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#7   Orvis Recon     9 foot #8     $450.00

Orvis Recon 8 weight fly rod
Orvis Recon 8 weight fly rod
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George’s Notes: 

Here is the mid-price winner in our Shootout!  We’ve always been impressed with the Recon as it combines light overall weight and swing weight with exceptional performance – and all at a very reasonable price!  The fast action seems to be about perfect, with a softer tip than most of the other mid-priced rods.  Even though very light, the Recon has plenty of power, except at the very longest distance.  It tied the Sage X and BVK for the lightest overall weight, and the swing weight is extremely light too, only a half a point behind the winners.  This makes for a very pleasant rod to fish hard all day long.   

Sure, if you are an Orvis fan and can afford the new Helios 3F, it does provide a level of performance that’s a big step up from the Recon, both at short and long range.  The Recon also uses lower grade components than the Helios 3F too, other than the cork handle, which is the same high quality stack of thin cork rings we found on the 3F.  A full wells design is used.

The blank is what Orvis calls shadow green, (a dark olive green), with slightly darker brown wraps.  The stripping guides are the more standard SiC guides than the titanium ones found on the 3F, and the snake guides are the cheaper hard chrome ones rather than the much more expensive nickel/titanium snake guides found on the best rods.  The brown anodized double uplocking reel seat is just OK.  I found the rings, with their fine knurling, much harder to twist tight than the good ones we found on the Helios 3F.  A short fighting butt is used with a rubber cap.  The Recon is built at the Orvis factory in Manchester, VT. 

Performance at 35 feet:  19 points out of 20

Decent feel but the accuracy of the Helios 3F was far better.  About equal to the Sage X and NRX at short range.

Performance at 60 feet:  19.5 points out of 20  

Impressive – nice tight loops that delivered excellent accuracy.  But the Helios 3D was significantly better.

Performance at 80 feet:  19 points out of 20 

Plenty of power and good line control.  The Sage X and Douglas Sky were slightly better here.

Performance at 100 feet:  18 points out of 20

I could not get the same kind of performance as the Helios 3F or the Sage X at extreme long range. 

7.  Orvis Recon 9’#8 4pc $450

Orvis Recon
Orvis Recon
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James’ Notes:

Looking back at the 2016 8-weight shootout, the Orvis Recon tied for 4th place.  It has been selling strong and performing well ever since.  Orvis did a great job with the Recon, giving us a great performing rod at little more than half the price of their premium Helios 3 rods.  By building good rods in a variety of price ranges, Orvis has created a large following of loyal customers.

The Orvis Recon really does look and feel like an expensive rod.  From the cloth bag, to the hard case, to the components and craftsmanship, this rod is dressed to impress.  It is also one of the lightest rods in our Shootout.  No, it doesn’t match the quality or components found on the Helios 3 rods, but it doesn’t disappoint when you take it out for a spin on the water either.  Looks, performance, and a reasonable price – everything about the Recon makes it a smart buy.  You can buy even better, but you can’t go wrong with a Recon.

1st impressions:  High-end look and performance for a middle of the road price.

Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20

Excellent accuracy and control although not as much feel as the best rods.  The Recon feels nice and light too, – not much to complain about here!

Performance at 60 feet: 18 points out of 20

Impressive power when you lay into it, however it was not as effortless as the other top rods.  I found my best accuracy came when casting this rod aggressively.

Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20

Excellent power, coupled with feel.  To cast 80 feet you’ll want to be aggressive and the Recon is up to the task.

Performance at 100 feet: 19.5 points out of 20

One of the best rods in the Shootout for throwing long, you’ll easily be able to reconnoiter the edge of the bonefish flats with this rod.  

#9. (tie)  Orvis Recon    $450.00

Orvis Recon
Orvis Recon
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Logan’s Notes:

The Orvis Recon series is one of my all-time favorite mid-priced rods, and the 8-weight performance reaffirmed that. It was one of the better casting rods in the Shootout.  If I were looking for the best mid-priced saltwater rod, the Orvis Recon would be my pick.

Performance at 35 feet: 19 out of 20

The Orvis Recon performed very well at 35 feet.  It had a surprisingly light swing weight.

Performance at 60 feet: 19 out of 20

The Recon felt equally as good at 60 feet as it did at 35 feet. 

Performance at 80 feet: 19 out of 20

The Recon performed very well at 80 feet.  I made accurate casts and the leader turned over perfectly.

9. (tie) Orvis Recon   57.5/60    $450.00

Orvis Recon
Orvis Recon
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JG’s Notes:

The Recon from Orvis is a rod that has impressed me with excellent performance at a great price.  It has always been in contention for the best mid-priced rod in our other Shootouts.  I liked the awesome power on tap, combined with this rod’s light weight in my hand.  It tied for the lightest in overall weight, and was also one of the best rods we tested in swing weight.      

Performance at 35 feet:  19

The Recon is accurate and super light in hand.  At short-range it delivered really accurate casts, but with a more aggressive presentation than I liked.  This is what cost it full honors, but all in all I liked it in close.

Performance at 60 feet:  19.5

Here I found the Recon formed nice tight loops that helped it punch into the wind. I was able to get good accuracy at this distance also.   I think mid-range is where the Recon performs best.

Performance at 80 feet:  19

I lost a little accuracy moving out past 60 ft. It didn’t drop off terribly, but it was enough to cost the Recon a point here.  It still has good power to reach 80 feet, but I got more accuracy with other rods.   The light weight makes it less fatiguing than heavier rods, making the Recon a pleasure to fish all day.

Performance at 100 feet:

Has the power to hit 100, but less accuracy than some. 

Orvis Recon
Orvis Recon
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