Get to Know the New Ross Colorado Reel

Photo: Dan Zaz

Earlier this month, Ross Reels released the all-new Colorado Reel. The reel is not a new version of the current Colorado LT Reel but a complete redesign of a new click and pawl reel. This past week we were lucky enough to visit the Ross Reels HQ where we caught up with Craig Baker of Ross Reels to ask him some questions about the new reel.

Flylords: What is the inspiration behind the new Colorado Reel?

Craig: The original Colorado LT Reel was a really fun project, we looked back at the history of Ross Reels, we had this original Colorado with this really cool clicking mechanism and it had this great sound. It was right at the cusp where we felt click and pawls could make a resurgence. There are some good click and pawls out there, but nothing really from Ross Reels in recent history. So we decided we’d give that old click and pawl system a chance and re-envision what a click and pawl could be with the Colorado LT. And surprisingly, we’re now going into its sixth season. So now it is time for that product to just rejuvenate a little bit, refresh.

The new Colorado represents the next generation of Ross Reels. It’s a leading indicator of where our designs are headed. The reels that we’re working on for next year and the future are incorporating some of these cool features, some of which, you can see when you just take a look at the Reel.

Flylords: What’s changed with the new Colorado Reel? 

Craig: One of the biggest things is most of the current Ross Reels are designed with a real kind of coffee can shape. There are barrels with straight sides. And we said, what if it wasn’t that way? What if there was not a single flat on this whole reel? And that’s actually what the new Colorado is. There is not a flat on it, everything is in a radius. So, if you notice the shape of the frame from top to bottom, everything is round, and it just sort of swoops, it’s very organic looking. The new curves are also very strong, the reel has higher rigidity with less total mass.

Flylords: Tell us about the new semi-caged design? 

Craig: Another theme of design that we wanted to accomplish was to somehow incorporate a fully caged frame. There are certain markets out there that really prefer a cage design for ultra-thin running lines, or really long, fine, fine leaders, things like that. We didn’t like the weight that the full cage adds perse, so we developed what we call our semi-caged design. It’s a unique thing for us. It performs exactly like a fully caged design, the line slips through a fully caged section.

The semi-cage design added just a tiny bit of mass to it, but we didn’t mind that because the biggest complaints we were getting about the Colorado LT was this thing is too light. “My rod feels tip heavy.” And so we actually made the 4/5 in this size bigger. It’s more of a true five weight than a four weight size. It’s got that semi cage frame that adds just … I mean, we’re talking a half an ounce or something. It’s a very, very little additional weight, but it does balance just a little bit better. That nine foot, five weight rod feels right at home on a 4/5 here.

Flylords: Why just a 2/3 and 4/5 size for the new Colorado Reel? 

Craig: We wanted to simplify its offering for the dealers and make the choices simpler for consumers. Before we had a 0/3 size, a 3/4 size, and a 4/5 size in the Colorado LT. We found that that the 3/4 lived in no man’s land. The 3/4 was one of the biggest questions we get in customer service, which size do you recommend? And now the question is just off the table, cause if you have a two or three weight fly rod or lower you choose the small one. If you’ve got four or five weight fly rod, then you choose the 4/5 size. It’s pretty simple.

Flylords: Tell us about the new bushing material to replace the traditionally bronze bushing? 

Craig: We’ve found another material to replace our bronze bushings, the material is called vesconite. It’s a polymer that costs more than aluminum, it even costs more than our bronze does. It is an engineered polymer designed specifically for underwater load-bearing and bushing applications. It is used in high-speed trains, oil rigs, water pumps, deep-sea drills, and that kind of thing. We have been testing it for like a year or so in all of our products and putting it in the sand and jamming it together and running. The new Colorado is the first in the Ross lineup to use the vesconite as the bushing material. We believe it is something that’s just going to last longer and perform better.

Flylords: What kind of angler is this reel focused for?

Craig: I really think it is for just about anyone that fishes for trout. I know that sounds overly generalized, but for the most, you could argue one way or another, that drags aren’t needed at all times. You get this kind of manual transmission control of the fish with the click and pawl. You get to break that fish, with your finger or your palm. Ultimately, I could see just about anybody having one of these in their arsenal.

Flylords: When is the reel going to be available?

Craig: It has already started shipping to dealers. They are available to pre-order now, most dealers should have them by early November to purchase.

For more information on the reel click here and be sure to check out Ross Reels on Instagram at @rossreels.

Our friend Ken Tenaka also dropped a pretty great unboxing and review, check it out below.

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