Bauer Reels are made locally in Ashland, Oregon by a small group of dedicated makers. They were the first to introduce the large arbor design you see on most modern fly reels and haven’t stopped being one of the best reels around. All reels now feature a carbon fiber composite disc drag that is smooth and reliable. The engagement is instant and has no start-up inertia as a result of there patented clutch system. The Rogue series reels also have a V machined into the arbor to store excess backing while still maintaining a large arbor for maximum line retrieval rate. A recent addition to their lineup was the Rogue Classic, which features a non-ported back to properly balance spey and switch. They also happen to look incredibly sexy, especially in all black.
In Action: I picked up a Rogue Classic 7 (the largest size) for my guide season at Alaska West, where big Chinook take swung flies and really test your gear. When fighting these fish it is routine to get taken deep into your backing on long, angry runs. While guiding up there I was able to observe and fish with a wide variety of high end reels, many of them designed for the toughest environment: saltwater. These were generally all great reels but every brand exhibited some level of failure and none of them were as smooth as my Bauer.
Failures (not the Rogue): All this action generates a huge amount of heat within a reel, especially with a sealed drag. This heat is what kills many reels, causing the drag to completely fail or seize and bite. This reel never failed me and I was able to set up on every grab with confidence.
Bauer has created a beautiful spey reel that functions flawlessly and unlike many spey reels on the market it is actually heavy enough to balance out a two hander. At 11 ounces the Rogue 7 Classic balanced perfectly on my 13’5” 10 weight spey rod, but is not at all too heavy for the 7 and 8 weight rods that I fish for winter steelhead. If you prefer a lighter reel it does come in three sizes to match a variety of rod weights and you can always select the ported version.
Pair this bad boy with Sage, Beulah, or Echo two-hander and you’ve got the complete Cascadia setup for winter.