Helios™ Switch 8-weight 11' Fly Rod—Tip Flex

The Helios 11' 8-weight switch fly fishing rod is a versatile solution. Made in USA.


5 1/8 oz. 11', 4-piece, Tip-Flex fly fishing rod for 8-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, 8-weight - For big steelhead, low water Atlantic salmon, and striped bass off the beach, this great new rod offers extended reach, lightweight casting ease and terrific mending capability to give the everything you need in one rod to be successful for big game fish. You can cast this rod all day on a salmon river, or all night on a striper beach without fatigue. You can go from one-handed casting to two-handed casting to reach out a little further. Mending in a river or tidal current has never been easier. There's no doubt this rod will change the way you fish and enhance your chances for success. Made in USA.

Rod outfit includes:

  • ZG Helios™ Switch 118-4 Tip Flex Fly Rod
  • Mirage V Reel - Gold
  • Switch Line - Yellow/olive
  • 200 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 4.9 / 5 based on 14 reviews


14 of 14 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5

    bassmaster - 8/15/2013
    By: from Long Island Sound

    This rod has been great for fishing around long island sound. I have been using it both onshore as well as from a boat. The versatility is key.

  • 5/5

    Helios switch rod - 6/15/2013
    By: from Uk

    For some time I had been looking for a longer rod to chuck lures in saltwater for bass , I could see the advantage of longer rods and thought I would give switch rods a go although I had previously used another manufacturers switch rod and wasn't impressed ! The Helios was a great choice ! Light and a joy to use , I am using it for overhead and switch type casts and just love the relaxed casting and ease of use , I am sure I shall grow to love it even more with time and will ,when proficient , get even more enjoyment from using it .give up single handed rods for heavier applications and do yourself a favour and buy one now !

  • 5/5

    Awesome switch rod. - 11/29/2012
    By: from Phoenix, AZ
    Top 250 Contributor

    I bought an Orvis Helios Switch rod for a Steelhead fishing trip. I match the rod up with a Orvis Mirage IV reel and fly line. I found the rod to be easy to cast and very light. The Switch rod is very light with a lot of back bone to land some big fish. Worth the money to the beginner and seasoned fly fisher. Give it a try!

  • 5/5

    Helios Switch 8wt for Kings! - 9/26/2012
    By: from MA

    I picked this rod up on a recommendation from a friend, & after seeing his setup. I mated the rod with my 2009 Battenkill Lg Arbor V & Orvis switch line. The rod was outstanding for fighting big Salmon River Kings! The rod has lots of backbone & easy to cast All Day! Many fish landed were in the 20-28 lb range. A fishing buddy had the Helios/Mirage V setup & landed a 33+ pound King. (Sept. 2012 trip) Highly recommend the rod for kings, cohos, & others.

  • 5/5

    Amazing Rod - 8/20/2012
    By: from Pa

    I recenty purchased the Helios Switch Rod 8wt Outfit before my recent trip to Alaska. It is an amazing rod and performed better than i ever could have expected. It handled the whole range of fish we caught from small rainbows to 45 pound king samlon with no problem. It was light in hand and i was able to fish hard for 8 hours a day for 10 days in a row with out having a sore arm. I was able to catch the grand slam of pacific salmon in one day on this rod and would like to thank orvis for building such a great rod. The new mirage reel was a great help on the bigger fish and has a great drag system. I was highly impressed with the whole package.

  • 5/5

    Perfect for Northwest Coastal Rivers - 2/15/2012
    By: from Portland, Or

    I can think of no finer Steelhead rod for fishing the coastal rivers of Oregon, Washington and Northern California. Its roll casting and spey casting abilities are very well suited for the brushy banks and boldery swift rivers; meaning I don’t have to wade out very far, in the cold dangerous currents, to hit my targets. And the Recoil guides relieve me of one more worry when navigating the woody trails. I Love this Rod!

  • 5/5

    Great rod! - 2/1/2012

    I bought this rod to fish the Lake Ontario tribs, and it didn't disappoint. The extra lenght was great for nymphing and let me use lighter tippet. It is fun to fish with.

  • 5/5

    Best of the best! - 10/27/2011
    By: from Baldwin, Mi

    I bought a Helios 10' 7wt for fall steelhead egging and then somone showed me how to use a switch rod and right away I knew I had to get a Helios 11' 8wt. On the first cast I could tell tell that this rod would be the last switch rod I would have to buy, it was perfect. Thank you Orvis!

  • 5/5

    Big Gun for Big Fish - 9/8/2011
    By: from Newtown, CT
    Top 250 Contributor

    I bought this rod last winter as a Steelhead/Striper/Salmon rod. First used it for Steelhead in the late winter. No fish on, but learned to spey cast swinging large wets on a Skagit line with a sink tip. Big heavy lines. Might have preferred another two feet of length like I would get with a Spey rod but the 11 footer got the job done (though I did have to duck a few times when that heavy sink tip had a mind of its own). Next I used this rod in the spring to cast large streamers to Stripers with the Orvis Switch line. Great casting rod and the line was particularly effective at turning over a stiff leader and a large fly. Lastly, I took the rod to Alaska fishing for huge Rainbows on the Kvichak River. Casting heavy nymph rigs was the key there -- flesh flies and egg patterns. Cast the rod all day for seven days from the boat. Little fatigue -- light rod -- and great casting. The switch line was fantastic in getting the fly out there. Also did some dry fishing -- mouse flies -- and roll casting on tundra ponds was a joy. The switch line has the body to shoot a lot of line when there's no back cast room. Overall, this rod has exceeded expectations. I rarely used my 9 foot rod anymore.

  • 4/5

    Use on the surf - 5/3/2011
    By: from Tenafly,NJ enjoy fishing,kayaking and kayakfishing

    My first two handed rod. I use it primarily in the surf off the Jersey shore for stripers. I was told it improves distance. It does. However, with more line out ,you need better line management. a line that gets tangled in the guides does not give you much distance. Very important to use a line that is less prone to tangling and it is vital to learn good line management to fully utilize this rod. If the line management issue is solved it is a great rod. Not a rod to use on the jetty. Last year caught a fish, trying to land it fell off the jetty and broke the rod. It was a loaner rod that Orvis had sent me to go on vacation with while they fixed my rod. Thank god it was an Orvis. Love to try the 10 wt with some huge groceries.


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: SI1C18
  • Helios Switch 118-4 Tip Flex 9.5 Fly Rod (Not Available) $925.00 Sale: $555.00
  • Outfit - includes Mirage V reel, Switch Line (Not Available) $1,535.00 Sale: $1,425.00
Quantity   Add To Basket

You might also like

▲ ▼
▲ ▼