Online Fly Fishing Magazine

Tried And Tested: Orvis H3F 9ft 4-wt Fly Rod

River regular Adam Sinclair reviews the Orvis Helios 3 Finesse 9ft 4-wt.

Orvis H3F 9ft 4-wt Fly Rod

You don’t have to look far to see that the new Helios 3 rods developed by Orvis are causing a bit of a stir within the fly fishing industry. The exposure and marketing that this new range of rods has seen is exceptional. I have been fortunate enough to use a few H3 rods in the last couple of months, as mentioned previously in the Sawyer PTN article on the Today’s FlyFisher website.

Recently, I went back to the H3F (Finesse) 9ft 4-wt and fished the Orvis beat of the River Itchen, Kings Worthy, Hampshire. Crystal clear water and nice lies for the fish to sit in made this a great venue.

The recent hot spell that the country has seen made the conditions tough. Bright blue sky with no cloud in sight and low water levels made the fishing testing but rewarding. As I stood on the bridge looking upstream I could see fish sitting behind the weed and actively feeding. As I raised my arm to point at the trout, they were gone. Spooky fish!

Straight away the rod tube stands out from the crowd. With its black and white finish there is no doubt that people will know what you are using. The tube itself is robust, strong and finished to a high standard.

The Rod

The cork handle is of a high quality and sits well in the hand offering a modified full wells grip. The reel seat is positioned nicely and made from aircraft grade anodized aluminium that has been finished in black. The easy grip Knurling on the lock ring makes it less of a struggle to release or tighten the fly reel and the addition of a Delrin bushing will ensure the reel does not come loose whilst fishing.

Like the rod tube, the H3 range stands out when in your hand. The white and black label just above the handle will let everyone know what you have in your hands. The rod blank is finished in a durable, non-glare matte black surface with a UV inhibitor. This finish cuts the glare and flash considerably – essential for the spooky fish. The rod feels very light in the hand and after a day’s fishing I didn’t feel any fatigue in my casting arm. The H3F 4-wt weighs an impressive 2.82oz. I’m sure you will agree, a very light rod packed with great technology and developed with the angler in mind.

Casting the rod is a pleasure. It’s light and effortless to cast. The fly, be it a #20 midge to a PTN, will go where the rod tip is pointing. The H3F is designed for delicate close quarter fishing (although it can put a fly line out) and this was evident on my day out with it. The flex and bend the rod gives is equally as impressive as its accuracy whilst still giving you the power in the butt section to play the larger fish. The next time you are at a show or near your Orvis stockist, ask to have a cast. You won’t be disappointed!

The Cost

So, what are you getting for £850? All of the above points plus an amazing warranty. Although you may gasp at the initial outlay you effectively have a rod for life.


  • Accurate
  • Light
  • Well finished
  • Warranty


  • Initial cost (negated by the warranty)
  • The H3 Label on the rod. You don’t notice it after a short while.

Adam Sinclair

Hampshire based Adam Sinclair is a serving soldier in the British Army and has fly fished for nine years. Adam is a committee member of the famous Services Dry Fly Fishing Association that was once kept by Frank Sawyer. Much of Adam’s fishing is on the Chalk Streams of the South, however, he had fished across the United Kingdom, Canada and Slovenia. Adam is an ambassador for Hunts Original and has recently been appointed the Pro Team Co-Ordinator for Costa Del Mar and Seapower UK.

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