This is the Orvis Hydros. The next generation in the Hydros series of reels, ascending from the Hydros SL. With a solid foundation in place put there by the previous generations, Orvis just improved the Hydros in the areas that warranted improvements.
It’s still the budget-friendly large arbor workhorse you’ve known the Hydros family to be.
The Hydros did shed some weight from its predecessors, but the most significant improvement comes in the form of the drag knob and range. The only complaint about the Hydros SL was that the drag knob was difficult to access and turn. The new Hydros features an easier to grab knob and smoother range of drag adjustments. That in itself (and also the sweet purple color) is cause for celebration.
Now when we compare saltwater sizes (IV and V), max drag does not lock down quite as tight as the old Hydros SL. This is not a deal breaker for us for inshore fishing where smoothness is key. There is still plenty of drag throughout the range to wear out a bonefish, redfish, snook or permit if you fight it properly. Even big tarpon from a skiff, you’re not using max drag to wear out the fish, you’re letting him go then you’re getting up to the fat part of the fly line and pulling on him. Most of the fight is close to the boat and good technique beats fish quicker than drag power, so all good there. But if you consistently need to fish with #16 of drag, maybe offshore trying to keep fish away from sharks or out of a wreck, this is something to consider.
Otherwise the new Hydros is a nice step forward in the evolution of Orvis’s Hydros family of reels.