History of the Orvis C.F.O.

All that follows has been published as part of a website I put together many years ago. I've been playing with the idea of closing down that particular site as I haven't updated it in over a year, so I thought I would republish this information here (it's the only section of the website that still gets regular hits). I understand that the blogosphere is populated by many fly fishers who pride themselves on a fishing style that is nothing like that of their fathers. Unlike these folks, I often enjoy fishing the way it was done thirty, forty or fifty years ago. By extension, I enjoy fishing with the same tackle my father or grandfather would have used all those years ago (had they not been unabashed worm dunkers). Hence my obsession with the Orvis CFO. The CFO has become something of a modern classic; the rarest variations often demand two or three times their original asking price. I've become something of a collector and researcher, and the history I've compiled will help those folks who wish to date their reels. For those folks who want to know if their reel was made by Hardy or BFR, all I can say is that sometimes it is impossible to know. I've stopped at 1997 as that year marked the final change to the original style of CFO. The Asian incarnations of the reel (bronze color with champagne colored appointments or a gold "limited edition"), simply do not interest me as do the older models.

 History of the Orvis CFO

In 1874 Charles Frederick Orvis received a patent for his ventilated fly reel. This reel was the first of its kind, and is considered by many to be the father of all modern fly reels. Many years later, the Orvis company introduced the CFO reel to commemorate Charles Orvis' achievement. The CFOs were first offered in 1971 and quickly became a success. The original CFO was a spring and pawl design; the disc drag model was introduced in 1994. The prototype CFO, "designed and made by Stan (Bogdan) now resides in the American Museum of Fly-Fishing in Manchester, Vermont" (Marchant 45).

Stan Bogdan's Prototype CFO

(1971) 1972 - 1977
The Orvis CFO was first offered in the company's catalog for the Christmas season in 1971. The photos below detail the contents of that catalog.

Catalog photos courtesy of Jukka Kujala

The original reels had a screw that went through the back of the frame, which held the spindle. The earliest of these had inverted script, which appeared upside down when hung on a rod. The newer model did not have the screw, instead the spindle threaded into the inside of the reel. The screw on the back was replaced with a cap. All reels with the screw through the back are early models. For roughly the next 20 years, all CFOs were manufactured by Hardy.

1977 - 1978

CFOs were offered in sizes II, III, IV, and V. Size II and III came standard without the nickel silver line guard, but the III was also offered with the guard for an additional charge. All other reels came standard with the line guard. All of the reels with the exception of the II had adjustable spring and pawl drags. The CFO multiplier was introduced in sizes III, IV, and V. The multipliers have a retrieve rate of 1 2/3 to 1. At this time, all CFOs are cast and then machined. On all these models, the spring and pawl mechanisms are held in place by rivets, which show on the back of the reels.

A limited edition CFO reel was offered as part of a rod/reel package. These silver CFOs were limited to a production run of 300 units. The first two hundred reels were paired with 8' 3/2 Battenkill bamboo rods. Rods and reels have matching serial numbers. The sets were sold in mahogany, felt lined boxes so the rods and reels might be presented together. Very often the reels have been separated from their matching rods. The remaining 100 rods, rounding out the group of 300, were not bamboo but were greenheart. At the time of this writing, there is some question as to the existence of all 100 greenheart rods. A commentor on this page claims to own #300 of this reel series, and so we must assume that all 300 reels were available - with or without rods is impossible to know.  

1978 - 1979

A size VI CFO was offered. A limited edition CFO was offered in both silver and gold color schemes. These reels were machined from solid bar stock aluminum. They were hand engraved with their limited edition number and "C.F. Orvis." 500 reels of each color were available.


The limted edition reel is no longer offered.


The CFO III without the line guard is no longer available.


A new saltwater CFO is introduced. This reel was produced by STH, and manufactured in Argentina. The drag is still spring and pawl, but all parts are made of corrosion resistant materials. The reels were available in Light and Medium sizes; each is a bright gold color. These reels are not CFOs as most collectors and anglers think of them. They're included as part of this chronology for the sake of everyone's understanding. 


The Large saltwater CFO is offered to accommodate larger line weights.


A new drag is offered in the saltwater CFO, a double pawl system. An angler can use the light pawl for minimal resistance, the heavy pawl for strong resistance, or both for an even stronger drag. This design was copied from the Presentation series of reels. The CFO VI freshwater was dropped from the inventory as was the CFO Multiplier.


