The Orvis Battenkill III rightfully takes the third tier of our podium finishers. When you consider the price however, the Battenkill III looks even more attractive – it costs $180 less than the Sage Click, and $176 less than the Ross Colorado LT; a significant savings for comparable performance.
The Orvis Battenkill III received perfect scores in 4 categories; price, start up inertia, ease of spool removal, and weight. It also did very well in craftsmanship, maintenance free, drag sound, smoothness of drag, and tied the Click and Colorado LT for the best handle design. As you can see, there is a lot of value built into the Battenkill III at a very affordable price.
Like most all of the click style reels, the Battenkill III has a very weak maximum drag, (.25 pounds), so it’s another reel you’ll have to palm should you hook up with a hot fish. Since the arbor isn’t very large, the Battenkill fits a lot more backing – 90 yards of 20# with an SA MPX WF-5-F or 80 yards of 20# with a 406 DT-5-F line.
Both ease of drag adjustment and range of drag adjustment suffered significantly. Although there is a way to make the drag stronger or weaker by turning the rectangular piece inside the reel, the drag resistance doesn’t change much. Like many of the click reels, the main purpose of the Battenkill’s drag is to keep it from free spooling.
The Orvis Battenkill III is machined in China out heavy- duty bar-stock aluminum. Solely in gray.
Retrieval Sound: Nice loud metallic click and pawl sound on retrieve
Outgoing drag sound: Similar loud metallic yet deeper sound going out
Spin: Decent for a click and pawl (2 revs)?
Counterbalance: Not quite as good as others
Spool Release: Spool release is quick and easy like the Hardy LRH – can’t lose but over time dirt can get stuck in the space making it difficult to release properly - Still it can’t get lost unless screws come off.
Drag Knob: None
Drag Detents: None – have to palm
Max Drag: Very weak, have to palm - .25 pounds
Handle: Nice length and swell
Good reel for bamboo or fiberglass
Narrow arbor good for Double Taper lines
Looks and sounds like a true classic
Reel could be bigger, and for a spinner could spin more
Feels a bit heavy (due to heavy drag mechanism)
Handle – nice shape and size (good swell)
A lighter reel with slightly less drag would be better for a 5 weight
Still a great all around reel