When out with guide Katchu from El Pescador we had an abrupt stop on our way tarpon hunting where permit rods were demanded. We were not rigged for permit. I quickly got the Orvis Helios 8 wt. ready and was up on deck, casting to my first permit.
I was pumping the cast out and was carrying the line well in the air and then… then the cast fell apart. The shot was gone. As one or two other anglers may be tempted to do, I thought, well… maybe I need to over-line this rod. Over-lining had proved just the ticket for the Sage Xi3 7 wt., so I put on a 9 wt. line. I missed the next shot, but have no recollection of how that cast went.
Later, in a moment of reflection, I began to wonder if, just maybe, I had jumped to conclusions about the Helios. I mentioned out-loud to my fishing buddy Shane (who happens to be a casting instructor and a beautiful caster) that I was beginning to think that maybe I had just put out a bad cast and blamed the rod.
Shane said in watching the cast that my false cast before the final presentation had been perfect. When he saw me go for the last cast, he knew it wasn’t going to go well. I think I knew it down deep too. I had botched the cast… this was operator error.
Our last morning in Belize I decided to trust Steve at Orvis and I put the 8 weight line back on the Helios and I took that rod out for the last fleeting hours of fishing.
Newsflash… the Helios casts really, really well and an 8 wt. casts an 8 wt. line very well. It is light… that’s the first thing you notice. It feels almost like casting a 5 wt., which may give you the impression it isn’t going to have the power to get you through the wind or the distance you might need (and I think that is why I flubbed the first cast and went through the up-line fiasco). Of course, the ROD has the power to do it and the weight of the rod in ounces does not = the power of the rod.
At $800, the Helios is in the upper, upper price range of fly fishing gear. It really makes me want to get a Hydros out fishing… a rod that is the twin brother of the Helios… but that twin that was born 20 minutes later and who might not be totally the same. At $500, it is much more in the price-range I’d probably be more interested in. Basically, you get the same technology with a couple of bells and whistles removed.
If you drive a Mercedes that costs $40K, you are probably a Hydros guy. If your Benz costs $143,000… just jump right to the Helios (even though you are probably too busy to actually fish).