Gear Review: Orvis Recon – 9ft 6wt

A Coffin Fly perched on an Orvis Recon 9ft 6wt.

Over the last 15 months, the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon became one of my favorite all around trout rods to date for the larger water that I fish. Yes, this rod was released in 2015, but I like to thoroughly fish a rod at least full season before drawing any conclusions.

Orvis released the Recon in the mid price category with a retail price of $425 for the freshwater models and $450 for the saltwater models. It seems that over the last year or so, fly fishing companies are putting more emphasis on offering quality products at the mid price level. While priced in the mid level category, the Orvis Recon is anything but.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect when purchasing a mid priced fly rod because I frequently do so. Over the last 15 months my Recon saw much more than a fair share of water time. Some of my other fly rods are actually feeling neglected. For trout fishing on the larger pieces of water I frequently fish, I can’t put the 9ft 6wt Recon down. Why? It’s simple. I love the way it feels in hand, and love the way it casts.

Although physical weight might make the Recon heavier than some other rods, it’s almost impossible to tell that with the rod in hand. The Recon feels so light in hand, and to me that’s what really matters. The Recon’s progressive action also makes it super smooth and easy to cast. Be aware, this rod is faster than you may think. Yet another reason I dig it.

Whether it’s a long cast with a dry fly, roll casting a heavy nymph rig, or putting the fight to a large fish in heavy water, the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon will do so effortlessly. This rod is a great tool for wade fishing, but also for float fishing. When it comes to all around trout fishing on larger waters I feel right at home with the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon.

The only application that I would shy away from the Recon is serious streamer fishing. In my experience, the Recon is not quite as stiff as desired for throwing sinking lines or big, heavy streamers.

If you are in the market for a mid priced all around trout rod, I’m sure it will be hard to find one better than the Recon. At the price point, I almost think that Orvis did too good of a job with this one. Go cast a Recon, see what you think.

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New Product Spotlight: Orvis Helios 2 One-Piece 8’10” 5wt

Orvis recently introduced several new models (5wt, 6wt, & 7wt) to the Orvis Helios 2 One-Piece lineup. Intrigued at the thought of a 8’10” 5wt One-Piece Helios 2, so I decided to add one to my rod quiver for 2017. After spending some time with this rod, I wanted to share my initial thoughts. I have a feeling these new lower weight models of the Helios 2 One-Piece will be well received.

Growing up in the era where four piece or two piece rods are the norm, I had previously never casted a one-piece 5wt rod. While casting I could instantly tell that this Helios 2 One-Piece 8’10” 5wt was much smoother than other four or two piece models. There really is a noticeable difference in how much smoother the energy transfers through a one-piece rod without ferrules.

Being that this 8’10” rod is two inches shorter than a standard 9ft 5wt, it does recover faster and cast a little quicker. The one-piece design feels very easy to cast due to a smoother action that feels a little more progressive than the four or two piece Helios 2 models.

Initially I think that this rod will be great for fishing dry flies, or out of a boat. I’m sure it will more than handle nymph rigs, but it does feel a little more delicate than I expected for a 5wt. Only time will tell.

The one piece design will not likely match well with anglers that travel by air, but I do not think that it will be too cumbersome for normal day to day fishing. Only time will tell for that as well.

I plan to do a full gear review after I’ve had the chance to put the Orvis Helios 2 One-Piece 8’10” 5wt through the paces. Go cast one, I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Gear Review: Orvis Superstrong Plus Nylon Tippet

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After 8 month of fishing through well over 2500 meters of the Orvis Superstrong Plus Tippet, I think it’s safe to share my thoughts.

I switched over to Superstrong Plus at the beginning of last spring when the era of the original Superstrong came to an end. In the past I’ve always used the original Superstrong, so when the new formula was introduced I was excited, but also a little reluctant. I guess you could say I’m not always quick to welcome unexpected change.

Orvis made it aware that the Superstrong Plus has increased wet knot strength. I’m not really sure how they quantified or defined “wet” knot strength, all I know is whether something seems stronger while I’m fishing. To be quite honest, I really did not have any major issues with the strength of the original Superstrong. Although I will admit, the Superstrong Plus does seem to have improved knot strength. This is a nice feature because if you find yourself in a situation where you need a tow strap, just pull out a piece of 1x tippet. But in all seriousness, I’ve noticed less break offs while fishing with the Superstrong Plus. I’m convinced it’s stronger.

