Helios™ Switch 7-weight 11' Fly Rod—Tip Flex

Go one- or two-handed for the perfect cast with our new Helios Switch fly rods. Made in USA.


4 7/8 oz. 11', 4-piece, Tip-Flex fly rod for 7-wt. line.

We set out on an adventure to make the world's lightest fly fishing rod. Along the way, we also made the world's best.

Helios Switch 11-foot, 7-weight - Great Ohio and Erie tributary rod offering excellent mend characteristics for indicators and swinging, and the all around low-water Pacific Northwest rod. Steelhead technique has never been easier or more versatile than now with Helios's new lightweight switch rod that allows you to fish all day and have the best chance for success. Made in USA.

Rod outfit includes:

  • ZG Helios™ Switch 117-4 Tip Flex Fly Rod
  • Mirage V Reel - Gold
  • Switch Line - Yellow/olive
  • 225 yards of 30lb Dacron backing
  • Carbon fiber rod tube and cloth rod sack

Learn more about personalizing this fly rod.
Allow 3 extra days for delivery.


Overall: Show Rating Distribution 4.8 / 5 based on 10 reviews


10 of 10 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5

    Great switch rod! - 8/26/2013

    I love this rod from the design aspect to the performance of it. It is such a light rod and has so much power. I am knew to spey casting, but with this rod, it must be making spey casting a bit easier for me. I caught my first summer run steelhead using this rod on August 4th. It was so awesome. I was able to turn the head of the fish with ease and I could feel everything the fish was doing through the rod. I love it and won't be replacing it... ever.

  • 5/5

    Helios 7Wt Switch Rod - 5/2/2013
    By: from Aptos California

    I really love this rod. It is light and versatile. It casts like a dream and will support a variety of scandi and skagit lines. You can load it with additional line weights but i have found this not to be necessary. It is a true 7 wt in my opinoin and a 390 grain scandi line or a 425 grain sakit line is perfect. You can throw this rod all day long.

  • 4/5

    Just do it! - 6/3/2011
    By: from Ma
    Top 500 Contributor

    I loved the 11/8wt switch so much I decided to get the 11/7wt.....and happy I did.

  • 4/5

    Wonderful Rod - but breaks easily. - 1/3/2011
    By: from Northern California

    I bought a Helios Switch 117-4 earlier this year for smaller river Steelhead applications. It is a beautiful rod - super light, crisp, smooth and an absolute joy to cast. However, on a particular long loading cast that came off the bottom (with a big T-17 head on a Rio Skagit 330 Gr), the rod snapped right at the butt ferrule. Not good. The real tragedy was that I had big steelhead porpoising all around me when it happened... ;(

  • 5/5

    Scary Cost, Great Stick - 6/4/2010
    By: from North Idaho

    I wouldn’t say I’m exactly cheap, but the thought of buying an $850 rod was difficult to conceive of initially (asked when I might expect a Hydros version and was told it might be awhile). I knew I wanted to venture into the world of spey casting while still having the ability to one hand if need be, so I bucked up and bought this rod. The free reel offer was a huge incentive to buy from Orvis. Because I am new to two-handed rods I have spent a number of days casting my Helios one handed with big flies and sink tips out of spey-based frustration; I can honestly say that with this rod I have been able to fish for 5 - 6 hours before my arm began to feel tired. My local Orvis dealer has been very helpful (and patient) with answering questions and helping me develop my skill in casting with two hands. Now that I can actually spey cast this thing I am even more amazed with the performance. It was worth every penny.

  • 5/5

    Wonderful new rod - 10/4/2009

    I bought this rod to fish for steelhead in BC. I have been a holdout from the spey rod fashion because I prefer the intimacy of a single handed rod and the feeling of connection with a hooked fish. Persuaded by what Lani Waller writes in his new book on steelhead, I decided to try a switch rod for this year. I was uncertain what brand to get and was convinced by my flyshop that I should try this one. I have not used Orvis rods for many years. However, I was thrilled with the way that my new Helios 7wt switch rod performed. It has both the delicacy to fish close in and the power to throw line an amazing distance. By the end of my time, I was spey casting almost all the time, although it is light enough for occasional one handed casts. {Nobody should kid themselves that they can cast a rod of this length exclusively one handed - the leverage on the hand and arm is just too great} The rod also showed its backbone when fighting large steelhead. Not only that, but it is beautiful as well and is unbelievably light. I am now a huge fan of this rod and am going to buy another one in spite of its somewhat eye popping cost.

