Following rave reviews on the far side of the pond the great and the good of UK angling gathered in deepest Hampshire to see if the recently launched Orvis Helios 3 lived up to expectations. It was a Friday in late September and blessed with balmy autumnal weather, conditions seemed perfect to put this rod through its paces.
Such gatherings are always nervous affairs as in truth, one angler’s medicine rod is another’s poison! After all, with experts from the saltwater flats, the trout fraternity and those who prefer flinging outsized flies at pike, a strong field of critics assembled. Having had my mitts on the 905(F) model in Russia the thoughts of other enthusiasts were going to be compelling for me.
Let’s not forget a small number of humble beginners too, who whilst not yet being able to provide detailed feedback, would still be worth seeing how they took to this new wand.
For years Orvis led the way by providing a unique flex rating index, basically enabling angler’s to select a stiffer, or more through action rod depending on their tastes and fishing situations. Orvis however changed tack by offering Helios 3 models for distance (denoted with a ‘D’ on the transfer) and more forgiving rods with feel in mind (designated by the letter ‘F’). Interestingly these days, many lean towards a softer blank so the more through action ‘F’ labeled outfits proved an instant hit.
Perhaps the most ground breaking news though was that due to diligent manufacturing processes, every single rod of a given model can be exactly replicated time and again. In the event of a damaged blank then this means a replacement section can be immediately sourced without the rigmarole of posting your entire rod back to a supplier, a definite thumbs up in my book.
So, what about the H3’s capabilities then? I suppose like any hand-eye coordinated pastime, feel and form are subjective and down to each individual. We could reel off several superlatives here, though rather than prattle on let’s just say that both experts and beginners seem to instantly gel with the rod. In my mind, a signature of quality tackle is when no fine adjustments are required and you barely realize the outfit lays in your hand, everybody left then willing the dawn of 2018 when a full compliment of H3s are set to be available in the UK!
Paul Procter Sept ‘17