The CFO saltwater model is dropped from the catalog.


The CFO VI is reintroduced, and the CFO II is replaced by the 123. The 123 has a larger diameter, line guard, and an adjustable drag.

(Photo courtesy of Joe Uberty)


CFO size selection is downsized; the reel is only available in sizes 123, III and IV.


The CFO VI is once again reintroduced. At this point the 123, III, IV and VI are available. A new anniversary edition is available, to commemorate the 20th year of the CFO reels. These reels were machined from bar stock aluminum, and had a platinum finish. This edition was a size III, and was designed to accept spools from standard reels.


Machined reels are introduced this year, and were available in sizes II, 123, III, and IV. These reels feature a "no rivet" design. The rivets that were used to hold the drag pawls in place are removed; the pawls are now internally affixed to a reinforced internal plate. The old cast reels are still offered this year in sizes 123, III, and IV. These still had rivets through the back. The new reels were manufactured in such a way as to allow interchangeability of spools between machined and cast CFOs. However, some experimentation may be necessary before a proper fit can be attained. An "Introductory Edition CFO III" was also offered this year. The reel was identitcal to the new, machined reel except for the finish. The Introductory CFO had an olive finish (slightly different from later disc-drag models) and featured gold anodized aluminum hardware. The line guard on this model was made from nickel silver.


The CFO I is introduced. This reel has a slightly larger diameter than the CFO II, and is designed to match up with the One Weight and One Ounce rods. The CFO I also had an adjustable drag, which the CFO II did not. The cast reels are dropped from inventory. All CFOs are now available in either gray with silver appointments or olive with gold components. These reels were available in size I, 123, III and IV.


The CFO III disc is introduced. These reels were green with silver components, and should not be confused with their olive, spring and pawl counterparts. The first 2000 of these models were introductory editions. Each of the introductory reels was individually numbered. Incidentally, the C.F.O. 1874 reproduction reel is offered this year. The reel foot on this reel was affixed with four screws, while the original's reel foot was held in place by three rivets.


The olive spring and pawl models are dropped from inventory. The CFO disc is offered in sizes I, 123, III, IV and V.


Size IV and V disc reels are offered with corrosion resistant finishes and parts, for use in saltwater. These reels are named the CFO Saltwater IV and V.


Small changes are made to the drag mechanism of the CFO disc. All spools are still interchangeable, but the clutch gear components are not.


Two limited edition reels are offered - one in the United States and the other in the UK. Both are manufactured by Hardy in England, supposedly on machines that utilize the tooling of the original 1971 - 1972 reels. The reels bear several updates to the original, including changes to the finish and the spindle cap.

U.S.A. version of the new reel
The U.K. model

*** Many production anomalies exist. I've seen CFOs in red and jet black, and still others without script on the back. This is further compounded by the fact that some reels (especially the earlier models) were occasionally modified by their owners. As to value, I've followed the sale of many reels at auction (Ebay, Lang's, etc.), and those that consistently demand the highest prices ($400.00 to $900.00) are the silver limited edition of 1977, gold and silver limited edition model of 1979 and the original 1972 model with inverted script.***

Akiyama, Yoshi. CFO Prototype. American Museum of Fly Fishing, Manchester, VT.

Marchant, Douglas J. "Stan Bogdan: The Man and His Reel." Art of Angling Journal. 1:3. Eds. Paul Schmookler and Ingrid Sils. 2002.


Anonymous said...

CFO 1 and Troutbum CFO2 both from 2004-2006, are these Chinese built reels?
Says made in England but is that false advertising?
I'd like to sell these reels and I hate the realization that I won't be able to get even half of what I paid if they are chinese junk.

BKill said...

If the reels read "Made in England" then they are indeed made in England by BFR. The reels made in China lack any print on the back plate.

Anonymous said...

I have an Orvis CFO IV with the four rivets on the backplate, no screw just the bump. Spring and pawl adjustable drag. "Made in England". I'm assuming this was the second design? Manufactured by Hardy, 1978 and later?

Thanks for any info! Enjoyed your History of the CFO!! I'm anticipating selling the reel. Would $150.00 be a fair price with the original green zippered clamshell case?


Anonymous said...

