Orvis Recon, Too Good For The Money

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

“I don’t know what the conversations were like at Orvis when this rod was being developed but I’d be shocked if no one expressed concerns that it was too good for the money.”

I’m not sure what I expected from the Orvis Recon, but it wasn’t what I got. Honestly, up until a couple of years ago I didn’t think much about Orvis fly rods. I owned one years ago. A nine weight that I bought for a trip to Alaska. The rod was fine, but what saved me was the service. I broke the rod days before my trip. I walk into the Orvis store and walked out with a new rod. I’ve had a lot of respect for Orvis customer service ever since.

When it came to rod action and performance, I guess I always thought of Orvis as a little old-fashioned. That changed when I fell in love with the Helios II. I now own 4 H2s and fish them all the time. When Orvis introduced the Superfine Glass I fell in love again. The new Orvis rods are clearly to be taken seriously. Still, when I heard that Orvis was bringing out a mid-priced rod made in America, my expectations were somewhat limited.

I guess I expected a medium action trout rod that wasn’t too inspiring. After all, what could you expect for $425? It turns out the answer is, something pretty awesome! The Recon may be middle of the road in price, but in every other way it’s way out front. A fast powerful action, light weight, beautiful finish and sweet hardware. It only feels like a bargain when you’re paying for it.

I have the 9′ 5 weight. It’s a very light rod by market standards. Not as light as the H2 when you put them on the scale but it feels light in the hand. It’s a tip flex action. Just fast enough to make you say, “WOW!” but enough flex in the butt and mid to fight fish on light tippet with confidence. It’s the perfect rod for a day when fishing dry flies turns to hucking streamers. I have done it all with the Recon and I can not find a fishing situation where it feels like a compromise.

I said “wow” again when I saw the Recon.

It’s tastefully and beautifully finished. The blank is “Shadow Green” with chestnut wraps, the hardware is black nickel silver and the guides are chrome. The cork is very nice and the five weight has a half Wells grip. The reel seat spacer is a smoky wood. The finish is outstanding. All around a beautiful rod.

I don’t know what the conversations were like at Orvis when this rod was being developed but I’d be shocked if no one expressed concerns that it was too good for the money and might cut into sales of the H2. It might, in fact. Casting the two rods, they feel very similar. The H2 is better in my opinion, but not by much. I’ve not had the chance to fish the saltwater Recon. I look forward to having the chance.

I can’t say enough about how impressed I am in the rods from the Orvis shop. They’ve produced three winners in a row. If you are in the market for a mid-priced rod, I don’t think you can do better than the Recon. It may, in fact, be too good for the money.

Get Yours HERE!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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23 thoughts on “Orvis Recon, Too Good For The Money

      • I’m not sure what planet you guys live on. The average cost of a premium fly rod is $750-$800. Low end rods sell for around $200. Welcome to 2015. What Orvis is offering you is a rod that cats as well as most of those $750 rods for $425.

        Here’s the thing. The materials cost in a graphite rod is around $200. What cost money is the skilled labor to build it. In this case, American skilled labor. I’d guess around 15-20 hours. (FYI, I have made many rods and understand the process.) so what do make per hour? Frankly I don’t see how Orvis is making a dime on the Recon. My guess is that you guys are the same ones who scream bloody murder anytime someone mentions rods made in Asia. You should be applauding Orvis not bitching that it isn’t 1970 any longer!

        • I agree with you totally. Having built a rod I have great respect for those that do it for a living and I didn’t have to roll the blank. You want a rod made in American with great customer service and a 25 year warranty then get ready to pay for something that you can pass down to your kids and grandkids.

  1. I’ll be interested to see your comments on the Recon. I see they have a 7’11” 4 pce in 8wt and 10wt.

    I currently have the Sage Bass Bluegill and the Sage Bass II in the Largemouth and Peacock all good weapons

  2. So $425 is now “middle of the road”, I remember a few years back that was “top of the line”. I guess we have come a long way – perhaps too far….

  3. Middle of the road at $$425? Wow, I agree with WTI that if that is the thinking these days we have really swallowed the idea hook, line and sinker that you need to pay almost a grand in order to get a good rod.

  4. Can’t wait to throw the RECON. Over the last couple of months I’ve cast the Sage ONE, Sage Accel, Winston BIII LS, Winston BIII X, Scott Radian, Sage Method, Sage Circa, Scott G2, and Orivs Helios 2 (Tip Flex) — and the Helios 2 was incredibly amazing rod.