  • 5/5

    BEST ALL-AROUND ROD - 10/2/2009
    By: from Morgantown, WV

    For many, a price tag of $850.00 may leave quite a feeling of hesitation. However, once you feel the "tug" of a fish on this 11ft stick, you will quickly lose all worries. I have been struggling to find a rod light enough to fish all day with bad shoulders from sports, while maintaining enough backbone to land decent sized fins. A fellow guide friend reccommended I look at "switch rods" and it was the best piece of advice I ever received when it comes to fly-fishing. I have now had the rod for approximately 5 months and have had a blast learning "spey' stylistic approaches to local waters. I now mend seams once impossible without a drift boat and find myself not having to apply icy hot patches to my shoulders after a day on the river. Did I remember to mention how much easier "high-stick" nymphing is? Take my advice check out the 11ft 7wt for all your fishing needs. I have always been partial to the T3 series of rods, because that is what I have always used. This new Helios line definitely will continue to make a new for itself. I cannot wait to see what the new Hydros fishes like!!

  • 5/5

    Helios Switch Rod - 9/16/2009

    I went steel heading with my guide Tommy Lynch March 27, 2009 on the Pere Marquette River… Before the trip I asked if we could avoid the crowds in the best known areas and find fish somewhere else. Tommy took my brother-in-law and I for a 13 mile trip known as the “Big Row.” Only saw three other small groups fishing. Anyway I fished the proto-type Helios Switch back for the day. Anyhow at first I thought he was crazy handing me an 11 foot rod. It took a few minutes to get a good feel for it and by the end of the day I could roll cast and place a mend in my line in he air with ease… Incredible performing rod… I was able drift a drag free presentation 40-60 down the river with ease. Probably tripling my ability with my normal 9’ rod… If you are a serious hard core steelhead junkie I would consider purchasing one of these Rods… Or, do like I did, give Tommy a call and get a real demo and catch some fish before making the decision…

  • 5/5


  • 5/5

    Don't be intimidated - 5/18/2009
    By: from Buffalo
    Top 50 Contributor

    Those of you who have used single handed rods only and never used a spey rod need not be intimidated here. 1) Despite that longer cork, look carefully at the weight of the rod. My 11 ft 7 wt, is 1 oz lighter than my one handed ZeroG 10 ft 7 weight. You read it right, lighter. 2) So, the rod is certainly light enough to cast one handed easily if you choose to do so and I certainly do. I use a spey cast when windy, or if the distance is needed and other than that cast traditional one-handed. 3) But, on that windy day, which we get on the Great Lakes streams, or that very wide run where you need power, the rod casts rather incredible distances and has great power. 4) As a "switch rod", it is not as unwieldy as a true spey rod and you can pick up the basics watching free videos on the internet to learn casting spey style and I recommend either doing that, and a little practice, or get a lesson. 5) The extra length, without the wieght give you incredible ability to mend your line and get the perfect drift. The first outing with the rod, I got a fish for this reason, that I do not believe I would have otherwise gotten. 6) The extra length does give you extra power with large hot fish. But, check your drag as the rod will absorb a lot more strain and the drag will engage a bit more slowly. You may want to lighten your drag just a notch. 7) With the longer grip, you can lay the rod against your forearm on the drift and the rod is not the least tiring to fish. Remember, it is VERY lighy. One final comment would be to look at the quality of the cork in these rods. Very minimal filler, and the quality of the workmanship on my rod was very pleasing indeed. I may migrate to a full spey rod at some point, but think this is a good transition, and in fact, I may never really need the full spey. Very happy with this rod. If you have access to a store near you, try one. You will be amazed at the line (all of it) that this rod will put out.


ZG Helios from Orvis: The World's Lightest Fly Rod Awaits Your Best Cast

Features of the Saltwater Helios Fly Rod

  • greatest feel of action for more accurate and longer casts
  • superior sensitivity and responsiveness
  • the strongest fly rod on the market
  • loads quickly, crisply, but nimbly
  • supremely-balanced feel
  • unmatched fish-fighting power
  • better tracking for dry flies and nymphing
  • smoother transition of power
  • reduced casting fatigue
  • exclusive first-ever thermoplastic, thermoset resins from tip to butt
  • Precision Power Taper™
  • corrosion-resistant woven graphite & gold-anodized aluminum reel seat
  • flexible recoil guides
  • titanium frame stripping guide with NanoLite® ceramic insert
  • translucent-olive finish
  • highest grade cork handle
  • woven-graphite rod tube
  • made in Manchester, Vermont


Helios Switch Fly Rods

The advantages of switch rods

Helios Switch Fly Rods
Helios Switch Fly Rods:
Available in 5, 6, 7 and 8 weights.

