Advice On New Saltwater Reel

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Bruce Baker, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. Bruce Baker Active Member

    Posts: 555
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    I've been looking to get a 10 wt rod to fish in Florida and if I'm lucky some other tropical destinations. I've been doing a lot of searching on eBay, but I wanted to cast a rod before purchasing it. I recently cast a Sage Xi3 and today I trekked up to Bellevue to test cast the Hydros. I have to go with the Hydros. Between the two, it felt like I was casting an 8 wt with the Orvis. So that's the direction I'm heading.

    Orvis is also having a special going which also give the purchase a bigger bang for the buck. I have two options, 1) get a free large arbor bar stock Battenkill or 2) for an extra $200, get the Mirage reel. I'm also not very familiar with Orvis reels. My current reels are Ross. So I am curious to know if:
    1. Has anyone had experience with either of these reels?
    2. I do like the fact that the Mirage is sealed and requires little to no maintenance. At this time I would like to keep costs down if possible, but will shell out the bucks if the Mirage is vastly superior to the Battenkill. Which way would you steer me?
    3. Was curious to know if there any other reels I should consider? I could go with the Battenkill for the time being and/or until it blows up and start saving for a better reel in the meantime.

    Thanks a lot.
  2. megajumbos Brett@Creekside

    Posts: 60
    Issy, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    If you like Ross stick to them or maybe Nautilus, Tibor, Hatch, Galvan. The Orvis reels like the Mirage and Battenkill have exposed gears or clutches (even though it says it's sealed it's not. The only truly sealed reels are Charltons/Makos.) and they are more vulnerable to saltwater corrosion and sand. Also, the feel of the Xi3 vs. Hydros is probably because Hydros is softer and the Xi3 is extremely fast and might feel less sensitive. The Xi3 is however, a more powerful rod and will perform better in windy, tropical conditions. Of course it costs two or three hundred more I think...
  3. Bruce Baker Active Member

    Posts: 555
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    Thanks for your input. You made some good points.
  4. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,231
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +880 / 1
    Mirage is a totally new Reel from Orvis. O-ring sealed. no exposure. no clutch. Hydros is the same Helios blank that no one has access too. It's light and fast because it is light and fast.

  5. Bruce Baker Active Member

    Posts: 555
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    It was good to see you again Leland. I appreciate your chiming in. Sent you a pm.
  6. Steve Saville Active Member

    Posts: 2,516
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +343 / 1
    Leland knows. I have an Xi2 and put a Ross Momentum reel on it. It's a pretty sweet outfit and casts beautifully with an Outbound line. It handles dorado and skip jacks readily but it's only a 10 wt. so I wouldn't tackle a marlin or sailfish with it though it could probably stand up well. It would take longer. There's nothing wrong with the Orvis rods and reels. I just had my stuff before I thought much about Orvis becuase the shop in Bellevue didn't exist. I don't know which way I would go now but I do like my Sage/Momentum combo.
  7. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,048
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    My 10 weight rods are the go-to sticks on warm saltwater trips. Not too heavy to cast, but still have good power for fighting tough saltwater fishies. I'm betting you will ove your Hydros . . .

    The Battenkill mid arbor is a very good reel, a great reel for the money. Sealed or not, it will perform fine under most circumstances.

    Here comes the big proviso: the Battenkill MA V is, in my opinion, way too small (dimensionally) to be considered a viable 10 wt. reel. I have an MA V that came in a 9 weight outfit, and it was absolutely stuffed with a 9 wt. floating line and dacron backing. The rated backing capacity for that reel, with WF10F and backing, is the line +100 yards. And, you'll find that most manufacturers are true to the fisherman stereotype and exaggerate measurements, including back capacities. You really don't want to use the 35 pound GSP; way too thin for this use.

    The Mirage seems like a well-designed, well-made reel. Orvis is a great company, and stands behind whatever it sells. You're probably in good hands.

    Other reels that, to me, are trememdous values:

    SeaLevel Extreme IV (used to be the Albright Tempest). This is a 'bigger' reel, and is a big 10 wt. small to medium 12 wt., in my opinion.
    Redington CDL 11/12 (Redington sizes their reels small, in my opinion. I use a Redington Brakewater on a 10 wt.; performs well). This is another 'bigger' reel, and is a big 10 wt. small to medium 12 wt., in my opinion.
    Ross Canyon 5 or Canyon 6 (probably the latter). Not made anymore, but a great reel for the price they bring in the secondary market. There was a 6 for sale for just over $200 in the classifieds; if I wasn't already flush with 10 wt. reels, a check would be on the way to the seller from me . . . Probably the best bargain of the bunch here.
    TFO Large arbor 425. A 'reel' sleeper (pun intended). Really, this is a very affordable reel from a company that will treat you right. I think it retails for right about $300. Not super light, but not heavy either (9.2 ounces) and should balance that Hydros nicely. This reel is a solid deal for your 10 weight.
    Ross CLA 6 or 7. Usually considered and used as spey reels, still would be a solid 10 wt. reel. Great reel for the money.

