Orvis Mirage Reel Review

Mirage V 
     I've learned over time that quality gear can really make a difference in your fishing.  It used to be that I bought whatever was cheapest and might be able to get the job done.  Once I wandered into the world of musky fishing I quickly found that cheap usually meant lost fish.  When I started fly fishing last season I decided that I wouldn't allow history to repeat itself.  I bought what I thought was a good middle of the line reel and soon found that when pursuing larger fish the drag just couldn't keep up.  That's when I noticed the gold reels in the videos I watched on YouTube.  The same reel kept showing up in video after video.  All of these videos had one thing in common, big fish.  I just had to own that gold fly reel.
     It didn't take me long to figure out what the reel was called.  What did take me a while was raising the funds to purchase it.  I must admit that I had a little bit of sticker shock when I first saw the price of the Mirage reel.  At $515.00 for the size V model it really didn't seem worth it.  Still it was one of those sure things, I couldn't find a bad review anywhere online.  I spent a couple weeks selling extra gear, drinking less energy drinks, and being extremely helpful around the house (needed spousal approval).  Once I got the okay to make the purchase I headed over to Orvis of Madison and placed my order for a Mirage V and a spare spool.  Total cost? $765.00, I had buyers remorse before I even left the parking lot.  "It better be as good as they say" I muttered to myself, "I could have bought a lot a gear for that amount of money."  I tried to reassure myself over the next few days that I had made a good decision and must say that I was nothing but smiles when the package arrived at my door.
     The first thing I noticed right out of the box was how sturdy this reel felt.  It has a nice quality feel and the finish is flawless.  I put it on my TFO 10 weight and just stared at it for a while.  The Mirage reel just looks stunning in person.  After waving it around like an idiot for a bit I started to daydream about big fish and distant waters.  I'm not one to normally wax on poetically about inanimate objects, but this reels beauty is deserving of such praise.  The precision machining, engraved logos, and anodized finish are truly remarkable.  You really should check one out sometime in person, they are gorgeous.  Let's face it though, beauty doesn't always equal great performance.  Let's take a look at the some of the features. 

     The Mirage Reel is available in 8 different sizes and 3 different finishes.  The size V is a true large arbor for fast line retrieval.  It's milled from 6061 T6 anodized aluminum and is extremely strong for its weight.  The reel has a clickable drag that uses carbon and stainless steel discs and the knurled drag knob is diamond cut for a sure grip.  Even the reel handle is specially designed to help prevent the line from tangling when a fish heads for the horizon.  The Mirage is a really well thought out fly reel.  For more information on the features of this reel follow the link here.
     The real question is, How well does it fish?  So far it has performed flawlessly.  I've used this reel on multiple rods while chasing many species of fish.  Whether I have had it on a 7 weight for bass, an 8 weight for carp, or a 10 weight for muskies, this reel has handled them all.  The large arbor makes line management a breeze and the handle is easy to find when fighting fish on the reel.  The clickable drag makes finding the sweet spot quick and it stays consistent even during prolonged fights with large carp or Great Lakes king salmon.  All in all it's a great reel, but it's not perfect.
     The biggest complaint I have with this reel is the spool knob.  It's pretty common for me to have to tighten down the spool multiple times during a full day of fishing.  I'm not sure what causes it to loosen up, but it does and it drives me a little crazy.  The other issue is the clicking sound the reel makes when retrieving line.  In the past I always removed the clicker on my fly reels so I wasn't advertising to other anglers that I was fighting a fish.  As best as I can tell you can't remove the clicker on the Mirage V.  In areas with a lot of anglers I've found that the sound of a reel clicking kind of draws attention and I soon find myself surrounded by other anglers.  It may not be a big deal in your area, but I thought it worth mentioning since it bothers me.  The only other possible issue I can think of is the price, it's a rather expensive purchase if you're on a budget.
Big or small it can land them all.
     Final thoughts?  I love this reel and am happy to recommend it to my fellow anglers.  It performs as advertised and has worked flawlessly in a variety of situations.  I constantly find myself impressed with it and am sure you will too.  I also recommend the purchase of a spare spool.  I use mine to carry a sinking line or different weight lines all the time.  The Mirage reel from Orvis is a true performer in the world of fly fishing.  After using it almost exclusively this last season I can see why I wasn't able to find a bad review online, it really is that good.  To check one out in person head over to your local Orvis retail store or visit www.Orvis.com.
     Tight Lines.

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