Orvis Recon 908-4
- Good versatility
- Good ‘strike’ sensitive in tip
- Moderately priced
- Made in the USA
- Average casting distance
- Felt ‘butt heavy’
- Not as accurate
The Orvis Recon 8-wt is the brand’s premiere saltwater rod in this mid-priced model. The Recon series in general provides good performance at a reasonable price and the 8-weight version is a great example of the series’ strengthens. In the hands of an intermediate caster, the 8-wt Recon proved an effective weapon against bonefish and spawn-happy salmon. It’s med-fast action covered some casting flaws, but its lack of raw power and accuracy made it less effective in targeting spooky fish at greater range.
The new mid-range Recon continues to impress my team of professional testers as it mimics a lot of the traits of its big brother, the award-winning Helios 2 series. I found the Recon 908 to be a fun rod to fish—not the fastest rods in the class, but one with a great tip sensitivity that helped me make the set on soft takes in the sometimes murky waters of Puget Sound and Kauai’s south shore.
Fit and feel
The well-tapered deep wells on the grip and nicely balanced rod 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, even in wind.
Distance and Accuracy
The Recon was masterful in the short and medium range—when I was working sea-run cutties along the pebbly beaches of Puget Sound, it easily covered all the water I wanted to target. But when I saw feeding fish beyond the far edge of my normal casting range, I had to really work to reach them. And at that range, I also experienced a bit of fly drift as my accuracy declined with distance. Still, fishing within 50-60 feet was easy and spot-on accurate.
At half the price of some of the other rods, the Recon fits nicely in that middle ground of performance. It’s a solid performer out to medium-ranging casts, and it provides a ton of feedback when fish start hitting the fly. The sensitivity of the Recon helped me make more solid hook-ups on strikes than any other rod I tested here. And when the fish was on, the Recon provided the backbone to keep it on and headed where I wanted it.
How We Tested It
These 9-foot 8-wt rods were tested while fishing an assortment of water, from the beaches of Kauai to the rocky shores of Puget Sound, chasing everything from mahi mahi to silver salmon and sea-run cutthroat. They were also used in the steelhead rivers of the Olympia Peninsula and even targeting huge carp in the upper Columbia River basin—the Potholes that dot the coulee country there hold truly massive carp that love to slam surface poppers.
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.
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