Fly fishing rods have undergone tremendous developments in the past few years. As a result, the fly fishing rods available today are sturdier, lighter, and provide greater casting ability than ever before. Line distance and speed are two of the major factors that have driven the design of modern fly rods. Manufacturers who focused on these factors delivered some incredibly fast rods but the problem with them was that they lacked accuracy and feel at times.

Orvis was able to recognize this and focused on accuracy when designing fly rods. That focus led to the development of the Helios 3 fly rod.  The Helios 3 comes in two variants – Helios 3D and Helios 3F. The 3D version puts more emphasis on distance and offers accurate casting while the 3F puts emphasis on finesse. In this review, we’ll take a look at the two fly version of Helios 3 in detail. We’ll talk about their measures and weight, fit and finish, casting, and accuracy. Are you thinking about buying the Helios 3 fly rod? Not completely sure if it’s a good option? Don’t know which version of the Helios 3 to buy? This review will provide an answer to all your queries.

Measures and Weight

Helios 3D

Length: 9 feet

Swing weight: 87.72 gm2

Overall weight: 3.75 oz

Weight needed for balancing (reel + line): 6.7 oz

Balanced total weight: 10.5 oz

Helios 3F

Length: 9 feet

Swing weight: 83.49 gm2

Overall weight: 3.95 oz

Weight needed for balancing (reel + line): 6.3 oz

Balanced total weight: 10.3 oz

Fit and Finish

The Helios 3D and Helios 3F can be easily distinguished by their finish. The 3D has a black finish while the 3F boasts a more greyish look. Both these rods boast flexible REC guide for durability and stripping guides with SiC insert and titanium frame. Some may find both variants’ lack of a hook a cause for concern. We love the fact that Orvis used the modified full-wells grip, which is pleasing and comfortable to use.

The look of the Helios 3 is exceptional, but we aren’t the fans of the branding above the cork. Okay, enough talk about the aesthetic; let’s look at the casting of the two variants.

Casting with the Helios 3D and Helios 3F

The Helios 3D and Helios 3F differ in terms of line speed and presentation. The Helios 3D generates more line speed compared to the 3D. This isn’t a surprise since the Helios claims that the 3D is a fast-action fly rod. The tip of the rod is soft. The rod loads well and you will find it easy to pick up loading cues while casting. Moreover, the rod tracks straight, providing accurate casts at great distances. The 3D really excels on large waters thanks to its line speed and distance. It is accurate for up 60 feet.

In comparison, 3F’s maximum range is 40 feet and it is great for fishing dry flies. Although 3F loads a little deeper, it still holds the potential to deliver great casts at distance. It can handle heavier rigs and won’t make you feel tired from all the casting.

Both Helios 3D and Helios 3F Deliver Accuracy

Some people love the look and feel of fast action fly rods, others prefer a slower rod, but everyone would agree that accuracy isn’t a subjective measure. Everyone wants to use a fly rod that can cast accurately. When it comes to accuracy, both Helios 3D and Helios 3F are exceptional.

Helios 3 fly rods can throw the entire fly line. More importantly, both Helios 3D and Helios 3F are consistently accurate from 10 feet to 60 feet. This accuracy means that you will be catching more fish with this rod. Isn’t that what everyone wants—more fish from their castings?

As I mentioned earlier, Orvis has designed the Helios 3 to be incredibly accurate. But, how has it achieved this? Orvis has made Helios 3 more accurate than other fly rods by dampening the vibrations generated during the transfer of power on the back and forward casts. They have told the story behind their incredibly accurate fly rod themselves. You can read it if you are interested in knowing how Orvis designed the Helios 3 to be so accurate.

If you use the Helios 2 and Helios 3 side-by-side, you’ll notice that when the rod unloads for delivering the fly, the tip of the previous version shakes more than that of the newer one. That is directly related to accuracy. The Helios 2 shakes more than the Helios 3 which is why the Helios 3 is considerably more accurate. In addition to being accurate, the Helios 3 feels more responsive and lighter than the former version. If you liked fishing with the Helios 2, you’ll be amazed by the incredible experience provided by the Orvis Helios 3 fly rod.

Final Verdict

If you want to catch fish, your fly rod needs to be accurate, period. Helios 3 might not feature all the bells and whistles you see in other fancy rods but it is extremely accurate. We can recommend it to anyone looking for a high-quality fly rod. If you prefer finesse over distance, go with the Helios 3F. On the other hand, if you want accuracy at great distances, then the Helios 3D would be the best option for you.

Stay tuned to our blog for more exciting reviews of fishing gear and other related products.