2 hours. That is the amount of time it took for our staff to start wagering casting bets with the brand new The Helios™ 3 Blackout Fly Rods. We are so stoked that these rods have finally hit our rod rack and we can't wait for y'all to come to try them out. So far, the initial impressions were "This rod was well worth the wait.". Here are a couple of detailed photos and a quick rundown of the new Helios™ 3 Blackout.
Rod Length: 11' - 9'5" - 8'5"
Rod Action: Fast
Rod Materials: Graphite
Rod Weight: ~ 3.10 oz (9'5" 5wt)
Guide Materials: Titanium frames with a SIC insert
Snake Guides: REC recoil
Reel Seat: Type III anodized aluminum with a carbon insert
Rod Tube: Aluminium
Off the bat, the initial reviews from the staff here at our Denver shop have been nothing but positive. When compared to the previous Orvis Helios the major changes come from the rod length department as well as the cosmetic department. Personally, I am a big fan of the matte black (Matte Midnight) color on these new rods. I know there were some chirps about the previous Helios's white logo being a bit of an eyesore or a bit too reflective on bright sunny days (Personally I enjoyed them). If you happen to be one of those folks who did not like the bright white logo, you are in luck with this The Helios™ 3 Blackout, this new Matte Midnight color is sleek, stealthy, and looks absolutely killer when paired with the Orvis Mirage LT Fly Reel in the Matte Midnight color.
When it comes to the initial casting impressions, our guys here at the shop talked about how much they enjoyed the 9'5" 5wts ability to quickly pick up short amounts of line and within two to three false casts be back in business. These remarks came as a surprise to me due to the extra 5 inches this rod has, which is a main differentiator between The Helios™ 3 Blackout and the previous Helios 3 models. Initially, I thought that it would be a little clumsy and awkward but, this proved not to be the case. It will be interesting to see how this rod does in the long term and how well it holds up to previous Helios 3 models. However, given the level of positive impressions, this rod has gotten so far it might be a close race that comes down to minute details. But, that's what makes a great fly rod and one that you will use time and time again.
At the end of the day, I think it is very obvious that Orvis has another clear winner with their brand new Helios 3 lineup. The Helios™ 3 Blackout line is designed with the serious angler in mind who never compromises on performance and is well worth the price of admission. If you are wanting to check out the rod for yourself and see if the hype surrounding this rod is real, come swing by the shop to test them out! Once you cast this rod you will see why Orvis still reigns supreme when it comes to fly rods.