Getting to Know the New Recon Rod

I’ve spent the last few months fishing the updated Orvis Recon fly rod. It’s a solid performing mid-priced rod that can handle a variety of situations.

The arrival of my rod in the mail in mid-April did not mark the beginning of my experience with the redesigned Recon. As an employee of the the Orvis rod shop I’ve had my hands on these rods in one way or another since the development phase. So pulling my new rod out of the shipping box was more like meeting with a colleague than making an acquaintance.

The rod I selected was the 9′ 5 weight because, in spite of having been fly fishing for over 20 years, I have never owned such a rod. It’s universally considered the best all-around trout rod so it seemed like the logical choice. I primarily fish nymphs and streamers and the 9′ rod does well with both, particularly when mending is involved.

Casting the Recon 2 (as it has come to be known within the Orvis community) took some acclimating. I have come to prefer rods with a faster action but have lots of experience fishing slower action rods. This rod lies between the two. For those familiar with the “3D” and “3F” designations of the Helios 3 rods the Recon 2 action is in between. Once I got a feel for casting I started to appreciate this slower action. It will still throw line a good distance and, let’s face it, not many of us can cast 90 or even 80 feet of line even with a fast rod. It makes a delicate presentation when necessary and I particularly enjoy that it doesn’t take a lot of speed and effort to cast. A gentle cast gives better performance than a brisk one.

It has enough backbone to handle a sink tip line with ease and slinging large, weighted flies were no problem. A size 6 cone head zonker with a 4x long shank was a big as I went but I’ve no doubt the Recon can handle bigger. I gave it a workout on a pond stocked with brook trout in April through early June and it performed exactly as a 9′ 5 weight should. I hooked and regrettably lost what was almost certainly a very sizable brown on the Battenkill. The rod was stiff enough for a good hookset and for the time I had the fish on I felt like I had control. If I’d been more diligent with my knots I would have more to write about the Recon 2’s fish playing ability.

The MSRP on the Recon is $498 for freshwater models and $549 for saltwater, landing it in the mid-priced category. It has, however, benefited from the same engineering and technology as the pricier H3 which starts at $898. When you look at it that way the redesigned Recon is a bargain.

If you’re in the market for a new fly rod I’d highly recommend checking out the Recon. Obviously everyone has their own preferences and selecting a rod is quite a personal decision. I’m far from an objective reviewer but I honestly don’t think there is anything to not like about Orvis’ latest incarnation of the Recon.

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