Happy Holidays For Ross Reels?

Category:
Fly Fishing
fly fishing industry
orvis
ross reels
Added Date:
Monday, 23 Dec, 2013
Summary
It's a well-known fact that nothing screams "It's the Holidays" like fly fishing industry news (this made-up fact brought to you courtesy the Underground), but I figured I could squeeze this one in while a sick M2 sleeps.
 
Content
It's a well-known fact that nothing screams "It's the Holidays" like fly fishing industry news (this made-up fact brought to you courtesy the Underground), but I figured I could squeeze this one in while a sick M2 sleeps.

Before: Orvis bought Ross Reels and Scientific Anglers

Now: Orvis is keeping SciAnglers, but selling Ross Reels to the same people that own Abel Reels.

Relevant News To Those Not Employed By Either: Ross may bring back their much-loved, but decidedly old-school Cimarron and Gunnison reels.

Penetrating Insights: I wonder why Orvis -- who sells their own reels -- didn't simply shut Ross down, sending a competitor to Valhalla. Money to be made, I gather.

Sadly, brands rarely prosper when they're passed through a couple new owners, but here's hoping for the best for Ross. At the very least, I hope anyone "consolidated" out of job (Abel already manufactures reels) doesn't get hit with the news until after the Holidays.

Actual Text of Wordy, Corporate-Speak Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Orvis Sells Ross Reels to the Mayfly Group
Manchester, VT (December 23, 2013) – The Orvis Company, Inc. of Manchester, VT today announced it has entered an agreement to sell its Ross Reels subsidiary to the Mayfly Group, LLC. Mayfly operates various brand names including Abel Automatics, Inc., a leading manufacturer of premium fly-fishing reels and accessories based in Camarillo, CA. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Orvis acquired Ross Reels from 3M (NYSE:MMM) in June 2013 as part of an acquisition that also brought fly line manufacturer Scientific Anglers under Orvis ownership. Based in Montrose, CO, Ross Reels is well-known for its excellent line of mid-priced fly reels highly regarded by fly fishers. Since acquiring the company, while Orvis has developed a clear growth strategy for its Scientific Anglers brand, it has struggled to integrate the Ross brand into its own reel business, while also sustaining Ross’s diversified manufacturing operations in market segments where Orvis has limited expertise and name recognition. It therefore became clear that Ross would not be a strong fit for Orvis’s long term strategy, according to Jim Lepage, President of the Orvis subsidiary operating both Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels.

Mayfly is an Arizona-based holding company with offices in both Colorado and Nevada. Abel and Orvis have a long and friendly professional relationship.

“With the help of the Abel engineering team, the Ross brand will be updated and new products added; in addition, Ross will re-introduce selected reels from its former product lineup including the Gunnison and Cimarron,” said David Dragoo, president of Mayfly. “Mayfly Group is honored to be associated with Ross Reels, an iconic fly fishing brand. We hope to expand upon the creativity and quality of the brand developed by founder Ross Hauck more than 40 years ago.”

“Ross Reels has an interesting history and a loyal following,” Lepage said. “We respect the company’s strong tradition, outstanding workforce, well-run factory and quality products. We would prefer for the brand to remain in the market, even if it remains a competitor to Orvis. We are happy that we found a strategic buyer that can give Ross Reels the attention it deserves and look forward to seeing it prosper and grow in the years to come. We wish Mayfly and the Ross Reel factory employees much success.”

The sale is scheduled to close on or about December 30, 2013. Both companies are working diligently to assure a smooth transition for Ross customers and employees, as well as business systems, so the change-over is as seamless as possible, said Lepage.
 
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Fly Fishing the Trinity River can be tough and extremely challenging, however, having a professional and knowledgeable Trinity River Fly Fishing Guide, will not only make for an enjoyable ... moreday on the river, but also an unforgettable journey down one of the best steelhead rivers in the state.

