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Orvis RECON   8’6” #4      $429.00

Orvis RECON excellent fly rod for the money
Orvis RECON 8'6"#4
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George’s Comments: 

The Recon has been one of our favorite rods, and this 4-weight version is terrific.  It comes in very close to our mid-price winner, the Hardy Shadow.  In terms of performance, the Recon was actually better at mid to long range.  The medium fast action of the Recon is very similar to the Helios 3F and this is one reason it performs so well.  And for a rod that is half the cost of the Helios 3F, the overall weight and swing weight are actually lower!  I don’t know how Orvis pulls this off, but we like the results.

The Recon is a very pleasant rod to cast – wonderfully light in hand, and responsive.  It tracks well and I was getting very nice loops and good control, especially at mid to longer distances. 

The components are not in the same class as the Helios 3F, but that is to be expected considering the price.

The color of the blank is an olive green that Orvis calls “shadow green.” The wraps are brown and the epoxy coatings are OK but a little heavy and not nearly as well done as on the 3F.  The cork handle is a half wells design with a stack of thin corks as on the Helios 3F.  The quality of cork was excellent.  The reel seat is a gray anodized double uplocking skeleton seat with sliding band and darker wood insert.  The lock rings were a little harder than most to grip and tighten.  I thought the larger, wider single ring on the Helios 3F was much easier to grip and seemed to lock up better. 

For guides, there is a hook keeper, (The 3F has none), a single SiC stripping guide is used followed with hard chrome snake guides.  I found the alignment dots handy.

The perfect line:  SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity in WF-4-F

George’s casting notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  19.0 points out of 20

Pretty good, but not quite as accurate or as much feel as with the Shadow.   The Scott G series was definitely better.

Performance at 40 feet:  19.2 points out of 20

I’m getting nice loops and good control, but at mid-range the 3F and Scott Radian were better.  Overall a very good performance.

Performance at 60 feet:  9.0 points out of 10

Good, just not nearly as solid or as accurate as the 3F or Radian at long range.

Orvis RECON 8'6"#4
Orvis RECON 8'6"#4
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James’ Comments: 

I was surprised to see the Orvis Recon place so well after adding up my scores, but the Recon has always done well in our Shootouts, consistently one of best mid-priced rods. 

The 8’6”#4 Recon did not disappoint.  The Recon has a nice blend of power and feel at all distances, and is a great choice for an all-around 4-weight.  Amazingly, the Recon was slightly lighter than the Helios 3F in both overall and swing weights. The medium fast action is much like the H3F, giving me good feel and accuracy in close.

Coming in $250 under our 4-weight winner the Zephrus, and nearly half the price of the Helios 3F or Winston Pure, Recon is a smart buy!    

1st impressions:

This Orvis “workhorse” rod is not as fancy as their more expensive H3F, but has a pleasing medium fast action that produces a good performance.  Nicely shaped grip and the cork quality is good.  Chrome snake guides, good swing weight, and a nice blend of feel/power.  Nice burled locking rings work well on the reel seat, and an attractive wood insert is used.

Performance at 25 feet: 18.8 points out of 20

Very nice actually!  Light enough, with a good amount of feel.  While others are lighter and sweeter the Recon is still feeling very good.

Performance at 40 feet:  18.9 points out of 20

Excellent.  This is a very nice rod and feels more expensive than it is.  One of my favorite rods in the shootout in that mid-priced level.  Orvis nailed it.

Performance at 60 feet:  8.8 points out of 10

Ample power, and easy to throw long without throwing tailing loops.  Good in the wind.  A solid performer at long range. 

Orvis Recon
Orvis RECON 8'6"#4
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Logan’s Comments: 47 out of 50

The Orvis Recon rounds out my top 6.  It is an absolute pleasure to cast and the price is only $429!!!  I have always liked the Recon line in the various line sizes, and the 4-weight reaffirms this.  The appearance and quality are at the same high level the Recon has had since its introduction.  One thing that stood out was its light overall weight and swing weight.  It performed well for me at all distances.  For under $500, the Recon is an impressive rod that gave me a great all-around performance.

Performance at 25 feet: 19 out of 20

The Recon is very pleasant at 25 feet.  It was delivering perfect casts with good delicacy. 

Performance at 40 feet: 19.5 out of 20

At 40 feet the Recon was deadly accurate.  I was able to hit the plate with regularity.  I thought the light overall weight might have limited its power and performance at the two longer distances, but that was not the case.

Performance at 60 feet: 8.5 out of 10

The Orvis Recon had what it takes to make consistently good casts at the 60-foot mark.  It wasn’t the most accurate, but handles the longer distances easily.

Orvis Recon
Orvis RECON 8'6"#4
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Francis’ Comments: 

For under $500, the Orvis Recon is a rod that I feel performs well above its price point. To me, the Recon’s action is a little slower and a little less powerful than it’s pricier H3F sibling, but was still a smooth and accurate rod.  This is a great performing and good -looking 4wt for under $500!

Performance at 25 feet: 19/20

The Recon feels smooth and accurate in close but a little less responsive than the best rods like the H3F.

Performance at 40 feet: 19/20

The Recon casts great at mid distances, and was very accurate.

Performance at 60 feet: 9/10

The Recon impressed me at this longer distance. It has a good amount of power but again a little less responsive than some of the other “crisper” rods like the Avantt.  

Orvis Recon
Orvis RECON 8'6"#4
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Chloe’s Comments:

The Recon is a careful mix of robust action and time-tested quality. True to the Orvis brand, it brought power, accuracy and quality to the table at a very reasonable price.  This rod would complement any angler’s quiver well.

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

         The Orvis Recon has a responsive tip that gave me smooth presentations and nice accuracy at close distances.  

Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20

         At 40 feet I felt this rod maintained its smooth action and presentation.

Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10

I started to feel this rod get a little “mushy” at longer distances.  After a couple of casting adjustments I felt confident with this rod.