With continued growing interest in the Orvis CFO, new buyers fuel the market while misinformed sellers cause confusion and doubt. “Made In England” does not guarantee a reel completely sourced and built in England unless it’s a Hardy Built reel. It’s been more than rumored that BFR or British Fly Reel Company practices offshore out sourcing of material and build, how much is not known. Those wanting to play on the safe side of the English Hedge, best do it with True House of Hardy Built Reels or as it’s been recently described, ‘the one with Exposed Rivets.’ Early CFO’s like many Hardy Reels might even contain the initials of the chap that built your reel. They are few and far between but they do exist. Fish and Chips anyone? bsmcash001

Gerard said...

Out of interest what about the last Falmouth produced CFOs of which I understand there were 72. They were "Made in England" and anodized in a red colour with a commemorative inscription dated 23rd December 2004.

BKill said...

The red Falmouth reels that we see every so often when they show up for auction or sale, were made to mark the end of production in Falmouth (before production was moved to China). The reels were given to shop workers. They are of the newest incarnation of disc-drag CFOs, with porting along the edge of the frame, and on the disc drag itself. Aside from the color, print, and manufacturing origin, they are the same in all regards as the reels currently for sale.

JohnMD1022 said...

In the late 60s and early 70s, Orvis published a newsprint flyer on a regular basis.

This is where the CFO was first announced, at a price of, as I recall, $39.95.

I ordered mine within 5 minutes of reading the announcement.

I have been told that there was a small pre-production run of CFOs (30 is the number I heard) which had no engraving.

And that's the reel I have.

Do you have any info on these very early CFOs?

I can provide photos.


Cfo Interim Service said...

Here I thought that CFO was chief financial officer. Who knew it had to do with fishing as well?

Troy said...

New to the Orvis CFO, What is the Value Differance in a 1994 Issue CFO I, 123, III Introductory, IV, V if they Dont have the Case?

If its a Huge Differance Where is the Best place to find the Case?


Anonymous said...

I am currently rehabing my CFOIII and appreciate the info. I bought it from new in the UK and still think it is the best real i ever owned.

BKill said...


As with anything that is even marginally collectible, condition is everything. A reel that lacks a case, box, or paperwork will generally sell for much less than one that has all its accoutrements. Without seeing the reel, I would guess (and it is ultimately a guess ... much of value is determined by what the market will bear) its value drops by 20 - 40 percent without any of those items.

Troy said...

Thanks BK...What about if the Case isnt the Original Case but Made for Orvis with the Orvis Name?

All the Reels are Brand New with Brand New Orvis Fly Line, I Got all 6 "1 is a TFO" w/Brand New Orvis Rods for $1000 and Could not Pass it up...That was Less than $90 each...so i have room for Buying the Case i believe!

BKill said...


If you send pictures of the reel (mdaley73@yahoo.com) I may be able to tell you which of the various Orvis cases would have been original. You can then search for that particular case. Again, much depends on what the market will bear. I've sold CFOs without cases or paperwork that have sold for more than reels that had all the odds and ends. Right now is a good time to be a buyer, and a poor time to sell.

Orvis 62 said...

Who is "BFR" and hpw do they relate to Hardy.
Also, check out this link: http://www.orvis.co.uk/store/product.aspx?pf_id=6L9H. CFO III UK 30th Anniversary Editions.

BKill said...

BFR is short for British Fly Reels. They are a company that is separate and distinct from Hardy. Both companies produced variants of the CFO.

The 30th UK Anniversary reel pairs with an American reel that will be released shortly. Both are identical, minus the 30th script on the British variation.

Anonymous said...

British Fly Reels was acquired by Orvis Co. in or around 1991 partially to expand the Orvis Corporate profile and secure the continued production of the CFO. It's no secrete that Orvis and Hardy Brother's were experiencing some rocky dealings financial and design wise. The new bar stock reels cost less to manufacture than the more costly 'investment casting' and riveting that continued to Hallmark both Hardy and Orvis reels.

Anonymous said...

I have a CFO III with no line guard and a rivet instead of the plastic knob between the rivets on the back. Script is upright when reel hangs upside down on the rod. Came with a 1986 Orvis Madison 3-wt cane fly rod so is older than the rod I assume. Diameter is right at 2-19/32". The pawl looks like it can be reversed for RH and LH cranking; it clicks lighter in one direction. The reel foot has two holes drilled in it, for lightening I assume?? Am wondering what age this reel is. V nice little reel that goes well with this Orvis rod.

BKill said...

What you likely have is a CFO II. The II was the only reel in the line that did not have an mechanism for adjusting the tension on the spring. The reel could have been made anytime from 1972 - 1989 (when the II was replaced by the 123). If your reel has a screw back rather than a solid spindle cap it is an older reel. Hope this helps ...

