Helios 2 | Thoughts
Been thinking a lot about these new H2 rods and how I want to spin my love for them. On one hand, we just sell Orvis, so I hardly expect people to think I’m going to be very negative about them. Ask the rod dude at Orvis how much love I gave him when they came out with the original Zero Gravity, or what my thoughts were about the super secret technology used in submarines to dampen the old Trident TL’s!
I have been a sucker for the Helios and am one for the H2 as well. I spend a lot of time on the water every year, guiding, instructing, and even some fishing too and I am particular about the gear I use. I rely on a couple rods for 95% of my trout fishing.
My all time favorite 3 trout rods are the Loomis IMX, Hardy Angel, and Orvis Helios, I’ve fished just about everything there is at one time or another and am completely capable of writing a complete and thorough review of most medium – high end rods on the market today. WTF cares…I mean really.
Is the H2 better than everything else? ‘Tis for me but hey…I don’t know man…some people think Lamiglass and Diamondback are the Shiznick. It’s just what they like, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. There are plenty of crappy caster out there and that can throw Sage 9’ 5 RPL a country mile with a 7 wt and a slinky on the end. Just as there are some dynamite casters that can work some tight loops and a delicate presentation at 50’ cross the wind.
My least favorite “awesomesacue” rods of all time would include the Orvis Zero Gravity, Winston BII, and the Sage Zero-Axis. Lots of people like ‘em, I think they fish like junk.
There are oodles of rods in between, and honestly, I like most rods. Some more so than others, but I tend to hold back when it comes to saying that I really like something unless I really do and believe in it.
The thing with the H2 rods is that they have a lot of power that is easily accessed without the need to be an expert caster. They track very well, as a result of how the graphite is rolled in the direction of the blank, which results in improved accuracy. These 2 key ingredients are really the difference makers in the rod line for me.
I like the tip flex and have fished the 906, 905, and 966 extensively and spent a few days with a 912 as well. As with any rod, there is no “one-for-all-situations” rod model. I like the 905 for all my dry fly, close to long range and standard nymphing rig. If I know it’s a junk day, I go to the 966 (not available yet) as I like the little bit of extra length for ez mending and the unique loading qualities of this particular rod model.
I’m not such a huge fan of the 906…it’s a nice rod but I prefer the original version of the Helios, some old Sages (RPL era) or even a Winston LT in the 906. I’ve talked to some guys that have fished the 906 H2 and thought it was the best 906 they had ever fished with.
I’m not an authority when it comes to the 12 wts. Have honestly only fished a Loomis IMX, Orvis T3, Helios, and H2 in that big of a rod. The H2 held up to a 100+ pound Tarpon pullin’ on one end with me and a Hatch 11+ cranked ¼ turn from all the way down on the other end. I’d pay $850 for one in a heartbeat and wouldn’t worry about breaking it before I would break anything else.
People have a “hate thing” with the costs of high-end rods today. Honestly, high-end rods have always been expensive. That has to do with the cost of materials, innovation, marketing, and so forth. One people don’t appreciate enough is the warranty that comes with just about every rod on the market today for over $150.
Especially when talking high-end rods, consumers should be more appreciative of what the rod manufacturers are really giving them. Go buy a high end pair of skis or golf clubs and “accidentally” drive over them with your ½ ton SUV and see what the dealer says, even if you’ve only used them 6 times! What do you think they’d tell you in 10, 15, or 25 years? Get bent! But, buy a premium rod and you don’t have to stress if that 100+ Tarpon does blow it up or if you happen to slam it the truck tailgate. Just saying that it’s a pretty good deal that should help soften the blow of the up front cost of owning the best or even third best that money can buy!
As more and more of the H2 rods become available, I’ll give them a quick rundown with a thumbs up or down IMO. One thing to keep in mind when buying a rod is that there is no substitute for good casting skills and there is no one rod that will do it all! Pick one or 2 models that suit what you do and how you cast, and embrace them.
Most importantly…my advice to those looking to spend several hundred dollars on a fly rod…is don’t be an idiot! Cast a few and go with the one that feels the best and is the easiest to cast for yourself. Don’t listen to the hype…be the hype.