Gear test: Orvis Battenkill III Reel

This reel is a significant upgrade for any angler. Trading up my circa 2006 Battenkill III, to this newer model, the first thing I noticed was the more streamlined edges compared to its predecessor. The black nickel compliments any type of rod: from classic bamboo, to vintage fiberglass or even m

y trusted Orvis 1980s-era Rocky Mountain graphite rod.

The burnt-orange case makes it easy to find in my gear bag, but it is a snug for the size of the reel. The true value of this reel (putting cosmetics aside) happened on the Delaware River while fighting a wild rainbow—the one that counts. The sealed disc drag made a difference. According to Orvis, it is the “same system found in the Hydros SL incorporating six interacting carbon and stainless drag surfaces.”

Easy to adjust and use, it made reeling in the fish simple and effortless with a smooth touch and just the right amount of pressure. The click sound was louder than expected, and certainly loud enough to let me know the reel was doing its job. The hard part came landing the fish from the boat—it was a hit and a quick miss… and on to the next adventure with this reel in hand.

— Kelly Buchta, New Jersey

By Chris Hunt.