My fishing buddies will ask me why I didn’t include the Orvis Battenkill reel since I’ve used that model (and the exact same reel) on my four-weight everyday rod for the last eight years. The Battenkill is a great backup or starter reel and if I had my druthers, I’d own the Orvis Vortex for all my rods and especially my larger ones.
The large-arbor Vortex is a fish-fighting fiend of a reel made so by its reliability and fish-halting drag surface, the largest of any reel out there. When the big fish heat up your reel, the VO2 keeps your reel cool so you can keep your cool. The VO2 is a nice-looking reel but not as handsome as other reels on this list. You’re buying this one for the combination of reasonable price meets performance.