Orvis CFO III – 30 Years Apart

huntschool

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S&S:

Great job as always. I love my CFO's and my pawl Battenkill as you know.... Old habits die hard.

Have three of these:






Two of these:





And one Battenkill Disc multiplier 9wt:







I really like em. I need two more to get me where I want to be with these reels.
 
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rsagebrush

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I have 2 screw back CFO IV reels that have held up just fine for all these years since purchasing them new in the early 70's. One of them looks beat to heck, and it is but functions flawlessly. I also have one CFO III of a later vintage. All with quite a few spools, very classic and classy reels, and my favorites of all time.

Who needs a drag anyways in freshwater, I have handled Rogue River Steelies with the IV with no major issues.

My Ablel's are great and much sturdier but just lack that something the CFO has.
 

sweetandsalt

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The hole point of this CFO article is that despite the genuine progress in machining, anodizing, larger arbors and fine tunable, maintenance-free drag systems that offer all manor of improvements in reel design over the past 40 years since CFO was introduced; a well used and oiled, purring, Hardy-built CFO remains the very archetypical image of what a fly reel is.
 

bigspencer

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Guess I'm a little late, but nice job of documentation S&S. The CFO III served me well through my pre-teen years with a 5wt floating lines up in the Maine woods through the summers. Many memories of finding and fishing unfished brooks, ponds and bogs as I followed my step-granddad in hiking to selective-cutting jobsites to give him help in his position as a scaler for the Great Northern Paper Co(GNP) during the mid-60s to early-70s of pre-mechanical harvesting. Would many times fish beaver bogs underneath the hardwood and softwood canopy where a simple and smooth click & pawl saved many a tippet, back in the days of weak tippet materials.
 

sweetandsalt

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My semi retired G.Loomis Stramdance GLX 8 1/2'/#4 was forced to relinquish its Nautilus FWX to a newer rod but it received the above Chinese made for Orvis, CFO Disc. This outfit languished in the drift boat all day this past weekend with a Comparadun tied on while we fished CDC emergers and rusty spinners most of the day. In deep dusk, having difficulty seeing my fly, I picked up the little rod for its more visible fly and caught the best brown of the day in the waning twilight. Its been a long time since I've fought a larger trout on a CFO and, despite it being one with an off-set disc drag and not made by Hardy in England, it was old school fun to have the small rod really bent and the CFO screaming in the near dark.
 

mka

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I have a CFO II that is the same make as your III...it's going to be mated to a classic WT 8'6" 4wt rod next week up in Northern NM. I sure hope to hear that screaming sound of the reel like you experienced!!!

Love those CFO's...it will be interesting to see what the next generation will evolve to.
 

sweetandsalt

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"Love those CFO's...it will be interesting to see what the next generation will evolve to."

It is a fact that Abel has ceased to build new CFO's for Orvis so, once again, Orvis will need to re-define their classic, seminal reel. I have no awareness of their thinking but they could employ the machining source that produces their new US made Mirage, I'd like that, or they could once again go off-shore...more likely Asia than Britain.
 

sweetandsalt

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Here is the CFO article resurrected from the past for your edification, Callahan.
 

sweetandsalt

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My semi retired G.Loomis Stramdance GLX 8 1/2'/#4 was forced to relinquish its Nautilus FWX to a newer rod but it received the above Chinese made for Orvis, CFO Disc.
No, this is not a nail in the coffin for the Streamdance...but now for the second time I'm asking it to relinquish its reel to a newer rod. Of the two new Sage rods I fished this past season, neither had an optimal reel match. I've written elsewhere about the search for the perfect reel for Igniter #5 which was fished with a reel that was a bit too light this year. Well, its baby brother DART 7 1/2'/#4 was mounted with a reel a little too heavy. For a cold indoor day task I just mounted the CFO III Disc on DART and not only is the balancing weight spot on but the anodization color of the Asian CFO and the DART's reel seat are a mighty close match. I'll give the SA Troutstalker line back to the GLX once I select its next reel out of inventory.
 

Lewis Chessman

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I'm late to the party but thanks very much sweetandsalt, and mouchuer2003, too. A great, educative read and written with a obvious love for the subject.
 

dennyk

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I have a Hardy made CFO IV with an extra spool I bought in the early 1980's as well as a CFO III built by Abel. Love those click and pawl reels. The only thing I wish I could add is an extra spool for the CFO III, but I understand Abel did not produce any. But at any rate being a big Hatch fan these reels are a nice old school contrast vs. the modern reels produced today.

