Friday, November 18, 2011

Product Field Review - Helios Spey Fly Rod 1368-4 Tip Flex

Helios Spey Fly Rod 1368-4 Tip Flex

I'll likely get into trouble for saying this but after a long period of Orvis being somewhat inept at designing and building a Spey rod, I was a little hesitant to get too excited about the new Helios Spey Rods. 

I got my hands on the 13' 6" 8 weight 4 piece late this summer and used it during a Spey Casting Clinic. I was quickly impressed with this rod and decided to use one for my fall steelhead trip. I fished it for 3 weeks straight this past October/November with the intent of finding anything I didn't like about the rod.....I couldn't find anything I didn't like!

The first thing you will likely notice about this rod is it incredibly light, like all of the other rods in the Helios line. I had been using a TCX 12' 6" 7 weight for most of my steelheading as it was so light and a pleasure to cast. The Helios is certainly as light, maybe lighter in the hand.

Like a lot of the Helios rods, the 1368-4 is very easy to cast, very forgiving, but has a quick, powerful feel. This rod will not only please the beginning spey caster, but also the advanced. It has very nice feel when casting short (only a Skagit head out the tip) as well as the jam to throw long casts.

Butt and blank strength checked out all good with lots of power for fighting fish. The blanks seem to be sound as a couple of very nasty sections of overhanging alders led to a few pretty good whacks on the blank when not paying attention. Other rods would have likely broken, either immediately, or on the next fish. The Helios held up just fine.

The 1368-4 will cast a dry line with finesse, as well as handle tips out to 18 feet of T17. I made sure I tried it and it handle even the heavy tips with no problem. Other light rods I have tired tend to power out when you start getting heavier than 12-15 feet of T14. Not this rod!

Fittings (reel seat, guides, etc.) are, like all Helios rods, absolutely stunning. Stripping guides are high quality, with all other guides being recoil style. The reel seat style is akin to all of the Helios saltwater rods and the reversed locking style is different but easy to use and works just fine. The one thing I would comment on is the secondary lock ring sometimes loosens a little, but the primary stays right where it's supposed to.

I fished a Rio Skagit Flight 525 grain on the rod, which seemed perfect but of course everyone has different preferences. For dry line/light tip use, I would recommend the Rio Scandi Short around 500 grain.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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