Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fly Rod 101- The Road to the Orvis Access Fly Rod

The Orvis Company has over 150 years of rod making tradition combined with the most innovative technology available in the world today. Regardless if you believe it or not, Orvis is the leading innovator in the fly rod market. The introduction of the Helios fly rod series several years ago has paved the way for a rod design revolution. Many devout Sage, Winston, Loomis and Scott users have added a Helios or 2 to their rod collections. Why? They perform better than they are suppose to perform.

Recent breakthroughs in fiber/resin combination's by a US military contractor has provided Orvis with its raw materials to allow rod designers to create rods that are ultra-lightweight, responsive, crisp and powerful; yet, extremely durable. This technology is only found in the United States which means all the rods mentioned are made by Master craftspeople in Manchester, Vermont.

Historically, even “100% graphite” rods were almost 50% fiberglass. Rod manufacturers were using 100% graphite for the power fibers of the rod, but an equal amount of cross-weave fiberglass scrim was rolled into the blank (scrim is necessary for hoop strength, or keeping the hollow rod tube from collapsing under stress as the rod bends). Was ignoring this fiberglass misleading? No more than ignoring the epoxy and paint on the outside of a rod, or the resin that held the graphite together. A 100% graphite rod would merely be like a hank of loose hair in your hand. Orvis’ first modern breakthrough in graphite rods was the T-3 rod. Heavier, more brittle epoxy resins used to hold the graphite fibers were replaced with lighter, more durable thermoplastic resins, which encased the fibers instead of just sticking to them like epoxy. Next were the Zero Gravity rods, where the cross-weave fiberglass/epoxy scrim was replaced by a unidirectional graphite/epoxy scrim. This made rods lighter and more durable. Finally, the Helios, which replaces the graphite/epoxy scrim with unidirectional graphite/thermoplastic scrim. The Orvis Company

Then came the Hydros. The world's second lightest fly rod. Using graphite design technology found in the award winning Helios, the Hydros rods have similar taper designs but are finished with lightweight chrome snake guides, brushed and anodized two-tone skeletal reel seats, and super-grade cork handles. An exceptional rod in the $500 class.

The Mother-ship has done it again. Orvis has designed and created a mid priced fly rod that is the lightest in its class and at an even better value. The end result is the Access Series of fly rods. They utilize the "Exclusive Load Ratio" developed by Orvis rod designers for the Helios and Hydros rods, which in layman's terms produces a rod that feels powerful yet lively when casting and even playing a fish. I have field tested these rods for Orvis and must say they are beautiful to fish with. This is even in comparison to the Helios which is all I've fished with since their inception several years back.

Weight and price comparison chart for equivalent rods:
Model                                     Weight           Price 
Orvis Access 905-4                    2.5             $350.00
Sage VT2 590-4                         3.3             $475.00
St Croix Legend Ultra 905.4        3.6            $340.00
Temple Fork Axiom 05 904 A     3.9            $249.95  

The price is kept in a very reasonable range because the new process allows them to build a rod with epoxy resins toughened with a small amount of thermoplastics instead of the more expensive thermoplastic resins throughout, yet still maintaining superior strength. The tapers are a result of a mixture of high- and intermediate-modulus carbon fiber materials, along with precise placement of scrim (the material that provides hoop strength for the rods) of various types and at various angles along the rods.  
Access rods are completely new, from raw materials to tapers to hardware. Blanks are a deep glowing root beer color, with matching woven carbon reel seat and champagne aluminum hardware. Cork is a new super-grade cork, some of the finest we’ve seen in years. Guides are hard chrome. Each rod comes with a Safe Passage Rod Carrying Case. The Orvis Company

Available this fall, the Orvis Access fly rods are the next page in Orvis' book of fly rod design. Pre-order an Access (or order a Helios or Hydros) from Casters Fly Shop now and receive a FREE Wonderline; plus, FREE SHIPPING in the Continental United States and NO SALES TAX when ordered and shipped outside of North Carolina. International shipping charges will be applied.

Casters Online Fly Shop


  1. Might have to get one to chase a Musky or two around the Michigan waters some day.

  2. That 10wt. would be a great musky stick.

  3. Matched with a Mirage reel would make for a pretty stick!

  4. yes... or even the new Access reel to match the Access rod :-)

  5. Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply great, and I could assume you are an expert on this subject. Same as your blog i found another one Sohman Epoxy .Actually I was looking for the same information on internet for
    Fire Red G
    and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.