Earlier this year I had the opportunity to cast many different rods at Schlutz Outfitter Demo Days. I have been in the market for a 10ft 4wt for a long time now. I could use one for nymphing on the White River in Arkansas. The two rods that have been stuck in my head ever since are two that Orvis had available to cast.
The first was the Orvis Clearwater 104-4. The reason I was looking at a low end rod is because I have never done much Euro-style nymphing and would like a 10ft rod to have a dedicated rig without breaking the bank.
The Clearwater is a well made rod that is at home nymphing or casting dries. I had no problem casting good loops and shooting line with it. And at $198.00 its a deal.
Of course, the Orvis rep handed me the Helios 2 104-4 as the next rod to try. After the first cast I was amazed at how much lighter the Helios 2 is. By numbers it is 1 1/8oz lighter but it felt like a bigger difference. My loops were tighter and casting didn’t seem to require as much effort. If I was casting for long periods of time over multiple days there would be no doubt I’d seriously try and save for the Helios 2. At $795.00 that will take me a while.
In the long run it comes down to how much money you see fit to spend. The Helios 2 is a top notch rod but is worth the $597.00 price difference? Only you can make that decision. If you get a chance go to a Demo Day and cast some rods. You might be surprised what you learn.