Switch rods are a new type of fly rod that are lighter and shorter than traditional two-handed rods, and thus can be used in places where delicacy and accuracy are paramount, while still employing the advantages of two-handed rods. They can be used with a traditional overhead casting style with one hand, where their length allows longer casts and much greater line control on the water, yet can also be used with Spey casting styles where lack of back cast room, wind, or just a tired angler makes two-handed casting more desirable.

Switch rods are excellent for nymph fishing with or without an indicator, long-line dry-fly fishing, stillwater fishing, and salmon and steelhead fishing during low water conditions. Some fly fishers even use them in the surf to get long casts over the last wave without false casts.

How Helios technology has improved switch rods

The main drawback to conventional switch rods are that they are heavy, and when constantly mending line or high-stick nymphing the caster’s arm can get very tired holding a rod that weighs almost 6 ounces high above the water all day long. With Helios technology, our exclusive aerospace-derived graphite resin systems allow us to build switch rods lighter than any other.

Here is a comparison of 11-foot, 7-weight switch rods:

Switch rod weight comparison, all rods 11-foot 7-weight
Brand Actual Weight Levered Weight
Orvis 4.88 oz. 169 g.
Brand A 5.50 oz. 204 g.
Brand B 5.38 oz. 218 g.
Brand C 7.08 oz. 242 g.

Here is the current lineup of Orvis Switch rods. You can be assured that you’ll be using the lightest switch rod in the world and will have more fun fishing with Helios rods than any other. And for those of you who are technically inclined, here are the grain weights for each of the new models:

Orvis Helios Switch Rods
Model Rod
1C16-5157 11-5 4 5/8 oz. 240-325 gr. 295 gr. Beulah Elixr
5/6 - 295 gr.
4/5 - 300 gr.
1C17-5157 11-6 4 3/4 oz. 280-375 gr. 335 gr. Beulah Elixr
6/7 - 335 gr.
5/6 - 340 gr.
0H46-5157 11-7 4 7/8 oz. 320-425 gr. 380 gr. Beulah Elixr
7/8 - 380 gr.
6/7 - 400 gr.
1C19-5157 11-8 5 1/8 oz. 360-485 gr. 420 gr. Beulah Elixr
8/9 - 420 gr.
7/8 - 460 gr.

Guides and testers comment on the new Helios Switch Rods

I think anyone will be a better caster with this rod and a little time on the water.
–Mike Schultz, Michigan steelhead guide and tester

In all my 27 years of fly fishing, no other fly rod has offered the versatility and performance of the Orvis Helios Switch Rods. In a league of their own, the Helios Switch Rods emerge as a true one or two handed fly rod. Its superior lightweight design allows me to cast single handed to rising rainbows during a stonefly hatch. After the hatch is over and the fish go back down, I use Spey casting to launch streamers to the other side of the river. When I use them to teach casting lessons, my students prove...not all rods are created equal. They learn faster and perform better. Thanks Orvis for making my job easier.
–Jeff Putnam, one of the finest Spey casting teachers in North America

This rod is going to be incredible for those who want to use switch rods for trout. They can have the best of both worlds and have an awesome high stick or indicator rod or swing flies with two hands.
–Doug Duncan, tournament Spey caster (in 2007 and 2008 he placed second at the International Spey Competition in San Francisco) and manager of the Orvis Retail Store in Rosedale (Sacramento) California

I think it is exceptional, my clients are going to love the rod because it won't intimidate them. When I put a longer and heavier rod in their hands many clients don't like the idea of learning to Spey cast. This Helios can be fished one handed and still provide the advantages of an 11 foot length.
–Chuck Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters, Michigan

The rod just loves to mend line, never have I mended with such a sweet stick.
–Tommy Lynch, steelhead and trout guide, Michigan

WOW! Those rods are unbelievable.
–Dave Hise, Caster’s Fly Shop, North Carolina

What a great Nymphing rod! And the really good thing was, at the end of the day, my tendonitis in my right arm was not flaring up...
–Steve Gossage, Angler’s Covey, Colorado


ZG Helios from Orvis: The World's Lightest Fly Rod Awaits Your Best Cast

Tom Rosenbauer with a Helios Fly RodBy Tom Rosenbauer

Two years ago, we set out to make the lightest fly rod in the industry. Part of the problem was that graphite fiber technology, at least the fiber that can be used in a premium fly rod, just has not changed much in the past few years.

