The Redesigned Orvis Recon

by Claude Preston III

On The Fly Gear

I must say that I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the all-new designed Orvis Recon.  I have owned an original 990-4 for quite a while; it is one of my favorite saltwater fly rods in the 9-weight model for good reason.  That particular rod has really good karma on it, having landed multiple Permit; it will always have a place in my quiver.  

Orvis has a long a distinguished history in the fly-fishing industry.  Coming out this past year, the new Helios 3 has been a huge success and this year they are building off that success by launching the newly redesigned Recon.  It has been completely rebuilt from the ground up and improved using Helios 3 “trickle-down” technology.   Improving on accuracy and offering best-in-class tracking, it ranks highly in the mid-price category. 

The Recon series is offered in 21 versatile rod models from trout to tarpon weights, with 13 freshwater and 8 big game rods from which to choose. 

Featuring Pewter Type III anodized reel seats, freshwater models have a matte olive blank with charcoal and spring green accents. The big-game models have a matte blue blank with charcoal and light blue accents. Both series have the quick rod identifier that Orvis used in its H3 lineup.

These rods are made in the USA in Vermont and are backed by the Orvis 25-year guarantee.

On The Fly South received an 890-4 to try out this past March and it really is a great looking rod out of the tube.  Orvis designed this series to be purpose built in each weight, with smaller weights being a little more mid-flexing and the big-game rods to be faster and able to punch a fly through the wind.  The 8 weight has a 1.5-inch fighting butt. 

One of the first things I noticed is the weight.  I didn’t put it on a scale, but it feels slightly heavier than the previous Recon series.  After a few casts, I quickly realized that the rod made up for it in performance.  I tried the 8 weight with two different lines, the RIO Bonefish and the SA Grand Slam. 

When I am saltwater fishing, most of the time I try and focus on the 30- to 60-foot range and maximize my opportunities there.  I found with the Recon it was able load in close, but once you go out to the 40-foot range the rod started to come alive.  This rod performs at a high level in that mid-range fishing zone. I had no problem hitting my targets with multiple wind angles here.  At those fishing distances this rod really is a versatile, high performing fishing tool.

However, it is not a rod that you want for bombing long distances, as it seems to overextend the rod.  The newly design Recon gives great feedback to the caster and helps to improve the angler. I would reach for this 8 weight in wading situations for bonefish, redfish in the marsh, and various other medium distance fishing situations.

 With models ranging from $498 to $550, this is not a back-up rod in any way; it is a rod that deserves a place in your lineup. Check them out on the Orvis website.

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