Used tip section for Orvis 8.5 Adams fly rod

MacWayne

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I know it is a long shot, but I am looking for the tip section for an Orvis HLS Adams 8.5 foot, 4 wt rod circa 1990’s. The rod is beyond the Orvis warrant, so I am out of luck getting it fixed by Orvis. If anybody can help me out I would appreciate it, I really love this rod and would like to have a replacement tip section.
 

sweetandsalt

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Me too, if anyone has broken the butt of two piece 8'9"/#5 W.S. circa mid 1980's, I would like your tip please. Orvis can't/won't make me one. Sage or Scott will build you a replacement section for an old rod but not Orvis.
 
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I have the 8’6” 4 weight HLS Silver Label version -that is a neat rod. I’m not interested in letting the top piece go, but you may want to keep an eye out on the big auction website. You can do a saved search and get e-mails if there are any listings for “Adams HLS” or whatever you put as your desired search/listing criteria.

From my experience, S&S is correct. Unfortunately, they are less likely to build rods of old generations (particularly, 2003 and older).

Less than 5 or 6 years ago, Jim West was still in charge of assembly at the Vermont rod shop. He seemed willing to re-create anything they had parts for. He and the Orvis rod shop was kind enough to build me two new rods form scratch. I mostly wanted them for nostalgic reasons, but I do occasionally fish them. An 7’11” 4 weight two piece (coined the 7/11) and the 7’9” 5 weight Far & Fine. I choose to have the wood seat insert rather than cork as I’m 38 and that’s more representative of what I fished with in the 90’s. They also only charged me $350 each, which was nice as I believe they were around $345 in 2003, which was the last year of the unsanded versions. They sent them in nice powder coated aluminum tubes with nice socks. The tubes did not have the designation on the end cap, so we used some cork board and the school laser engraver to make our own.
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S&S: That is a neat sample of what I believe to be one of, if not, the very best unsanded Orvis rod.

I had one, too. I bought mine used, however. Enjoyed fishing it. (8’ 4 weight is a great designation, IMHO). It was in mostly good shape except for a very rough section on the tip-top. This bothered me, as it had to be wearing the fly line. I have built rods for some time, so change out of a tip-top is reasonably easy. However, the tip wouldn’t budge with a high amount of heat from my alcohol lamp. Any more force and I figured I’d be searching for a new top section. I ended up selling it locally. I’ve owned Sage ZXL 480-4, 480 Sage Launch, 480 Sage Vantage, 7’9” Winston LT5, 8’3” Winston LT5, Winston GVX 480-4, Redington CT 480-4, 7/11 Orvis, and Sage TXL 4710-3 in the 8 foot 4 weight realm. I’ve since sold all of those except the 7/11.

I would say I enjoyed the 8’ 4wt Western more than most of the above.
 
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sweetandsalt

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I too like the 8'/#4 configuration and you have had most that have existed. Winston makes a pair of them now but they are not so fine. There is the Tom Morgan Favorite now produced by Tom Morgan Rodsmiths but it is very flexy and a bit imprecise, limited. I chose the Orvis W.S. over the TMF back in the 80's and it remains the oldest rod I own that still sees periodic usage.

In my personal opinion and I get to cast a lot of rods, the Orvis Western Series was the best of any material rods Orvis ever produced. Wait a minuet! Better than the Helios series of rods? Well, actually there are some very good rods particularly among the H3D's which no doubt fish better than these mid 80's rods, however, when compared to same size rods from Sage, Loomis, Scott and others the current H3's in general are second even third tier...there is not one of them that has made it into my kit but my wife has one. On the other hand, the W.S in their day were better casting/fishing rods than their contemporary Scott and Winston (both of which I owned at that time) so, again my personal opinion, that was the only time Orvis was #1 in fly rods.

Not uniform, it never is, but the standouts in the Western Series was this 8'/#4, the three 8'9" rods, #'s 5, 7 & 8 and the 10'/#7. By around 1986 (aprox.) Orvis marketing decided the uneven length 2 pc. rods (the tip section longer than the butt Westerns as in the 8'9" models...the #5 was easily best in class in its day by a wide margin really) were not what the public wanted they wanted even sizes so the 8'9" become 9' W.S. rods. I don't know why but the 9'/#5 became a dull flabby rod, what a shame. Marketing to the base started a long decline in Orvis rods accompanied by an inability to hold a rod designer on staff for any length of time and management dictating action styles, similar to the decline at Winston. Also by 1986 G-Loomis and Sage burst onto the fly fishing seen producing no-compromise rods that took the performance fly rod market by storm and have never stopped.

Yes there have been isolated bright spots in Orvis rods since then but not sustained and Orvis could rise again perhaps under their newest Perkins President...they simply have to make marketing reflect what they allow the design team to do instead of the revers. Winston too could rise again...they simply have to HIRE a designer and team to support him though this may involve a change in ownership; I've long thought Simms should buy Winston and move the operation to Bozeman.

Still I await a terrific contemporary upgrade for my venerable old 8'/#4 and whenever I have to opportunity to talk with a rod designer of merit, of which there are not that many, I ask their opinion on designing such a small stream dry fly rod with precision...usually I get a "maybe".
 
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