Less Than Zero: Orvis's New "Helios" Rods

Orvis Helios Fly RodLast week Orvis’s Tom Rosenbauer rather cagily asked if I might want a peek at a new rod, which, of course, I could not talk about yet. I said “Sure.” Apparently he thought he could take the risk, so yesterday rod arrived. When the UPS guy handed me the box, I thought it was empty. Seriously.
I took the rod out, strung it up with a nine-weight line and cast it alongside three other rods for comparison. Hands down it is the lightest nine-weight I have ever held. That might change — along with cosmetics — in the production rod, of course. But in my follow-up conversation, Tom said the new technology allowed them to dramatically change the taper of the rod and drop its weight to less than 75% of that of the Zero G (“How do you get less than zero?” I was tempted to ask). Anyway, seems Orvis is in pursuit of the Lightest Production Rod award and they may have it. As for price, I’m guessing that this rod is going to top the charts; it just feels expensive, like a titanium reel or vacuum-bagged boat.
“Crisp” is the word that comes immediately to mind when you cast this rod. For a caster like me, whose rod tip tends to wander, the new level of control is pretty obvious. It reminds me of the Sage Z-Axis a little, and of the Loomis GLX Pro series. A couple of other quick observations: Other than noticing that it loaded quickly, I actually felt the line passing through the guides, a sure sign that this rod is both light and fast. The rod finish is very appealing too, and though it may not be Orvis’s final choice, I hope they stick with golden olive color and burgundy wraps.
We’ll let you know when we get more details. Meanwhile we are going to go see how the Sanibel beach snook like super-light fly rods.

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  • Clyde Pullen

    Wow, sounds like a winner. A lighter rod would help us older guys with fatigue.