Teton Tioga or Battenkill Mid Arbor or Bar Stock
Looking for a new reel for a 5 wgt Loomis Streamdance. Of the three reels, which would you recommend? Would the drag on the Battenkill Bar Stock be sufficient for some decent size rainbows / sockeyes? Would the other two be too heavy for the rod at about 5.5 oz.?
With respect to the Battenkills, I know the older versions had a fairly weak drag system on them. I know Orvis upgraded the reel and now has the barstock reel, but I am not sure whether they changed the drag or not. I've never owned a battenkill, so can't comment too much on them, other than to say what I have seen of the old drags, I wasn't that impressed.
I do, however, currently own 3 Tioga reels and 1 Teton reel. The fact that I own 4 of them should tell you what I think of them. The drag system is superb and you can literally lock it down (although you wouldn't want to of course). I tend to use the drag a bit on silvers and sometimes on big rainbows, but for the most part, I learned to palm really well. That gets iffy when a silver takes off on you as you can bust up some knuckles if you do it wrong. The drag on the Tioga and Teton are the same, and both are great, IMO. The real difference between the two reels is the machine work - the Teton has much more machine work done, and results in a bit lighter of a reel. They cost more though.
I have a #4 Tioga regular arbor that I use on 4 and 5 weight rods and have never felt I needed more. I also have a #6 regular that I use on 5-7 weight rods, a new #8 Teton that will go on an 8, and Tioga #10 that goes on my 9 weight. A #4 works well on 5 weights, especially if you're worried about weight.
No doubt there are better reels out there. I really like the Ross Evolution reels, and feel that the startup on those are a bit smoother than the Teton/Tiogas. But they are also way more expensive and hard to justify the extra cost.
If you are looking for deals, keep an eye on ebay. I've seen some great deals there and recently got my #8 Teton for a steal, and it was in a limited edition blued color that goes very well with my new Sage Xi2 rod.
Teton Tioga or Battenkill Mid Arbor or Bar Stock
I bought Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor reel. Solid advice from jmg though.
If I could buy reels (3 of us fly fish) all over again, I'd own Ross or Tioga instead.
BLA (III) Value: When I committed to fly gear (3 of us fly fish), Battenkill Large Arbor looked like a good value (below $200) and had been Fish Alaska (or FlyRod and Reel?) Gear of the Year the year before (2003?) I believe. Tioga (also a good value) looked good but I didn't know much else about them or get to test one in time.
BLA Performance: Drag (BLA III, 5 wt line) held up fine for me against feisty (Fall fish in the 24-28 inch range) Rainbows and Dollies - strong fish who'd make repeated charging runs along a Kenai slough last year. BLA III is a capable piece of equipment and mine has done very well without pampering. - but the Ross (Evolution) and Sage reels my friends were using were a cut above (machine work, materials, appearance).
Enjoy the search. Think smolts!
L A Battenkill...
I am certainly not a big Orvis fan..... But, I have a 6 wt battenkill LA that I bought in 2000, It has caught Kings, Chums, Coho, Silvers, Dollies, Large Rainbow, and steelhead.......... required no maintance and been absolutely punished w/ boat rash and caught a tone of fish........
Main thing- just get out there
We started from the ground up. My wife and daughter spent the day with Pudge Kleinhauf. I watched Tony Weaver at the Sportsmans Show (2001 or 2002?). That's how we got interested - just started gearing up and gettin out there. Budgetwise though, buying gear for 3 people (5 wt and 7/8 wt gear) - dictated economy and Orvis (and St Croix or TFO rods) was a good value. Since then, I admire the workmanship and performance of Ross and the other reels mentioned above and will probably replace mine with those brands when the time comes.
Might be awhile though. I worked my BLA III (5 wt) and BLA IV (8 wt) r
eels pretty hard on hefty Fall fish without a hitch last year. They've been tough enough I gotta say. Maybe like jmg said above, Orvis improved the drag system.
Mike - I started steelhead fishing with 8 wt Loomis (Piscator) package setup. The 5 wt Steam Dance you have should serve you well around here for trout/Dollies/grayling. Plenty of good advice for you-fine reels suggested by others. Looks like you're in the Anchorage area. Don't overlook 3 Rivers and McAfees along with Mtn View and Worldwide in their new location. Have fun looking. Ask about warranties.
I like my larger tiogas! I would say though that the few reds I have caught on my five I brought in mostly through palming, with a rod that light and tippets to match so I don't break the rod I find that all the drag I want is just enough to keep the back lashes out! If A fish decided to turn quick with a 5 wt. and you're fighting from the reels drag I pitty your rod....