Helios™ 4-weight 8'6" Fly Rod—Mid Flex

Fish with the lightest, most accurate small stream fly rod available. Made in USA.


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

If there was only one rod length available for fly rods it would be the 8-foot 6-inch rod. Eminently manageable on smaller water, it has the length and power to handle larger rivers as well. This small stream 4-weight fly rod offers the sensitivity to enjoy small trout and the strength to handle the lurking bruiser. Helios's patented graphite technology takes this combination to new levels and offers the lightest, yet most powerful version of this great standard to ever come on the market. If you can buy only one Helios trout rod, this might very well be the one you need. Made in USA.
The lightest, most-accurate, smooth casting 4-weight fly rod made.

Rod outfit includes:

  • ZG Helios™ 864-4 Mid Flex 6.5 Fly Rod
  • Mirage II Reel - Gold
  • Hydros Trout line WF4 - Yellow
  • 125 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 4.6 / 5 based on 14 reviews


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

  • 4/5

    Upgrade - 10/7/2012
    By: from MT Airy, NC

    I had purchased a Clearwater II about a year ago, I started to experience clearcoat problems so I e-mailed customer service. A very quick response and a phone call they offered me a upgrade, so I upgraded to the Helio's with great customer service I had the rod in three days. Very nice rod, but it had somebody else's name on it. Great craftsmanship all the dots lined up you could tell this was a brand-new rod. So I called Orvis about the name on it to find out if it was the person who had built the rod. They said no that they would send me another one, to send that one back. So I received the second rod had my name customized on it,This one the alignment dots do not line up on two of the section and you could tell that it had Ferrule wax used on it before. I just feel like they made one rod out of two out of the graphite pile. But that's just my opinion. But the first Helio's I got was a great rod just had someone else's name on it.

  • 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

    World's finest fly rod! - 2/28/2012
    By: from Montana and New Zealand

    I live in New Zealand half the year and normally fish 6 weight rods. This year, I strung up my new Helios 4 weight, somewhat nervous about these large trout on a rod that might not have enough "grunt". Holy Mackerel!!!! The finest casting rod I have ever owned! Handles trout up into double digit perfectly. I have never cast so well, either, and I've been fly fishing for 59 years! Buy one! You'll be amazed!

  • 5/5


  • 5/5

    Best rod in the solar system - 10/3/2011
    By: from New York, NY
    Top 250 Contributor

    I used this rod at the Orvis fly fishing school in Vermont for a few days. Wow. Setting aside the cost which everyone discusses, the rod feels like a lightweight extension of your arm. Meaning, your casting ability WILL improve and while it cannot guarantee more fish catches, it will certainly make things easier. Naturally it LOOKS beautiful, but it is truly a gem to use and cast--whether forward, back, roll, double haul. Yet allows for mending and fine sensitivities. Magnificence in a rod. Once you use this and own one, you will have a hard time putting it down. A+

  • 3/5

    Line me up, Scotty - 8/18/2011

    I have fished this rod in the rivers and lakes of Colorado and Wyoming. For me, this is quite a big stick to be called a 4 weight “mid-flex”. With a true AFTM 4 weight line this rod is a chore to feed line and load at stream fishing distances of under thirty feet. For smaller dry flies in close it doesn’t have a lot to offer except light weight, and it IS delightfully light in the hand. I put a true 5 weight line with a long head on this rod and it really came into it’s own, especially with larger flies. Big weighted streamers, double beaded stone fly nymphs with trailers, and #8 hopper dropper rigs are all meat and potatoes for this Helios. You can’t overload it, and it will give you instant hook-ups on bass. It’s lighter than most trout rods and almost as fast as a good ocean rod. A sweeter tip would be better for trout. I have deducted one star because I don't feel the label or description matches the rod. I have fished around six premium four weights in this length.

  • 5/5

    Top of the line - 1/24/2011
    Top 500 Contributor

    I've casted many fly rods and this is definitely the best rod I have ever held in my hands. It combines incredible power with perfect finesse, and is my go to fly rod in any dry fly scenario. I have used this rod for tiny creek trout in New England as well as giant New Zealand trout, and it has been ideal across the board. If I had to live the rest of my life with one rod, it would be this one.

  • 5/5

    Amazing. - 6/8/2010
    By: from Woodstock Vermont

    Its expensive. Its fragile. Its not going to catch fish for you. Its not going to make you a better fisherman, But. It's just about the best Rod you can buy. It will make everything you do easier. Casts like a dream... nearly weightless... powerful, but not without the touch needed for short casts. I love everything about the rod, including the beautiful finish. Before I bought it, I wondered whether or not the Rod was worth the $$.... Now I'm buying a saltwater Helios to add to my collection.

  • 5/5

    As advertised - 1/18/2010

    This rod is great. Casting a dry fly with this rod is pure joy and it easily handles wooly buggers with bb shot. This rod allows you to feel smaller fish while providing enough backbone to handle 2-3lb trout from a kayak. Though it is expensive, this rod will quickly remind you of all the reasons you love to flyfish.

  • 5/5

    Unbelievable Dry Fly Rod! - 12/31/2009

    I was surprised when my wife got this rod for me for Christmas. From looks of the rod tube, sock, and the rod itself, this is certainly a kingly gift. But it goes well beyond looks, this rod performs. I was amazed by its leaf-on-the-water dry fly presentations. I can feel this rod loading up with a certainty that makes me more confident in those hard to reach places where the trout rise. (Under hangs, etc.) Beyond the NorCal area, I brought this rod to the South for some Large Mouth bass fishing and fished poppers! (Heresy!) But when this rod had to handle 5-pounders it certainly had the backbone to handle their acrobatics. Great rod!


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


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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