Orvis Recon Fly Rod Review: Perfect For The Intermediate Angler

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The Recon is one of the best intermediate rods
Orvis Recon Fly Rod Review: Perfect For The Intermediate Angler
Our Verdict
The Orvis Recon is an excellent all-around fly rod that’s It’s an awesome midrange+ upgrade, and if you’re looking for a super-capable backup or specialty rod, you can’t go wrong with the Orvis Recon. Overall, the Recon is a massive step up from your entry-level rod (such as the Orvis Encounter), and it's still reasonably priced for the quality you get.
Value For Money
The Good
The Recon is lighter, faster, and has better feel.
The usual Orvis 25 year warranty
A great price tag for the quality and construction
Its ability to handle all conditions including windy days in very impressive
The Recon has an extensive range of weights and lengths available
The Not So Good
Only available in a fast action blank
Check Price

As fly anglers gain experience, the desire to purchase higher-end gear grows. You begin to notice the shortcomings of your current gear and long for equipment that can keep up with your abilities. 

In terms of rods, the Orvis Recon is the perfect option for the intermediate angler who’s become advanced. It has a decent price point and could easily be the most advanced rod you need for the rest of your fly fishing career. 

In this article, I will cover the following:

  • Availability of the Recon size options
  • Best features and quality of the Recon2 
  • Long distance casting accuracy
  • Short distance casting accuracy
  • Overall Review

Orvis Recon Size Options 

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Since the Recon is Orvis’ primary mid-priced rod, you’ll have essentially any size you need for any style of fly fishing. The range has 22 different weights and length combinations! You can purchase a 2-weight 7’ 6” all the way up to a 12-weight 9’ rod. The range also covers combined saltwater/freshwater options such as the 6-weight, 9′ SW.

The codes to distinguish the models are quite simple to understand; for example, the 907-4 translates to a 7-weight 9′ 4-piece rod.

Orvis did their best to think of every angler with the Recon rod. 

Orvis Recon Rod Features And Quality 

The Recon performs well and looks even better. The dark green is a unique color you don’t find on many other rods. The dark color helps prevent fish from spooking. The traditional silver snake guides, in addition to the stripping guide, add a nice accent.

Tip: Orvis Recon is also known as the Orvis Recon2, as it is the second generation of the rod design.

Build Quality 

On the Recon, you’ll have a 7-inch cork grip to work with; however, some options have “half wells,” “modified half wells,” or “full wells.” So, depending on how you prefer to hold and cast the rod, ensure you choose the handle grip that you find the most comfortable. There’s plenty of room to choke up for the more finesse scenarios or grip it lower when you need to maximize the casting distance.

The Orvis Recon is made of graphite. Some anglers prefer fiberglass, but the graphite material has no shortcomings. Plus, it helps make the rod slightly lighter than fiberglass. The rod breaks down into four pieces. While four-piece rods can be a bit of a worry for some anglers, you don’t have to be concerned with the Recon. The pieces fit snugly, and you can travel with them much easier. 


The Recon’s 5-weight option weighs only 2 and 5/8 ounces. When you pick up the rod, you’ll likely be amazed at how light it is. This may put a bit of doubt in your mind about whether or not the rod can handle large fish, but rest assured that it can. Orvis gives you enough weight to make it feel strong but still keeps your shoulder comfortable after a long day on the water. 

The saltwater weights are a bit heavier in order to handle aggressive runs from the likes of Tarpon, but they’re still comfortable due to the excellent balance. Once you hook into a saltwater fish, you’ll be thankful for the heavier material. 


The Recon is a fast-action rod, and there’s no doubt about that. Specific fast-action rods can be seen as more medium-action, but Orvis kept this action on the updated Recon2 like the original version. 

This rod can handle long leaders, large streamers, and big water. You don’t have to worry about a lack of power. When you cast it, the rod will give you everything it has and more. 


The beauty of the Orvis Recon is that its standard 25-year warranty covers it. This means that if anything happens to your rod, they will fix it for you.  If it’s unrepairable, Orvis will replace it with a newer model rod of at least equal value to replace it. They’ll protect you regardless of what happens to your rod. You will need to pay the shipping costs, though.

Tip: The freshwater Recon version rod blanks are matte olive green, while the saltwater version has a matte blue rod blank.

