#4-tie Orvis Recon 9 foot #8 $450.00
You might ask why would someone pay $850 for a Helios 2 when they can get essentially the same performance for $450 with a Recon? Well, the Helios 2 looks a hell of a lot better for one thing, but if you are not concerned good looks or the status symbol pricing, then the Recon is your rod. What it delivers is big time performance, and it’s still an Orvis rod. Yes, it’s slightly heavier in both overall weight and swing weight than the Helios 2, but it is still one of the very best rods in either category.
It’s not that the Recon is ugly, it just isn’t as striking as the Helios 2. All the components are downgraded slightly. They give you a pretty cheap aluminum anodized double locking seat, but with no fancy design and no graphite insert. But in the long run, it will probably function just as well. A short extension butt is used and this looks fine. The full wells handle is similar to the one you’ll find on the Helios 2, with a series of very narrow width cork rings. Guides on the Recon are the good titanium SiC strippers but then they give you the cheaper hard chrome snake guides. The color of this rod is a medium olive/brown with complimentary brown wraps. Conservative accountant types will love this rod.
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20
Nice feel and very good accuracy. But not as good as the Helios 2 in close. Matched about what I was feeling from the Pro 4x.
Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 points out of 20
Here is the sweet distance for this rod. Felt almost as good as anything! Better than the Pro 4X or either of the Winston rods.
Performance at 80 feet: 19 points out of 20
At long range, the Pro 4x was definitely better, especially in the wind. Like the Helios 2, it’s starting to run out of gas but I felt that it was better than the Helios 2 at this distance.
Performance at 100 feet: 17.5 points out of 20
Now the lack of guts becomes a factor. Like the Helios 2 more butt and mid-section power would help a lot.
#4 Orvis Recon 9’#8 $450 77/80
This rod really impressed me. In our 2014 8-weight shootout the Recon wasn’t quite out yet and we couldn’t get our hands on a prototype. Well, it was certainly worth the wait! I feel in the 8-weight model, the Recon is a better all-around rod than the Helios 2. It isn’t quite as light as the H2, nor does it have the killer in-close feel that the H2 has (no companies rod can beat that) but it is still considered lightweight compared to other rods in the test. It has a very nice balance to it, with a lot more power at mid to long range than the H2 and it comes in $400.00 cheaper. True, you’re not going to get the same fit and finish as the H2, but if you are looking for an 8-weight rod that can do it all at a great price, the Orvis Recon is going to be hard to beat.
Performance at 35 feet: 19 points out of 20 Dang, this rod feels lighter than most in my hand and tracks exceptionally well. Accuracy is spot on and this rod feels lighter than a lot of rods nearly twice it’s price.
Performance at 60 feet: 19.5 points out of 20 This rod is really feeling good to me. I think it might be the cherry picker in the whole Recon line (available from 3-weights through 10-weights). Good show Orvis!!
Performance at 80 feet: 19.5 points out of 20 Wow! This rod is a beast of it’s own. Unlike the H2, you can really lay into this rod without having the line collapse or tail on you. I’m starting to really like this rod the more I cast it.
Hit the Hun? 19 points out of 20 Yes sir, way more powerful than the H2 at 100 feet…
Capt. Jamie Allen:
#3 Orvis Recon
This was my surprise rod. At first glance nothing special. Middle of the road hardware. Large tip top. Silver guides. But felt fast and light in the hand. At $450 it’s a dandy. Great accuracy. Reached 100’ easy. Only weighs 3 ½ oz.