When considering trout reels, the term ‘absolute precision’ doesn’t usually come up. But we’ve heard that term a lot this year from our testers who have used the new Orvis Mirage LT reel.
More often than not, a trout reel’s primary function is simply line storage. Anglers will strip out the line they need for a cast, work that out to the fish, then if they manage to make a hook-up with a hungry trout, they’ll strip in the line by hand to land the fish. Getting a trout “on the reel” tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
But when exceptions happen, and the more time an angler spends on the water, the more frequently their reel will play a vital role in controlling a hooked fish. Those hard-charging, dedicated anglers are the ones Orvis engineers had in mind when they developed the Mirage LT.
The drag system features a sealed ball-bearing system that provides precision drift-free adjustment to help ensure you can provide just the right amount of pressure when fishing thin tippets and light lines. That drag goes from free-spool loose to ‘stop-a-truck’ tight in a single rotation of the control knob. And it does not drift. That is, the drag tension stays exactly where you set it until you change that setting.
We had a chance to see the intense level of engineering that went into this drag design and, without delving into technical details, we can honestly say intense attention to minute details can’t be fully appreciated when looking at the seemingly simple end result. But while the reel looks simple and elegant to the eye, its performance proves it is engineered to perfection. Our test sample was the Mirage LT III – suitable for 5- to 7-wt lines.
Then again, it is an elegant design as well. The reel is a true work of art, made from precision machined aluminum with a slick anodized finish.
The Mirage LT utilities many of the design features and tight production tolerances as its bigger sibling, the Mirage reel (see our review here), but in a lighter, more compact package. The LT is 30 percent lighter, and 30 percent narrower than the same line-size Mirage reel. Like all the other Mirage reels, the Mirage LT is made in New Hampshire by American craftsmen.
Though the price is significant for a trout reel, I call honestly say it is the best-performing trout reel I’ve ever used. Available in five sizes to cover lines from 1-wt to 11-wt, the Orvis Mirage LT sells for $349 to $429 from www.orvis.com.