We graded each reel on a 1-5 scale in three areas:
1. Price
2. How the reel felt and reacted as the motorcycle sped away
3. How we like handling the reel

Then we made “judges deductions” for any beefs we had about the reels.

At $285-$295 for a good trout-sized model, the Evolution is a key reason why Ross reels are the best-selling fly reels in America. The company sells excellent introductory/value reels; but this is where we think the “big league” features start.
Score: 4.5 out of 5

How it “Met the Street”
Pretty decent, all around. We felt a little bump at the startup, and then a touch of bounce in the rod as the reel wound out into the backing. But, by and large, it gave a pretty honest effort; in fact, it did better than we expected it to do. It was fairly smooth and stable, and we certainly felt no major hiccups throughout the test.
Score: 3.5 out of 5

Functional Review
Ross reels are good values, especially at the trout end of the fishing spectrum. Most of the other reels we tested were born and bred in saltwater, and dialed down for trout. Ross is born in the trout world. As such, they have a nice balance and feel. The reel is light, not “over-cooked” by way of drag or machining. Nice aesthetics also.
Score: 3.5 out of 5

Why don’t they sell the San Miguel anymore? The San Miguel is the hands-down favorite of many Colorado trout anglers who own them … well, there’s always E-Bay. And we’re not sold on the beefiness of the Ross reels on the top end/saltwater range. We’ve heard (and experienced) mixed reports about Ross in the salt.
Deductions: -.5

Total Score: 11 out of 15

Watch More Reel Tests:

Trout Reels Hatch 3-Plus Nautilus 5 Abel Pt. 5 Ross Evolution Orvis Battenkill Mid Arbor Scientific Anglers System 2L Model 45L Bauer JM2 Bonefish Reels Sage 3400 Nautilus 8 Bauer MX4 Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor **Big Game Reels ** Orvis Vortex (VO2) 8-11 Nautilus 12 Hatch 9-Plus Abel Super 10