Orvis Helios 2 -  “Covert”  9’ 5-weight   $850

Orvis H2 Covert

Orvis H2 CovertBuy Now 


George's Notes:

For this Shootout, Orvis sent us one of their new special edition Helios 2 “Covert” rods.  It is $55 more than the Standard Helios 2, but if you are into blacked out cars, wheels, or anything else this is your rod! 

Basically it is the same as the great Helios 2 we have had in the past but the finish is a wicked flat black along with everything else on the rod, although the black guide wraps are finished in a glossy epoxy.  Even the uplock skeleton seat is flat black along with what looks like a gloss black graphite insert.  You aren’t going to spook many fish with this rod!  And you are going to be the coolest dude on the stream with this rig.  

This is their tip flex rod, which we have preferred in the past, but the action is slower than most of the best medium-fast action rods.  The craftsmanship is excellent, as we have come to expect from past Orvis rods.  The grip is a full wells but with a long swell in the middle and very comfortable in hand.  Orvis is using a stack of superb quality thinner cork rings.  I love the guide set up, which is one fairly large SiC style guide followed up with black nickel/titanium snake guides that are flexible and unbreakable.   

Like the other Helios 2’s we have cast lately, the performance was very good.  This is nice light rod in both overall weight and swing weight, which is important.  I liked this rod better at the short to medium distances than at long range.  


The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  19.1 points out of 20

Good, but head to head the LP, Radian and Zephrus were much better with better feel and accuracy.    

Performance at 45 feet:  19.2 points out of 20

Nice and smooth but required a lot more casting effort than the NRX LP, and wasn’t even close in feel or accuracy to the Sky and Radian

Performance at 70 feet: 8.9 points out of 10

I didn’t get very good loop control and the Radian, Sky and Avantt were definitely better.



Orvis H2 Covert

 Orvis H2 Covert

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James' Notes: 

The Orvis Helios 2 Covert Tip-Flex uses the exact same blank as the original Orvis Helios 2 Tip-Flex, but only has 1 layer of epoxy finish as opposed to 3 layers on the original.  This makes the Orvis H2 Covert feel a little lighter in hand and little faster.

I thought the Covert felt a little stiffer than the original H2, which hurt it in terms of feel in close but made it even more powerful at 70 feet.  The Covert seems to be a little more accurate to me, and recovers more quickly.  I really enjoyed the slightly “crisper” action of the Covert over the original H2.  Not that the 3 coats of finish deaden the original H2, but the Covert really did seem to be more lively. 

As the all-black “murdered out” color suggests, this rod is a serious weapon and demands recognition.  So far Orvis offers the Covert H2 rods only in the 9’ 5-weight tip flex, and the 9’ 8-weight versions.   


Performance at 25 feet:  18.6 points out of 20

Strangely, this rod feels stiffer in the tip to me than the original Orvis H2.  But it was still better than the Hardy Wraith, T&T Avantt, and Sage X.  The top rods had more feel at this distance.  Surprisingly, not nearly as sweet as the blue Helios 2 in our last Shootout. (At least at this distance).

Performance at 45 feet:  19.8 points out of 20

Another near perfect score.  What the H2 Covert lacked in close, it quickly made up for at mid-distance with laser-like loops.  The H2 Covert has an incredible amount of power and hangs right with the best at 45 feet.

Performance at 70 feet:  9.9 points out of 10

A pleasant surprise – this for me, was one of the best rods at 70 feet.  Only the Wraith was better.  The Orvis H2 Covert was very accurate with tons of reserve power. Hardly any tailing loops no matter how hard I pushed it.



Orvis H2 Covert

Orvis H2 Covert

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Logan's Notes:

The new Covert model of the Orvis Helios 2 is a “murdered out” machine - all black everything!   I really like this rod and aside from aesthetics not much has changed performance wise, and that’s great.  The H2 is still one of my favorite fly rods on the market in all weights, but especially the five.


Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 19.5 out of 20

The H2 has always been one of the best rods at 25 feet and in, and this still holds true today.  It is nearly perfect at 25 feet. 

Performance at 45 feet: 19 out of 20

At 45 feet this rod performs extremely well; I absolutely love the feel of this rod and I am casting ultra tight loops with good accuracy.

Performance at 70 feet: 9 out of 10

At 70 feet the Orvis Helios 2 was still a superb rod.  It had the power to deliver, but I wasn’t getting the same accuracy as I was with the Thomas & Thomas Avantt or the Hardy Wraith.



Orvis H2 Covert

Orvis H2 Covert

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JG's Notes:

This new rod from Orvis is an offshoot of the extremely popular H2.  Orvis uses a new full wells grip that feels great in my hand.  Its all-black finish isn’t my style but if you’re into the all-black thing you’ll love it.  Thanks to the different finish on this rendition of the Helios, we actually saw lower swing weight numbers.


25 Feet – 17 points out of 20
At short distances the Covert is a stiff rod that I didn't like much. I couldn't sense any flex or feel from the rod, which made accuracy and delicacy hard for me.


45 Feet – 18.2 points out of 20
At 45 feet I liked the Covert much more.  It’s still a stiff rod, which isn’t a great thing in a 5-weight, by limiting the feel and sensitivity, which are necessary for accuracy.  The Covert has no problem with power but hitting the mark was harder for me than with either of the Winstons.


70 Feet – 18.1 points out of 20
My favorite distance for the Covert was in between our mid and long-range targets.  It has a real sweet spot at about 55-60 feet.  At 70 feet it’s still really nice, and I did like the feel a lot better at long distance than in close. If that’s your M.O. this would be a good choice.