Today, the mention of click / pawl reels often evokes an image of a classic, traditional-style fly reel followed by phrases like “old-school”, “retro”, or “my grandpa had one of those”. As a click / pawl lover, if you’re lucky, you can get into a spat about why you spend money on a click / pawl reel when, for the same price (or less) you can get something “way better” — horse-stopping drag, super large arbors, and rim-like designs.
Recently, some reels have come out that play to both sides. For the die-hard click / pawl lover, they can introduce modern conveniences. For the angler who may be drawn to the latest tech, palming a reel to the click / pawl song might just drown out all those bells or whistles.
Meet the Colorado LT by Ross — a click / pawl fly reel introduced in 2016 that does just that. It’s made of just 15 parts, all designed, machined, and assembled in our home-state of Colorado and retails just under $300. Ross Reels are made in the same facility as Abel Reels in Montrose, CO and draw the Toyota and Lexus comparison, respectively.
It’s available in black or silver and 3 models cover sizes 0-5WT. We picked up a black 3/4 and and it may have found a home on our small stream, 3wt fiberglass rod.
The large arbor design puts the gear and pawl in full view and the sound takes center stage. It produces a solid click sound on the runs and is noticeably softer on the retrieve.
At first glance, the skeletal design of the Colorado LT felt a bit too modern for me — all I could see was a four-leaf clover. After holding it (it’s really light), taking a closer look, and putting line on it, I gained a huge respect for what went into the design of it.
It feels like designers started with a blank canvas and a “Jobs to Be Done” (i.e. “what job does an angler hire a reel to do”) approach. Everything about the Colorado LT seems to be designed around you and the fly line — the structure is just there to hold it, the arbor makes it pick up faster, the handle gives you the best grip, and the click / pawl keeps it from over-running.
A neat byproduct of this minimalist design is that the same reel can look very different depending on your backing and line choice.
Under the hood
When assembled, the click / pawl setup on the Colorado LT in on full display. Separating spool gives you a closer look at it and the minimalist frame.
We love the copper-toned, aluminum spring and pawl holder / cover with the silhouette of 4 mountain peaks (we’re guessing the San Juan). Better yet, it’s a nod to Ross’s original click / pawl design.
A Better Tour
We found this great review from InTheRiffle that can take you on a more hands-on tour of the reel.