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19 comments
Beautiful and SILENT.Great attributes in both women and fly reels. It's a good thing nobody reads these comments...
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RR-2 SPEC'S WIDTH 1.063'' DIAMETER 3.063'' WEIGHT 3.38 oz. DT4 +70 yards Beautiful and SILENT. Great attributes in both women and fly reels.
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I really like the original Ross R 3.5 I have, and also the San Miguel 2. This smaller one may be one of the finest fly reels known to man and is a lucky piece of equipment too, since I won in at an annual fundraiser auction for our local flyfishing club. I'd like to see Ross bring these models back. I wonder if the company founder still has much say in what reels they make.
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Made by Abel, whose corporate parent is buying Ross from Orvis, no?
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Orvis is reintroducing their classic CFO reel and this time it will be made in the USA. https://vimeo.com/76260789
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Charles: Does anyone know why Ross left Siskiyou County back in the day? A little off topic, I know, but Tom seems to have a nose for tracking the County’s politically soiled misfortunes and I thought this particular misfortune might have a good story behind it. Maybe not, though. ... more
A little before my time, so no answers on that one. That particular corner of the county draws some interesting folks tho. Mike Neel lives there (the first American cyclist to race in the modern incarnation of the professional road race), as did/does Bill Koch (the American who transformed XC-ski racing at a time when Americans weren't even a footnote in the sport).

I do know a couple people who own the original Ross models, and they're still quite nice. At this point, I'm not sure how the company is going to differentiate itself from a sea of competitors.
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JP2: but any American made company needs a chance…..Hope this is their time in the sun…. Let's hope the sun hasn't already set. I'd suggest the market is increasingly commodified by machined imports which are pretty nice reels. Ross has always had great customer service, let's hope that helps them pull through.
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Dan: The CFO is very nice reel but it has a loud-ass click-and-pawl that can’t disabled/quieted without sacrificing the anti-backlash in the system. Welcome to the LOUD/silent reel wars. I've got a couple Hardy reels that are wonderful, but I can't stand to use them because of the noise. Others think it's the sweetest sound on earth.
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flyfish ks: As a Ross fan I can only hope that “the Ross brand will be updated” doesn’t mean screwing up a good product which seems only all too common. I guess this is still better than Orvis just letting the Ross brand fade into oblivion though. Be interesting to see if they really bring back the Cimarron and Gunnison.
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Marty: An oddly quick transition…. one wonders if they perhaps didn’t do the due diligence and just made the move sans plan…… There does seem to be a resurgence in small reel makers(and some very nice click pawl stuff)perhaps the disc drag fad is over….. still waiting for this graphite fad to pass……. Maybe the plan was to dump Ross and keep SA (as suggested by a commenter under the original sale post). ... more As I noted in the original post, Orvis didn't need Ross.
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Believe some Orvis reels back to being made in England, but yeah, I think a lot of reels are produced in Asia. As Chris Raine noted, the big CNC machines make place of manufacture pretty unimportant (except in terms of cost). I also wondered how the influx of pretty good Asian reels was affecting brands like Ross. I once tested a no-name birdcage large arbor reel sold by the Fly Shop (Redding, CA). ... more It was cheap and yes -- it ran great.
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Does anyone know why Ross left Siskiyou County back in the day? A little off topic, I know, but Tom seems to have a nose for tracking the County's politically soiled misfortunes and I thought this particular misfortune might have a good story behind it. Maybe not, though.
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Sounds like Orvis is splitting the package they got from 3M....Don't have a Ross (haven't found one in the pawn shop,yet) but any American made company needs a chance.....Hope this is their time in the sun....
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SA has like two models of reels, I think. Probably not that big a deal to integrate those or let them fade away. SA hadn't made reels a real strength yet, I don't believe.
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I also hope the Ross reels don't get killed or maimed. I bought a Flyrise a while ago and I really like that reel. Interestingly, I bought the Ross to replace an Orvis CFO. The CFO is very nice reel but it has a loud-ass click-and-pawl that can't disabled/quieted without sacrificing the anti-backlash in the system. The Ross has a c&p integrated in its design but it's very quiet in operation. The ... more Orvis Battenkill BBS (not the English one) also has a loud c&p but most of its sound is a plastic noise-maker that can be disabled. I still use that one.
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Oh, and Merry Christmas everyone!
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As a Ross fan I can only hope that "the Ross brand will be updated" doesn't mean screwing up a good product which seems only all too common. I guess this is still better than Orvis just letting the Ross brand fade into oblivion though.
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An oddly quick transition.... one wonders if they perhaps didn't do the due diligence and just made the move sans plan...... There does seem to be a resurgence in small reel makers (and some very nice click pawl stuff) perhaps the disc drag fad is over..... still waiting for this graphite fad to pass.......
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I guess Orvis didn't know what to do with American made fly reels since they acquire their reels from China. Now, I'm wondering if they intend to keep the reel part of SA. Haven't noticed that mentioned.
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