Orvis Recon     9’ 5-weight       $425.00 

Orvis Recon

Orvis Recon

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George's Notes:

The Recon has been one of our favorite rods in the past, for the mid-priced bracket.  The Recon is slightly heavier than the Helios 2, using lower modulus graphite, and Orvis doesn’t use the same high-tech resins that you’ll find in the H2.  Yet this didn’t seem to dampen the Recon’s performance very much.  The action is medium fast, but most other good medium fast rods have softer tips that produced better feel and accuracy in close.  Middle distances are the real sweet spot for this rod.  The Helios 2 was a lot better in close.  


The Recon is an attractive rod too with good craftsmanship.  The blank itself is a dark olive with slightly darker olive wraps.  The handle is a half wells, using the same stack of excellent quality thin cork rings that we saw on the Helios 2.   The double uplocking aluminum seat is a dark brown with an attractive dark brown burl wood insert.  One SiC stripping guide is used followed up with silver hard chrome snake guides. Certainly one of the best rods in that mid-price bracket, but it didn’t match the performance of the Loop Opti Stream, which costs only $4 more.


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


Performance at 25 feet:  18.6 points out of 20 

Nice and smooth and fairly accurate, but the Helios 2 was definitely better, as were the Legend Elite and Opti Stream. 

Performance at 45 feet:  19.3 points out of 20 

This is the sweet spot for the Recon.   I felt that it gave me better accuracy than the Helios 2 but in head to head casting it couldn’t match the Douglas DXF or Opti Stream.  

Performance at 70 feet: 8.9 points out of 10 

Good but not great.  About equal to the Helios 2 and Opti Stream but rods like the Sky and the Loop Cross SX were far better.



Orvis Recon

 Orvis Recon

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James' Notes:

Of all the USA made rods in our 2017 5-weight Shootout, the Orvis Recon is the least expensive and best performing rod.  The Recon’s action is on the stiffer side, and probably shouldn’t be considered if you are planning on fishing spring creeks or flat water and 5-7X tippet most of the time.  If you are fishing larger rivers, especially nymph fishing under an indicator or throwing streamers, the Recon is an excellent choice.

You won’t find the latest advancements in terms of cork, guides, graphite, or an overly fancy reel seat like you do on the Helios 2, but what you do get with the Recon is a smooth casting, accurate rod with ample power. 

In my opinion, the Recon is a huge step up in terms of performance and feel from the now discontinued Orvis Access and Zero Gravity models.  Orvis is building rods today with far better actions than in the past.  If you can’t afford their $850 top of the line Helios 2 or the Helios 2 Covert, then the Recon is a very sensible purchase.

Like the Helios 2 rods, the Recon is built from the ground up in Manchester, Vermont.  


Performance at 25 feet: 18.8 points out of 20

Nice Loops and solid accuracy.  A bit heavier feel than the Aetos, but better than most all other inexpensive rods or mid-priced rods.   

Performance at 45 feet: 19 points out of 20

The good feel and power and a solid performance.  On par with the Sage Pulse, Loop, Cross SX, Winston BIIIx, and Beulah Guide Series II.  I like it.

Performance at 70 feet: 9.7 points out of 10

Nice – I’m impressed!  This rod has the power to launch them long. Very good loop control, and almost no tailing loops, even when punching it hard into a headwind.



Orvis Recon

Orvis Recon

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Logan's Notes:

The Orvis Recon is an absolute killer complement to the Helios II.  I also really like the look of the Recon.  It’s got a nice metallic olive color, with subtle chartreuse highlights in the logo.  It felt a little stiffer than the Helios II, but this is not always a bad thing.  If you are a Helios II fan and are looking for a good back-up rod or a good nymph stick, the Recon would be a great choice.


Logan’s Casting Notes: 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

This is a good rod in close.  Its slightly stiffer tip hurts a little, but it can still perform.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 out of 20

45 feet is the Recon’s best distance.   The Recon loaded very well and I was able to time my casts perfectly.

Performance at 70 feet: 8 out of 10

The Recon was still good at 70 feet.  I was able to make good, accurate casts to the plate at 70 feet.



 Orvis Recon

Orvis Recon

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 JG's Notes:

The Recon is another great all-around performer that doesn't break the bank.  Personally I liked it better than the much more expensive Helios II. 


25 Feet – 18.2 points out of 20
At 25 feet the Recon was a little too stiff for me.  It didn’t give me the same sense of feel or accuracy I was getting with the Beulah rods.

45 Feet – 19 points out of 20

I liked the Recon a lot at 45 feet.  I think that its action is better suited for longer-range casts. I got very good accuracy and good feel at the mid-range targets.

70 Feet – 19.5 points out of 20

As far as mid-priced rods go, it’s hard to beat the Recon if longer distances are your main concern.  I was able to get reliable accuracy at distance.