    Lots of options!
  8. Steve Birrer Member

    Posts: 97
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Bruce, curious as to your rod wt choice. What are you planning to fish for in Florida with a 10 wt? Great rod for permit and small (not baby) tarpon but not a rod wt you see guys picking up for Florida. Maybe you are set in the more standard rod weights for there (8 for flats and 11/12 for tarpon)?

    As for the reel, I have never been a fan of Orvis reels for saltwater but between the two I would definately go with the Mirage. Good luck.
  9. Bruce Baker Active Member

    Posts: 555
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +49 / 0
    Thanks for your comments Steve S., Denny, and Steve B.

    Steve B. My folks live in the West Palm Beach area and I head down there at least once a year for 1-2 weeks. My current plan is to retire there in about 11-15 years, maybe sooner, but doubtful. So if I do move there, I'll want to get a boat to do some offshore fishing. So I'd like to go after dorado, kingfish, bluefish, and false albacore. I currently have an 8 wt Z-axis will cover most of my inshore fishing and fishing for small jack crevalles and blue runners when not "flats" fishing. Since I already have an 8 wt I thought it would be good to have a 10 wt. And while I'm out here I could always use it if I head up to Alaska for kings, or maybe for chums. Although all of my Mexico trips have been to Cancun and fishing Boca Pailla, I may want to head to the west coast for some bigger fish.

    Denny, if I do go for the Hydros, I'll either get the Orvis LA Battenkill or Mirage. I'm leaning towards the Mirage. Talked to a guide from the keys today and he said the Mirage drag is similar to the Hatch.

    It is a tough decision. The guide I spoke too had fine things to say about both rods, but he gave his nod to the Sage. I may go cast the Xi3 again to make sure.

    What I'm trying to do now is while I'm gainfully employed, buy some of my future toys now instead of waiting until I'm retired. If my future plans change I could always sell it.

    Want to make my decision by Friday so if I go Orvis, I want to take advantage of the promotion.
  10. Steve Birrer Member

    Posts: 97
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Ratings: +1 / 0

    Sounds like you are on the right track then with a 10 wt. Good choice. I would definately go cast the Xi3 again. I got a 12 wt Xi3 and loved it so much I turned around and got an 8 and a 10. So for all my limited saltwater fishing except for tuna I am going to be using Xi3s.

    Good luck ,

  11. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,048
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    I know a guy in FL, uses a TFO TiCr 10 wt, catches lots of tarpon over 100 pounds with it each year. Lots of folks/residents use 10 weights in FL.
  12. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,048
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    Buy the rod that fits you and you like to cast. Seriously. If you feel more comfortable with the Hydros then that's the right stick for you. You're not buying it for the guide to use, you're buying it for you. Both the Hydros and the Xi3 are fine rods, and you really can't lose with either. But buy the one that fits you.

    A buddy of mine is a fine caster. He loves a particular rod brand and model that don't work for me very well. We have different casting strokes and different aspects of the cast that are important to us, and accordingly will use different sticks.

    Go with what you like, not what someone else likes. We sometimes put too much thought in to this and what others think about what we're using or should use. Guess what? You'll probably be getting a new one in another 5 years or so, anyway. (grin)
  13. cb3fish Banned or Parked

    Posts: 293
    Santa Rosa , Calif
    Ratings: +8 / 0

    I fish a Month at a time in Saltwater, I 'am not an expert but I do have tons of Saltwater experience with big heavy rods, and saltwater reels. My advice is only buy the best.. Remember this. When your way out some place and your Rod breaks, or your reel breaks down. Who's care at that point that you have the best warranty in the business, The deal is to have the best that won't break down, Only buy Sage rods and Abel reels, Yes I only cry when I fork over the money, after that I laff at the other people with the unproven stuff, and the super deals they get on junk. Nothing will break your heart as fast as your favorite rod breaking, in some far away Country......Good luck Brother

    Carl Blackledge
  14. Rick Todd Active Member

    Posts: 1,861
    Ratings: +237 / 0
    I picked up a Sage Reel on e-Bay (forget the number) but I'm super impressed with that reel. I matched it with a Sage xi2 (another e-Bay purchase and I fished it in Ascension Bay. One of the guides down there said he has had excellent luck with the Sage Reels in salt water. Take a look of e-Bay! Rick
  15. wingshooter New Member

    Posts: 63
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    If you choice is between BLA or Mirage, go Mirage. It is sealed and as for drag the Mirage has far more stopping power and more range of adjustment. When traveling to the Orvis dealer meeting in September the drag settings was one of the main reason for the discontinuing for the mid and large arbor battenkills. The new Hydros and Access Reels are much better in this regard than the Battenkills which have yet to be seen. If its between those two reels go Mirage. If open to other brands that is another can of worms but the additional $200 for the Mirage is a steal. Personally I live by Billy Pate reels and own a Tarpon Direct Drive that was built in 1987 and last year Tibor cleaned, lubed and replaced the main gear with new cork drag at NO COST with a letter saying thank you for continuing to us our products. The reel was my dads and now its mine. I am 28yrs old and one day hopefully it will be my sons. Although a tad heavy, that is why I own a billy pate in every size except the Marlin and Bluefin.