Robbie Winram reviews the latest tackle including rods and waders
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.
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.