Long Distance Casting Accuracy 

If you doubt the rod’s casting ability, it will quickly disappear after taking the first cast. Even with the heavier models, you’ll be surprised that making accurate and consistent 50 to 75-foot casts takes little effort. The casting ability is one of the rod’s best features.

The fast action will give you all of the power you need. Its load time is quick, and it doesn’t take long to get the exact line length you need from the rod. 

The fast action also helps you fight the wind. If you’re on a larger river pursuing big fish, you want to cover as much water as possible. The rod’s accuracy and power can easily cut through the wind. 

Short Distance Accuracy

The rod’s short-distance accuracy is even more special. Many anglers think that fast-action rods are difficult to control. They complain they’re too stiff and don’t allow for simple, short 5 to 10-foot casts. However, this is not the case with this rod. 

As with most new rods, experiencing a rod takes time, but I found the learning curve relatively short with the Recon. Give it some effort and time, and you’ll find the right speed and power. Little flicks of the wrist are plenty to get the results you want. 

Tip: As with all Orvis fly rods, they do not have hook keepers. 

Overall Review

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Orvis Recon is one of the top-performing intermediate rods

There are many more pros than cons with the Orvis Recon. While this rod has frustrating aspects, the good certainly outweighs the bad. It always comes through in whatever scenario you need, but remember, certain models are better for a particular style of fishing, and not every option is ideal unless you purchase a few options. 

Versatility Pros

Many anglers specialize in fly equipment; some have rods for every situation. However, this can be costly, and also many don’t spend enough time on multiple types of water to justify the need to specialize. 

The Recon is a great fit for those who don’t need a specialty. It’ll excel wherever you need it to perform. You can leave some specialized rods at home because the Recon can take their place. 

It’ll throw heavy flies in fast water and present dry flies well in gin-clear water. It doesn’t matter if it’s windy or the day is calm; you won’t find it ever to be outmatched. It may struggle in severe conditions but won’t completely fail you.

If you want a versatile and well-performing rod, the Recon is a good option. It allows you to hit all of your spots and mend precisely where you need to, regardless of the speed of the water. 

Versatility Cons

As mentioned earlier, this rod can have drawbacks in tight situations. Some purists would argue that the action is too fast for these situations. This results in potentially missing takes, reduced casting accuracy, and sometimes spooking fish. 

The only reason not to choose the most common 5-weight rod is if you’re wandering through the mountains looking to fish tight streams. If you have a 2 or 3-weight, it’ll work far better. The mid-weighted rods perform a bit better in faster and larger water than they do in smaller water.

Obviously, if you target saltwater critters such as giant trevally on a large fly, you would automatically choose the more dedicated 10 weight 9′, or even the 12 weight 9′ models.

Casting Power 

As mentioned earlier, the Recon does well in wind and rough weather. This is automatically a major positive point. On a calm day, when the opportunities to make a long cast are there, air it out and see what happens. If you enjoy seeing how far you can cast your fly, the rod will provide hours of entertainment!

If you see a rise across the river at 70 feet or more, try to get to it. If you see a structure where the fish are likely to be holding, then you’ll love how it can perform at these distances. 


When you’re fly fishing, you must be comfortable with your setup. You spend too many hours out on the water to not have a comfortable rod. It won’t take long to fall in love with how the Recon feels. Your first cast of the year with this rod will immediately make you smile! 

When things begin to go against you in larger water situations, the Recon will meet the challenge with you. At times, fishing can be intimidating, but if you have quality equipment to help you reach your potential, you’ll be just fine. 


The Orvis Recon is categorized as a mid to high-range priced rod. In the Orvis range, this isn’t nearly their highest-priced rod. How many rods are there in this price range that includes a multi-year warranty? As a result, you can fish this as hard as you would like and not worry about losing it after one trip. 

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The Recon Rod and Reel Combo in various
configurations are also available

Final Thoughts

The Orvis name alone is worth a lot of money (and prestige). When you purchase something from Orvis, you know it will be high quality. The Recon rod will quickly become your primary rod in your arsenal.

For some alternative models at varying price ranges, Orvis covers three other options:

For a mid-range choice, Check out my review article on the Orvis Clearwater.

If you are more budget-conscious, check out my review article on the entry-level range Orvis Encounter.

Finally, for the top of the range model, check out my review article on the high-end range Orvis Helios 3d.

Daniel Mooers