Product Review: Orvis Helios Spey 1368-4

October in the Northwest means chanterelles, college football, deer season--and to the manic steelheaders in our midst, October is time to head upriver and chase Snake River steelhead.  Rivers like the Clearwater are world-renowned for their big riffling runs and eager fish, a surprising number of which reach the twenty-pound range.

Successful anglers on these big inland rivers speak of long casts and small flies, often times while battling a stiff upstream breeze.  Such conditions require a long rod capable of generating fast line speeds, one that is lightweight enough to be cast all day.  Enter Orvis Helios Spey 1368-4.

Spey casters used to a more conventional two-hander, one with the majority of its flex in the middle or lower sections of the rod, might balk at the Helios' stiff progressive taper.  Indeed, for the uninitiated, it feels a bit broom-handle-like in the hand.  But load it up with a 550 Scandi and this rod finds its soul.

That progressive taper works to spread the load through the top 1/3 of the rod, creating a reserve of power in the rod's midsection.  Unlike many progressive taper rods, the 1368's tip remains stiff enough to track stable and true as the rod comes around and over.  And that's when the caster can really turn on the juice by punching the forward stroke and driving the load into that middle power reserve.  The result is a crisp casting Scandi rod, one that sends darts despite a stiff breeze.

And at just over 7 ounces, it's a rod that you can wield all day without fatigue.

Novice spey casters will likely find the rod difficult to time, and certainly it isn't a rod that does the work for you.  But for those seasoned casters looking to throw Scandi-lasers on big summer rivers, the Orvis Helios can be made to shine.

The rod retails for $995.

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