Orvis Recon 2 Freshwater Fly Rod Review
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Orvis has remade its popular mid-priced rod series the Orvis Recon. The original Recon was known for its high-performance capabilities and a fast action design that we loved and recommended often. The Recon was a rod that was near-perfect for anglers looking for a bread-and-butter 5wt in the mid-price range. These rods were great for nymphing, throwing larger dry flies, and casting in the wind. So what has changed in the all-new Recon 2?
One of the most significant changes in the new Orvis Recon 2 is Orvis' use of trickle-down technology. Since the original Recon, Orvis designed and released an extremely diverse and dynamic high-end rod series: The Orvis Helios 3 Fly Rods. The company used what they learned in the creation of those rods to remake the Recon with an action Orvis says falls somewhere between the Orvis Helios 3F and the Orvis Helios 3D. Read on to find out how the new Orvis Helios 2 stacks up against other versatile 5wts.
Read our review of the 8wt Recon 2 here.
Fit & Finish
Here's what Orvis has to say about the new Recon rods:
The Recon 2 5wt features silver stripping and snake guides, blanks with a matte olive finish and charcoal and spring green accents, a quick rod identifier on the blank, and a Pewter type III anodized aluminum reel seat with a burled wood insert. These rods come in a Nylon-covered rod tube with the Orvis 25-Year Guarantee. Like the original Recon rods, the Recon 2 5wt is made in the USA. The 9' 5wt also comes with a full wells grip that's comfortable and lightweight. These rods are finished with a great combination of style and functionality. Check out the video above to learn more.
If you've read our review of the Orvis Recon 2 8wt fly rod, you've probably seen that the new iteration of this contemporary rod series is heavier than the old one. Orvis built the Recon 2 for fishability, not for the scales. The 5wt rod model tells a similar story: the old Recon 5wt weighed in at 2.7 ounces with a swing weight of 59.1 gm2. The Recon 2 5wt has an overall rod weight of 3.07 ounces and a swing weight of 67.4 gm2... significantly heavier. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but more about that later.
Orvis refined the rod taper on the second iteration of the Recon to provide anglers with more accuracy and feedback at typical trout distances. That means this rod is a great fishing tool but not the most powerful trout rod on the market. The rod's accuracy and power suffered as we pushed it back to 60+ feet. This is where the first model of the Recon really outshines the Recon 2. This isn't a rod for carrying a lot of line in the air and landing dry flies accurately at long distances.
That being said, only a handful of anglers in a handful of rare scenarios need to land a fly on a dinner plate at 60-feet. We'd much rather prefer accuracy, performance, and feel inside 50-feet than a rod that can win casting competitions. And, I think it's safe to assume, a majority of anglers share that preference. Choose the Sage Igniter if you're fanatical about tiny flies at ridiculous distances.
The accuracy of the Recon 2 at short range is refreshing. The rod's fast action profile and quick recovery speeds allow anglers to quickly pick up a fly line off of the water and control a fly with beautiful directness. This rod isn't a short distance dry fly rod like others on the market so we didn't get a ton of feedback and feel at short range. That being said, it's highly efficient and rewards the angler who casts quickly and with confidence.
At 45-feet, the dynamic and intentionally designed taper of the Recon 2 provides more feedback and nuanced performance. It's truly delightful to witness. We could feel that Orvis designed this rod for a wide range of casting strokes at this distance and its performance speaks to Orvis' elevated rod design tactics. We can't say enough about this rod's accuracy and performance at this distance... definitely a BIG improvement over the first iteration of the Recon.
In our opinion, this rod's accuracy at long distances of 60+ feet is a blip on the radar. In the name of due diligence, we'll tell you that the rod's accuracy at distance is solid. But many anglers won't ever cast this rod beyond 60-feet. It's just not a distance that's important in trout fishing. We're glad Orvis decided to tune this rod for optimal performance at typical trout distances instead of sacrificing short-range performance for hyper-power.
Flex & Feel
We've talked a little about the flex and feel of the Recon 2 already, but I want to be clear about this rod's fast action taper. It's definitely a fast action rod. You know the 8wt is sort of a moderate fast action rod if you've read our review. The 5wt, however, is made to be a versatile trout stick which often means throwing bulky nymph rigs or large dry flies in wind. While the rod does have tuned feedback levels at middle/longer distances, it's still a fast action rod with enough guts to turn over large flies and efficiently mend line.
And it's stout. The rod's increased weight and full wells grip dampen the feedback and feel, especially at shorter distances. This rod rewards anglers with a quick casting stroke and is a little different than some moderate action trout rods that are really lightweight and more dry-fly oriented. This would be a solid small streamer stick and its flex profile fits somewhere between the Orvis Helios 3F and 3D.
Orvis 25-Year Guarantee
Orvis made this rod to cover the widest variety of trout fishing applications. And the rod design, to that end, is a huge success. This 5wt can throw hoppers, nymph rigs, small streamers; it also mends line really well, tracks beautifully, and is extremely caster-friendly. While we finished the review wishing Orvis had made the Recon 2 a little lighter, we understand that they traded lightweight design for castability. This is truly a rod for the masses and may be the most versatile mid-priced 5wt of all time.
Watch Our Review
- HUGE range of applications from trout to bass and everything in between
- Not a long-distance rod
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