Monday, April 16, 2018

Orvis Battenkill Fly Reel II & IV Review

The Battenkill is a solid click-and-pawl designed by Orvis. It is one of their entry-level models coming in at about $100 - $150 but don't let the price tag fool you, Orvis is known for their quality. I currently own a Battenkill II (WT 3-5) and Battenkill IV (WT 7-9). Both are great reels and get the job done.

Orvis Battenkill II

Battenkill II
The Battenkill II is a light reel weighing in at 2.9oz. This reel has been the best entry-level reel that I've had the pleasure of purchasing. I'm a retro kind of guy therefore click-and-pawl reels are the only reels for me unless I am targeting powerful drag running species. I have my Battenkill II paired with my Echo 2WT that I primarily use for small streams and easy-to-access lakes.

The Look
  • The Battenkill II has a classic look with a modern design.
  • The spool is pretty narrow which helps manage line however it comes at the cost of limited backing which isn't really needed for a 2WT. 

The Feel
  • The heavy duty bar-stock aluminum feels nice and solid.
  • The handle is easy to hold onto and use.
  • This reel is light weight and a great match for light rods.
The Sound
  • The Battenkill II is a great sounding reel. I don't often get to hear it because of the fish I target with this reel but when I do it's always a welcoming sound.
  • Though not as loud as my other click-and-pawls this reel has a great lower pitch click.
The Drag
  • The Battenkill II has two drag settings that you can change by opening the spool and flipping the adjustment square. 
  • The default setting was perfectly adjusted to prevent my line from backlashing.
  • I haven't notice any real difference between the two drag settings.


The Battenkill II is a great reel for those who are looking for a solid entry-level click-and-pawl reel. I've never felt the need for an expensive drag system on a rod lighter than a 5WT therefore I will always recommend a click-and-pawl reel. In addition to having a great drag system, you just can't beat that sound.

+ Affordable
+ Solid high quality reel
+ Lightweight
+ Great default drag setting

- Spool is a bit narrow

You can purchase the Orvis Battenkill II here:

Orvis Battenkill IV

Battenkill IV
The Battenkill IV is one of the few classic plated spey click-and-pawl reels that I've found coming in less than $200. I replaced my Redington Surge reel on my 7WT switch with the Battenkill IV and I will continue to move forward to getting clickers for my double-handed rods. Although not as high quality has some of the more famous spey click-and-pawl brands such as Abel and Hardy, the Orvis Battenkill IV gives you a taste of that classic spey click experience at an affordable price.

The Look
  • The Battenkill IV is reminiscent of the old school plated spey click-and-pawls anglers used back in the old days.
  • The width of the spool gives your plenty of room for enough backing and heavy spey line.

The Feel
  • The heavy duty bar-stock aluminum feels nice and solid.
  • This reel feels very heavy weighing in at 8.5oz.
The Sound
  • This reel sounds a bit like a rattling tin can.
  • It has a high pitch "ting!" that can be heard from across the river.
  • Although it can be distracting when pulling out line to cast, it sounds great when there is a strong fish pulling on the other end.
The Drag
  • The drag is solid. This reel has no problem controlling strong andramous fish.


The Battenkill IV gives you that classic spey click-and-pawl experience at an affordable price. Although nowhere near the quality of Hardy or Abel reels this reel does a fine job keeping the fish in your control. It looks great but the sound of its click can be a bit distracting due to its pitch and loudness. I would only recommend getting this reel for a double-handed rod because it is way too heavy to be casting single-handed.

+ Classic plated spey reel at an affordable price
+ Solid click-and-pawl drag system
+ Plenty of spool space

- Loud pitch click
- Heavy

You can purchase the Orvis Battenkill IV here:

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