There aren’t very many International Fly Tackle Dealer shows that come and go where The Orvis Company (www.orvis.com) doesn’t make a headline or two. After all, the Vermont-based company has been in the fishing business since the mid-1800s, making fly rods for much of that time.
That includes the 2014 IFTD show in Orlando this week where Orvis is bringing out several new offerings for long rod enthusiasts including one that is tailor-made for those looking for a high performance fly rod that will not break the bank.
“Our new Recon model is a mid-priced fly rod that costs a (few) hundred dollars less than our Helios 2 model,” said Tom Rosenbauer, the marketing director for the company and host of the “Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing” show on World Fishing Network (WFN).
Aimed at meeting the needs of the do-it-yourself type who wants the casting ability, great strength and extreme lightweight attributes of the H2, the Recon series arrives on the scene with its big brother’s DNA if not its higher price tag.
“It isn’t the same material but the flex profile is very similar to the Helios 2,” said Rosenbauer. “We didn’t want to mess with the taper of the rod since the Helios 2 is a multiple award winning rod.”
Rosenbauer says that he believes that Orvis has achieved that goal with the Recon series. With a variety of different rod length options, the three-weight to six-weight rod lineup comes with a variety of features including shadow green blanks, black nickel reel seats and a burl wood insert among other things.
On the saltwater side, different rod length options range from a six-weight rod on up to 10-weights that all feature an EVA foam and cork fighting butt, shadow green blanks, and black nickel reel seats and hardware.
Like the Helios 2, Orvis achieves its Recon performance goals thanks to not only the look and feel of the rod and its hardware, but also through its internal design.
Rosenbauer says that this is due to the company’s proprietary ferrule design and construction methods, something that lets the ferrules be slimmer while allowing for a better energy transfer.
“And we do all of this by building these rods from the ground up in our rod shop in Vermont,” said Rosenbauer. “Everything from the basic components on up to the rod’s construction is completely done in the U.S. And that’s true even all the way down to the Recon’s aluminum fly rod tube.”
In addition to the news of the Recon fly rod’s arrival, Orvis is also bringing out a one-piece design for its popular H2 rod series.
“We’ve been playing with this one a little bit under the radar,” admitted Rosenbauer. “We know that we’re not going to sell a lot of them because you can’t carry them on a plane and they are expensive to ship.
“But guides love them because they never really take their rods apart and these are very strong and are also very smooth to cast.”
Better yet, the one-piece Helios 2 rods – which Rosenbauer says will have an $895 price tag - check in with an almost unbreakable strength level.
“These rods are so strong that we had to modify the rod breakage machine we use to test our rods with,” said Rosenbauer.
“Every rod (line-up) gets broken in testing, but with this rod, we were getting the tips flexed all the way around and still not getting any broken,” he added. “So we had to modify the tip travel capabilities of the machine to get these rods to reach their breaking point.”
With a variety of rod length options in the seven to 12-weight ranges, the one-piece H2 would seem to be great news for guides who make their living loaning rods to clients every day in the back of a boat.
“We’ve had these (prototypes) in the hands of various saltwater guides including 25 (Florida) Keys’ guides, a couple of guys in Louisiana and a couple more up in the Northeast (and they all loved the rod),” said Rosenbauer.
With another unbeatable product from one of the world’s leading fly rod manufacturers, it sounds like there’s actually a lot to love from Orvis at this year’s IFTD show.
Especially for rod junkies like yours truly who never seem to have enough sweet performing products sitting in our fishing closets.
Click here for videos, stories and photos from ICAST 2014.