While I was down in Mexico casting for… well… whatever would eat a 1/0 Surf Candy/Clouser, I had two loaner rods with me… an 8 wt. Hydros and an 8 wt. Access. Having cast the Helios down in Belize a few weeks back, I’ve now cast three different Orvis sticks in an 8.
I must say… I’m impressed.
If I were going to buy one of these rods, I’d probably go with the Hydros. The Hydros gets you a rod as good as the Helios with a substantial discount on the price. I cast the Hydros most of the time I was down in Mexico. It was light, crisp and powerful. I was throwing lead eyes and sinking lines and the thing just played very well.
The Access is on the lower end of the Orvis spectrum, but it is still a good stick. When you put them side-by-side you notice that the blank is thicker and when you pick it up, you notice the extra weight, even if it does come down to a couple ounces. The Access is a little slower, so I had to change my casting stroke some, but the rod can still pound the casts out there. It may not be fair to look at the Access after having cast the Hydros for a few days since the Hydros is just a really slick piece of casting rocketry.
A Note on Rod Selection for Vallarta
Vallarta is a hard place to judge for rod selection. I would have been fine on most of the fish I caught with a 6 weight. Still, there are a few fish I hooked that would have put a serious beat-down on a 6. You just never know what is going to be on the other end. Could be a 5 ounce fish. Could be a 25 pound fish.