Appreciating the Little Things: Orvis Superfine Carbon 802-4 Review

It seems that all the fly rods that are reviewed are 5 or 6 weights, as they are the most commonly rods fished for trout. In fly fishing, Trout is still the main species that fly anglers target, so it makes sense that these are the rod weights that everyone owns, and shoot-outs and rod reviews focus on. This review will focus on a rod that’s a bit outside of the normal rod review forum, the Orvis Superfine Carbon, 8’ 2 weight.

Orvis describes this rod as “When fishing small waters that require a bit of reach, the 8-foot, 2-weight Superfine Carbon is the rod you want at your side. Boasting the beloved delicacy and presentation capabilities of the Superfine series, this rod is made for mountain streams and small targets. With the Full-Flex action, you’ll feel every head shake that six-inch brookie offers. Modern construction results in added strength and smoother casting. Manchester, Vermont, USA.”

Due to the 5 year drought that California went through, the rivers in California’s Eastern Sierras dropped to historic low flows. One of the most popular river, Hot Creek had flows as low as 8 CFH. These low rivers were hit hard by recreational (non-fly) anglers. As the trout sought shelter in the deep pools, they became easy prey for catch and kill anglers. To avoid putting undo stress on these fish and avoid the crowds of bait dunkers, I took to the back county spring creeks that weren’t as affected by the drought and away from the crowds.

Fish

These creeks are populated by Brown, Rainbow and Brook in the 4” to 12” class. They aren’t always easily accessible, with low over hangs, long pools and high gradients. I needed a rod that would allow semi-long cast (up to 50’), long enough to reach over big boulders, sensitive rod not to bounce (lose) small fish and that could gently land a dry to a spooky backcountry trout. The Orvis Superfine Carbon fit the bill perfectly.

There is no second chance at a first impression, and the first impression for this rod was great! The Aluminum rod case and custom feeling rod sock are a step up from the standard rod tube and rod sock. Pulling the rod out sock, the unfinished blank stands out as you can see the edge of each wrap. The tactile feel of each wrap not only reduces weight through the reduction of a top coat and improves the rod function, it looks and feels awesome. The supergrade cork with a taper that resembles a torpedo cigar holds up well to extended usage and really helps with delicate presentations. Alignment dots make assembly easy and an uplocking reel seat keeps the reel where it needs to be.

Orvis Superfine Carbon 802-4 fly rod

This rod casts like a dream, right after you slow your casting stroke to suit the full flex nature of the rod. It’s definitely slower action than the current fast action rod trend, but not as slow as a full glass rod. I matched the rod with a Redington Zero 2/3 reel and a Rio Trout LT Double taper 2 weight. The lightweight of the Zero and the long fine taper of the Rio fly line helps with fine dry fly presentations to surface feeding trout.

Performance of this rod was designed for the creek angler in mind. Lots of fishing is done in close combat in small creeks, and the rod needs to be able to cast with minimal fly line out of the guides. Even with 3 or 4’ of fly line out of the guides and 10-12’ tapered leader accurate casts are possible. But when a longer cast is required the rod fits the bill too. Casting with the rod is accurate to around 50’, which is really good for a 2 weight, and there isn’t very many times you’ll need to push this rod that hard.

Fish

Once hooked up, the sensitivity of the rod becomes clear. The soft tip and full flex keeps a bend even when that monster 4” trout attacks your Parachute Adams. The rod can handle larger fish, up to around a 14” beast. Anything beyond that, the rod just flexes to great and there’s a loss of fish control. Landing a big fish is possible, but puts undo stress on the fish and this rod isn’t designed for this task.

Pros:

  • Light Tip and full flex protects light tippet from breaking
  • Casts dry flies with accuracy and lands them softly
  • Rod will load even with a few feet of fly line
  • 8’ length allows for longer casts and better line control
  • 25-year warranty
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Casting accuracy declines with wind
  • Large dry flies or dry/ dropper tactics difficult with the rod
  • Application Specific rod

The light weight, quick loading, slower action allows for the precise casting required for spooky trout. While this rod isn’t an all-around rod, it excels at what it’s designed for. If you find yourself chasing these trout, you owe it to yourself to have this rod in your arsenal.

 

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