BKill said...

A few anonymous comments lately ... I appreciate all of them, but please - if you have information that contradicts what I've posted or in some way expands on this chronology - please, please, PLEASE ... leave your contact info or contact me directly. This history (for lack of a better word) is intended to be a dynamic document. Everyone is welcome to contribute, and I would be happy to credit you with any contributions you might make. I am not an expert ... I am a devotee. Thanks all.

Anonymous said...

You're right - it is a CFO II with no spring adjustment and no screw on the back. I'd guess then that it dates from when the Orvis cane rod was made in January 1986. When making comments here it gives you the choice to reply as name/URL...so, what's my URL?? email? That's why I commented anomymous. Thanks for your help at any rate. I now know what I have for sure.

BKill said...

I'm glad I was able to help. Truthfully, your question was an easy one. Too often, I am unable to answer the questions people have. This is the only reason I am so eager for folks to leave their contact info. All of us have little pieces of information that - when given an opportunity to coalesce - can turn into a fine resource.

If you would like to leave your name, you may simply Click on "Comment" and leave your name by selecting "Name/URL." If you haven't a website or do not want your email address made public, then just type a name and leave the URL blank.

Of course, anonymous comments are also welcome. So please ... come back as often as you like, and do only as much as you're comfortable doing.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have a CFO 1 and reads Made in England and has Its original sheep skin case but a gentleman decided to inform me that i had a different screw that held the drag knob in place and said the real is worthless and the proceeded to offer me a hundred dollars for it and a hundred for a 123disc i have also made in england. Is he full of shit and I am not sure exactly when wither was made. any info would be greatly appreciated as i could not determine which of the cfo 1 you wrote about is mine

BKill said...


I could give you a better idea of what you have if you would be so kind as to send pictures. I suspect you're being low-balled, but it is hard to say without seeing the condition of the reels. Please write mdaley73@yahoo.com ...

Anonymous said...

Great site with great info! Thanks so much for putting this history together. My father passed away a few years ago and he was a huge fan of Orvis, L.L. Bean and pretty much anything and everything "fly-fishing". :) I just finally decided to put a few of his things up on eBay and your site helped immensely with gathering info on a couple of his reels! I have a "C.F.O. 123" and also a "C.F.O. I", both in excellent condition, along with the little green/brown leather Orvis cases. In your opinion, do you think starting bidding at around $20 would be good for these reels? Or is that just stupid? I know they're worth much more than that, and I guess I'm hoping that a low starting bid will get people interested, but I'm also just wondering how many people are actually even searching for these reels these days or if these particular models are the type that someone can just go out and buy brand new? Anyhow, thanks again for the info, keep up the good work and happy fishing! -Noelle :)

Anonymous said...

I have a CFO123 in a British Racing Green' with 'brass coloured' adonised fittings 'Made in Enland, bought second hand, at a town hall sale in Stockbridge England about 12 years ago, has anyone seen one like this before I have 3 CFO 123's, Hardy made one's, but in all my fishing life I haven't seen one like this.


BKill said...

Your reel is circa 1992 ... "An "Introductory Edition CFO III" was also offered this year. The reel was identitcal to the new, machined reel except for the finish. The Introductory CFO had an olive finish (slightly different from later disc-drag models) and featured gold anodized aluminum hardware."

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bkill, was it made by Hardy or BFR, do you think it's worth much? I have used it with a 6'6" rod on the small rivers in England and it works perfectly, but as I have injured my arm and I can know longer work, would it be worth selling or do you think it's worth hanging onto?

BKill said...

There is some debate about the origins of this particular model, but I believe the reel to be made by Hardy - the final iteration before production was moved to BFR. If the reel is in very good condition - both functionally and cosmetically - and has the original case, then I would be reluctant to let it go for less than $250.00. You could probably get $300.00 - $350.00 if you also have the original box and find a motivated buyer.

Anonymous said...

I have an Orvis reel that I bought several years ago from Marty Keane. It is about, if not exactly, the size of a CFO III, and its color is very close to, if not exactly, the color of the 1992 20th Anniversary reel. There are rivets on the back of the frame, and the spindle cap appears to be the same as on the Hardy-made CFO reels. The writing on the back of the frame is circular and in script and contains: "Charles F. Orvis," "Made in England," and "Series xxx of 300." Do you know anything about the history of this reel? Thanks.

