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Old 03-14-2013, 06:55 PM
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Default 1985 Orvis Western seriese

I just got my hands on a 1985 Orvis Western series 8'-9" 7wt.

You don't hear much about these rods, so any input/opinions would be helpful. I've read that they are a bit faster than the F&F Superfine I had.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: 1985 Orvis Western seriese

Yes, they are a bit faster than the first-generation Orvis graphite series, but they are not "fast" by today's standards. I have an 8' 4 wt Western "Midge", which is actually a pretty nice dry-fly rod for delicate spring creek fishing. Don't know how helpful that is in describing your 7, though. Best thing to do is just take it out and cast it.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:30 AM
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Default Re: 1985 Orvis Western seriese

By the early 1980's, makers of graphite rods were beginning to "get it". The first graphite rods, Fenwick HMG in 1974 and, a year latter, the 1st. gen. Orvis "All Rounder", "Trout", "Far and Fine", etc. where essentially fiberglass-style rods made out of the new carbon fiber material. Meanwhile, Harry Wilson, in San Fransisco, who was making esoteric fiberglass rods, took a look at the wonderful new material and said, no. This stuff is much lighter but much stiffer than glass and, to extract its potential as a rod building material, it must be used differently. In comparison to a fiberglass rod, Harry realized, graphite rods needed to be longer in length and lighter in line weight to perform similar fly fishing functions. So instead of the ubiquitous 8'/#6 glass rod you might use a 9'/#5...or, and Wilson was the first to do this, a 9'/#4 rod. They were called, after his glass rods with internal sleeves, Scott Pow-R-Ply; they were brilliant and live on to this day as the Scott "G" Series. In fact the President of current Scott, now in Telluride, CO, worked for the great Wilson in his youth! Orvis took note and their new rod designs starting in the early 80's were called the "Western Series" (didn't we have a thread about eastern and western rods and where they were made?). So instead of a 7'9"/#5 F&F (which they still made) you were offered an 8'/#4 Western...not to challenge the faithful, I had and still do have a F&F, the new 8'/#4 was a superior rod in every way and I still fish mine on small streams with its original CFO to this day. The real stand out besides this 4-weight was the new 5, an 8'9"/#5 which, in my not humble opinion, was the best #5 trout rod Orvis ever built until, possibly, the newest H2's. There was also, in the same 8'9" length, an 8-weight with which I caught my first bonefish ever; another great rod and your #7, which I regret I did not get, is the sibling to that rod. the Westerns, featured un-sanded blanks with the tape scars intact, dark red wraps, matte natural anodized aluminum seats and had relatively (for those days) advanced faster actions...we would consider them, along with those early Scotts, moderate today. A little latter, Gary Loomis started to make his mark with faster but softer tipped rods and the Fenwick rod team which became a new company named Sage, introduced RPL and everything changed. But for a while in the mid 1980's the Orvis Western Series was the high bar and still fish well today.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: 1985 Orvis Western seriese

In 1985 Orvis rods came in 3 actions. "Full-Flex" , "Western Series", and "PowerFlex".
"rods for all kinds of fishing conditions, not just stiff tournament rods for casting into plastic hoops"

..... from the ad in Fly Fisherman, July 1985
Quote:
For more aggressive fishing in big rivers, under windy conditions, with big flies, we make our Western Series. A powerful butt graduating smoothly into a sensitive tip gives these rods power and the ability to cast a very tight loop without sacrificing delicate. Other makers of quality rods make this type of action only. Some use a high-modulus (stiff) graphite that requires as much as 25% fiberglass to modify the flex and strengthen the rod. In all cases Orvis Western Series rods with low-modulus graphite will cast as far, are as durable, yet are measurable lighter and more responsive. Our Western series rods are made from 8 to 10 feet in length and in line sizes 4 - 8, so no matter what flies you use or what kind of presentation you prefer, there is a rod in our Western Series for you.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: 1985 Orvis Western seriese

Good official quote which was actually true!
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: 1985 Orvis Western seriese

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post
the new 8'/#4 was a superior rod in every way and I still fish mine on small streams with its original CFO to this day.
Me too! With its CFO even.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: 1985 Orvis Western seriese

Thank you, gentleman. I bought this rod on a whim. As sacrilegious as it may seem, I just could not make the F&F work...or, I wasn't giving it what it needed to work properly in my hands.

I'm hoping that I fair a bit better with this rod mated up to a BBS III with a WF7F.
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