England to China, so you're getting the same reel. If you take a made in England BBS, and flick your fingernail on its spool, it sounds like fine crystal. Flicking a MIC BBS doesn't sound like lead, but it definitely does not ring out in the same way. Maybe a change in metallurgy is the reason why so many of the MIC BBS reels were wobbly. The wobble wasn't awful, but they wobbled.....