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Overall: 4.5 / 5 based on 17 reviews
16 of 17 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Perfect for the Rocky Mountains -
For years, a 9-foot 5-weight has been the 'go-to' rod for fly fishing the Rocky Mountains. For me, the Helios 9-foot 4-weight is my new rod of choice. It's super light, perfectly accurate when presenting a dry fly, and extremely powerful when switching to a nymph or streamer. In my opinion, Orvis has once again raised the bar with this fly rod! -Scott Graham Professional Guide, North Park Anglers, Walden, Colorado
It really is that good -
By: FeatherFly from Northern California
Top 25 Contributor
After spending a couple days fishing this rod exclusively I understand why it has won all the awards it has over the last couple of years. This rod is truly awesome. I opted for the mid-flex model and it delivers remarkable feel and power. It is amazing how light and well balanced the rod is. From a double nymph rig with split shot and an indicator, to a dry dropper, to size 20 dry flies this rod does it all... and it does it wonderfully. It is certainly not cheap, but if you can swing it you won't be disappointed. I can honestly say I've never cast another rod like it.
Feels like a 2 weight, fights like a 8 weight -
By: MontanaJim from Helena, MT
Light. fast. smooth. greatly reduces hand/arm fatigue. handles nymph rigs or large salmon flies with ease. makes mid air cast corrections a breeze to complete! When you cast correctly, this rod responds so well and lets you feel it so quickly, it engrains proper technique every time you cast. This 4 weight casts so well and fights big fish with such ease, it's become my number 1 rod. I waited two years to write this because I needed to give the rod a good test drive before doing a review. It's going on season #3 with no issues (including two winter seasons).
Love at First Cast -
By: CharlieB from Pittsburgh, PA
I have a 9 ft. 4 wt. midflex. It was love at first cast in the flyshop parking lot. It was even better on the water. It's incredibly light. It loads easily in close but really casts beautifully out to at least 60 feet (maybe longer, no reason to even try that in PA). It tracks perfectly with zero wobble in the tip. It really allows terrific casting accuracy. It really shines as a dry fly rod. Excellent protection of light tippets. It balances perfectly with a Battenkill barstock 3/4.
Versatile beyond expectations -
By: Sylvaneous from Western PA
I got the 904 mid flex upon recommendation of a friend who fished with one. I wanted a 4 pc. that I could pack given the new luggage restrictions on airplanes. The Helios rods have been pretty fast or stiff rods across the spectrum with the mid flex being favored by fishermen whom I know. I expected to use this 4 weight as a 5 weight and a 6 weight back-up. I fished it one day with a 5 wt line at medium distances and it performed excellently. The rest of the week, I fished a 6 + wt FWD line and this light 4 wt. handled it with aplomb. It bent a little further down the rod on the cast and I had to wait just a hair longer for the line to straighten, but this rod didn't fold. 60 foot casts and more were really not much of a chore with this heavy line on a 4 wt. rod. It didn't cast any of the lines with a really tight loop, but it had great energy transfer and recovery. Its casting was astoundingly consistent over a range of line weights and distances. Despite the more open loop than some other rods, distance and accuracy were no problems. The energy transfer and recovery allowed by the new rod material allowed for a more open loop that prevented tangles with double nymph and dry-and-dropper rigs that I used most all week. Tangles were nearly non-existent. Accurate casting became very natural once I got used to the rod: look to the spot, and the fly goes there. The rod is also quite tough. I put the heave on some big browns and rainbows in heavy current and some that were making it for brush piles and downed spruce trees. I had that thing bent over and didn't sense that I was taxing the rod. $800 is a dear price to pay for a fishing rod, but if any deserve a price near this, the Helios does. Top notch in all respects, even if the gold reel seat nut is a little gaudy.
VERY LONG, NIMBLE 4WT. -
By: ALLABOUTTROUT from EVERETT, WASHINGTON
Top 250 Contributor
I ORDERED THIS ROD WITH THE 864-4 HELIOS AND I DID NOT PERSONALLY CARE FOR THIS ROD. IT FELT WAY TOO "SOFT" FOR ME. IT IS GREAT FOR DELICATE PRESENTATIONS IN CLOSE, BUT ON LONGER CASTS IT FELT TOO "SPONGY". I PREFERRED THE 864-4 AND WHEN I PUT THE 4WT POWERTAPER FLY LINE ON BOTH OF THE RODS, THE 904-4 FELT REALLY OVERLOADED. IT IS STRANGE SINCE THIS HAS A 8.0 MID-FLEX AND THE 864-4 HAS A 6.5 MID-FLEX WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE SLOWER. ANYHOW, EVERYONE LIKES SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND I FEEL IT IS STILL AN EXCELLENT ROD FOR THOSE WHO WANT A HELIOS WITH A SOFTER FEEL.
