Orvis Recon 904-4
- Good casting distance
- Very versatile
- Moderate price
- Made in the USA
- Slightly less sensitive ‘feel’ than others in the class
- Some felt it a bit ‘butt heavy’
- Not as accurate as some
The Orvis Recon series fills the middle of Orvis’ rod lineup, and the 9’ 4-wt version is a great example of the series’ strengths. The fast-action taper and build allow the Recon to throw a lot of line with power, making this a good choice for anglers who face windy conditions, but who want the delicacy of 4-wt line. However, that power somewhat hinders casting accuracy for the average weekend caster.
Orvis’s top-end Helios 2 earned Gear Institute’s Best in Class honors in the Premium Rod category, and the new mid-range Recon mimics many traits of its big brother. I found the Recon one of the fastest rods in the class, with a good bit of sensitivity and line control to go with its powerful build.
Fit and feel
In testing, the well-tapered half-wells grip and nicely balanced weight allowed casting without having to exert much grip-pressure. That made it easy to stay out all day, casting a variety of fly types without tiring.
Distance and Accuracy
The Recon was masterful at laying out line in the typical blustery conditions on Washington’s Yakima River, but it also worked well when I needed to reach well out into a remote alpine lake to get to feeding brookies. I did feel there was a bit of accuracy fall-out in exchange for that power, but not so much that I felt uncomfortable casting #20 BWOs during a modest hatch.
The Recon had the stiffness needed to land large trout in fast-moving water, and had just enough mid- and tip-flex to throw effective mends during a long drift. But I missed a few hook-sets when I failed to feel a tentative strike on a small nymph.
The Recon is also available in 3-wt through 10-wt versions of various lengths.
How We Tested It
The rods in this test were used while fishing an assortment of trout streams, rivers, and lakes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Our test team included a retired Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden, two experienced female anglers, and—on occasion—a professional fishing guide. We fished each rod with dry flies, nymphs, and dry/dropper rigs, as well as the occasional streamer.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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