The new patent pending Helios saltwater fly rod is so far ahead of all others it skips generations in how a fly rod should feel, cast, and fish. It is so sublimely light, incredibly responsive, deadly accurate, and just plain easy and enjoyable to cast that to compare it to other graphite rods is like comparing graphite to bamboo. There is no comparison. The Helios is that good. And everyone is noticing.Throw big saltwater flies all day with accuracy and far less fatigue than with any other fly rod. This all around 8 weight fly rod offers great fighting power. Ice cleans out of Recoil guides quickly and easily. A real plus when steelheading or trout fishing in cold conditions. Made in USA.
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Overall: 4.9 / 5 based on 11 reviews
11 of 11 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
ZG Helios 8 Middy -
I purchased this stick with Redfish in mind, so many "Saltwater" rods are made with tip actions these days and for many situations, they are simply not the best tool for the job. I wanted a rod that was perfect for close up accurate shots, 1/0 and larger weighted/non-weighted flies and was not "tip heavy" like so many mid-flexing rods are, in fact it was down right spooky how light this rod is. This rod exceeded all expectations I had, simply put, a truly amazing fly rod for a wide variety of situations. Don't let the mid-flex designation fool you, lined with a Hydros Redfish fly line, it was effortless to punch 1/0 weighted Clousers into a 25 knot wind. Quite possibly what impressed me the most was the strength/durability of this rod, it put a beat down on 20-30 pound Redfish like no other 8 weight I have ever fished. I have to admit, I put more pressure on fish with this rod than I would ever feel comfortable doing with other companies fly rods, it took everything I put it through and never skipped a beat. Don't take my word for it, try one for yourself, I do not think you will be disappointed. - KB
Helios 8wt (mid flex) -
By: rsamber from Anchorage Ak
Great rod. Awesome customer service. I have used my 8wt Helios for two seasons (or is it 3?) and I love it. It is amazingly light and casts very well for me and handles 5 to 15lb Salmon nicely. My prior favorite rod is my 81/2' 3 wt. I call it my magic wand. The 8 wt helios is 1/8 oz lighter than my 3 wt. I'm not a great caster. This rod makes me better than I am with most other rods. I have landed well over a hundred Silver Salmon, dozens of Red Salmon, bunches of Pink Salmon and a handful of King Salmon on this rod. I took the early Helios advertising to heart and I put a heck of a bend in the rod while fighting my fish. I used to break one or more rods each season. I finally managed to break the Helios this year on a large, stubborn fish in a tight spot on my 5th or so attempt to beach it. I sent the rod to Orvis ASAP with my $30 and waited, praying that it would be back to me within a month for my last of the year annual Silver Salmon trip. Monday the 3rd of October I called to inquire. The rod was being worked on. My plane leaves Thursday. Not looking good... Orvis then stated that they would send me a new rod in place of the broken one. I needed it ASAP so I offered to pay for overnight shipping. They said not to worry, the $30 will cover that. Today, Tuesday the 4th, my new 8wt Helios arrived via UPS! UNBELIEVABLE!!! I have also had 3 other very good experiences with the Orvis Rod Repair dept. I have zero affiliation with Orvis and I do not automatically love everything Orvis or anything remotely like that. That said, I very highly recommend this rod and I will own a 5 wt Helios in the near future plus probably a couple others over time...
Feels so good to cast. -
By: BestDays from Madison, WI
The ZG Helios™ 908-4 Mid Flex 6.5 Fly Rod is simply the best rod I've ever owned for salmon, steelhead, bonefish, or any time you need to throw big flies or tussle with big fish. It feels so good to cast, I find myself using it for all sorts of things, and just ordered a similar 6 wt rod to compliment it. Owned many quality rods, from top companies, and for casting comfort and accuracy, mending, sensitivity, and fighting fish, this is the best ever.
Great Rod and Great Service -
By: sbretting60 from Northern Wisconsin
I bought this rod for a May bonefishing trip to Mexico. I got it n March and decided I would try it out on some Lake Superior Steelhead first. It is the best rod I have ever cast. It handles my sink tip well and I can put the fly where ever I want it. I consider myself a mediocre caster and with this rod I have no problem making a 60 or 70 foot cast and landing it on target every time. Orvis also has the best rod warranty of any rod manufacturer. They will replace any of their premium rods no matter how it breaks for only a handling fee of $30. The third time using the rod it got shut in the car door and broke the tip of the mid butt section. I next day aired it to Orvis because they said it could take 4 to 6 weeks to get the rod back and we were planing to leave for Mexico in 6 weeks. They got the rod back to me in 2 weeks good as new. This is one of the main reasons I will be looking at an Orvis rod for my next fly rod. The only reason I rated the rod a 4 in the features is because it does not have a hook keeper on the butt section. It is more of a convienience thing than neccesity though.
Five & Not Looking Back -
I recently purchased my fifth Helios and I feel really good about it. There is little fly fishing in February here in Wisconsin. The lakes are frozen so I have no stories about experiences with it, though I know just like with the other four, there will be many. I have been casting it on my snowy back yard. The distance I can achieve has the fly landing two neighbors' yards over. This is hard for me to imagine. I have always valued distance. I think that is partly due to my lack of it. I am now doing 65 to 80 foot casts at will (I have been measuring). How this feather light rod can perform so well is beyond me. So Orvis, for the fifth time, thanks again! I think my next purchase will be the 910-4 tip flex to fish the Pike and Muskie's residing in my great state. I have cast this rod twice now, and just like all the others, mighty impressive. I have a few rods remaining I formerly used, like the sixteen others I sold this past year. It just does not make sense to keep rods around that you no longer desire to use when there should be another Helios in your future.
He threw more casts, neat, long, monstrous hauls that shot out near ninety-feet. With his peaked European-style hat, and my Helios in hand, he looked like a wizard. Between the vivid blues of his pipe smoke, the variegated camouflage of the scattered Madrone, Doug Fir and Cedar, the greens of the waters, the slates and granites of that pebbled beach and a background of coppered sky, you might of thought Easy was fishing a different, untouched era. But look closer, in those seconds, double hauling, line slipping through guides like a phantom channeled, this final cast now, dredged up out of this rod, a well-flogged stick of resins, graphites and mojo-stained cork, a veteran of a thousand trips, look how timeless he makes it. Now he’s laying my rod parallel to the water, tip pointing like ballplayer calling a homer, the looped bolt of line straightening in slow, unwavering motions and settling in that precise vicinity, settling like parachute silk on a long bubble of air. When you see all that, it’s almost a letdown to watch this fat Coho corrupt the stillness, explode on the surface, grab fly and vanish. Not for him though, Easy set the hook with gentle certitude, made his way down thigh-high water towards me, my rod-held off-angle to the side, my reel whirring with piscine strengths. Every third pace or so a new blast of pipe smoke emerged, synchronous with the reel, spinning now like a governor. Here’s a man you say, powered by steams and fumes and only harnessed with such a fine rod. I’d say perhaps, wishing, again, that I could fish like Easy. But know this my friend, although I love that rod, it was Easy that conducted that day, it was Easy that made it magic.
By: berkshiremike from Ma
Top 500 Contributor
Cork is not as expected -
I have 3 Helios rods. 5wt, 8wt, and 9wt. Out of the three, the cork on the 8wt is not the quality I expected! when comparing the 8wt to the 9wt the difference is extreme. The 8 wt handle is rough, cheap looking and feeling with cork filler and ridges, the 9wt is perfect. I would expect better quality control from Orvis. Comparing the price, the Sage and Scott rods have MUCH better cork. It is a great casting rod.
MOST VERSATILE AND EASIEST TO CAST 8 WT. -
By: ALLABOUTTROUT from EVERETT, WASHINGTON
Top 250 Contributor
I BOUGHT THIS ROD EARLIER THIS YEAR FOR SALMON AND STEELHEAD FISHING. ALSO, I PLAN TO USE IT FOR VERY LARGE TROUT, SALTWATER SPECIES OF FISH AND SINKING, SINK-TIP LINE AND DROPPERS. I MUST CONFESS THAT I HAVE NOT ACTUALLY HAD A CHANCE TO USE IT YET, BUT I'VE CAST IT A LOT AND IT IS A GEM. AT 3OZ. THIS ROD CAN DO SO MUCH WITHOUT WEARING OUT YOUR ARM AND SHOULDER. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO FISH A HEAVY FLY LINE. I HAVE IT WITH A BATTENKILL LARGE ARBOR IV BLACK FLY REEL WITH POWERTAPER 8 FLOATING LINE. THIS OUTFIT WORKS AND LOOKS GREAT! I CANNOT WAIT TO USE THIS OUTFIT AND CATCH MY FIRST LARGE FISH! THIS ROD CAN CAST A MILE WITH SUCH LITTLE EFFORT. I RECOMMEND IT HIGHLY.
This rod is incredible! -
By: odoylerulez2 from Northville Mi
Top 250 Contributor
I was wondering just how far Orvis could go after owning the T3 and now I know. I just purchased the 908 mid flex and it cast like a 5 wt. You can cast this rod all day without blowing out your shoulder because it is that light. If I can figure out finance them I think I will be getting a 6 wt. and maybe a 4 wt to go along with these.
Features of the Saltwater 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.