The Orvis Helios 2 One Piece, Not What I Expected

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The H-2 One Piece Sports A Distinctive Red Reel Seat.

The H-2 One Piece Sports A Distinctive Red Reel Seat.

The Helios 2 is one of my favorite rods of the last few years.

I fish the H-2 in a couple of different weights, for a couple of different types of fly fishing. The 9′ 4 weight has become my go-to dry fly rod and all-around small stream rod. The 9′ 9 weight, my red fish and permit rod and the 9′ 11 weight tackles all sorts of tough customers from tarpon to shark. Each one of these rods has won a place in the quiver and in my heart.

So I was pretty excited to get my hands on the new H-2 One Piece. I’ve fished a couple of one piece rods and really liked them but I’ve never owned one. How could I go wrong with a one piece version of a rod I know I love? More of a good thing, right? I chose a 9 weight.

After fishing the new H-2 One Piece a few times I took it out to the park with my 4 piece H-2, 9 weight for a comparison. When I cast the two rods, side by side with the same reel and line, I expected them to be very similar. I was actually shocked how different they were.

I understand the differences between one piece and four piece rods, but I guess I had thought of it as largely academic. It’s not. Though the two rods clearly share some DNA, the feel and performance are very different. Almost shockingly different.

What sets the H-2 One Piece apart


A one piece rod is obviously lighter than a four piece rod due to the lack of ferrules. Ferrules mean extra material and that means weight. But how much weight? I put the two rods on the digital scale to see. The four piece weighed in at 3.9 ounces and the one piece at 3.5. Four-tenths of an ounce is a little better than ten percent of the total weight. Less than half an ounce, not huge right? Wrong. It’s not just the weight but where it’s lost.

While the two rods don’t feel that different when you pick them up, the swing weight is quite different. The H-2 four piece, one of the lightest fly rods ever made, feels down right heavy after casting the one piece.


x142msf5rod_lg.jpg.pagespeed.ic.d-arNnybezThe four-tenths of an ounce off the blank makes a big difference in the action. It speeds up the recovery rate of the rod, making it very crisp. I don’t know how Orvis has modified the taper for the one piece rod but it is not over powered. I would say the two rods are equally matched in power and I was able to cast a full line with each. However, it took less effort with the one piece.

The action is very clean and crisp. It’s a pleasure to cast, especially when casting to a target rather than just hacking as much line as possible. The week I did the comparison I had been doing some home renovations and my right hand was pretty sore from overuse. It really made me appreciate the castability of the one piece rod.


Yep, it’s deadly. There are two things that I think contribute to the accuracy of the H-2 One Piece. It makes very clean loops. No ferrules means a smoother transfer of power and that means loops with a cleaner, lump-free shape. A cleaner loop delivers a fly with greater consistency. At close range I was able to land multiple casts in a much tighter group with the one piece.

At longer distance, casts are more controllable because the light weight of the rod helps your stroke. You are able to use less force to cast and with less force you gain control. I can’t quantify that, but that’s how it feels.

Who is going to want the H-2 One Piece?

This is a great, high performance fly rod with an amazing feel. I’ll stop just short of saying it’s a better rod that the H-2 four piece. They are both awesome, but it may be better for some things.

The obvious trade-off is that you’re not going to fly anywhere with a one piece rod, but for anglers who drive to fish it’s no big deal. So who is this rod for?

Saltwater Anglers

Guides especially will love the H-2 One Piece. A one piece rod is much stronger. That means more pressure on fish with less chance of a broken rod. No ferrules to vibrate loose in a running boat. This is going to make the H-2 One Piece a reliable work horse.

Permit and Carp Anglers

Any angler looking for a dead-on accurate presentation is going to love this rod. For species like carp and permit where accuracy is key and the fish fight hard, this rod is going to shine.

Streamer and Musky Junkies

The streamer crowd will really appreciate the light weight and castability of the one piece H-2. When you’re pounding the bank all day, fatigue is a serious thing. This rod really saves your arm.

What’s Missing?

There’s only one thing I’d like to see Orvis do differently. The H-2 One Piece is now available in weights 8-12. I would love to see this rod in 4-6 weights. I think the crisp action and light touch would make for an amazing dry fly rod. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Maybe next year.

Get your Helios 2 One Piece HERE

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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8 thoughts on “The Orvis Helios 2 One Piece, Not What I Expected

  1. The great thing about Orvis is they stand behind their products like no other. I once had a pair of waders which were like > 5 yrs old and started to leak, they just sent me a new pair. Had a friend who had an older Orvis rod break on a cast, he sent it back and was surprised to find a new rod in the mail. I’m endorsed by other companies, not Orvis, so I have no dog in this. I do have a couple top of line Orvis 12-14 wt reels which I use for tarpon, and they are my go to reels for poons.

  2. I love this rod. I’ve fished it on a couple occasions for redfish, and vastly underestimated the difference between it and the 4 piece. It’s an exceptional rod with a place in anyone’s arsenal that can carry a rod they don’t need to break down.

  3. Thanks for the review Louis. Something I need to consider, as 99% of my fishing these days are a walk or drive from the cabin. I will be waiting for the 4-5 weights in one piece.

  4. I like the idea of a one piece rod, I really like the idea of 4-6 weight rods being made available. This would be nice on the streams in Missouri and Arkansas.
    My big question is how would you get a 1 piece rod to Alaska. To have a nice 6-7 weight for the big Rainbows and a 10 weight for Salmon would be a dream come true. I go just about every year to King Salmon Alaska. I would leave it there, but the one time trip. How would you get it there ?


  5. I agree that orvis makes some fine fishing equipment. They stand behind their stuff. I had a 10 year old shotgun padded case carrier the zipper broke and they replaced it for 30$. So do you think the 11 wt Orvis outperforms the Thomas and Thomas Solar

  6. i have an orvis helios 2 6 wt tip flex . this rod is the fastest and most accurate rod i have ever casted. i own many other fly rods and this one is the best for long distance casting . i have bad knees ,and because this rod casts so well i dont have to move so much in the river . this rod which is a 4 piece is incredible . i have fly fished for 35 years and casted fly rods by everyone in the industry, in my opinion and there is no better . i cant wait for them to to pos make a one piece 6 wt helios 2 this would be a total rush to cast it . tight lines everyone good luck this season .

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