BKill said...

A friend at Orvis was very gracious and contacted Jim LePage with my questions regarding a reel limited to a production run of 300. As it turns out, these may be amongst the very earliest of CFOs, and according to Mr. LePage, likely date to 1971 (although I question this date as the earliest reels had a screw back and not a spindle). I am told that I may expect photographs of the first reel of the run - it is in mint condition - and those photographs will soon be included here on The Rusty Spinner. I am excited as this variant of the CFO was to me - at least until now - never more than a whisper of a rumor. Thank you for your question.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your efforts. I look forward to seeing the photo from Mr. LePage.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to belabor the point of the 300 edition reels, but it's my experience (based on my other Hardy-made CFO IIIs) that the earlier made reels had three holes in the reel foot while the feet on the later Hardy-made reels had only two holes. The "special" edition reel that I have has the three holes. Does the number of holes in the reel foot have any relevance in determining the period in which the reel was made? Thanks again for your very able assistance.

BKill said...

The holes can sometimes be indicative of age, but not necessarily a year of production as reel feet were sometimes removed and replaced. As you suggest, a three-hole foot is generally seen on older reels, but this isn't necessarily gospel. Orvis' reel repair department has always worked with whatever parts it has on hand. Three-hole feet were sometimes put on two-hole reels and vice-versa. Also, I haven't been able to receive definitive answers as to which reels had which feet. Consequently, I'm left to believe there remains no one at either Hardy or Orvis who can reliably answer the question. This is why I think it best to rely on the reel's frame for signs of the reel's vintage.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 300 reel limited edition CFO, I have found the description of the reel from Marty Keane's catalog. At the risk of boring you to tears, I am repeating it here: "CHARLES F. ORVIS Limited Edition with rich silver/alum. color anodized finish throughout, from a limited series of 300 reels, each is brand new, flawless & untouched in orig. wrapping paper, each has an individual number noted on reel; made in England, LH/RH, adj. drag, perforated spool & backplate, palming edge, 1 1/8" x 3", a specially designed reel, which has a spool approx. 1/8" wider than the standard CFO III reels, therefore they are quite exclusive & the spools are not interchangeable with the usual CFO III's."

Dan Gracia said...

Although Marty was an excellent source of info, he doesn't have this quite right. The 300 20th anniversary reels that we brought out in 1971 were the harbinger of the entire machined reel series that came out a year later. We called the color of the anodized finish "platinum". The extra spools from all other CFO reels up until that time were interchangeable with that reel. I know, because I worked at the Orvis San Francisco store at the time and one of the first things I did when we received that reel was was try one of our standard extra spools out of the stockroom. It fit fine.

In 1992 the entire series of CFO machined reels were offered and I bought a CFO IV and put a 5-wt on it. It is still my main trout reel. I went with the IV because it had a larger diameter than the III and even with the 150 yards of backing that fit on it behind my 5 wt, the overall weight was still less than the Battenkill 5/6 we sold at the time.

Another note about the cast CFO's versus the Machined CFO's. With the cast reels and spools, when a customer came in needing an extra spool, I took the reel into the back room with me to get the spool. That way I could try it on first to make sure it fit. Usually 2 out of 3 extra spools would fit a given cast reel. But, if I just grabbed a spool out of the back and came out and tried to put it on the customer's reel, I always seemed to grab the one that didn't fit and would have to go back for another. The control of tolerances with cast trimmed, and polished reels/spools just isn't nearly as reliable as CNC machined reels/spools.

All of the machined extra spools always fit the reels just fine. I started grabbing CFO x-spools out of the stockroom again with full confidence that they would fit whichever CFO reel I had. If you have the two spools next to each other you can pick out the machined spool. It has a little thicker (heavier) rim than the cast one. Not much, but if you're looking for it you will spot it.

Hardy manufactured all of the Orvis CFO reels until 1994. After Orvis purchased British Fly Reels, we had to completely re-fit it as most of its equipment was very outmoded. We also purchased and installed CNC machines at BFR. In 1994 we started making some CFO's at BFR and from 1994 to 1996 CFO's were produced at both factories. They were made using the same program on the same CNC machines and there is no way to tell if a CFO spring and pawl reel between 1994 and 1996 was made at Hardy or BFR. By 1996 all CFO's were made at our BFR factory.

