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Apropos of the Orvis Helios rod, which Editor Don Causey mentioned in a recent issue, I would like to disclose that I started a non-profit guiding program several years ago. The primary motivation/goal is to introduce children (mostly underprivileged) to the “power of nature.” The prime venue to achieving this is taking them fly/spin fishing for striped bass on the Kennebec River in Maine. As I embarked on this mission, several rod manufacturers stepped up and offered support, most notably, L.L. Bean, Loomis, Echo and Orvis. Accordingly, I have been very fortunate to test many fine fly and spinning rods representing all price points. I personally own 12, 8, 6, and 4 wt. Helios rods with which I have been lucky enough to catch tarpon. skipjack, dorado, salmon and brook trout. The performance of the rod is well suited for those looking for a fast action combined with a stiff butt to turn over large flies and fight aggressive fish, as well as those individuals looking to blind cast endlessly and still return to the lodge with their elbow and shoulder intact. Indeed, Orvis has raised the bar for other manufacturers to better. Orvis has destroyed the myth that it was impossible to make a rod that is both powerful and light in weight. Is this rod for everyone? Probably not. Consumers base their purchasing decisions on many factors, ranging from aesthetics to feel to price. Fortunately, rod manufacturers such as Echo and Temple Forks (TFO) have proven that great performance doesn’t have to come at a great expense. Up until last year, the most difficult problem with the light weight Helios rod was finding a well-balanced reel that matched up well. Orvis responded with their Mirage reel and the two together make a perfect team. – Brian Noyes, Master Maine Guide.
(Postscript: I have broken three Helios rods, one while fishing for tarpon in Mexico and the other two last year while salmon fishing in Que- bec. The malfunctions were not the result of a flaw in the rod’s manufacturing but rather due to my own inexperience. I broke the first trying to keep a tarpon from going under the boat and into the mangroves. That put far too much stress on the rod.  I broke the other two while I was trying to hand-tail two 12-pound salmon. I grabbed the rod half way up and that transferred all the pressure to the tip of the rod. Needless-to-say, Orvis replaced the rods without question or hesitation.)

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