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Orvis Helios 4 Sections

The much anticipated 4th generation Orvis Helios has finally arrived! Like its predecessor, the H4 comes in 2 models: the D (distance) and the F (finesse), with both models offering many lengths and line weights to target virtually any species from Brook Trout to Tuna. At its core, the new Helios is designed to be the most accurate rod ever made, boasting four times the accuracy of other leading competitors.  Keep reading to check out our full impression of the new Helios and whether it lives up to all the hype.

Outfit

Orvis Helios Fly Rod

Orvis Mirage Fly Reel

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity

Fit & Finish

Orvis Helios 4 Details

Much like the Helios 3, the new Helios showcases high-end componentry that compliments its sportscar-like performance. Starting from the bottom of the rod, H4 features a durable type-3 anodized aluminum reel seat. Big game models come with a composite cork fighting butt, sized to match the appropriate reel size for the job. On freshwater models, you’ll find a classy burled hardwood spacer. The cork handle of every model features premium Portuguese-grade cork, with big game models sporting a “gas pedal” composite cork underthumb for maximum energy transfer when punching line aggressively. The paint job of H4 features the controversial white label, which some anglers despise, and others don’t mind. We predict Orvis will release limited colored labels at some point, as they did with Helios 3. The F series blank is painted a deep matte olive green color, and the D is a matte black. Guides are top-of-the-line, featuring REC silicon carbide titanium stripping guides, and REC recoil snake guides up to the tip. Overall, the aesthetics of H4 are “high-end utilitarian”. This rod doesn’t exude elegance like a Winston or a T&T, but it looks clean. One thing is certain: with the white label, everyone will know you’re fishing a Helios, even from far away.

Distance

If you’re looking for distance performance out of the H4, go for the “D” series. Designed to deliver big flies, shoot line, or muscle through heavy winds, the lineup of “D” rods features plenty of reserve power, perhaps at the expense of feel, especially at close range. This isn’t to say the “F” series lacks power altogether, but it wasn’t built to be a powerhouse like the D, which has no problem casting to the backing knot in the right hands.

Accuracy

Orvis Helios 4 Cork

As Orvis’ marketing suggests, the new Helios is a very accurate fly rod. This leads to the big question: how much more accurate can it be than the H3? To answer that, you probably need the fine-tuned machinery in the Orvis rod shop to find out. They claim it's four times more accurate than the leading competitors, suggesting that tip displacement equates to accuracy. In our test casting, we determined that the H4 feels as accurate as the H3, plus a smidge better. Most advanced anglers will notice very little difference here, but perhaps the placebo of the “4X” data will result in better casting. All in all, both the D and F series are supremely accurate rods and will put the fly very precisely where the rod tip directs it.

Flex & Feel

Aside from a very low swing weight across the board, the flex and feel category is difficult to generalize with the Helios 4. Between the D and F lineups, there currently exist 29 distinct rod models, each with its unique taper and intended applications. Having talked about the new Helios face-to-face with Shawn Combs, Orvis’ Director of Design and Development, I can tell you that there was no “one-size-fits-all” approach to designing the H4. For the sake of this review, however, we will do our best to generalize the flex and feel of the new Helios between the D and F series.

Starting with the D series, the Helios offers a fast action that is designed to maximize line speed and power. By no means would we call the D a broomstick, as it is noticeably softer than the H3D series. The new Helios gives you big-time power but still offers some feel for those medium-distance casts. The swing weight on H4 is amazingly lightweight, a noticeable 20% reduction from H3. Overall, the H4D is a pleasure to cast, especially at medium to long distances where accuracy and power are paramount. 

The F series, by contrast, is a medium-fast action rod designed for delicacy, sensitivity, and tippet protection. The biggest takeaway from our testing of the F model is that it requires a true-to-line-weight fly line to maximize its performance. If paired with the appropriate line, the H4F is a joy to cast, and a deadly fishing tool for technical situations. From finicky spring creek Trout to wary Bonefish, the H4F lays out graceful casts with extreme accuracy. 

Warranty

As of 2024, Orvis rods fall under the one-of-a-kind Orvis Guarantee. If broken within a quarter-century of purchase, Orvis vows to fix your rod. If they cannot fix the rod, Orvis will replace it regardless of circumstance. Normal wear and tear, accidental breakage, misuse, and mistreatment along with anything else resulting in a broken rod are all covered in the Orvis 25-Year Guarantee. No questions asked. If Orvis cannot fix your broken rod and the rod has been discontinued, they will replace it with a current rod model of equal value.

Price: $1,098

Conclusion

Orvis Helios 4 Label

The rod design team at Orvis had their work cut out for them to improve upon the extremely popular Helios 3. We give kudos to Shawn Combs and his team for not only claiming they’ve made a better product, but for backing up their claims with data. The results speak for themselves, and the Helios 4 is lighter and more accurate than its predecessor, making it one of the highest-performing rods available in 2024. Although the $1k+ price tag will put this premium rod out of reach for many anglers, we can expect to see the Helios 4’s technology trickle down into the Recon and Clearwater models soon. For anglers who demand the best performance for specific fishing applications, the Helios 4 offers options to handle any task.

Buy it with free shipping Here

Pros

  • Extremely accurate
  • Premium componentry
  • Available in D or F depending on the application
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • White label (some like it, others don’t!)