This reel is super strong for the needs of saltwater flats fishing and takes some fair bashing. The other Orvis options of the Mirage can also be great for trout fishing.
The design and strength of the material construction are right up with the best. Whilst on the heavier side it's a true warrior of a reel.
Design and Construction
Value For Money
Super strong and robust
Fast line pick up with large arbor
Strong and smooth drag that can handle all saltwater species
Orvis renowned quality and reliability
Six options to choose from covering all types of fly fishing
It’s not easy to find a saltwater fly reel that can handle both the tough environment of the flats as well as the huge fish that call it home while being affordable. Cutting corners in the world of saltwater fly reels is never a good idea as the fish will make a mockery of any reel that isn’t ready for the challenge.
Enter the Orvis Mirage saltwater fly reel, a reel that can do it all and doesn’t cost the world. While this might not be the best saltwater fly reel on the planet, it gets the job done and fits into a lot more fly fishermen’s budget.
The Orvis Mirage is a reel that is built to survive and no matter how much punishment you put it through, from dropping it on some concrete to letting it crust up with salt, it comes to play. The Orvis Mirage is built from some of the toughest aluminum on the planet and is a Type III hard coat anodized to ensure any fumbles don’t result in dents and dings.
When it comes to functionality, the Orvis Mirage comes with an extra-large arbor for quick line pick-up and for gaining every inch of your line when you’re in a tussle with a trophy fish. The drag system is on point and features a lot of stopping power, and being a sealed carbon & stainless steel disc system, the drag is super smooth and durable too.
While the Orvis Mirage is amazingly affordable for its quality, the reel is pretty heavy, a whole 3 ounces compared to the awesome Able SDS 12 weight. This will make casting a little harder but at least you’ll know the reel has got you covered in the salt and when that giant comes along and eats your fly.
A bombproof design that speaks durability beyond most other reels
Type III Hard Coat Anodized finish withstanding any dings or dents
Built from 6061 T6 aluminum, some of the strongest lightweight aluminum around
A strong and smooth drag that can handle all saltwater species
The drag is sealed to protect it from the corrosive effects of saltwater
The carbon and stainless steel drag discs perform for years
Easy access drag knob and reel handle
Extra-large arbor for quick line pick-up and a higher retrieval rate
Comes in all the weights you need for saltwater
Includes a lifetime warranty
It’s heavier than most other fly reels in its class
Material: 6061 T6 Aluminum
Arbor: Extra Large
Drag: Carbon/stainless steel disc
Sealed Drag: Yes
Line Weights: 4 – 14
Weight: 12.9 oz (12wt)
Features Of The Orvis Mirage Saltwater Fly Reel
What Is The Orvis Mirage Saltwater Fly Reel Made Of?
The Orvis Mirage is made up of some of the toughest lightest aluminum you can find on the planet, 6061 T6 Aluminum. This makes the reel incredibly robust and corrosion-resistant, rust will never settle on the aluminum, ever.
The 6061 T6 Aluminum also features a Type III Hard Coat Anodized finish, something very few reel manufacturers add to their reels. This type of finish is military-grade and it results in the Orvis Mirage being able to handle any knocks and drops without much damage happening to the reel – things like dings and dents will be a thing of the past if you’re careful.
Thus, the Orvis Mirage is one of the toughest saltwater fly reels you can find on the market. It will last for tens of years, maybe even a hundred. You can rest assured that no matter where you’re fishing – on the salt flats of Seychelles, Cuba, or Florida, this reel will never let you down.
Is The Orvis Mirage Heavy?
The Orvis Mirage 12-weight model weighs in at 12.9 ounces and even for a 12-weight, this is pretty heavy. Even when you compare it to other manufacturers of a similar class such as the Abel SDS, it’s around 3 ounces heavier.
The reason for the extra weight is due to the super-tough materials used to create the Orvis Mirage and the lower price of the reel compared to the other competition. If you want a more affordable saltwater reel that is just as reliable as more expensive ones, the trade-off is that you will be fishing with a few more ounces on your rod.
That being said, when you look at the 8-weight models, they are actually quite light overall so the extra weight only really comes into play when you get to the 12-weight mark with this reel.
Is The Drag System Smooth & Powerful?
The drag system on the Orvis Mirage is made up of multiple carbon and stainless steel discs, and it’s sealed to protect it from saltwater damage. The drag has very minimal start-up inertia and once in full flow, it’s super smooth.
When it comes to drag power, the Orvis Mirage 8 weight maxes out at around 12 lbs of drag which is more than enough to stop anything you might cast an 8 weight at. The drag pressure only increases when you move up the scale towards a 12 or a 14 weight.
How’s The Retrieve & Line Capacity?
The Orvis Mirage comes with an extra-large arbor so it will pick up any slack line very quickly and at the same time, give you every extra inch you need while fighting big fish.
The line capacity is also excellent and you can squeeze on 325+ yards of dacron onto the 12 weight, so probably the same when using 50 lb or 80 lb braid. No fish is going to spool you with this reel!
What Sizes Does The Orvis Mirage Come In?
The Orvis Mirage comes in every size from a 3/4 weight to a 13/14 weight meaning you have every line class you could ever want for chasing everything from bonefish on light gear to fighting big tuna and marlin.
There are a total of 6 different models that you can pick from and they are all as good as the next, but the larger the reel the more they cost.
What Do the Fly Reel Numbers Mean?
Orvis reels are always sized using Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, and V. These correspond with the following line weights per the table below:
For Orvis fly reel size I, choose 1-3 WT fly line
For Orvis fly reel size II, choose 3-5 WT fly line
For Orvis fly reel size III, choose 5-7 WT fly line
For Orvis fly reel size IV, choose 7-9 WT fly line
For Orvis fly reel size V, choose 9-11 WT fly line
How Good Is The Warranty?
The Orvis Mirage comes with Orvis’ Lifetime Warranty which covers this reel against any workmanship issues or defects from materials for the lifetime of the original owner. This basically means you’re getting a reel for life with the Orvis Mirage.
It costs $30 to send the reel in for a warranty issue and Orvis also offers a repair program for $30 plus parts if it’s not covered in the warranty.
Is The Orvis Mirage Saltwater Fly Reel Right For Me?
If you’re an offshore fly fisherman and/or a flats fisherman on a budget, the Orvis Mirage is a solid reel to go for. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to durability, fish fighting ability, drag, and more. The one thing you’ll need to get used to is the extra weight when fishing with the 10 or 12 weight models.
This reel is super strong for the needs of saltwater and takes some fair bashing. The design and strength of the material construction are right up with the best. Whilst on the heavier side it’s a true warrior of a reel.
Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.