By Richard Post, Telluride Angler
Ross Reels has re-introduced the iconic San Miguel, and we could not be more excited here at Telluride Angler. The reel’s namesake river flows through our little ski town and its canyon frames my daily commute to the fly shop. The San Miguel reel is near and dear to our hearts and our fly fishing in Telluride. We look forward to years of fishing with this stunning fly reel from Ross.
Sizes and Pricing
The new Ross San Miguel is available in three sizes, a 3/4, a 4/5 and a 5/6, to balance the breadth of trout rods available. MSRP for all reel sizes is $595 and spools are $446.25.
The cosmetics on this reel are second to none. In hand, the San Miguel invokes a feeling of elegance and precision. The finish is a meticulously polished high gloss black that is as sharp as a tailored tuxedo. A matching machined drag knob is perfectly sized with a machined double R logo and subtle but appropriate knurling. Framing the drag knob is the classically scripted “San Miguel,” reminiscent of the original, and a sleek laser engraved outline of the Colorado state flag below. Remove the spool via a machined push button release, inscribed with the double R logo, to reveal a machined drag housing held in place with six Montrose, CO made phillips screws, that reads simply Ross Reels and USA bracketing the spindle. The same high polish, high gloss finish is found on the inside of the frame as well. This is a very professional touch that is often overlooked in fly reel production.
Fans of this reel’s predecessor will immediately take notice of the classic flower petal porting on the spool. Before you wind on backing or line, the spool porting looks nearly identical to the original San Miguel. Upon loading the new San Miguel with line and backing, Ross’s hidden large arbor design is revealed. The backing lays in a way that surrounds the drag plate on the backside of the reel frame exquisitely. When loaded, the porting on the spool is nothing short of breathtaking and provides some additional integrity that many modern large arbor designs lack. A machined dark canvas phenolic handle operates the retrieve of the reel and the same counter balance from the original reel provides an exact counterweight to the handle.
The new San Miguel reel is beyond silky smooth to operate and the feeling of rotating this reel in hand is downright intoxicating. Flick the handle with a finger and feel the spool rotate with perfect precision and incomparable smoothness. There is no click on the retrieve, encouraging the exceptional smoothness, and the outgoing click is audibly classic and appropriate. The reel hums at you warmly while the fish takes line without any harshness. The San Miguel sings rather than screams. Drag pressure is tuned towards trout angling. Not too much pressure, not too little and start up inertia is a concern that goes by the wayside in the superb smoothness of this reel’s operation.
I get excited about fly rods, to the point where I will even choose my fishing location according to the rod I would like to use. Admittedly, this is backwards thinking, but fly rods are a big part of my professional and recreational life. Fly reels and lines are as well, but generally to a much lesser extent. The Ross San Miguel is a fly reel that gives me pause and encourages me to reconsider my priorities. This is a reel that you will simply want to fish. You will be excited to hang this reel on your rod. You might even find yourself giving the fish a little more line than you ought to, just to put the fish on the reel. The Ross San Miguel is a workhorse and a work of art, built for a lifetime of making memories on the water. Get your hands on one of these reels and you will immediately know you are in the presence of something timeless.
Best Rod Pairings
San Miguel 3/4: Scott F Series 723/5, Sage Trout LL 389-4, Scott G Series 884/4, GLoomis NRX+ LP 486-4, R.L. Winston Tom Morgan Favorite 804
San Miguel 4/5: Sage Trout LL 490-4, Scott G Series 904/4, R.L. Winston Pure 904, GLoomis NRX+ 490-4, Scott Radian 905/4, Sage X 590-4, GLoomis NRX+ 590-4, R.L. Winston AIR 905
San Miguel 5/6: Scott Radian 906/4, GLoomis NRX+ 5100, Sage X 691-4, Scott Radian 955/4, Sage X 597-4