The Helios 3… A Right Good Going Over!

Written by: Paul Procter

The Helios 3 strung up and ready for battle in deepest Russia.
Photo by Paul Procter

The launch of the Helios 3 had us all itching to get our grubby mitts on this new and exciting rod. After all, who wouldn’t be intrigued by claims of “true tracking and deadly accurate”? Skeptics might say this is mere hype, though having compared the H3 side by side with both its predecessors the H1 and H2, I can confidently say a dollop of truth exists.

Measuring the H3 with its predecessors.
Photo by Paul Procter

That said, flinging lines about in a grassy paddock is one thing, the real character of a rod is only realised out in the field, when pitting against wild and untamed creatures, as well as unpredictable weather. An upcoming trip to Russia’s Kola Peninsula in search of prehistoric brown trout then was the perfect opportunity to see if this new fangled rod would cut the mustard.

Boasting an impressive average size, Russian brown trout test your outfit to its limits.
Photo by Paul Procter

The first test came on day one when a nasty breeze whistled down the Varzina valley. Common sense suggested a downstream approach with the wind on your back would be more sensible. However, those well versed in dry fly rightly prefer an upstream presentation. Usually too, I’d opt for a 6-weight outfit in such a brisk wind, yet eager to put the new H3 through its paces a 905 came to hand.

It’s always good to get that first fish under your belt, especially when dabbling with new tackle.
Photo by Paul Procter

For want of a better word, a “sharpness” exists in this rod, which sends out line exactly where you want it. Granted, distance suffered a little, but you’d expect that when faced with a niggling headwind. Best of all the carbon blank recovered instantly, making for a nice, clean delivery with little fuss.

Casting though is a means to an end, as in getting your fly in front of a trout to hopefully tempt them. Following success, our rod now becomes a different weapon that’s used to battle our prize whilst protecting delicate tippet lengths. Powerful, tenacious and hell bent of reaching the next county, those Varzina trout really pushed my H3. Even though I was armed with the Distant Helios (stiffer model), it yielded to the throes of struggling trout to prevent break offs. For me though the true measure of a rod is when you feel at one with it. Never once when casting, or playing trout for that matter did the H3 cross my mind, as it felt like a mere extension of my arm!

Russia’s strong flows and powerful trout were the perfect test for the new Orvis H3.
Photo by Paul Procter

About Paul: Life long Orvis supporter, AAPGAI Master Instructor, Orvis Endorsed Guide and Wild Trout Trust vice president, Paul Procter is a dedicated flyfisher with over 40 years experience under his belt. Aside from being a regular on the Orvis Blog, Paul is a leading contributor to Trout & Salmon, Trout Fishermen and the Fieldsports Magazine. Travelling extensively throughout the UK, Europe and Southern Hemisphere, Paul has gained extensive knowledge in both fresh and saltwater disciplines. His abiding love though is to target large wild brown trout using dry fly techniques.

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