I’ve waited a long time for Bauer’s RVR reel. Almost two years, as I recall, since I first learned the RVR was being developed and a full year since Bauer Fly Reels introduced the prototypes at the 2019 International Fly Tackle Dealers Show.
Well, the RVR is finally here. I’ve received my first sample, an RVR 4/5, and it’s a beaut. I’m confident in saying the RVR is unique. Nothing else like it in the world.
Now, that’s a bold statement, but let’s look at the details. There’s a lot to say.
When the folks at Bauer first began working on the RVR, the concept was to create something unlike any other reel on the market. They decided it would be a trout reel (sorry, saltwater anglers, but you’ll have to wait), and settled on five models: the RVR in sizes 2/3, 4/5 and 6/7; the RVR Euro-Nymph; and the RVR Microspey.
Bauer wanted a reel as elegant as they could conceive, and they designed a spool so intricate and complex that the usual machine shops weren’t up to the task. After approaching more than a dozen vendors in the United States and around the world, Bauer found a company with a five-axis milling machine in South Korea that was capable of producing the necessary quality.
The anodizing, which hardens the aerospace aluminum frame and spool against scratches and corrosion, gets complicated as well. To achieve the two-tone color scheme, the RVR is first anodized in black, then it is machined to expose the accent points. A second anodizing is then used to apply the gold highlights to the RVR and silver to the RVR Euro-Nymph and RVR Microspey.
When you remove the spool, you find yet another distinction. The hub is a hexagon that fits into a recess in the spool, creating a stronger mount and smoother fit between the spool and frame.
The only design element that isn’t new is the sealed carbon-fiber drag and zero-backlash clutch mechanism that you find in the superb RX series.
Though the RVR is presented as a single series (retail $695-$755), I find it easier to think in terms of three specialized designs, each optimized for its intended application:
- The RVR 2/3, 4/5 and 6/7. These large-arbor reels are for traditional applications, whether drifting dry flies on small streams or dragging streamers on larger rivers. Retail $695, $725 and $755.
- The RVR EN. Designed for Euro-style nymphing, the EN features a super-large arbor with a narrow spool for a quick retrieve and a full frame to protect against migrating lines. Retail $755.
- The RVR MS. Aimed at the Microspey market, the large-arbor MS features a full frame with a substantial backplate for better balance with a two-hand rod. Retail $755.
Bauer has begun accepting orders from dealers, with shipping to begin Dec. 1. Get your RVR for Christmas by calling your dealer now.