Orvis Helios 2 9' 5wt tip flex
Had a chance to play with the new H2 rods in all of their available sizes and configurations yesterday. I will focus on the 9x5 as im sure that will be the one most people are interested in.
First its a pretty rod overall but not the best. I really like the dark gray color of the reel seat and the wood is gorgeous. The blue blank is only so so in my view and the H2 graphic is out of place on a Orvis rod. I think the last Helios was overall much better looking. The components and build quality are what you would expect from a high end Orvis...Top notch and perfect. Orvis and Winston have by far the best cork quality and this rod was no exception.
I noticed that the rod is the same weight exactly as the last Helios which tells me they are using the same or similar graphite and resin systems. As the previous Helios is still lighter than anything else on the market this seems fine with me. If you were expecting a jump in technology though you will NOT get it with this rod.
The taper however is vastly different in my opinion. I own the previous tip flex Helios 5 and can honestly say this rod casts nothing like the original. Though labeled as a tip flex, it flexes much further down into the blank. Its a easy rod to cast and generates good line speed with or without hauling. Accuracy was also good. The rod seems to track well and recover quickly as well.
The sweet spot for this rod with a standard weight wf5 was right about 35 ft which is about right for a #5. I was able to feel casts in close but go past 70' with relative ease. I was very pleased overall with the rods casting. The swing weight was also very light. Lighter than the last Helios? I think so...but i cant be sure.
Overall this rod sits comfortably with the other top end rods on the market...the Zenith, BIIIX, ONE, etc...Its not game changing or earth shattering but its a really nice rod. I will probably buy one though as i am a wh0re.
Re: Orvis Helios 2 9' 5wt tip flex
I must admit that I like the feel and performance of the original Helios better than that of the Helios 2. The rods are so different that they probably should not have kept the Helios name for the new rod.
Re: Orvis Helios 2 9' 5wt tip flex
I have fished Helios (original) in #'s 5, 6 (in Montana) and 8, 9 (in the Bahamas). I disliked the 5, the 6 was good, the 8 was easily bettered by the 9 which was OK. I have not fished but have cast a bunch of H2's. I blind cast the two 5-weights switching off with a great casting friend and the tip-flex easily bettered the mid and was a significant improvement over original Helios. I agree with the reviewer; it is not a great leap ahead of the competition but is now a contender. The surprise was the 8-weight. The original version was no bonefish rod but this one is a powerhouse and smooth and easy to cast well on top of it. By far the best H2 I cast, though I look forward to trying the 8 1/2'/#4 which was not yet available at the time I sampled them.
I have postulated that the original tapers lacked sufficient low taper power reserves, OK in a #4 but not in an 8-weight. I thought Orvis should introduce a limited sub-category of Helios (Helios+ ?); kind of like Sage originally did with TCR, with heavily revised and beefed up tapers for anglers pursuing gamefish in more demanding environments...instead they brought in a new guy and re-did all the tapers. Good move, Orvis.
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