Love them or hate them, Orvis makes a lot of really great products. The Helios 2 won our 5-weight shootout, and the Mirage took 3rd in our 8-weight reel shootout. So, we knew that the Mirage was a pretty nice reel, but as we've seen a lot of great reels haven't done so well when paired down to trout sizes. Let's see how the Orvis Mirage fly reel does when we put it to the test.   5-Weight Challenge Full Results


4.9 ounces. Average.


  Drag is the most important part of this test, and it's an area where the Mirage is simply stellar. It's got 6 lbs of drag, which puts it nearly at the top of the class. Better still it's got a virtually undetectable amount of startup inertia. So, at least the drag on the Mirage is still as good as its bigger brother.


It's really sealed!



The sound on the Mirage, like all of Orvis's Korean made reels, is fine, but nothing special. I'd take an Abel or Hatch over it any day.


The Mirage also has a really great spool design. It's got a pretty fast retrieve at 7.74 inches per turn, and it's HUGE! It will easily hold 240 yards of backing and a GPX line. While not the narrowest spool, you're not going to see a lot of pile up either.


The look and feel on the Mirage is better than the other offshore-made Orvis reels. This is because they've done more in terms of reel design for this reel than the other two, but it's still doesn't hold a candle to the more well-machined made-in-the-USA reels. The gold color, in particular, looks especially... not like a Tibor.


Handle: Ironically, the handle on the Mirage isn't as nice as the handle on the Access or the Hydros. But it works.   Drag Knob: Solid, but not quite best in class. It's totally functional, but not oversized like the best drag knobs.   Spool Change: The quick release is great.

The Drop

Above Average. The Mirage looked really good after we dropped and dragged it. You can definitely see what happened, but it's a lot better than a lot of reels in its class. Divoting, in particular, was minimal. No Damage.


Lifetime to the original owner + $30   Price: $475


  Second Place!   The reel designers at Orvis have done it! They've created a reel that is really great across the size spectrum. The Mirage took 3rd amongst 8-weights, and did even better this time scoring a 2nd place overall finish in this shootout. Like the Helios 2, the Mirage does everything we want a trout reel to do really well. It only missed the first place spot by a few points, mostly due to the look and feel that is just not as nice as the better machined Lamson Litespeed.   Like this review? Support us here.


  • Excellent spool design
  • Near-perfect drag


  • Expensive for an offshore-made reel.