Helios™ Switch 5-weight 11' Fly Rod—Tip Flex

The 11' 5-weight Helios Switch fly rod brings a new dynamic to the sport. Made in USA.


4 5/8 oz. 11', 4-piece, Tip-Flex fly rod for 5-wt. line.

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

Helios Switch 11-foot, 5-weight—the most versatile 5-weight ever. Easy to cast one-handed, but also casts two-handed when distance is necessary. Tremendous reach and mending ability for big water nymphing in Western rivers and tailwaters both in and out of drift boats, and in Midwestern tailwaters where shorebound anglers are faced with generation periods and want greater distance. Also good for beach fishing for sea run cutthroat and brook trout. Lightweight Helios technology finally makes it possible to create a switch rod that is not a compromise, but the best of both casting styles. Made in USA.

Rod outfit includes:

  • ZG Helios™ Switch 115-4 Tip Flex Fly Rod
  • Mirage IV Reel - Gold
  • Switch Line - Yellow/olive
  • 175 yards of 20lb 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 5.0 / 5 based on 7 reviews


7 of 7 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5

    swing baby swing - 8/18/2013
    By: from Spring Creek Country, PA
    Top 500 Contributor

    I had the rod out on a local bass river and I cant be more pleased. I rigged up a streamer and started my float with the mind set of getting out of my kayak to swing this rod and quickly found it to be very easy to cast single hand from the yak. very versatile rod. I now prefer to use it when throwing streamers and poppers for bass, very fun and responsive rod!

  • 5/5

    'A wing and a rod" - 8/11/2013
    By: from Boise, ID

    I enjoy all kinds of fishing including the ancient art of wondering how long a bobber and a worm really need to be under the water before I suggest to my 7 year old grand daughter to give it a yank and reel in yet another perch! However, I love to flyfish! Problem, right shoulder arthritis (severe as in bone on bone) resulting in less and less hours on the water. Solution, switch rod so that I can use less arm and shoulder motion for longer periods of time. And I got my answer at the Orvis store here in Boise, ID where I have done business off and on over many years. With a little demonstration on the Boise river running through town I was led to the Helios 4 piece 5 wgt. switch rod. I just could not get over how light it was. That was a few years and many "enjoyable and less painfull hours" of flyfishing ago. Believe it or not I can use this rod all day fishing nymph rigs or dry flies down to 22's with finesse on a 12-14 5x or 6x leader. For others of you who have bad shoulders I recommend highly that you give the Helios a try. I have never paid this much for a rod in my life but I figured it has saved me thousands in therapy and surgery bills and opened new water to me that I could never reach before from shore or in a boat. Thanks Orvis! Mark M.

  • 5/5

    My Go To Rod - 8/29/2012
    By: from Seattle, WA

    I love this rod! It is my go to rod for all trout and small steehead trips. I can throw dry's, streamers and do some nymphing and high sticking. It's worth every penny.

  • 5/5

    The best switch rod on the market - 12/2/2011
    By: from Lafayette,la.
    Top 500 Contributor

    I used this rod on the Gunnison River this summer. It allowed me to reach spots that I could have never reached with a standard fly rod and it is so light that I could fish it all day. My guide could not believe how well my Heliios handled. I had a twenty plus fish day and I have to give a lot of the credit to the Helios Switch 5 wt.

  • 5/5

    Best Switch Rod in the Industry - 5/27/2011
    By: from Canon City, CO (Arkansas River)

    "The 11-foot 5-weight Helios Switch. This rod is capable of doing pretty much anything. As a guide on the Arkansas River over 150 days a year, I see a lot of big attractor drys, streamers, and Czech nymphing done. This rod is light enough and accurate enough to throw any dry fly and is sure a delight for launching larger attractor patterns. Not only that, but this rod surpasses any other in its class for swinging big gnarly streamers, especially when lining it up one line weight with an Orvis Switch Line. And last but not least, it is a nymphing machine. The 11-5 is a perfect length for high-sticking a Czech Nymph rig in those deep holes, and is also great for throwing 50-foot mends and setting the hook with a lot of line out with a long line nymphing setup. This is the most capable rod in the market! "

  • 5/5

    WOW! - 11/13/2010

    What a great rod!!! It was worth every penny! It is works great making big mends and high sticking. By far my favorite rod!

  • 5/5

    Great rod! - 5/17/2009
    By: from nh
    Top 500 Contributor

    I love my new rod! It works great and I can't wait to use it again on my next outing.


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

Features of the Freshwater 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™
  • woven graphite & gold-anodized aluminum reel seat
  • 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.

We’re sorry. This item is no longer available.

Continue Shopping

You might also like

▲ ▼
▲ ▼