I'm not sure what Orvis wants for their Battenkill Reels, but I think you owe yourself a look at the Okuma Sierra Reels. Depending upon where you buy them, they will cost about $40.00, and will do almost all the things you want a good reel to do. I have two. One is a 7/8 weight, and the other is a 5/6 weight. What ever line weight I'm using, I buy the next size up in reels. I use the 7/8 weight for 6 weight lines. I use the 5/6 weight for a 4 weight line. The balance seems right, and the disc drag works quite well. I think you can spend up to $150, and not get as good a deal on a reel. If anyone knows of a better deal, I would really like to know.
I've got two Battenkills, and have had no problems, whatsoever. An excellent reel for the money, and I hear that Orvis really stands behind their products, although I haven't had occasion to find out. I have an Okuma Sierra for my 3 weight, and have no major complaints, except that it has virtually no resistance when reeling in. For some reason, this just feels strange to me. For a setup that you plan to use a lot, I don't think you can go wrong with the Battenkill.
I have an okuma and a 3-4 battenkill, I personally like the Ovis better, but I have always like the sound of the hardy reels and the orvis click and pawl reels have that very sweet sound also when a fish is running, I have never had any problem with mine, but the line can wrap around the reel when you are casting and get between the frame and the spool, and can peel some of your line if you pull hard when it is in that position. I became aware of this problem some years ago on a orvis CFO 123, as long as you are careful then you won't have any problems, If you cast properly and your line goes where it is supposed to go then you won't have this problem anyway, mine just seems to land there all the time.
I used to have that same problem with a Cortland reel. So I changed over to a SA reel and now no more problems.
I think that the way you pull your line off of your reel is the cause of your problem I think that if you pull down against the bar you put pressure on it.
Have 3 Orvis Battenkill reels that have used for quite a few years out in the saltchuck of Puget Sound with no problems from the saltwater. A good rinsing every time out and some grease once in a while has kept them operating smoothly. The drags are more than adequate to handle adult silvers in the Fall.
Gary, I had the same problem...I thought the line as getting caught but it wasn't. If you strip line perpendicular to the reel (eg adding line while false casting) there is a bracket that gets a groove worn in the soft metal by the line...it could be very tiny but it will have the edge of a razor. I went throught three lines in a month before I figured it out. My fly shop guys know this is a problem, Orvis knows this is a problem but they have not addressed it. By the way, they replaced the bracket an line...eventually. I have 3 Orvis battenkills but I'll never buy another one...there are much better for the price. :TSKTSK
Don't worry man. I think the battenkill is the most solid reel for the price. Get one. I've got a 5/6 for the salt water and nice trout and a 3/4 for my 3wt. rod. I've had no problem with it tearing my line and have had my 5/6 for about 5 years. I've recommended them to all of my friends and none of them have ever had a problem with it. They all swear by them. There's no other reel that will be that sturdy for $98. Maybe you should try the battenkill large arbor. Never used it but it looks sweet. But, don't buy an orvis rod! :COOK