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Fly Reel Review

Ross adapts large arbor technology into their latest "Evolution" Fly Reel


Date: 3/28/03
Tackle type: Fly Reel
Manufacturer: Ross
Reviewer: Buzz

Total Score: 8.78

Introduction: Anglers can find themselves confused about all the different fly reels on the market, and which one will be the best for them. Anglers are forced to try and sort out what features they will need, and which are expendable. This review will take a look at Ross's newest Evolution Fly reel to see if this new product is a step in the right direction of what fly anglers really yearn for.

Ross Evolution (2) Specifications

Line Capacity WF 5 + 125 yards
Line Weight 4-6wt.
Spool Width .95 inches
Diameter 3.25 Inches
Weight 3.9 oz.
Color Pearl Blue
Materials Machined Premium bar stock aluminum
MSRP (Reel) $275.00
MSRP (Extra Spool) $116.00

Impressions: When I first looked a Ross's Evolution fly reel I was surprised to see all the holes punched through the aluminum. After picking up the reel I immediately thought " Is this the spool or the entire reel?" It then occurred to me that the holes served a functional purpose... to reduce the overall weight. They definitely served their purpose in making this one of the lightest large arbor reels on the market.

The Ross Evolution is the next generation in large arbor technology, offering more then just a wider spool

Real World Test: I have had the opportunity to use this reel on the streams of Northern California targeting native trout. It was used on a 6 weight rod which is within the manufacturers suggested application of 4-6 weight. This reel held up very well fighting mid sized native rainbows that stripped line violently in fast water. However, I was very surprised at how consistent the low start up inertia of this reel could protect fine tippets while throwing dries. Granted you need to be careful that when a drag is on a light setting you don't get backlash from peeling out line too quickly. But throwing tiny dry flies to finicky trout requires you drop to 4pound, 3pound, or sometimes even lighter tippets. A drag with a low start up inertia will prevent you from snapping your tippet on those firm hook sets.

The Ross Evolution feels fantastic on light weight rods and together form elegant combos

1)     The Body: Today's consensus among anglers call for a demand for the lightest reels for any combination of rod applications. Finding light materials is easy, but finding one
that is sturdy enough to withstand the test of time is difficult. Ross's choice of premium bar stock aluminum should satisfy both anglers looking for a lightweight reel, and those looking for durability. Those looking for both will be hard pressed to find a reel that does a better job of putting both together.

The Evolution's main body is extremely light and feels like a spool! Quick Release makes it possible to change spools in seconds

2)  Drag System: Advanced disc Drag system that is made from friction based Delrin. Material is resistant to heat, compression, and aging. No springs, No tiny blades that can be lost or
are susceptible to breaking as seen in many cork drag applications. In fact, the 4 back up systems in this reel are sure to be more than you will ever need. The stopping power
will also amaze you. Your tippet will break or rod will fracture before this drag fails.

The drag can is extremely strong and provides consistent drag pressure for even medium to large hard fighting cold water trout

3)  Spool Design: Having a large arbor reel allows you to retrieve line more efficiently. It also gives you a more consistent drag pressure on your tippet regardless of how muck line is out. Big Game reels have been the first to incorporate this technology, since that is where anglers can reap the benefits the most. However, smaller sized reels for lighter applications have been slower to conform. Ross's spool makes the jump ahead of the industry.

The Evolution felt great for small to large size fish, and adapted well to both light and medium weight rods

Other notable features:  

- Fully Ventilated spool and frame

- Incoming and Outgoing Click

- Quick Release locking spool for ease in changing spools.

- Easy Left and to Right hand conversion.

- Exposed Rim for palming

- Saltwater approved

- **Guaranteed for Life


Ross Evolution (2) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great materials, and solid construction. A lifetime Guarantee that the manufacturer stands behind. 9
Performance This reel is versatile enough to use for larger trout, yet sensitive enough to be fun with smaller fish. 9
Price With an MSRP of 275.00 the Evolution is considered a mid priced reel. The good thing is you definitely get what you pay for, and the light weight of the reel makes it worth every penny for anglers that tire easily from long periods of casting 8
Features A good job incorporating large arbor technology into a smaller application matched with all the features a true angler looks for. Amazing light weight! 9.5
Design (Ergonomics)

 The holes punched throughout make it very light, a big plus, but leave it not looking durable. This reel simply does not look as strong as it actually is. But many anglers will appreciate the modern outlook of the evolution. The reel does feel good over long periods of casting

Application Rated on 4-6 weight rods, this reel will balance perfectly and over perform on all of these. Quite powerful and very reliable for a reel of this size and amazing low weight. with saltwater capability this reel can be used for many applications from streams the surf. 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Premium Materials L Reel does not hold as much line as some reels of similar size
J Unbelievably light L May be pricey for some
J Excellent drag system  
J Wide Arbor Design  
J Very forgiving  
J Lifetime Guarantee  

Conclusion: Ross's New Evolution reel has taken the large arbor design so successful on big game reels and used it to create a winning reel on lighter models. This reel's drag system is more than you will ever need on the right application, and is about 20% lighter in weight than comparable reels of similar size and makeup making the Evolution a real heaven sent for anglers that enjoy hour after hour of non stop casting. . With NO MAINTENANCE and a LIFETIME GUARANTEE, this could be many angler's go to reel.


Keep Fishing - Buzz










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