Denny
 

swfl daz

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As discussed in the "What Did You Buy Today" thread, I have three CFO Discs - One is a "Made in England" III, and the other two are I's - One marked "Made in England" and the other without any origin info. The internals of the two are identical (the same drag set up as pictured earlier in this thread). The only differences that I can see are external - The "Made in England" reel is slightly darker and the external hardware is silver tone (handle screw, counterweight, hub release cap, and spindle end), whereas the unmarked reel is slightly lighter in color and its hardware is all gold-tone (again like the reel pictured above). Also the lettering on the "Made in England" reel is gold as opposed to white (and the font is more detailed). The porting on both reels and spools is identical.

So, based on this I'm fairly confident that my unmarked FCO was made in China, but I'm surprised to find that the England reel is exactly the same beyond a few cosmetics.
 

jayr

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So, based on this I'm fairly confident that my unmarked FCO was made in China, but I'm surprised to find that the England reel is exactly the same beyond a few cosmetics.
I have one of these as well. I have been told they were made in China and some have told me Korea. But if you look at the internals, fit, finish, etc. they are very well made.
 

sweetandsalt

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The CFO III Disc depicted earlier in this article is, and was confirmed by Orvis, to be produced in China. I do not believe any of the Hardy or BFR CFO's featured the peripheral ported rim.

If they were to ask me, which they will not, I would like the next gen. CFO to be a mid arbor design available both in spring and pawl and modern disc drag versions.
 

swfl daz

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The CFO III Disc depicted earlier in this article is, and was confirmed by Orvis, to be produced in China. I do not believe any of the Hardy or BFR CFO's featured the peripheral ported rim.
So I think it's agreed my newest reel was made in China (or at least Asia), but I'm now curious about the other one that is marked "Made in England" but looks almost identical.

Any thoughts on who might have made this one?

DSCN2326.JPG
 

Ard

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Happy to see this brought back to life :)

I have not stayed up to date with who's making what any more but can say that every one of these reels I've ever owned was just a smooth functioning and attractive thing to use. I've had 7 of them through the years and still have the CFO IV because it's paired with a rod. All the others have been sold because I have little to no use for light trout tackle here and don't expect to leave.



The CFO IV is on the Orvis Limestone rod and although the rod pre dates the production age of the reel I've made them a pair. Even when you live and fish somewhere that the light tackle is a poor choice there are some rods and reels I keep just in case I find myself somewhere in the lower 48 to fish.
 

sweetandsalt

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So I think it's agreed my newest reel was made in China (or at least Asia), but I'm now curious about the other one that is marked "Made in England" but looks almost identical.

Any thoughts on who might have made this one?

View attachment 27933
It looks like I am wrong about the ported rim as this reel appears to my eyes to be made by BFR (British Fly Reels), now gone but at that time owned by Orvis.
 

Ard

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I don't know as much about this as Richard and so am open to correction but I think any CFO that says Made In England but lacks the tell tale riviets which hold the spring and pawl posts in were made by BFR. I never saw one until around 1992 when I got a deal on a set of those Olive Green with the Brass foot and fittings. It took a while for it to sink in that they were not Hardy reels. They were however swell reels and I sold the bunch for more than I paid for them. Just another reason to take good care of your reels, no scuffs and nicks equals good prices if you sell.

Whether you find a BFR or Hardy model, if it's in mint condition do your best to keep it that way. If you do there's a good chance you can use it for a decade then redeem your money. The only reel I have in the current bunch that bears a nick is my 4 1/4 Perfect and I have no clue when it happened. Not a bad one but it surly devalues the reel a bit. My old Featherweight has what they call a rubbed patina caused by my hands over 40 years of use but no gravel rash so I consider it to be in great condition.

Take care of those reels fellas.
 

swfl daz

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I don't know as much about this as Richard and so am open to correction but I think any CFO that says Made In England but lacks the tell tale riviets which hold the spring and pawl posts in were made by BFR. I never saw one until around 1992 when I got a deal on a set of those Olive Green with the Brass foot and fittings. It took a while for it to sink in that they were not Hardy reels. They were however swell reels and I sold the bunch for more than I paid for them. Just another reason to take good care of your reels, no scuffs and nicks equals good prices if you sell.

Whether you find a BFR or Hardy model, if it's in mint condition do your best to keep it that way. If you do there's a good chance you can use it for a decade then redeem your money. The only reel I have in the current bunch that bears a nick is my 4 1/4 Perfect and I have no clue when it happened. Not a bad one but it surly devalues the reel a bit. My old Featherweight has what they call a rubbed patina caused by my hands over 40 years of use but no gravel rash so I consider it to be in great condition.

Take care of those reels fellas.
Agreed 100%. The only reels that I own with nicks or rash are the ones that had it when I bought them. I can understand a scratch or nick from a fall or trip, especially on painted reels, but the poor condition of some reels that I see for sale mystifies me (especially the anodized ones).

I recently sold a 1595RC Medalist that I bought new in the early 90's - It was well used and I caught a lot of fish with it over the years. It looked almost the same as new when I sold it.
 
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