In 1994, Jim Lepage designed a disc drag for use in the CFO that was based on the offset Disc-Stack that John Harder designed for the Battenkill Disc reels. However, Jim's new design sported instantaneous drag engagement through a one-way needle bearing clutch mechanism. it was awarded Best of Show at the Fly Tackle Dealer show that year. Hardy was manufacturing that reel for us and the very next year Jim's needle bearing one-way clutch started appearing in Hardy reels. And of course it was exactly the same one part (unchanged) that Jim designed for the CFO. Although I never heard anything about it, I would imagine that Hardy using Jim's design may have ruffled some feathers.

Anonymous said...

I have one of the 20th Anniversary "platinum" reels that came out in 1991, but it does not the rivets exposed on the back of the frame as the "xxx of 300" reels do and there is no indication on the reel itself of the number of Anniversary reels that were made. Therefore, I believe
that the 300 series reels are an earlier vintage than the Anniversary reels. Thanks for your interesting addition to the history of the CFO reels.

splitcane said...

My theory concerning your XXX of 300 reel is that it belongs to the Classic limited edition series released in 1978 and 1979. It was sold as a set with a limited edition bamboo rod, all together in a nice case. You can view it here http://classicflyrodforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=34576.
If the Keane catalog that you mention predates 1978, then my theory is probably wrong.

Incidentally, I believe that there is a typo in the first paragraph by Dan Gracia above, at least how I read it. It should be "The 300 20th anniversary reels that we brought out in 1991 were the harbinger of the entire machined reel series that came out a year later." This would fit the timeline. Of course he is referencing 20 years since the CFO came out in 1971.

As for the Christmas Catalog above, which shows a reel with, apparently, a rounded pin head in the handle rather than the screw head normally found on all early CFOs--another theory. First, it may be a bad photo at a weird angle and the slotted screw head is there, but just very difficult to make out. Or, second, the reel in the photo is a Hardy proof that employs the contemporaneous (late 60s/early 70s) Hardy handle pin. Orvis likely insisted on the original slotted screw head, either to differentiate from Hardys, or, more likely, to avoid losing too much money on the $4 warranty repair offer card that came with their early CFOs.

Anonymous said...

It does appear that the reel shown at your referenced entry in the Classic Fly Rod Forum is of the same issue as my XXX of 300 reel. It would be easy to confirm that if the frame side of the reel were shown. Thanks for your contribution.

Anonymous said...

Any idea where I can get a manual for a most likely (based on the above info) 80's model CFO iii?


Anonymous said...

Hi Dan Garcia! It's been awhile... Where did our 'Retired' "Perk" Perkins Jr. go... Last time I ran across him and you, was on eBay. Perk, as I recall was/is playing in San Francisco - It would be great having a few of the guys that made Orvis - Orvis, Poke their Heads Up and shout a Howdy! Take Care, BSM

BKill said...

Hi Dan ... last I heard Perk was taking a bit of a sabbatical, and sailing to the far corners of the world ... I don't know him personally so I can't be sure if he's found his way back to Sunderland as yet ...


Anonymous said...

I am particularly interested in the saltwater versions. For how long were the saltwater versions in production and were there any significant design variations throughout production?

Any information on how well the corrosion resistance works?Was it anodizing?

If I follow the thread correctly because these are letter " Made in England" after 1996 they are manufactured by BFR.

BKill said...

There were changes to the bearings of the saltwater model spools. As a consequence, some spools will not work when paired with some frames. This is anecdotal information and I haven't anything more precise, which is why it isn't included on the history.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan; and our Wayward 'Perk.' About 4 months ago, I could have sworn I saw Perk coming into the Corinthian Yacht Club... We gave a few Tugs on the Horn, just about made an enemy of the 'Old Salt' in the slip next to us, but was trying to get 'Perks' attention. So, if you can confirm or deny (sounds a little legalese (not intended) There was what appeared to be Pointing Dog with him... My Brittany's surely spotted the potential competition and chimed in with the horn making us a Real Stand Out! Hope All is Good... Take Care,


Unknown said...

I've just pick up a really interesting CFO. It is exactly the same spec as the forest green IIId except that it's champagne in colour. Also, instead of being engraved the script on the back plate script has been printed.

My guess is that it is a prototype as the factory has lightly scratched every surface including the underside of the foot and the disc. It was originally bought by an employee at the Falmouth factory when it closed down.

Best, Jon

Anonymous said...

