By Brown Hobson
Last Year I purchased a ORIVS H2 10’ 3 wt. fly rod. I absolutely love it, and I want to tell you why. I own 14 fly rods, I think? I counted this morning, but I am not positive I don’t have on in the rod shop or in a friend’s possession. That sounds gluttonous, but fishing is the hobby/profession that I spend 95% of my time pursuing. Just ask my wife.
I purchased the 10’ 3wt H2 to take with me to the 2013 Fly Fishing Team USA National Championships. I tight line nymph a lot, not just in competition but that is why I started using the technique. I also dry dropper fish while holding my line off the water. I was fishing the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork rivers in Basalt Colorado, and I knew that I needed hold my rod high all day for 2.5 days, and fish small flies on light tippet to finish well in the competition. Stomach Pumps a month before the competition revealed bellies FULL of baetis nymphs (18-22). To fish patterns that small I would need tippet in diameter .004”(7x). The reason I list diameter is because in competition split shot is not allowed, and sinking a size 16 nymph with a bead diameter 3/32” is challenging to say the least. The smaller diameter tippet slices through the water easier and allows the nymph to sink faster. The problem with that diameter tippet is that the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan commonly produced 18-20” fish and the largest caught during the tournament was just over 25”. That is a serious strain on tippet that breaks between 2.5 and 3 pounds of pressure.
(Big Rainbow Caught by Author’s Wife on a H2 10′ 3 wt
The first problem is the easiest to counter. The ORIS H2 10’ 3wt. is the lightest rod of its size in the world, period. I am amazed how long I can high stick with it, and still never feel it in my arm or shoulder. I have always been drawn to the Helios series for that reason. The extra foot in the 10’ version gives me greater line control while holding line off the water. It also gives me a steeper tippet/water entry angle which improves my ability to drive nymphs down if I need to. The 7x tippet helps achieve greater depths as well, but as I outlined before doesn’t provide much leeway while fighting big fish. The 10’ 3wt does an awesome job buffering shock to the small tippet. It is amazing that a fast action rod like the H2 can be so forgiving in the top of the rod while still casting at the highest level. I broke off only two fish in the Roaring Fork’s HEAVY current, and that was far fewer fish than I gained by going small on tippet. The soft aspects of the rod also help with very small fish. I also caught several fish in the 8.5”-10” range, and with stiff rods they often bounce off the barbless hooks. The 10’ 3wt. kept those fish on the hook like they were glued on. Lastly by dropping from a 10’ 4wt to a 10’ 3wt I gained a great amount of sensitivity. Often while tight line nymphing, the angler feels, not sees, the fish eat, with small flies the takes are very subtle. The 10’3wt registers those take better than any rod I have ever fished.
If you have several rods already and are looking for the ultimate light line, small fly rod for wade fishing give the H2 10’3wt a try. It is my new go to rod, and I have fished flies as large as size 8 streamers on it. Try it with some light tippet and I think you will see your fish numbers go up.
Brown Hobson is the Owner/Guide at ORVIS Endorsed Guide Service Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC based in Asheville, NC. He is also a member of the NC Fly Fishing Team and a 2014 Fly Fishing Team USA member.