May 19, 2022
By Fly Fisherman Staff
In 1971, Orvis contracted with reel maker Stanley Bogdan to design a functional masterpiece commemorating the original ventilated-port fly reel patented by Charles Frederick Orvis in 1874. This first click-and-pawl Orvis C.F.O. reel became a classic, and while a disk-drag C.F.O. was introduced in 1994, collectors, fiberglass wizards, bamboo buffs, and small-stream aficionados preferred the timeless design and elegant sound of the original C.F.O.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 reel, in 2021 Orvis released a gold and silver C.F.O. III in a limited-edition run of just 165 numbered reels. But now, in 2022, we can all enjoy the classic growl of a C.F.O., with the wide release of the C.F.O. III ($330, orvis.com) with the same black frame and spool and silver accents as the original. Inside, the reel has had some updating, with an easy left- to right-hand retrieve conversion, and a click-and-pawl mechanism that had to be “sound approved” by Tom Rosenbauer before production could begin. You’ll like how this one sings. The spool of the C.F.O. III is not backward compatible with previous C.F.O. reels. The reels are machined aluminum with durable, corrosion-resistant type III anodizing, and come with a reel case. They have a 3-inch diameter and hold a 5-weight fly line with 75 yards of 20-pound-test Dacron backing.