New gear

Rob­bie Win­ram re­views the lat­est tackle in­clud­ing rods and waders

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents - www.orvis.co.uk

ORVIS de­sign­ers and fish­ing guides took the stan­dard He­lios 2 blank and cus­tomised it to pro­duce a no-flash ‘stealth’ spe­cial called the Covert. It is avail­able in just two mod­els, a 9ft 5wt which I had for re­view, and a 9ft 8wt (£779).

The most strik­ing fea­tures are the matt black fin­ish and the rod’s weight – or lack of it! The 5wt mod­els weighs a mere 2.5oz, and is one of the light­est rods for its length and AFTM rat­ing that I’ve ever fished with.

The fit­tings and fin­ish through­out are su­perb, from the skele­tal up­lock­ing reel seat and re­coil snake guides to the flor grade cork han­dle which feels like vel­vet.

Orvis give this model a ‘tip flex’ rat­ing and af­ter hav­ing a few casts with a match­ing 5wt float­ing line I would agree as it has a fast action and an in­cred­i­bly fast re­cov­ery. At short and medium range it lifts the line crisply but smoothly from the wa­ter and tracks back into a sta­ble and tight back­cast with ease. I needed only a fairly short cast­ing stroke to put a lovely tight loop of line across the wa­ter, re­sult­ing in per­fect touch­down.

The rod is in­cred­i­bly re­spon­sive and is per­fect for top-of-the-wa­ter tac­tics, whether from the bank or boat, on large and small wa­ters.

It might just be my na­ture but I was keen to see how far I could push this rod! Lift­ing longer head lengths to try and hit those dis­tant marks I was sur­prised that the rod needed very lit­tle ex­tra com­pres­sion to send the line slic­ing through the air with equally im­pres­sive turnover. It packs a real punch, some­thing I wasn’t ex­pect­ing from its low key looks and light weight.

I tried the rod with a range of float­ing lines with dif­fer­ent head lengths, those de­signed specif­i­cally for fi­nesse and del­i­cate pre­sen­ta­tion and even a sin­gle handed 5wt spey line and the rod was pro­fi­cient at us­ing them all. It is also ca­pa­ble of han­dling sink-sink-tip, hover and in­ter­me­di­ates but its real strength lies in float­ing line work.

It was bril­liant with over­head casts and dou­ble haul­ing so I thought it might be lack­ing when I needed more flex along the blank for con­tin­u­ous mo­tion casts such as the roll and switch. But I needn’t have wor­ried as the rod mas­tered them all.

When play­ing a fi­fish it seems to have a softer, more pro­gres­sive flex than when cast­ing with it, but this al­lowed me to feel a lot of what the fi­fish was do­ing and is a real pos­i­tive.

The rod is cov­ered by the Orvis 25-year guar­an­tee.

VER­DICT:

This is one of the best light­weight 9ft 5wt rods I have ever used. Its stealthy looks will help when tar­get­ing spooky fish and its cast­ing prow­ess is sec­ond to none. It is a very sen­si­tive rod but is ca­pa­ble of turn­ing on the power when you re­ally need it. Be­cause it is so light, it is im­por­tant to fit a reel that doesn’t over­bal­ance the whole out­fit.

“I needed only a fairly short cast­ing stroke to put a lovely tight loop of line across the wa­ter.”

Ev­ery­thing on the blank has been de­signed with stealth in mind.

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