I was at the local Orvis shop (45 miles away) today, and they were stocked up on Helios and Hydros rods. If anyone thinks the Hydros is a less expensive Helios, you need to see them in person. My first encounter with Helios rods came the same month they were released (another Orvis shop), and it was a 9' 8wt that was remarkably light. It also looked fantastic, and just begged to be cast. Today was the first time I ever held a Hydros, and that took some doing: they look awful compared to the Helios. They are much heavier than the Helios, do not feel as lively, and look terrible. The blue blank bears little resemblance to the glossy photo's, so I didn't even bother casting one. I just had to share....
Um, are you sure that you were looking at a Hydros? The difference in weight between a Helios 9' 8wt and a Hyros is less than one ounce. Also, from what I've read, the action between the rods should be nearly identical, according to several magazine tests. In fact, the only physical difference between the rods (as far as I can tell) is the guides and the other hardware on the helios are Ti and steel on the Hydros. Perhaps you picked up the wrong rod by mistake?
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark
The stated weights were 3oz for the Helios, and 3 7/8oz for the Hydros. These were mid-flex rods, and the Helios just felt more lively and crisp in the hand. As I said, the looks alone kept me from even casting the Hydros, but I don't know that would have changed my mind. The blue color on the Hydros looked like something a rental company would use. 7/8oz in the wrong place could make quite a bit of difference. The Hydros definitely felt heavier while holding both rods at once, and switching hands didn't make a difference. I've seen on other sites (and in magazines) reviews/comments that basically say the Hydros uses the Helios blank. That's been challenged on a couple of blogs and sites, and I looked at Orvis's site last month to see what they had to say. Orvis does not make any such claim, and only say that the Hydros incorporates what they learned from the Helios. While that might seem as though they are linking the two products, they never come close to saying the blanks are the same.
P.S. I had a 1964 1/2 (makes a difference ) Mustang when I was 16. It had the straight 6 engine, not the V-8 289. That was enough to make me want the real deal, and I had a 1970 Boss 302 a year later. The Hydros and Helios remind me of those two cars, although the 64 1/2 did have a decent paint job....
PPS: I just looked at Orvis site, and Tom Rosenbauer states that the Hydros is the second lightest rod in the world. Well, Winston has the BIIIX in 9' 8wt at 3.5oz, making it lighter than the Hydros. What's up with that?
Have not seen a Hydros but your comments are stimulating me into a trip to a local shop to compare them to the Helios. I read the Orvis literature the same way you do, "Orvis does not make any such claim, and only say that the Hydros incorporates what they learned from the Helios. While that might seem as though they are linking the two products, they never come close to saying the blanks are the same."
It just doesn't make sense that Orvis would use their premium blank (obviously the justification for the higher Helios price ) to make a similar rod that they sold for considerably less but differed only in using cheaper fittings. Have noticed similar marketing at other mfgs that has not received the same attention. Frankly I think the fly rod industry is entering a period of adjustment that will result in some new names emerging and old names becoming memories. We'll see.
Thanks FrankB2 for the update. I have a Helios and was curious on the Hydros touch and feel. If it feels heavy, then I bet 2 to 3 hours of High Sticking will wear your arm out.
I agree with Imxer about the Rod industry. A local fly shop owner and rod builder in Mo, talked about his trip to Korea where he was finding quality rods for really cheap. He was having problems getting blanks because the manufactures didn't understand why you would want a blank. My hope was he could get some quality blanks so individuals like myself could try building a "High End" rod for cheap. You know $80 instead of $400.
I don't want to see a Winston or Scott go under because of a shake up.. Hopefully, if it comes to that they too can adjust with industry changes.. Look what Hardy did, they bought back Greys.
__________________ -Tom Wilson Attention New Fly Fishers and those just wanting to improve- Join a Fly Fishing Club. They have classes on every aspect of fly fishing for beginners to advanced for free or cheaper than offered elsewhere. Some offer mentor programs. You will make friends with other fly fishers. Clubs often have outings in which members pay special group rates for guides or to fish prime private access areas.
About companies adjusting their rod lines, the Winston Passport did outstanding in Yellowstone Anglers' recent test. James Anderson said the Passport was so good it was scary, and that he'd have a hard time trying to justify charging $500 more for a BIIIX. Now that's the sort of thing I like to see when a company offers a bargain. Knocking a couple hundred off is one thing, but at less than 1/3 of the cost....
I just finished reading John Gierach's bamboo rod book, and he said pretty much the same thing about heavy rods, Tom. The Helios raison d'etre (or at least the price's raison d'etre) is incredible light weight. I didn't have a scale with me yesterday, but I'd be interested in the true weight of both rods. I used to carry a measuring tape, and various other equipment into guitar shops, and they do deviate among models. How the guitar sounds, and how a rod casts can't be measured without playing/casting, so. There were lots of nice bamboo rods at the shop I visited yesterday, and I was more interested in those rods.
I wonder how the High Stickers in the days of Bamboo or Fiberglass survived! LMAO
I am glad I am too young to know about Fiberglass. I heafted one I found in my Dad's Barn this October. I swear it wasn't much lighter than rebar I was using to poor a concrete parking pad this summer...
I agree w/ Frank about the 2 rods. I wasn't so focused on the weight when I compared them, I did not like the recovery rate of the Hydros. I have a 5 wt Helios that I love. I thought buying a Hydros in a different weight would save me some money, but I couldn't stand it. Still love the Helios.