New Orvis Hydros Rods for 2010

freshwaterhydros.jpgOrvis has just pulled the curtain up on their new lineup of rods for 2010: the Hydros (pictured). Perhaps sensing that the economy is not quite what it once was, the boys from Manchester have made a series of very good decisions to essentially bring the popular Helios into reach of the masses. The new rods will cost $495 for all freshwater models and $525 for all saltwater models. They are going to be available in every weight class that Helios comes in, with the exception of the switch rods. According to Orvis’ Tom Rosenbauer, they’re built on the exact same tapering and scrim technology as the Helios rods, with many of the exact same mandrels used as forms.

saltwaterhydrosvert.jpgHow has Orvis managed to cut almost $200 off the price? By eliminating a lot of the Ferrari-level jewelry (bringing this baby more into the Cadillac class). The Hydros rods will not sport REC’s Recoil guides (the flexible, bounce-back ones), nor will they have as light a reel seat. The male ends of the ferrules are unpainted (actually a feature, not a bug–unpainted ferrules seat more securely). The rods will come with a traditional Cordura-covered tube rather than a woven graphite model. Due to the hardware changes, the rods will be slightly heavier–more akin to the premium models offered by other companies. Interestingly, they will be available October 15; well in time for Christmas.
In short, to offer a little editorial, this is still a premium rod. Orvis seems to be filling in a gap in their lineup, offering a $500-class rod with very similar hardware to that offered by other companies, but building on what they believe to be a great blank design (and from what I’ve heard about Helios sales, the market certainly agrees on that blank). All in all this is a very intelligent move; rather than pushing the price envelope ever further, they are consolidating technological advances and putting more rods in more hands.
Have an opinion about The Big O? Love the new Hydros? Hate it gently? Let us know in the Comments section!

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  • Cole M.

    I figure at this years FFR show, we are going to see a ton of manufactures with products that are essentially the same, but cheaper because of the state of the economy. Good for Orvis, because I know that TFO, even though I don’t fish them, has cornered a huge portion of the market.

  • aw#5

    wow! what a deal. this was one of the most overpriced rods ever and $495 is what these rods SHOULD have cost to begin with.

  • 9/4
    After 3 times trying a Helios, I finally found a rod / reel combination, I liked. But not at $775, so no Helios went home with me.
    I am glad to see Orvis rethinking their pricing structure and offering a top quality rod for $200 less than the Helios. $200 that can be applied toward a good reel.
    We need to get more people into fly fishing and not drive them away with prices for the rich only. I hope more gear manufacturers will take a look at lowering prices as it will help the mom and pop shops too.

  • There seems to be plenty of manufacturers addressing the masses when it comes to affordability in fly fishing. TFO is the first that comes to mind. I doubt manufacturers will “lower prices” on existing products, but like Orvis, I think you will see new products designed to hit a lower price point. I predicted “deflation” about a year ago, but what we are now seeing is a creative way to get around that “bad word”.

  • broglin chattin

    I agree and glad to see what orvis is doing. i have 6 flyrods ( orvis, thomas and thomas, TFO, sage,et) and last year when i got another rod from orvis that didnt have the male ends painted i thought they were the ugliest rods i had ever seen . I took it back and got another rod.I would rather pay the extra money to have the male painted. As a rod builder the rods look half finished when they dont paint the male parts of the rods.

  • Charles

    Casted them at the show. Every rod but the Helios is made in Korea. This is the korean version of the helios. There is nothing really helios about it.

  • Marshall Cutchin

    According to Orvis, the thermoplastic technology they use is proprietary and has never been shared with any other rod factory. There are no thermoplastic blanks made in either China or Korea as they do not have this technology, so the rods can not have been made anyplace except the Orvis rod shop in Vermont.

  • William

    The only 25 year waranty Orvis rod that is made in Korea is the Clearwater II. The TLS, T3, Helios, and Hydros rods are all made in Manchester VT.

  • Patrick

    Every single Orvis -blank- is manufactered in Vermont, including the Clearwater and Streamline. The Clearwater and Streamline blanks are then shipped to korea to be assembled and wrapped. Unfortunately being the fact those two are assembled in Korea, they are classified as Korean made. All other rods in the Orvis line-up are entirely produced and assembled in Manchester, Vermont. I think it is really cool that even there low end rod blanks are still produced in USA.