Mirage II vs III for H3 5wt

BTW- I just bought a Hydro SL III for my 4wt Spey rod, which I plan on targeting larger fish in the fall here in SW MT.

I also have a Ross LTX on my Helios 3F 4wt and another LTX reel on my Helios 3D 6wt.

The Hydro SL and the Ross LTX are great reels.
I've researched the Hydros series and get the impression it's a lower grade reel and I'm not a fan of where it's made. Last thing I want to do is cut myself short on quality after buying such a great rod.

Getting the impression with some of the responses that some have missed the very first sentence in my post.
bu then you said this:

I'm also curious about other reel options other than the Mirage series that would be a good match. I prefer solid quality and that outstanding "sound" a good reel makes.
You're getting a bunch of advice from people here who have used these reels extensively....opinions, sure....but opinions based on extensive hands-on experience. Best suggestion is to get down to the store and check them out for yourself. Then you be the judge. Only you can figure out what's best for you. I hope you can make it through this potentially life altering decision... ;)

I've researched the Hydros series and get the impression it's a lower grade reel and I'm not a fan of where it's made. Last thing I want to do is cut myself short on quality after buying such a great rod.

I appreciate all the responses and opinions.

Getting the impression with some of the responses that some have missed the very first sentence in my post.

Thanks again for taking the time to give your feedback. I DO appreciate it and your patience.

Take it for what you will, but I own a guide business where I abuse reels in the saltwater on a regular basis. I spend a lot of money on the gear I use for my business, and am not afraid to spend top dollar on good equipment. I use Hydros SLs pretty much exclusively. Location where they are made aside, these things go toe-to-toe with and often out perform reels costing several times as much. If the Mirage was a better reel, I would have a pile of them. IMO its not, so I use the Hydros.

If spending a bunch of extra money on a Mirage makes you feel better about your experience and how the reel matches up to the rod, then by all means spend the money. And if made in the US is truly that important to you, then I definitely wont argue the point. But don't for a second think it comes down to better performance.

And what exactly do you think you'll be catching with your five weight that needs a reel of such high quality? I promise the drag on the SL will slow any fish you could ever manage to hook.

It's your money, and I'm as guilty as anyone of spending ridiculous amounts of coin on fly fishing gear, just trying to provide something to consider. You could buy a nice casting rod for the price difference between those two reels and not see anything less performance wise.

*Edit We were fishing a pair of Helios 3D six weights today that I just recently added to the collection. Both were equipped with Hydros SL III reels and both could easily handle any fish Puget Sound has to offer. Whoever told you that your 5 wt couldn't handle a big brown either doesn't know how to fight fish or is trying to sell you another rod. A 5 wouldn't be my choice to target 20-30" browns in large rivers, but its definitely not going to snap like a twig if you luck into one. Unless you high stick it anyway.
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Active Member
Salt is where the expensive reels are really necessary, and then only if they are being used regularly, the salt just corrodes metal. The fish are bigger, faster and stronger, so the capacity for 200yds+ of backing and 10lbs of drag are actually necessary for a 150lb tarpon. I doubt any 100$ fly reel on the market today would actually fail to land any freshwater trout even after heavy use, so it really just comes down to if it makes you feel like, damn this is awesome, and yes its awesome to fish nice gear.

The rod you've purchased is sweet but it takes alot of casting to get used to a fast rod. I made the mistake of buying a faster sage as my first expensive rod and it actually handicapped my casting but in truth my cast sucked even before I bought it .
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Another bonus if you decide to go with a Mirage, they really match the H3's nicely. The last thing you want is a green reel on a black rod.
I've already gone to the Orvis store and checked out the Mirage II & III and that III DID balance well with it.

What I haven't done is checked how well the Hydros series matches with it.
I'm back from my trip(unfortunately not for good reason) and I REALLY needed a distraction from everything that my family(siblings) have been going through the last few days(15 yr old niece decided to watch some p.o.s. guys YouTube videos on how to end your life and hung herself).

THIS is my current happy place and fishing has always been a family thing growing up as a kid. I came from a spinning reel, open water fishing family (my dad had a great Penn reel(bait caster) which I managed to find along with all his rods. We had a 35' Chris Craft cabin cruiser that was and is a great memory for me. I had his Penn completely gone through and after that it looks brand spanking new now. LOVE IT!

I'm going to look into the Hydros series and see how well they balance on the H3 and now that I'm back home, I'm going to enjoy my last day off checking out some other local fly shops and get a non swayed( other than an orvis store) opinion as well.

Randy, you make a good point. It DOES balance great with it. You're also right on the yellow not matching well BUT they DO come in black thankfully. Lol.

Nick, you've got me thinking about the Hydros and make a valid point. Kudos. I'll be doing a comparison now with the Hydros and see how well they balance together. Besides, your point of having a reel AND spool makes sense. Although, I did budget for that Mirage and spool.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing the pain your sister has when she first hugs you and begins to cry. PLEASE, PLEASE talk to your kids.

Richard E

Active Member
You wrote:

"I've researched the Hydros series and get the impression it's a lower grade reel and I'm not a fan of where it's made. Last thing I want to do is cut myself short on quality after buying such a great rod."


"Getting the impression with some of the responses that some have missed the very first sentence in my post."

Dude, your comments come across as a bit uppity for some guy who indicates he knows little about fly fishing and is looking for information from folks who have no obligation to help him, but are spending time to do so. You saved yourself a bit with the sentence after that, but...

Your first sentence in your initial post says "I just acquired an Orvis Helios 3d 5wt 9' and am new to fly fishing." The next sentence says "I'm trying to decide on a great match up in a reel for this beauty."

Folks are taking time to provide you some input and suggestions on reels for your rod, trying to help you.

It appears your mind is made up to get a Mirage; get it, it's a great reel, and Orvis is a great company.
I would like to address what seems to be my coming across as "uppity" and "saving myself " The problem with social media and the communication process these days is that there's zero way of showing emotion or feelings unless one is using a bunch of ✌ which can come across as a complete teenager at times or saying things such as "thanks " or the almost always "thank you " which is typical of a good solid upbringing which I'm proud to say is how I was raised and I do believe that is exactly what I've been doing during this exchange last time I checked.

Am I a newbie to fishing? No. I believe I've started this string saying just that. Am I a newbie to fly fishing? Yep. Do I really like nice things for my hobbies? Yep. Mainly because I don't want to purchase twice and spend more in the long run.

I'm still leery of the Hydros and that's really only because of a lot of negative reviews people are having with them. Type in Hydros in Google and look for yourself. In speaking to the Orvis guy today, I mentioned the negative issues and we kinda came to the conclusion that SOME of those issues were probably user error. None the less, I'm looking for good long term product not something that's going to crap out or give grief in a year or two.

Am I a relentless researcher? YES I AM. So my "life altering event" (btw, got a good laugh on that one. I needed it. THANKS!)has thankfully concluded for now.

I REALLY want to thank all of you for your responses. The PNW has always been a fantastic place to call home. Mainly because of the solid, positive attitudes everywhere I've been. From Seattle to Spokane and everywhere in between!✌
Ok Im definitely done with this one. I've never seen someone over think a 5 wt reel purchase so strongly.

This thread stinks of PatrickH and Seal Skinz. You're admittedly new to FF. I am not. Neither are most of the folks in this thread whose opinions you seem to easily discount.

By all means believe the guy trying to make a sale. His opinion definitely isn't biased.

Good luck in your search for the perfect 5 wt reel. I hope you enjoy its high quality as it sits there and holds your line on a trout stream. I'll remove myself from this thread and go back to actually using the gear you are researching on Google.

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