Helios™ Switch 6-weight 11' Fly Rod—Tip Flex

Helios 11' 5-weight fly fishing rods bring another exciting innovation to the sport. Made in USA.

Details

4 3/4 oz. 11', 4-piece, Tip-Flex fly rod for 6-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, 6-weight - Great for swinging and stripping streamers in bigger rivers, as well as light duty steelhead in the Midwest, and half-pounders in the Pacific Northwest. The line-mending ability is this rod is spectacular and is also a good beach rod for beach casting for sea run cutts as it keeps your backcast off the sand. A superb float tube rod as the extra length keeps the back cast off the water from the low sitting position. Helios technology is so light, that even at 11-feet, this rod is light enough to cast one-handed all day, but has the ability to reach out further with two-handed technique. Made in USA.

Rod outfit includes:

  • ZG Helios™ Switch 116-4 Tip Flex Fly Rod
  • Mirage IV Reel - Gold
  • Switch Line - Yellow/olive
  • 150 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.

Reviews

Overall: 4.4/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 4.4 / 5 based on 7 reviews

5 stars 5-star:
5
4 stars 4-star:
0
3 stars 3-star:
2
2 stars 2-star:
0
1 star 1-star:
0

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

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    quality rod,breat value in the sale - 12/4/2013
    By: from Perth

    Wanted one for a while, current offer to good to miss.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great switch - 9/12/2012
    By:

    I've been using the 6-weight switch for a couple years now, mostly fishing for stripers in rivers and occasionally heading to the Great Lakes for steelhead. I throw a 475-grain skagit short on it, which I understand is heavy for this rod but suits my casting well. With this setup, I've been able to throw just about any fly I wanted with ease, from size 6 hairwings to 10-inch flatwings. A 3 or 4 pound fish feels great on this rod, but it can still put the wood to a 20+ pound fish when needed. Although I've never had a reason to use it for overhead casting, it is absolutely wonderful for 2-handed casting in medium-sized rivers where the length of a full spey rod isn't warranted. Before this, I had tried the 5-weight switch, but was never able to find a niche in my fishing where it really fit. Keep in mind that a 5-weight 2-hander doesn't equate to a 5-weight single-hander. It seemed too heavy for a lot of the smallmouth fishing I was doing, and too light for steelhead and stripers. Of course, your mileage may vary.

  • 3/5 stars 3/5

    Great rod let down by build quality - 4/13/2011
    By: from Reykjavik, Iceland

    I purchased this rod with the intention of using it for big brownies in the Icelandic highlands. I mainly use my 5 and 6wt rods there but felt I needed something that would give me more range in windy conditions. In that regard the rod excelled and is by far the best casting rod I have ever used. A pleasant surprise was how enjoyable it is when fighting fish. I found myself using the rod a lot more than I had planned and it became my main rod for the two trips I went there last summer. That was in part because of how easy it is to cast and work with the rod. The strain on shoulders, back and arms is far less than with the single handed rods. What was very disappointing was the build of the handle, a very poor design and/or craftsmanship. The upper part of the handle is in 2 parts and during my 4-5 days of fishing it started to move ever so slightly and at the end of the trip the lower part was completely loose. It now hangs loose on the rod and dangles around it making the rod pretty much unusable. Very, very disappointing for a rod in this price class.

  • 3/5 stars 3/5

    Leary - 10/31/2010
    By: from Modesto, Ca

    Two of us purchased the rods and a quided trip. Fished the rods and both landed ~10 rainbows ~ 3-5 lbs. Second day fishing them my friends rod snapped 1'6" from the tip. Was some what disappointed but was not concerned because of Orvis's warranty. We both brought extra rods or the trip would have been a bust. When my friend returned his rod and asked the status of repair and possible issues this was the response "There is a ... fee for the repair of the rod because we were able to tell that the rod was not broken due to the rod being defective. Most of the times, breaks at the tip of the rod are due to the rod being strung up incorrectly; flies with dumbbell eyes, bead heads, cone heads, or other sort of hard material hitting the tip; and allowing too much bend in the tip of the rod when fighting fish. All of these could weaken the rod so that it would break during mid cast." As I am planning on using some of the flies listed I am concerned about the customer service I may receive if I have an issue.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Helios Rods The Best! - 9/23/2010
    By:

    Terrific rods... I own a heavy rod for salt water and a lighter version for fresh water. Best casting rod ever, good feel ...I am now totally spoiled for other rods. Orvis... you may want to make longer fly lines!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Strength of rod exceptional - 7/22/2010
    By:

    When in Alaska last week fishing for grayling up north, I took this rod out for a trial run on northern pike. Thinking the 6 wt might be too light because 8 wts were recommended, I wondered. But after hooking and watching a 39" pike weighing 20+lbs do aerials and thrashings and finally coming to hand, I am convinced this is one amazing rod. It is so light and versatile, I love it. P.S. it handled the lighter but feisty grayling just fine with plenty of active feeling through the rod. It also handled fighting chum salmon of 25+ inches well, too. I am so pleased.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    What a Rod! - 3/26/2010
    By: from Portland, Or

    This rod truly is exceptional! I was initially sold with its ability to improve my casting distance and accuracy; and it’s capability to make spey casts. However, it wasn’t until I was on the Deschutes River that I really appreciated what it offers: > The 11 foot length keeps more line off the water, allowing for longer, drag free drifts. > The spey casts allowed me to confidently fish with bank and brush close behind. > The longer casts allowed me to reach locations that I normally couldn’t hit. But what really impressed me, is that all of this allows me to stay closer to shore, in shallower water; minimizing fish disturbances and keeping me out of riskier wading. I would certainly buy this rod again.

Features

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

Benefits

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
Item
Number
Model Rod
Weight
Load
Range
Sweet
Spot
Beulah
Line
Rio
Line
1C16-5157 11-5 4 5/8 oz. 240-325 gr. 295 gr. Beulah Elixr
5/6 - 295 gr.
Rio AFS
4/5 - 300 gr.
1C17-5157 11-6 4 3/4 oz. 280-375 gr. 335 gr. Beulah Elixr
6/7 - 335 gr.
Rio AFS
5/6 - 340 gr.
0H46-5157 11-7 4 7/8 oz. 320-425 gr. 380 gr. Beulah Elixr
7/8 - 380 gr.
Rio AFS
6/7 - 400 gr.
1C19-5157 11-8 5 1/8 oz. 360-485 gr. 420 gr. Beulah Elixr
8/9 - 420 gr.
Rio AFS
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

Technology

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.

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  • Helios Switch 116-4 Tip Flex 9.5 Fly Rod (Not Available) $925.00 Sale: $370.00
  • Outfit - includes Mirage IV reel, Switch Line (Not Available) $1,515.00 Sale: $1,410.00
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