So is the CFO III Disc introduced in 1994 made by Hardy or BRM? I ask, as I just won an auction off Ebay from an estate sale and was told it was bought circa 2000. The reel itself comes with an extra spool.

Anonymous said...

I have a 1970s CFO that I am having a hard time definitively identifying.. it appears to have "CFO IIII" on the back of it.. the "IIII" being distinct white vertical lines all attached across the top and bottom, with 3 gray areas separating the 4 white lines. I am thinking this is either a misprint/anomaly of some sort, or I am misinterpreting the roman numerals... as I think mine is too small to be the "three" or "four" (mine has only a 2.5 inch wide spool), and I believe the "four" was shown as "IV"... any thoughts would be greatly appreciated... would be happy to email pics if you are interested in seeing them.... thank!

BKill said...

What you likely have is a CFO II (2). The script on the back of the reel often confuses people. You can tell for certain if the reel does not have an adjustable drag as the CFO II did not.

Anonymous said...

I still have my CFO that was made to mark the end of production in Falmouth before the production was moved to China. I came across it the other day and I am now looking to sell it. But I have no idea of the market price or what it would go for in todays market.
Any advice would be amazing!

Anonymous said...

I was given a CFO II, make in England, in 1985 and am looking for an extra spool. I have talked to the very accommodating folks at Orvis locally and in Vermont but they said they are unable to find any spools. After reviewing the postings above I realize it may be difficult to make sure anything I can find on Ebay or equivalent may not fit the reel (cast vs. machined) Any suggestions or do I have to purchase a new reel? I would just like to use the classic versus the newer models .... personal choice.

Thank you for any input!


Mike N said...

I have a CFO IIID reel that I'm trying to find spools for. I believe it was made by BFR. Has Made in England in script on side of frame. Reel foot is secured with 2 screws. Has silver line guard. No rivets. Cap over shaft. Appears to be dark green, but Orvis says green reels were discontinued in 1994.

Anonymous said...

Bruce H asked.....

I see this was last posted to in Oct of 2015. I hope someone is looking in now and then...

This was a great bit of work on the CFO.... Wondering if you have a line on the Battenkill reels?

Unknown said...

Great site! Any idea what the last year the screwbacks where made? 78,79?

AB Flytie said...

Hey guys
I have asked orvis and hardy about a cfo reel i have. With the disc drag system not click and paw.
And i wonder when this reel are made its an old one withe fine fine condition

If some of you guys will help me if u have good clue on cfo reels

E.mail: Andreas.baug@hotmail.no

jhuskey said...

Great site! CFO's are some of my favorite reels, along with old Pflueger Medalists, Hardy Lightweights and the St. George. Finally found my holy grail CFO last year - inverted script III. Just want to thank you for some great information - thanks for sharing it!

NCH53 said...

I Was Sales Rep. For a Major Fly Fishing Company For 23 Years, I Have a Very Unique
ORVIS CFO. It is A CFO IV xi Disc Drag Bronze color, the spool and frame are different from any other CFO. It is Made in England. Nothing like it on the web may be a one of a kind prototype made by Hardy. It was given to me by president of Major fly fishing Co. in the 1990's
I have images if needed let me know if anyone has any info on IV "xi" CFO

John M. Clarke Jr. said...

Are the CFO III (circa 2006) made in China? Are they worth anything or are they junky?

Unknown said...

Hi, I have a C.F.O IV saltwater with spare spool and was wondering what it might be worth. I was going to sell it as I am not using it at all. I can send pictures. I have the original pouch but was not able to find the box anymore. I can send pictures. Help is appreciated. Thank you.

bonefish said...

Hello, I own two CFO reels and love them.Cira 1978.Single action ,spring/click pawl (Cast then machined as I understand.) My question is concerning a vintage CFO IV reel I came across with rivets on the backside just like my older ones, but the spool has the engraving "CFO IV" on the front latch cover like the newer CNC CFO IV reels without the rivets that started production per your research around 1992 My reel has the same engraving on its spool latch cover. My question is did they make CNC reels with rivets and have the engraving? If so this explains why this reel has the engraving on the front cover latch like the rivet-less ones I have seen pictures of,or could it be this reel doesn't have the original spool and has a CNC replacement spool. I want the correct spool with the reel. I know the CNC spools fit both designs. Note: I have no problem with CNC machining. The Orvis folks said the 1992 catalog didn't have a clear view of CNC riveted reels with the engraving on the front latch. I appreciate any information you could help with to clarify the engraving.