At first, my worry with the Superstrong Plus was what would be sacrificed to achieve increased knot strength. One thing that I really liked about the original Superstrong was it’s suppleness. The Superstrong Plus is more abrasive resistant, stronger, and therefore not as supple as the Superstrong. However, I do not experience a noticeable difference between the two while fishing subsurface. The only situation that could differentiate the suppleness between the two formulas might be while dry fly fishing. However, the Superstrong Plus is stronger than the original so switching to a smaller diameter could achieve a similar suppleness.

Two issues that I did have with the original Superstrong were that it didn’t always knot together smoothly, and it seemed to tangle extra on rainy days. Both of these issues were resolved, and have not been a problem with the Superstrong Plus.

Another feature that I have come to love about the Superstrong Plus is the line cutter conveniently located on the tippet spool. It’s genius, the cutter is easy and efficient to use. No more using your teeth to cut a new piece of tippet off the spool.

After fishing Superstrong Plus for nearly a year, I believe that it is an improved product from the orginal Superstrong. Superstrong Plus is strong, like don’t worry as much about breaking off the fish of a lifetime strong. When compared to other tippet options available in today’s market, I put my trust in Superstrong Plus. I feel confident that you would also.

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Gear Review: Orvis Helios 2 – 10ft 7wt

 

The Orvis Helios 2 is a fly rod sought after by many anglers for many different types of fishing, and for good reason. In my own personal quiver, the Orvis Helios 2 10ft 7wt holds the spot as an indicator steelhead fly rod.

One improvement gained over the original Helios is that the Helios 2 is built 20% stronger. When fishing for steelhead, or other fish worthy of a heavy line weight, having a rod that can withstand a serious fight is vital to success. The Orvis Helios 2 10ft 7wt is built to take such abuse, all while only weighing 3 and 3/8 ounces. The combination of strength and lightweight design make fishing with this rod all day very comfortable for anglers. While on the steelhead grind, having a rod that can easily be fished all day without fatigue is a luxury.

The power and line speed offered from the fast action of the Tip Flex Helios 2 makes casting large flies, big indicators, and heavy rigs an easier task. Hence, the Orvis Helios 2 10ft 7wt is a perfect choice as an indicator rod for steelhead. The extra foot in length on the 10ft model allows for easier line control while drifting indicator rigs. Most of my steelhead fishing consists of nymphing with indicator rigs, and I would not want to do so without the reach of a 10ft rod.

I think that a 7wt rod is a great all around choice for steelhead in most situations. The Orvis Helios 2 10ft 7wt has enough finesse to fish lighter tippet when smaller water is low, but it also has enough backbone to fight energetic fish on larger rivers as well.

If swinging flies, or fishing streamers is your main squeeze, I would recommend considering a 9ft fly rod. If you want an indicator rod to nymph for steelhead, the Orvis Helios 2 10ft 7wt is a great option.

 

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For more information on the Orvis Helios 2 10ft 7wt, click HERE

New Product Spotlight: Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel

Photograph from www.orvis.com.
Photograph from http://www.orvis.com.

Orvis introduces a new reel, the Hydros SL, to the 2016 lineup that at first glance seems very impressive for the price point. I know that looks are not everything, however, the aesthetics of this reel are worth drooling over.

Orvis states that the Hydros SL is a “superlarge arbor reel that increases line retrieval rates up to 12%”. While that sounds impressive, the thing that I am most intrigued by is the “3x stronger drag system” labeled to have zero startup inertia.

Zero startup inertia means that the reel’s drag will release line at the same speed while starting as it does while releasing line turning at full speed. This feature is particularly important for those anglers that fish very light tippets. Startup inertia is a major criteria for how I judge reels. The Orvis Hydros SL would be of incredible value if it offers zero start up inertia with a strong drag at such a low price point, relatively.

The Orvis Hydros SL is “reely” worth considering for your arsenal, especially for the more price conscious anglers.

 

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For more information on the Orvis Hydros SL click here: http://www.orvis.com/p/hydros-sl-fly-reels/2fbt