Helios™ 5-weight 8'6" Fly Rod—Mid Flex

Grab this all around fly rod when versatility is what you need. Made in USA.


2 1/8 oz. 8'6", 4-piece, Mid-Flex fly rod for 5-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.

For years the 8-foot 6-inch 5-weight was the best-selling fly rod model in the Orvis line and the new Helios version is no different. The simple combination of medium length and medium weight makes it the most versatile all around fly rod ever built. From small streams, to large rivers, from trout to bass, this fly rod can handle it all. Helios's new, patented graphite technology only adds to the versatility of this rod giving it greater power to present larger flies and wonderful lightweight sensitivity to fight smaller quarry. Recommended by our schools as the perfect first fly rod, the 865-4 remains the single best all around fly rod on the market today. The best, and the lightest, all-around trout rod made for the widest range of fly fishing conditions and techniques. Made in USA.

Rod outfit includes:

  • ZG Helios™ 865-4 Mid Flex 6.5 Fly Rod
  • Mirage II Reel - Gold
  • Hydros Trout line WF5 - Yellow
  • 100 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: 5.0/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 5.0 / 5 based on 26 reviews

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26 of 26 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Best rod in the industry - 3/6/2012
    By: from PRO Outfitters in Montana
    Featured, Expert

    By far the lightest, most powerful rod I have ever held in my hands. I've heard many people say "You'll be fine if you buy the top-of-the-line rod from any of the major rod manufacturers." If "fine" is what you want, go ahead. If you want the best, I'd go with a Helios. - Brandon Boedecker, PRO Outfitters, Montana

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Best all-around trout rod ever - 2/21/2012

    This rod has worked great in all types of fishing. From casting dries to specks in tight quarters to casting large streamers for distance on large rivers, it will do everything. With its extreme light weight, even putting in 10 hours of casting you will feel the difference.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    THE BEST - 11/8/2011
    By: from Maine
    Top 250 Contributor

    Best fly rod I've ever owned!!!!!!Beats all of the other "bests"

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Number One - 2/20/2011

    First I will honestly claim to be a rod junkie, and favor custom glass, and old school Superfine series, Winston IM6/WT, with a few current medium action graphite rods from companies starting with S!. However, this Helios mid-flex 8'6" 5 wt is the finest casting rod in my hands bar none. I believe that Orvis nailed these rods and rarely if ever I have seen them listed on secondary market.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great rod - 10/10/2010

    This is a wonderful rod, the weight allows you to easily fish 8-10 hour days. It has some great backbone for pulling brownies up from the deep. Mine is paired up with the new Mirage reel. My only complaint is the cheesey sticker that has the rod info on the rod tube. Its obvious that Orvis over-engineered that tube and it is great, but why not laser engrave the rod info into the brass cap? It probably wouldn't cost more then a few bucks and would not only add the final touch of class to a great rod, but last for a lifetime.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    crazy rod! - 9/24/2010
    By: from Boston, MA

    This rod puts all my other rods to shame. This rod is now my go-to rod and everything else will gather dust. The looks.. .the feel .. just all around.. this rod is a machine

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Proven fly rod - 7/30/2010

    While snow skiing in Big Sky, Montana this year a few of us took a day off to fly fish the Gallatin River with Lone Peak outfitters. I was provided an Orvis Helios 8'6" mid flex rod and found it to be the best rod I've ever used. I own several fly rods, including Orvis rods, but the Helios is a cut above. When I returned home from the trip I ordered one for myself. It is now my "go to" fly rod.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    One amazing rod!! - 7/5/2009
    By: from Oslo, Norway

    This is the best flyfishing rod ever built!! there is no doubt in my mind, the feel of the rod and the superior sensitivity is great. It cast like no other rod, and is the best investment in fishing gear iv ever dun. I am sure this rod will give me many god years, and plenty of fish. Its just great!!!! if you are considering other rods, there is no more considering to do, this rod is it!!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    My First Helios - 5/19/2009
    By: from Paso Robles, CA

    I purchased my first Helios Fly Rod last year, an 8'6" mid flex, and was able to give it a good workout before writing my review. First off it's an awesome rod, beyond debate. It's light in the hand to cast and I have never felt any shoulder/arm fatigue like I have with my older rods. It is very sensitive, you can feel the slightest strike and it casts very accurate. Whiat really impressed me was how strong the rod was. I broke her in on the Sacramento River near Mt. Shasta and caught several 18" rainbows that caused the rod to bend like crazy, but never felt like it was going to break. Throughout the year I used this rod on Hat Creek and the Pit River in California. I spent two great days on the Salmon River in Idaho, including a 32 fish day with several 18" + fish. While the rod is very accurate in the wind, I spent a windy day on the Owens River where I caught over a dozen beautiful fish and my ear and my neck. I think a 9' would have done better with the windy weather. But I still had a blast. Overall this is the best rod I have ever had...except for the other five Helios' I've bought over the past year! I did put a couple of skuffs on the rod when I took a good spill on the rocks, the horror.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Why I Love My Helios - 4/1/2009
    By: from Long Island, New York

    WHY I LOVE MY HELIOS Why do I love my Helios (865-4 Mid-flex)? Let me count the why’s? (Ouch! My apologies to Shakespeare; or Shelley; or Keats; or Yates; or Byron; or Browning). I have never had a rod like this one—and I have had my share of rods, including a custom-made split cane, other bamboos and some top-of-the-line graphites manufactured by the industry’s leading rod makers. In fact, I thought nothing could top my custom rod for pure pleasure, but my very versatile Helios has done the “impossible.” It is now, for good reason, my favorite rod! I can fish it all day and not become arm-weary. More importantly, my Helios keeps me in constant and complete “communication” with my fly line and, therefore, the stream, and, unless I get a little too lazy, I am in control. As a bonus, I get an average of thirteen feet more to distance casts, when such casts become necessary, and accuracy and delicacy are never sacrificed. I have been fly fishing for trout since 1974, in rivers and streams large and small, and I have seen the evolution of fly rods as instruments of sport and art. It is unimaginable to me that technology could produce something that goes beyond the heights of my Helios, unless a way can be found somehow to harness a fly line to a laser beam—and that would be less fun and less satisfying. To me, the proof is in the casting. I enjoy experimenting with casts, many of which I never would have thought of attempting before. Now, the resultant casts are, in themselves, rewards because, in my view, fly fishing is more about casting, not catching. The stream can be a canvas for creativity. It is almost unnecessary, actually, to catch fish—almost!


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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  • ZG Helios™ 865-4 Mid Flex 6.5 Fly Rod (Not Available) $795.00 Sale: $634.00
  • Outfit - includes Mirage II reel, Hydros Trout line (Not Available) $1,195.00
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