Anonymous said...

I am in the throes of going through my husbands cherished fly material. I have CFOs all over my dining room table trying to figure out what is what. I have read the info on the 300 series with Charles F Orvis inscribed on it. He has one that is 63 of 300..looks like a super sweet reel and has a line in it. It is in fine shape but certainly was lovingly fished.

I will be selling his treasures--he passed away very unexpectedly and I am keeping material for me to fish with but 40 rods and that many secret reels he never let me breathe on (let alone crash in the water with) I am wading in unchartered territory and it is a bit daunting. I am plowing through. But, this 300 series reel --would it make sense for me to sell this and how much should I consider reasonable?

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why Orvis put serial numbers on their reels that were designed by Stanley Bogdan, but Bogdan himself never put any serial numbers on his own reels? Bogdan always claimed it took 20 hours of labor to make each of his salmon reels, which meant if one person worked the average of 2,000 hours per year, only 100 could be made. Nobody knows for sure how many Bogdan reels were made and neither would the IRS if serial numbers were never established. Many times Stanley traded them for fishing trips and under the table for cash. But, it's nice to know that Orvis did put serial numbers on all their CFO reels.

Unknown said...

can someone upload a picture of the inside of the small silver hardy built anniversary cfo models..

Mlh said...

Hi, I have a Orvis CFO reel (demo) made by hardys in 1970/71 I’m trying to find out the value of this reel as it is obviously very unique, pls get in touch if you can help, possibly sell. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Found this page when bringing my CFO "back to life." Thank you for the article and for keeping the web page online!

Anonymous said...

gary..whats the value of the cfo II MADE IN USA?

Anonymous said...

have a gold colored cfo III with small holes around the perimeter..like new cond. any value?

Algi67 said...

Glad to see this blog till alive !! I picked up a gold CFO 3 with engraved detail. Unlike the limited run of 500 this reel has no number and a gold anodised foot (the ltd were silver). It has a professionally made and affixed Piscatorial Society emblem l. I can only assume this is a one off presentation reel. Unless someone following this blog can tell me they have a cupboard full ! So, that’s my question ... does anyone else have one of these or know of its history?

Anonymous said...

I have a green CFO 3 disc. Silver hardware. 2 screw foot. 2 screw line guard.
Is this a Hardy made 1994? Any help is appreciated!

Sierra Strange said...

I own an "off shore" CFO III, year unknown and it's gorgeous. It fishes beautifully. The reel roars like a CFO should AND HAS ALL THE QUALITIES OF MY ABEL MADE CFO I. Don't be fooled. These reels are special across the board. Whether made in the States, England or abroad..

Unknown said...

Is there an adapter so a spool can be put on a line winder so one does not have to crank the spool full of line?
I would love to see drawings of the CFO III with dimensions etc.

Someone should write a book on this fine piece of sporting equipment and engineering and manufacturing art.

Brian Shaffer said...

Thank you for posting this. I am forever grateful. Brian

Ard Stetts said...

Thank you for making this info available, I linked your page on the North American Fly Fishing Forum.

Ard Stetts

Unknown said...

I have a good lineup of Orvis catalogs and recently found that the brown/gold CFO Disc reels that are marked Made in England and have porting around the perimeter of the frame were introduced in 1994. I know the same version was listed in the 2005 catalog as being made in England as well. At some point after that they were outsourced to Asia, but I have a gap in catalogs covering that time period. I'm happy to send a pic of the catalog page if it would be helpful. bartgolfs@yahoo.com

Paul said...

I just bought an absolutely Mint CFO IV, stunning condition. Identical to the 20th anniversary edition in terms of assembly except for three major anomalies.
1.Its a Nice Matt Black
2.Hardy Pin, without screw
3.On the Soft Case Leather Canvas, Blueish Lambswool on inside Orvis is printed in Gold with Larger O at on ORVIS and missing the ® is missing.

Bought in Banchory Aberdeenshire, Scotland early 2000. Original buyer thinks its a 90's reel. Could have been rejected to go over Pond. Unsure if its part of a Batch or a Prototype.

If its a fake then its absolutely best one ever, I doubt it. Even stitching to Case identical to Case. Compared to one on Ebay was selling for £375. I bought for £140. On digital scales 112.5 grams.

Unknown said...

In your great article and history of the CFO you sated "There is also some debate as to whether or not all 300 reels were ultimately available for sale". I have series number 300 of 300 so apparently they made all 300.