I confess at the outset that I am a fly rod junkie. It seems that I am always in the market for another great fly rod. So, after reading several scintilating reviews of the new Orvis Helios 3 fly rod, I decided to give them a try.
Orvis’s stated goal in the development of the H3 was to produce the most accurate fly rod available. You can read about the details of its development at Orvis.com. They have done away with the old flex system, tip- & mid-, and now refer to the rod actions as “finesse” or “distance”. I was able to cast both actions with 5 weight rods, and distance actions with 6 and 8 weight rods at my local Orvis shop in Charlottesville, Va.
I was looking for a rod to use in Montana, with its big rivers, big trout, and lots of wind. Generally I prefer medium-fast action rods. The first thing I noticed with the H3 rods was how light they are. Their swing weight is so low, that casting them is nearly effortless. In fact, I had to “back-off” my casting motion in order to avoid “tuck casts”!
The next thing I appreciated, was how much”feel” the D rods have. I expected them to be stiff, like many fast-action rods. But a soft tip provided lots of feedback. Directly comparing the 9 foot, 5 weight rods, I didn’t appreciate much more “feel” with the F rod, but definitely felt that I gave up some casting distance. I can’t say whether this is true in other weights or lengths.
After casting all four rods, I settled on the 9 foot, 6 weight rod. With further use, I continue to be impressed with the “feel” at even short distances, that is, 25 feet. At 50 feet, the rod remains deadly accurate, throwing very tight loops. At 75+ feet, the rod continues to throw tight, accurate loops with minimal effort. I used to envision a casting target the size of a dinner plate. With this rod, I think I’ll revise my target size to that of a teacup!
Aesthetically, I love the matte, i.e. non reflective, finish and smooth cork handle. The white butt continues to draw some criticism, but it doesn’t bother me. It certainly doesn’t distract from the rod’s performance, which after all, is the point or purpose of a good rod.
In summ, the Orvis promo information is not hype. This rod really performs, and is the best rod I have yet cast! I can hardly wait for Orvis to introduce further rod weights and lengths.
Written by Al Simpson, May 2018.