February 07, 2024
The onward-and-upward evolution of the Orvis Helios lineup of fly rods continues with the release of the fourth generation of the Helios series that began 16 years ago. The all-new Helios line-up arrived on Feb. 7, 2024, culminating a seven-year search for rod-making perfection and angler precision that reaches the edge of imagination and performance.
Orvis, the famed fly fishing company in business since 1856, first introduced the original Orvis ZG (Zero Gravity) Helios model in 2008, the name an homage to Greek mythology.
"In Greek mythology, Helios was imagined as a handsome god crowned with the shining aura of the sun, who drove a chariot across the sky each day and returned to the East at night," the company said then. "From Helios, we get helium, a name coined from the Greek helios because the element was observed in the solar spectrum during an eclipse in 1868. NASA thinks of Helios as a unique electrically powered experimental lightweight flying wing. Orvis has introduced Helios as the lightest fly rod in the industry.”
After a first step toward fly-rod perfection with the ZG Helios, the company pushed the envelope forward again a few years later with the Helios 2 in 2011 and then the Helios 3D (Distance) and 3F (Finesse) models in 2017.
Now, Orvis is preparing to go where no Helios rod has been before. The all-new Orvis Helios rod series is now four times more accurate than the previous Helios 3 model, being tested and proven to go beyond previous industry benchmarks for accuracy. It is available in both the Helios D and Helios F configurations.
The long-time fly rod maker says its engineers have been able to solve one of the most vexing accuracy dilemmas previously facing casting precision—tip displacement.
"When the energy of the forward cast is released, it can cause the rod tip to wobble around the horizontal and vertical axes—reducing the accuracy of the cast," Orvis said in a news release. "The new Helios displays dramatically increased hoop strength and minimized vibration along the blank, leading to a radical reduction of tip displacement. The result is a precise, smooth energy transfer from your hand to the fly and laser-like precision."
In addition to the new rod being more stable at the tip—and thus four times more accurate—the rod also excels in another key area: durability.
To achieve that, Orvis engineers found more bend in the rod design and more backbone in the fighting end to make the all-new Helios design 25 percent stronger than the previous generations of the rod. That means more lifting power whena big brown trout runs under the boat or makes a ruckus at the net, places where rods are compromised and piscatorial battles are lost.
A third improvement in the all-new Helios lineup is an upgrade in quality, something that is difficult to say, given the top-shelf quality that Orvis fly rods have been known for over generations. But again, engineers met this challenge, while also reducing perceived weight in the hand—including a 10-percent reduction in levered swing weight—something that delivers a balanced feel, smooth energy transfer, effortless casting all day.
Some of that is through science and engineering, some of it is by paying attention to detail, and some of that is just simply providing plenty of high quality and good looks for consumers. That includes a black aluminum reel seat on big-game models and a burled hardwood reel seat on small-game models. Add in titanium stripping guides, REC recoil titanium snake guides, high-quality cork grips and a variety of grip configurations, quick-release snap closure rod socks with model identifiers printed onto the sock, and sharp looking aluminum rod tubes, and this rod looks as good as it performs.
The all-new Orvis Helios lineup isn't simply something born out of a laboratory. It also comes from real-world fly-fishing field testing conducted by 20 expert anglers who caught thousands of fish while pushing these rods to the limit in seven different countries.
Expert fly angler and noted author George Daniel, a frequent contributor to Outdoor Sportsman Group's Fly Fisherman magazine, was impressed by the rods he was able to field test: "The rod is smooth, feels incredibly light in hand, and places the fly where I want with little effort.”
Orvis’ aim is at fly anglers who seek small-stream finesse, fight trout on brawling rivers from a drift boat, or wading in looking for Euro-nymphing tactical precision. That includes anglers seeking a shorter fly rod that performs well in tight quarters and big-game fly hunters looking for everything from a double-digit largemouth bass to the biggest tarpon.
There are 29 all-new Helios models, 12 of which are in the Finesse lineup (ranging from a 7-foot, 6-inch 2-weight to a 9-foot 8-weight) and 17 new rods in the Helios Distance lineup (ranging from a 10-foot 4-weight to an 8-6 14-weight for blue water demons of the deep). There's also eight different grip and butt configurations, helping you zero in on the ultimate new Helios fly rod that is perfect for your needs.
The MSRP for the new Helios rod lineup is $1,098 for freshwater rods and $1,198 for the big game rods (anything with a fighting butt) and that the pricing split starts with the 9' 6-weight Helios D model.