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Orvis is no stranger to our shootouts. In fact they’ve either won an award or placed in the top 5 in every single shootout we’ve done. That’s a pretty good track record of making great products. The latest from the evil geniuses at Orvis is the Orvis Mirage USA Fly Reel. It sits on top of the Orvis lineup as their high performance and high end reel. What’s new is that this reel is made right here in the US of A. We think that’s a stellar upgrade.

8-Weight Shootout Full Results


9.1 ounces. Really getting heavy.


The Mirage is equipped with an all new single turn drag. Traditionally, we don’t really like these because they don’t offer enough adjustability. The Orvis is no exception. It maxes out at an impressive 10.3lbs, all of which is usable (that ranks it in the top 5)! Turn it a quarter turn, this gets knocked down to less than 5lbs. Turn it another quarter (to half), and you’re at a mere 1.5lbs (14%). The drag adjustments stops at a very reasonable .3lbs which will prevent free spooling.

What’s weird about this is that Orvis touts its ‘asymmetrical drag’ as a feature. It’s hard for me to see a real world application where I’d want an equal amount of adjustability between 0 and 1.5lbs as I want between 1.5 and 10lbs.

Drag Test Graph


Nothing special here. It’s not bad, but it’s fairly muted in both directions.

Spool & Retrieval Rate

Orvis gets spools. The Mirage picks up line at a whopping 9.9” per turn. It’s in the top 5 of all reels tested. The Mirage’s ported spool gives you plenty of backing capacity as well, but it came at the expense of a slightly wider spool.

Looks & Ergonomics

What’s the biggest area of improvement in the new reel? Look and feel. Orvis upped its game bigtime here and delivered a great looking reel that is fitting of the quality we’ve come to expect. They’ve also delivered on the ergonomic front with a top notch drag knob that’s one of our favorites. The handle is not too shabby either.

Finish and durability

Last but not least, Orvis added a great finish to the new Mirage. 3 years ago when we did our 5-weight shootout, we found that a type 3 anodize was MUCH harder and stronger than other finishes. The Mirage has proved to be no exception. It’s got a super durable finish.


Lifetime to the original owner + $30.

Price: $650


I must say I really enjoy it when manufacturers make their products better. This is a perfect example of a reel (and a company) that takes something good and just keeps innovating and making it better. While the Mirage didn’t win our shootout this year, it’s really, really, close. In fact, it’s as good as or better than the CCF X2 across many categories. It just missed out in a few categories that kept it from taking first place.

Buy it with Free Shipping here.


  • A superb reel across so many different categories


  • Heavy
  • Not as much drag adjustability as we’d like