The Orvis Company will be adding two new reels to their lineup for 2011. The first is the Access Mid-Arbor, which is an improved version of the Battenkill Mid-Arbor reel. The second is the Hydros Large Arbor, an improved version of the Battenkill Large Arbor. As their names indicate, Orvis designed each model to balance perfectly with the rod model of the same name.
Both of the new reels offer a fully sealed drag, improved drag components, and the same reel handles used on the Mirage reel.
Access Mid-Arbor Reel
The Access Mid-Arbor has been heavily upgraded from the Battenkill Mid-Arbor. The first of these upgrades is that the Access is nearly maintenance free, thanks to a fully sealed drag.
Instead of sticking with the glass composite discs used in the Battenkill Mid-Arbor, Orvis went with stacked, woven carbon discs on the Access Mid-Arbor, as opposed to just two surfaces. The disc surfaces are larger, offering higher resistance at the upper end and a smoother range throughout the lower. The Access has nine roller bearings, whereas the Battenkill only has six.
Orvis moved away from the paddle-style handle used on their Battenkill series of reels in favor of the same shape used on their Mirage reel to reduce the chances of fly line catching on the reel handle. The shape of the drag adjustment knob has also been changed for better ergonomics. Finally, the Access Mid-Arbor is one ounce lighter than than the Battenkill Mid-Arbor. (It should be noted that spools from the Battenkill Mid-Arbor are not compatible with the Access Mid-Arbor.)
Despite all of these upgrades from the Battenkill Mid-Arbor, the Access Mid-Arbor will be available at the same price point.
Hydros Large Arbor Reel
The Hydros Large Arbor reel is an improved version of the Battenkill Large Arbor reel. The Hydros is a true large arbor reel, and offers a great strength to weight ratio.
Like the Access, the Hydros has a completely sealed drag system. However, most of the similarities end there. Depending on reel size, the Hydros has two to six pairs of discs. Each pair is comprised of one stainless disc and one woven carbon disc. (This is the same principles employed for the brakes of fighter jets.) The carbon-to-stainless drag gives smooth, consistent, and “infinitely-adjustable” stopping power—from free spooling to a dead stop.