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 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 Not So Good
Well, Based on my extensive personal experience - none really!
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 would need for the rest of your fly fishing career.
In this article, I will cover:
Orvis Recon Size Options
Orvis Recon Rod Features and Quality
Orvis Recon Long Distance Casting Accuracy
Orvis Recon Short Distance Casting Accuracy
Orvis Recon Size Options
Since the Recon is Orvis’ primary mid-priced rod, you’ll have essentially any possible size that you would need. You can purchase a 2-weight 7’ 6” all the way up to a 12-weight 9’ rod. Anything that you need in between those sizes is available to you.
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 that you don’t find on many other rods. The dark color aids to prevent spooking fish. The silver guides add a nice accent.
Tip: Orvis recon is also known as the Orvis Recon2, as it is the second generation of the rod design.
On the Recon, you’ll have a 7-inch grip to work with depending on the style that you’re fishing. It’s plenty of room to choke up for the more finesse scenarios or grip it lower when you’re trying to maximize the distance.
The Orvis Recon is made of graphite. Some anglers prefer fiberglass, but the graphite material doesn’t have any shortcomings. Plus, it helps on making 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 snug and your ability to travel with them is much better.
The 5-weight option of the Recon is only 2 and 5/8 ounces. When you pick up the rod, you’ll likely be amazed at how light it is. It 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, keep your shoulder comfortable after a long day on the water.
The saltwater weights are a bit heavier in order to handle aggressive runs, but they’re still comfortable. 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. Certain fast-action rods can be seen as more medium-action, but Orvis made sure to keep this action as fast as they could.
This rod can handle long leaders, large streamers, and big water. You don’t have to worry about a lack of power. The rod will give you everything it has and more when you cast it.
The beauty of the Orvis Recon is that it’s covered by Orvis’ 25-year warranty. If you’re willing to spend the money on the Recon, Orvis rewards you. They’ll protect you regardless of what happens to your rod.
Tip: The color of the blanks is a matte olive green for the freshwater Recon version rods. The saltwater version has a matte blue rod blank.
Long Distance Casting Accuracy
If you have any doubts about the casting ability of the Orvis Recon, they won’t last long. If you have a heavier model and you’re looking to make accurate and consistent 50 to 75-foot casts, you’ll be just fine.
The fast action is going to give you all of the power that you would need. Its load time is fast, and it doesn’t take long to get the exact amount of line length that you would need out of the rod.
The fast action also helps you fight the wind. If you’re on a larger river in pursuit of big fish, you want to be able to cover as much water as possible. The rod’s accuracy and power are easily able to cut through the wind.
Short Distance Accuracy
The short distance accuracy of the rod is even more special. Many anglers think that fast action rods are difficult to control. They’ll complain that they’re too stiff and don’t allow for simple 5 or 10-foot casts.
While it does take time to learn these rods, it’s not impossible. Give it a bit of effort and some time and you’ll find the right speed and power. Little flicks of the wrist are plenty to get the results you are looking for.
Tip: As with all Orvis fly rods it does not have a hook keeper.
There are many more pros than cons with the Orvis Recon. While there are frustrating aspects of this rod, the good certainly outweighs the bad. It always comes through in whatever scenario you need, but it doesn’t always look pretty.
When it comes to fly equipment, many anglers choose to specialize. Some have rods for every type of situation. However, there are plenty of anglers that don’t spend enough time on the water to need to specialize.
The Recon is a great fit for those who don’t need a specialty. It’ll perform wherever you need it to perform. You can leave some of those specialized rods at home because the Recon can take their place.
It’ll throw heavy flies in fast water but also 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 to ever be outmatched. It may struggle, but it won’t completely fail you.
If you don’t want to worry about whether or not your rod is going to perform, the Recon is a good option. You can hit all of your spots and mend exactly where you need regardless of the speed of the water.
As mentioned earlier, the issues with this rod can come when you’re in tight situations. While this is usually the case when you’ve first purchased the rod, it can last longer than anglers would like. Some would argue that the action is just too fast for these situations. You can miss casts and spook fish as a result of the fast action.
If you’re wandering through the mountains looking to fish tight streams, don’t bring your 5-weight recon. If you have a 2 or 3-weight, it’ll work much better. The mid-weighted rods perform a bit better in the faster and larger water than they do in the smaller water. Again, many of these worries can be put to rest if you’re willing to put in the work to learn, but if you aren’t consistently on the water, it can be frustrating.
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 Recon will provide you with hours of entertainment.
If you see a rise across the river, try and get to it. If you see structure a ways away from you in the lake, see what you can do. You’ll love how this performs.
When you’re fly fishing, you need to be comfortable with your setup. You spend too many hours out on the water to not have a comfortable rod. It won’t take you too long to fall in love with how the Recon feels. Your first cast of the year with this rod will immediately put a smile on your face.
When things begin to come against you in those larger water situations, the Recon is going to meet the challenge with you. At times, fishing can be intimidating, but if you have quality equipment that’s going to help you reach that 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. It’s not always ideal that rods at this level are at this price range, but you will be protected by Orvis’ 25-year warranty. As a result, you can fish this as hard as you would like and not worry about losing it after one trip.
The Orvis name alone is worth quite a bit of money. When you purchase something from Orvis, you know it’s going to be high quality. The Recon rod will quickly become your primary rod in your arsenal.
Danny Mooers is a high school English teacher in Arizona with a love for fishing. Growing up in Minnesota gave him the opportunity to experience all types of fishing and grow his skills. After living out in the Western United States for several summers in college, his fishing obsession grew. Having the opportunity to share in his passion for fishing through writing is a dream come true. It's a lifelong hobby and he strives to make it understandable for people of all skill levels.