So I've had the privilege of fishing with the Orvis Helios 2 or H2 for about half a year now so it is time for a review. I've throw small dries, big terrestrials, nymphed with tiny midges, clunky stonefiles and tugged my fair share of streamers so I can thoroughly say what I think of the latest and great from the one oldest fly fishing company in the business of making fly rods. Orvis, you have a sporting tradition of excellence and the H2 is a prime example.
AT FIRST GLANCE
It's a beautiful piece of work. Handcrafted in Manchester, Vermont, the H2 takes on a brilliant blue, accented by a little splash or red and grey. The only knock I had on the rod when I first held it was the digital camo reel seat. I'm not a fan of camo, but with a reel in action and your mind on the prize, I got over it!
The cork handle grip is comfortable and the lightweight balance and feel of the H2 was amazing in the showroom and even better on the water. Having thrown the original Helios a few times, I quickly noticed the lighter, high performance feel, out dueling the H1 in all feel and weight categories.
When you are getting the latest and greatest, you have to pair a rod with the high performance Mirage. I paired my 905-4 Tip Flex with a Mirage III and threw a little Hydros 5WT floating line on my rig. Rigged and ready, it was by fair the best feeling fly rod I've ever hauled. Sure a combo like this adds up, but when you know you are supporting an American made product/company, both the rod and reel are covered by warranty for 25 years and the H2 is more impact resistant than ever, you will sleep easy at night knowing this rod is made by serious anglers like you and that even if you close it in a car door down the line, you are covered!
FINALLY GETTING WET
My first crack at the H2 came this May. I hit the east Walker with a nymph setup and quickly moved to a streamer when things turned nasty. The rod loaded the floating line effortlessly. I flipped my nymphs and midges into run after run challenging myself to lay cast under branches and over logs to see just how the H2 would let me nail my targets.
After I had caught a few a big thunderstorm blew over the valley. I do one of two things when a thunderstorms tries to blow me off a river. I either make my way to the car or switch to a streamer and roll the dice. Since it was windy and raining and not too much nearby lighting, I decided to toss a sculpin pattern.
The H2 tip flex allowed my to make slow-then-extremely quick roll casts launching my streamer under banks and below overhanging trees, getting my scuplin in the exact tight spots I aimed for. A couple rainbows in the 18 to 21 inch range later, I figured I had found a new go-to 5 weight for years to come.
WHY A TIP FLEX VS. MID FLEX?
I choose the tip flex model because I like to be in full control of my line. Sure a mid-flex is more universal for a variety of conditions, but I choose the 905-4 tip flex for its added stiffness for fishing heavier bugs like streamers and chernobyl ants or the biggest stonefiles. I was contemplating a 5-mid vs. a 6-mid and felt the 5-tip would be right in the middle. Much of the regional water I fish sees wind so a little extra backbone and stiffness is ideal.
So far, I've pulled in 23-inch browns and 22-inch rainbows on the Truckee, 21-inch rainbows on the East Walker, 24-inch cutthroat on the Yellowstone and loved every minute with my new stick.
GO CAST ONE SOON!
I think you'll agree even just giving this rod a cast at your local Orvis retail shop that it is something special. Sure it is a high end rod, but when you consider it could be your fishing buddy for the next 25 years, that's simply priceless. Orvis just released Switch rods models just in time for Christmas too.
For more information, swing by the Reno Orvis or go Orvis.com. There's a perfect H2 for you whether you need an 8-weight for Pyramid or the Rogue's steelhead or you simply need a 5-weight for the Eastern Sierra.