IFTD 2017 Update: Orvis Helios 3

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Yeah… it’s all that.  Worth the wait.  Deserving of the hype.  Honestly, it had to be, because Orvis is going all-in with this rebranded flagship rod.  The Manchester marketing machine will no doubt drive sales, but at the end of the day, there is a substantive performance characteristic that serves as the unique selling proposition: accuracy.  As we reported in the recent print issue of Angling Trade, the blank is constructed in a manner that affords easy loading (that the caster immediately feels), so it generates line speed without redundant false casts.  More importantly, it tracks and stops with clean precision.  There’s no wobble at the delivery.  The tip action stops and sticks, and thus the fly goes where the angler wants to send it.  What that really adds up to is a rod that negates the need for redundant (and fish-spooking) false casts.  You don’t have to be a professional caster to feel the benefit, but in skilled hands, it’s eye-opening.  We’ve been fishing it for two months now, and we like it more now than we did on day one.  That’s not at all to say we didn’t like it at first.  To the contrary, we’re gaining appreciation as we realize what the rod can do in various fishing situations.  I’d rather love a rod after months (or years) of fishing, than be smitten at a casting pond but wonder where the magic went when I’m trying to drop a size #20 Trico pattern on a sipping brown trout.  You really need to see it for yourself.

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16 Comments

  1. Daniel Runkle on

    Agree I do like the finish on the Helios 2 more, but shoot if its that sweet who cares. What about the D vs. F? I read the descriptions but was curious if you put your hands on both.

  2. Adrien Schnee on

    Extremely disappointing cosmetics in terms of graphics and reel seat treatment. Among current high end offerings from Scott, Loomis, Hardy, Winston, Sage, Douglas, T and T – any workshop I can think of actually – this is the least attractive rod of the lot. It could have had a much cleaner and more refined look without being overly traditional (which it seems. Orvis is aiming to stay away from).

    I am hopeful it will be a leader is casting ability and that Orvis rethinks the rod visually and offers a world class rod with looks to match when it reaches the market shortly,.

  3. STREAMER PRO on

    I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH ADRIEN. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THEY PUT A BIG WHITE SECTION ON A MATTE BLACK BLANK. I LOVED THE MIDNIGHT BLUE HELIOS 2 RODS BUT THESE ARE JUST TERRIBLE.ORVIS SHOULD PULL THE PLUG ON THESE BEFORE THEY GET TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC EVEN THE REEL SEATS ARE UGLY . NO WAY ARE THEY GOING TO SELL MANY OF THESE AT $895.00. I AM A BIG ORVIS FAN IN GENERAL..BUT I HOPE THEY RE-DO THESE…

  4. Orvis how could you I was looking forward to this rod since my 5 wt got jacked. H2 was ok looking but the stealth h2 was a thing of beauty. I don’t think I can own a rod that looks like this that white section has got to go the. F version green looks better but I don’t want a mid flex.

  5. DAN HALEN. on

    I know the fish dont care what a rod looks like,but I do. what was Orvis thinking. I have an Access and a H2 that I was going to upgrade but these are simply awful..

    • scott friedenstab on

      They must have thought the rod would sell based on the helios name alone.,and did not put much thought into the cosmetics of the rod.On the bright side,since they wont be selling any of these rods,the blanks may come available much sooner….

      • TERRY GLADSTONE on

        THE SAGE SALT HD WON BEST OF SHOW FOR A REASON.LOOK AT THOSE COMPARED TO THIS.THEY ARE NOT EVEN IN THE SAME LEAGUE..

  6. I agree with all of the posts regarding the cosmetics. Orvis seems to have gone all in on a performance-driven look and have completely abandoned the cosmetic roots of the trout rod (understated, but beautiful and soulful). Based on what I’ve seen so far, the reel seat on the trout rods are graphite. Wood and bamboo have soul because they were once living objects. This new rod lacks any soul. It seems to be geared primarily to the millennial and younger crowds. (And how many of them have $900 bucks to drop on a rod?) That white decal is supposed to be a differentiator – to be cool-looking – when it comes to being seen with the rod (i.e., everyone knows you are fishing an Orvis H3). However, I don’t care a flying fiddlers f*@k that other people know what I’m fishing, in fact, I feel it’s kinda douchy to *want* to be seen with it. It seems to defy convention that fly fishing is a contemplative, solitary retreat. Instead, this eyesore of a decal on the H3 screams look at me, look at me, everyone please look at my rod! I suppose this is probably the right marketing technique for the millennial and iGen generation of kids who like to broadcast their every thought and whereabouts. As for me, I don’t care whether people know I’m fishing a $900 rod or not. I care about its performance; and that’s where Orvis is putting its marketing muscle. I suspect over time people will get over their reservations about the cosmetics of the rod but I’m not there and not sure I will get there. Instead of reaffirming and reclaiming Orvis’s own impact and and traditions in the sport, it seems Orvis decided to add to the fly fishing douchbaggery that is ever increasing in this sport. Makes me sad.

  7. Meh, you guys are overthinking it. A fly rod is a tool, not a magic wand. It doesn’t come pre-loaded with soal, you put the soul into it when you fish with it. “Classic” cosmetics and a “refined” look are just opposite aesthetics on the same marketing spectrum, whether you like the old school look or the newer “edgy” cosmetics appeal to you, you’re still buying into the hype. If a new rod is effective at delivering the fly, positioning the line, and fighting the fish then it is worth paying attention to. Good thing Orvis doesn’t take its marketing advice from a half dozen internet trolls, because the principle here is sound and has been successfully practiced by outdoor and sporting businesses for decades.

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