Advantages of the ORVIS H2 10’ 3wt Fly Rod

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.

Catching Suspended Trout

By Brown Hobson

Most fly anglers who have fished for trout a few times or more understand that most of trout’s diet is consumed sub surface.  I have heard stats that suggest trout consume over 90% of their food under water.  That means a Thingamabobber with split shot or a heavy Czech nymph rig dragging the flies to the bottom will work all the time right?  While nymphs on the bottom (we have a blog post on adding split shot coming out early in 2015) will often work that is not always true.  Fish in lakes suspend in the current why wouldn’t river trout?  The answer is they do and nymph fishermen often miss out on those fish that are in the middle of the water column.  I was guiding a few weeks ago and could see trout feeding and couldn’t catch them with my standard nymph rig (nymphs within 12 inches of the bottom).  I saw an occasional trout rising and more trout darting back and forth in the riffles feeding.  A long time ago I learned that I must change not just flies, but rigs whenever I am not finding success catching fish.  So we took the strike indicators off our leaders and switched to a Parachute Madam X Dry Fly with a Soft Hackle about three feet deep tied off the bend of the PMX Dry Fly.  Many of you know this rig as a hopper and a dropper or less specifically a dry dropper.  We instantly started catching trout on both the dry fly and our dropper nymph.  We had the exact same soft hackle on our nymph rig, but it wasn’t getting eaten.  I knew they were eating caddis pupae and that the soft hackle should work because I saw caddis pupae in a stomach sample I had taken earlier in the day.  Obviously we had the right fly in the wrong part of the water column.   As soon as we got the fly off the bottom and in the middle part of the column fish nailed it.  They also ate our dry fly.  There were no hoppers or stoneflies out, but the trout were only a few feet from the surface and were opportunistically taking our dry.  This great dry dropper action lasted a few weeks, but I still do catch most of my fish under strike indicators close to the bottom.  I do always remember to try dry dropper rigs if I get stumped nymph fishing, and usually have a couple extra dry dropper rods rigged in my boat so I can switch easily.  If you don’t have the luxury of carrying two rods try the ORVIS dropper box.  It lets you pre tie Dry fly and Droppers and carry them tangle free.  Below are links to an ORVIS Blog article from Cliff Weisse of Three Rivers Ranch on how to rig dry droppers and a link to the ORVIS Dropper Box.