How not to treat your new friend -
By: JJB2 from Long Valley, NJ
"I bought my new Helios while fishing in the Catskills of NY last year. I stopped by my favorite Orvis dealer and after a brief throw or two...I was hooked on this beautiful rod. I was spending the weekend with my son and family on my birthday weekend in late April. I purchased the rod and new large arbor reel and went right out to the Beaverkill the same day. It wasn't too long that I realized that of the 4 Orvis rods I own, this one is majic. I mean it is so light and so well balanced I could throw it all day. I have never casted so well. My story began about an hour into our fishing on the stream. My wife and daughter who wanted to enjoy the weekend with me, asked to go get their nails done in town and being that we only had one vehicle, she wanted me to take her into town. Well she stopped by the stream where she dropped us off (an hour earlier) and politely beeped the horn. My son and I walked out of the water and up the short berm to our suburban. I quickly took my new Helios and my son's 8 Foot Trout rod and set them on the roof of my truck. We took our boots off and vests and placed them in the back of the truck. As my wife and daughter waited inside the warm truck. My son and I felt the pressure of the moment and we shut the back door and jumped in. As my wife pulled out of the drive and down the road I heard the sickening sound of my new rod and my son's bink, bonk, bink and off the roof they came ...on the road, at about 30 miles an hour. Now I must tell you that I am 45 years old and tied flies with my father at 11 years old and never, never, treated my fly fishing gear in such an ungraceful manor but I can't tell you how sick I felt. At that moment I knew my rod and my marriage, just hit the hard pavement! My wife looked at me and quickly stopped the vehicle. I jumped out and ran to my friend on the road and quickly realized it had gashes in the cork handle and scratches down the entire rod length. I could have cried. My son's rod was worse. The reels had deep wounds and scuffs where they slid down the road. Well, I took my rod and reel right back the Orvis dealer and the owner was shocked to hear my story. I never used the rod repair service that Orvis provides, but I was ready with two patients! My son and I fished the rest of the weekend in solitude and sadness but my wife's nails did look nice I guess. That week end I sent my rod and reels back to Orvis and in May, yes May, I had both rods back in less than three weeks. My Helios rod is perfectly repaired and I think I got a new 8 foot trout rod replacing the other. Thank you Orvis for a life time of enjoyment. I love nothing more than standing in the middle of a beautiful stream with my best friends, my son, and our wonderful Orvis rods."
My Second Helios -
My second Helios was the 904-4 mid flex. I wanted a rod that could do everything and anything with small flies; be it a lake, a small stream or a large river. I especially wanted help fishing a small lake I frequent that requires long casts with spotty at best room to back cast ( only bank fishing is allowed). The trout receive more pressure then any still water, or tail water for that matter, I am aware of. The spin fishers with their live bait and bubble floats with flies to get distance along with the fly fishers keep these trout well educated and on their toes. The fish have also learned to stay away from any proximity to the bank. There are some flies that hatch larger than #20s, but not many and sporadically. For the most part, 22's to 26's are the best producers. Long casts with fourteen foot leaders, and 7 and 8x tippets, and very small flies is what it takes to consistently catch fish. Prior to my Helios 904-4, I would attempt this with 5 and 6 wt rods to get the distance, but it was next to impossible for me to get the fish to the net on 7 and 8x tippets. Plus these heaver wt. rods were not much fun to fish like this, and with lighter wt rods I could not get the distance I needed to put my fly where the fish were. Well, let me tell you, I am now considered one of the best fishers on this lake! People can not believe my catch (and release) rate. With my 904-4 med flex, I get all the distance I need and it protects my tippets. An added bonus, I am now more able to make those controlled, tricky back casts; threading my line through tree branches to keep from losing my flies. I am so pleased with my Helios 904-4 mid flex, and I am so pleased with my improved performance.
Great balanced rod -
By: cutty42 from WY
Love this rod!! The pmd hatch on the South Fork of the Snake in Idaho is a great hatch, with big yellowstone cutts and browns sliding up into the shallow riffles late morning to start feeding. You can often spot and target the best fish in the group, but you better be ready to give him the perfect, delicate presentation. That's where the Helios comes in. A light, strong rod that can handle itself if there's a breeze in the canyon, but soft enough to deliver your size 18 pmd cripple on 5x just right for that big, fat cutty. It is a fantastic rod in many situations, but when on the riffles, the Helios is the ultimate weapon.
I recently bought the 904/4 mid flex Helios rod and must say is as near perfect as 4 wt. I have ever owned. It seems like this rod and the Rio Gold WF 4 line were made for each other. I have a Z Axis 4904/ and like it very much but I think the Helios is a lighter better casting rod. This rod will cast 20' of line with percision and then throw 70' of line with little or no effort. It also cast s larger flies and indicator rigs great. I mainly use a 4 wt. for most of my trout, bass and panfish fishing and this rod will get allot of use. For the most part this rod lives up to all the hype this series has gotten. My only complaint is the finish on the guide and ferrule wraps. It is way too thick and uneven on several wraps. The finish work on this rod is average. But it does not effect the way the rod casts. Over all a great rod. Also love the reel seat, REC did a great job with this one. I have owned many Orvis rods in the past and the Helios series are the best rods Orvis has ever produced.
Features of the Freshwater Helios Fly Rod
By 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.
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.