Review: Battenkill 1 reel (1wt-3wt) review

Orvis, Battenkill, the tree trout, fly fishing uk, fishing tackle, reel

Battenkill 1.

At the start of 2016 I purchased an Orvis super fine carbon. It was a spur of the moment purchase but one that hasn’t come back to haunt me fortunately. I decided it’d be a nice gesture to present the superfine carbon with an Orvis Battenkill. Mainly to compliment its slick and light weight design. The rod is an 8’6, 3 wt so i opted for a Battenkill 1 which covers 1-3 wt lines.

Battenkill, Orvis, fly fishing uk, the tree trout, fishing tackle, reel

Battenkill I

A minimalists dream.

Upon arrival i was quite shocked, Id looked at other Battenkill reels but obviously not a size 1. Its extremely slim and light-weight. At first that feeling of sheer disappointment came over me, the thought of having to send the reel back and not be able to use the new rod and reel combo. I checked the box, booklet and internet to reassure myself that id ordered the correct model, relief.

Orvis, Battenkill, fishing tackle, the tree trout, reel, fly fishing uk

Size comparison

The Details.

The reel is made from machined heavy-duty bar-stock aluminium. Logos are laser-engraved and the reel comes in a simplistic black-nickel finish. Retrieve can be altered easily for either the right or left handed users, the small handle is made from plastic which is a small negative (in its defense this is a £90 reel which out performs its price tag). I did however order a wooden Orvis CFO reel handle in rose wood to try and fit to the reel, but unfortunately isn’t adaptable. Weighing 2.8 oz this reel is barely noticeable in the hand and will certainly favor shorter rods. The narrow spool and 2 and 3/4 inch large arbor allows for less stacking and faster retrieval of line. The drag system has 4 different settings which can be assisted with the users palm. Please note the drag can only be adjusted with the spool removed, so i found it to be more of a set and forget.

Orvis, Battenkill, fly fishing uk, the tree trout, fishing tackle, reel

simple drag with 4 settings

Orvis recommendations on backing for the Battenkill 1 are as follows;

Based on the reel being used with 20 lb Dacron.

  • WF1  – 100 yards
  • WF2 – 75 yards
  • WF3 – 50 yards

I chose to go with an Orvis hydros superfine line to compliment the rod. Be aware though the above recommendations for backing leave very little room and id probably opt to reduce the amount.


Orvis, Superfine carbon, Battenkill, the tree trout, fly fishing uk, fishing tackle, rod, reel

Perfect harmony

In use.

This set up has been my go to rod/reel combo through out the season so has seen its fair share of use. The reel feels very small and light and balances my 8’6 rod perfectly. the line lay is good and doesn’t need too much assistance for the line to lay neatly without stacking. The retrieve is fast enough for the scenarios in which a rod and reel of this weight requires. I’ve run my drag setting one turn above its lowest all season and its behaved perfectly when playing fish, very rarely have i needed to assist with my palm. The click of the drag is very loud and quite metallic, the reel sings when a charging fish tears line from the reel. In stealthy scenarios some might find it a bit too loud?. When moving sections with the fly hooked onto the keeper ring on the rod. The drag setting was just right so that line didn’t pull from the reel with the slightest of knocks or tugs that occur when scrambling through under growth. The lowest drag setting i found to be a little bit too free spool. Spare spools for the Battenkill are also small enough to be easily stored inside a chest pack without compromising space.

Orvis, battenkill, the tree trout, fly fishing uk, fishing tackle, reel

Small peg which removes spool


  • Light weight
  • narrow spool gives better line lay
  • 4x drag settings
  • fast retrieve speed
  • easily changeable between right and left wind


  • Recess on inner lip of spool tends to trap tippet material when stored with leader and tippet attached
  • Plastic handle on winder
Battenkill, Orvis, the tree trout, fly fishing uk, fishing tackle, reel

Spool removal


All in all the Battenkill is a solid, very reliable reel. For its low price id recommend it too any one in the market in need of a simplistic reel to accompany a light weight trout outfit.

Available to buy from here.


No comments

Have your say!

%d bloggers like this: