I love to fly fish and I recently had the opportunity to visit the Orvis Flagship Store in Manchester, VT and took a tour of the Fly Rod manufacturing facility which is an experience not to be missed!
While not an expert at casting a fly rod, (I still fish like a girl) I started to learn about this sport when I moved to Steamboat Springs, CO in 2008. Steamboat Springs is a great community that offers anglers a variety of fishing options along the Yampa and Elk Rivers, ranch ponds, mountain lakes and streams and reservoirs.
Learning to fly fish with very experienced Guides in the area has spoiled me. My first experience was on a Orvis Trident 8’ 3” three weight matched with a beautiful 40 year old Charles F. Orvis III reel – the ones made in England. The kind of reel that is light weight and smooth with the beauty of a gentle mid flex rod.
At the Flagship Store in Vermont, the Orvis store provides you with a pond to try out their great selection of rods and reels. So I decided to try the Helios mid flex eight and a half foot 5 weight. I was familiar with this rod from our Guides in Steamboat. Every year we hold the Annual Golf Trout Tournament in September to raise funds for the Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust, a non-profit which raises money for the benefit of local waters in Northwest CO and gives a $3,000 scholarship out to a graduating high school student studying environmental science.
A full Helios setup is sold as an auction item every year for the Golf Trout Tournament and is very popular among the 130 or so attendees. On this day at Orvis, I was speaking with a great sales person, who, after sometime chatting with me gave me the green light to go out to the pond by myself without any guidance. I felt honored, like I had passed the test. So I jumped at the chance to see how the Helios would perform for me. I spent about 25 minutes playing and was very happy. A few fish played with the hookless offering at the end of my leader and overall I really liked the Helios. I can see why it gets attention at auction time.
I was not intimidated by the slightly longer rod and heavier line weight. It was easy to haul and the mid flex performed as expected.
After my return into the Orvis store the sales guy said he had watched me a few times through the window and said I had a good cast and that he would be happy to go out on the river with me. That made my day!
With many choices on hand, I certainly agree that testing the rods and the reel is a good way see the difference between them. As a sizable investment it is good to be comfortable with the equipment before purchase.
The Trident is a great small stream rod, but out West, a 9’ foot plus for a 5 or 6 is the way to go and on my agenda to try next. I welcome any suggestions!
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