But we have a number of new rod designers in our rod shop, young guys who look at things differently than older, more traditional designers. They knew that all the action in composite design is not in fiber technology but in the prepreg and scrim technology—in other words, the stuff that holds the graphite fibers together and the material that gives a finished rod hoop strength, or resistance to crushing. If you can lessen the amount of graphite fiber you need by using improved resin systems, and if you can use a lighter scrim and less of it, you can design a fly rod with less weight.

And this is exactly what they did. Now scrim is pretty un-sexy stuff. All it does is to keep the hollow graphite tube used to construct a rod from collapsing under the pressure of a long cast or a big fish. Unidirectional graphite fiber can’t do that by itself. In ordinary graphite fly rods the scrim is made from fiberglass, which is heavier, less expensive, and not as stiff as graphite. In Zero Gravity fly rods, the fiberglass scrim was replaced by graphite scrim with an epoxy binder, which allowed us to use less material and thus make a much lighter rod.

New Technology from the Space Satellite Industry

Building upon our Zero Gravity’s exclusive thermoplastic resin technology, which is stronger and lighter than the epoxy resins used to make traditional fly rods, the designers found an exciting new scrim in the space satellite industry. This unidirectional graphite scrim with a thermoplastic binder gives us the same strength in our rods, but uses much less material. We reduced the weight on our new Heliosblanks by 25% less than our already lightweight Zero Gravity blanks. Then the rod team designed, from scratch, new reel seats that would keep the 25% weight reduction throughout the entire rod.

The New Zero Gravity and Helios Construction

So, they came up with the lightest rod we’ve ever designed. I was pretty excited. Lighter rods are more fun and less tiring, but could this really make someone cast better or put a fly someplace they never could before?

New Design Coupled with New Technology

Then I got a chance to cast one of these rods. “Whoa,” I thought. “This is an amazingly light rod and it wiggles nice, but this thing feels really different.” And it wasn’t just the weight. When I asked Andy Stone and Frank Hoard, the new designers, and Jim Logan, VP and head engineer in our rod shop, I found out why. The new material had given them the opportunity to take advantage of a new taper, a steeper and faster taper that was not stiffer, just more responsive and powerful.

Accuracy and Control for Freshwater Casting

So these Helios rods were fun on the casting pond. What would they feel like in real fishing conditions? I took a 4-weight to the Delaware River for trout fishing and tried it over some of the snottiest brown trout I’ve ever tangled with. That rod would put the fly just where I wanted it to go, almost like ESP. I took a 9-foot, 5-weight to Idaho’s South Fork, and the most amazing aspect of the rod’s performance was that I could switch from pounding the banks with size 8 Chernobyl Ants and then switch to tossing PMDs over finicky cutthroats on 6X with the same rod—and it still maintained the same control and accuracy in both cases.

Power for Casting Large Flies for Saltwater

Then I took a 10-weight striper fishing for big June fish on Cape Cod. It handled big stripers and big poppers in the wind like nothing I’d ever used, and after 10 hours of casting, my arm was not the slightest bit tired. The 10-weight then came along with me to Rhode Island in search of small bluefin tuna in August. The bluefins were not around, but the rod helped me make some quick, precise long casts into the wind for some nice bonito that were blowing up the surface but only gave you a few seconds to make a presentation before they steamed away.

Our testers have had the rods on trout all over the world, tarpon, snook, bonefish, redfish, and many other species. The universal reaction is that for hardcore anglers who fish on the edge and demand the most out of their equipment, Helios sets the standard for the next generation of graphite fly rods. Personally, I think they’ll make plain old backyard trout fishing a lot more fun as well.

To have this rod personalized, please call 800-548-9548 or contact us via Live Chat and our experts will be happy to assist you.

Buy it now

Select an item: SI0H46
  • Helios Switch 117-4 Tip Flex 9.5 Fly Rod (Not Available) $925.00 Sale: $555.00
  • Beulah Elixir Switch Line (Not Available) $72.00 Sale: $54.00
  • Outfit - includes Mirage V reel, Switch Line (Not Available) $1,535.00 Sale: $1,425.00
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