A few weeks ago my favorite rod, a 9ft 10 wt Orvis Helios starting showing signs of hard use. Plenty of Clousers had bounced off the tip sections and the cork was starting to get loose where my clients and thumbs (and mine too!) had applied tons of pressure to it while both casting, fighting, and landing, (well also loosing) stripers, bluefish, and fluke. I caught my last striped bass with it last weekend while up in Newport, Rhode Island. It was there where the first three rings of cork had split and fallen off. I continued to use it and was amazed in the difference in casting without the aid of my thumb and the "lip" of the cork on the upper butt section of the rod.
I decided to call Orvis and get a repair number and send it back in. I have sent plenty of rods back in for repair usually due to damage or destruction caused by operator error. This time my rod blank was strong, but the cork was shot and the finish had dings in it and had started to discolor.
Well today I got that familiar triangle shaped box left at my doorstep. Inside was a brand new Helios, replaced by the Orvis rod repair department after evaluating the older rod. I have sent in rods before and got replacement sections or guides which made the rods perform as good as new. It was nice to have a new handle to hold knowing that after just one outing it will never look new again.
I had the pleasure of attending a tour of the Orvis Rod Factory in Manchester, Vermont this past spring during the Eastern Guide Rendezvous. I was amazed to see how the rods are constructed from raw materials to the finished product. Not only do they manufacture the rods there, they also repair them with an incredible number of rods coming in and out everyday. Since the Hydros line has been discontinued, the Access line, which was manufactured in China, is now made there in Vermont. Which just adds to an incredible amount of rod work, one good thing was it created 17 new local jobs.
Some would say I have drank the Orvis-juice since becoming an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide, but I have had great experience with Orvis and their 25 year rod guarantees and 100% customer satisfaction policy long before I joined the family.
I am sure many of you who use other manufacturers have good stories about your favorite, and that's good for all fly fishers out there. But take my first hand testimony of someone who had benefited from the great technology and service they offer.
Look for exciting things to come from Orvis within the next year, including some advancements with their sonic seam wader technology. A cool preview to the Silver Sonic Waders is shown below.