    So, if Orvis has decided to come out with it’s own knock-off of its Helios 2, and it’s even half the rod that the Helios is, it’s going to be a super-fine fly fishing rod.

    I had high expectations for the Sage Acel rod that came out last August, but it just didn’t have the swing weight and the accuracy I was looking for — and at $525, I didn’t feel it was the value I was looking for, either.

    After casting the Helios 2, I was sold on the rod — decided this was going to be my new 5-weight, but then I learned about the RECON at the end of 2014 — and decided to wait. My local shop (Fishwest Outfitters | Sandy, UT) has one on order for me to try out. CAN’T WAIT!

  5. I have been saving for quite some time to be able to purchase me the H2. I think it casts great and feels good in the hand. I found out that the Recon was coming out and at half the price and it was designed after the H2 tapers. I knew that it was the rod for me. I just recently picked up the 8’6” 5wt and I must say it is near perfect. I can cast this rod at 5 feet and hit my spots and 50 feet. It is all the same in the eyes of the Recon. It is a joy to cast.

  6. It is true $425 is a lot of money. however, i want a rod that is going to last and is going to perform. There are great rods out there that are really good quality and at a bargan price. The Redington Classic Trout / Tempt is an awesome deal of a rod, esp on said:

    It is true $425 is a lot of money. However, I want a rod that is going to last, is going to perform, and is backed by a good warranty. There are great rods out there that are really good quality and at a bargain price. The Redington Classic Trout / Tempt is an awesome deal of a rod, especially at the 4 weight class, and for small streams, big flies (yellow stone fly and Salmonfly patterns) it is hard to beat the Redington in a 5 weight if fishing in close. For a rod that is going to fish well close and far, one that will fish dries and streamers you need to get a different rod. It looks like the rod that can do it all is the Recon. And all things considered in today’s world the Recon is a bargain. I am looking forward to using it this summer. I think the sweet spot for this rod is going to be the 6 weight. Beautiful Rod. Seems to be kicking Sage’s Accel release and that rod is $595!!

  7. Dont forget the repair and replace part of geting a rod. Orvis service is thr real deal. As someone who hikes for days in the New Zealand back contry rods break for all number of reasons, 30bucks for a new rod in a few weaks is worth the up front cost of a good rod.

  8. I have the Recon 5 weight 9 foot freshwater rod. I couldn’t agree with you more about this rod Louis Cahill. This rod does it all, and I am astonished at how well for it’s weight and price. My hunch is that Orvis isn’t trying to make a profit on this rod at all. I do not sell off or give away my tackle. So when I get a rod I expect it to last for my lifetime. Based on how this rod has performed so far for me, I will be getting the 6 weight saltwater rod soon.

  9. Well, This was my first Orvis rod, and I would love to say I had the same experience. I called up my local Orvis store after the rod snapped on a 1.5# bass, and they told me they would have to send it in for repair rather than getting a rod at the store for a replacement(understandable, but not the same experience provided). I don’t have any spare rods at the moment, so it looks like I am out of my planned fishing trip. It might just be about who you are more than anything.

  10. Jumping Gee Hosa Fat!!! Are you here to tell me those fancy fishing sticks costs more than $20?!?!?! When I was knee high to a plum I use to ski on wooden boards and get to the rivers and mountains in a wagon pulled by my mule Ol #7. Dem was the days…

    Now though I spend all summer fishing in Montana and I sported for a 6wt Recon thinking I wanted a streamer/foam gun for some of our waters like the Missouri. Here what I have found. This rod is a quiver killer. I very surprising have found to do all of the duty of my 4wt, 5wt and old 6wt. I have no need for those other rods and from 10 – 45 ft throws a haze, chubbie and krillex equally well. To be honest…I am completely surprised. I expect compromise for all of the different situations I fish and I tend not to be a fan of Orvis but I can not deny that I now have one rod that will come out with me on all outings.

  11. I just cast the Recon in a 9FT. 8 WT. and all I can say is this rod is the real deal.Granted I haven’t fished it but it punches it out there with little effort.First rod iv’e been excited about in awhile.Love that it’s american made with 25 yr. warranty for #450.00.Orvis is doing some amazing things and I’ll be ordering one.

  12. What reel (Orvis or otherwise) would balance best with the Recon 5 wt 9′ in terms of weight and cost?

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