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  1. Default Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    I recently decided i fancied a smaller lighter weight setup, previously my lightest setup was an 8'6" 5wt. I had my eye on the Orvis Superfine touch 8' 4wt. When i visited the local Orvis store and chatted to the manager there, he suggested that a 7'6" 3wt might suit better for the sort of fishing i had in mind, small streams trout fishing and some panfish closer to home in Houston. So i had a quick wiggle and cast and decided the 7'6" 3wt felt great and i'd buy one.

    However what reel to pair with the rod, the obvious choice was the CFO, that Orvis pairs with the Superfine if you buy the outfit. However that reel is $250 and i'm not really convinced on the need for a disc drag on a reel for a 3wt. The manager agreed and so we checked out Orvis' new Battenkill reel. The reel is made abroad (i think China) but is machined from bar stock aluminium, the machining tolerances appear tight with no play in the wrong places. The anodizing appears of good quality, with no signs of scuffs or blemishes so far. The reel is only available in the finish that Orvis describe as black nickel, there is also a Mirage in that colour too. The colour could best be described as a slightly brownish finish. Although the sizing looks a bit weird, it matches the reel seat on my Helios 2 8wt nicely, so i think would be a nice choice for the small H2's as well. It has a nice classic look with the drilled porting on the spool and reel, which should allow it to dry out nicely should it take a dunking.

    The reel is available in 3 sizes, for 1-3, 3-5 and 5-7 weight line sizes. I opted for the Battenkill II for line weights 3-5, it's only 0.1 ounces more than the Battenkill I. In a 3wt line, the II reel can take 100 yards of 20lb dacron backing, the I reel has a capacity of 50 yards. Although probably not a big deal for fighting fish, i thought the extra backing would increase the effective arbor of this standard/mid-arbor reel, there by reducing line coiling issues and increasing retrieve rates. I'll post the backing capacities as a photo below as they are not currently on the Orvis website.

    The reel is easily to switch between LHR and RHR, by reversing the pawl. From mid July onwards the reels will be sold with a second mirror image spring to improve the check performance when converted to RHR (some people complained it wasn't effective enough in the current design) Orvis have said they'll swap out any reel with the original design for one of the revised reels on request. I wont bother though as I'm LHR.

    The amount of 'check' available has 4 settings, changeable by rotating the little square near the pawl inside the reel. So no adjustment while the spool is fitted. I liek the clean look achieved by removing the external adjustment. I have been using it at the factory setting (mid-range), which is enough check to prevent spool overruns when stripping off line. There is a perceptible difference in the strength of the check when adjusted. The reel clicks both ways and sounds good to my ears. The spool is easy to remove, there is a spool release latch at the centre of the spool, similar to the clearwater and Access line of reels.

    The reel is super light at 2.9 ounces for the Battenkill II, and seems to balance the superfine touch really well (although i've never been a 'reel balance snob'), it think it would match up well with short rods and modern ultra light carbon rods.

    I haven't had anything on it yes that's really tested the click n' pawl, although i did let a couple of small bass pull a bit on it to see what happened, as you might expect, nothing surprising. There is plenty of rim exposed so you can employ some human old skool drag if required.

    At $98 I think the reel is a good little product for the money and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it or buy another.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    Very nice review, that reel matches the Superfine perfectly!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    Agree with you on your summary of the Orvis reel, I actually bought mine for the same reasons you did and really like the reel-well made, lightweight and sturdy. Did not like the fact that it is made outside of USA, but overall, I like the reel as much as you do.

    "It is ourselves that we conquer, not the mountain." Sir Edmund Hillary, 1959

  4. Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    Perfect timing on the review. Thank you.

    I'm looking for a new reel for my Redington CT 4wt, and the price and Orvis reputation have made this very attractive. I think I'll place an order for one today.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    sweet, i just bought this reel to go along with my new Redington CT 5wt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Holliston, MA, USA

    Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    I grabbed a Battenkill III clicker yesterday and am pretty pleased with it. It reminds me a lot of the LL Bean "pocket water" reel--but lighter, with a narrower spool, and a nicer color.

  7. Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    Does anyone have any thoughts on how loud the click is compared to the Redington Drift, which I find objectionably loud?


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    North Alabama

    Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    the battenkill is quieter than the redington for sure!

  9. Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    I bought this same reel for my Superfine Touch 8' 4 wt.. I also couldn't see what kind of fish I would be pursuing with this rod that would require a $250 disk drag reel.

    I love the size, the looks, the feel, and the sound of this reel. A also love the weight of it on the aforementioned rod.

    I called Orvis to complain about it being made in China. I probably would not have bought it had I realized this before hand - but I took it fishing right away and only noticed days later. Somehow I just presumed that Orvis' iconic Battenkill reels would be made in their US factory--silly me. I returned other products after I discovered they were made in China, and before I used them

    Anyway - the reel is excellent, and the only complaint I have is the country of manufacture. Seriously, I love this reel so much that I told Orvis I would easily pay an extra $50 if they would only make them in the USA.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Orvis Battenkill II Click and Pawl Reel Review

    I bought this as a cheap throw on for a st croix imperial (made in USA) 4wt. For $98 you can't beat it. It's right there along side the Redington drift, but the Battenkill is slightly lighter which is what I needed.

    It's performed well having 18-21" rainbow stockers on it. I can't complain (too much) about it not being made in the USA…at that price what do you expect? Sure, it'd be great if it was and if someone can find me a similar reel, of similar performance, quality, material at a better price, please speak up.

    Actually, I wanted to give it all 8's but I'm not a big fan of the bold clunky type/paint on the reel. Smacks of 'cheaper' to me.

    ---------- Post added at 08:33 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:29 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by jesser View Post
    I would easily pay an extra $50 if they would only make them in the USA.
    That'd be nice if that were possible. Shoot it'd be more like hundreds more right? What is the lowest price on a USA made reel? $400 probably.
    "...all snobbery is defensive..and as important as fishing seems, the most important thing about it is, it's just fishing."

    -- John Gierach


    My TU:

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