Orvis Access ReviewMarch 21, 2014
- Great power with a sensitive ‘feel’ in casts
- One of the best for casting distance in the category
- Stiff butt helps control big fish
- Tip-flex gives anglers the ability to feel delicate takes
- Alignment dots on ferrules help with fast set-up
- Some loss of casting accuracy
- Delicate presentation requires more effort and skill
- One of the more expensive rods in this class
The Access rods borrow design elements from Orvis’ premium series, the Helios 2, while keeping the price reasonable for cost-conscious anglers. The Access generates enough line speed to power big dries, weighted streamers and multi-fly nymphing rigs with little effort, but does sacrifice a touch of accuracy in exchange. The rod’s power makes among the best rod to have when anglers need to fish deep, fight winds, or reach across big waters to get to their prey but its premium price exceeds all but one other rod in our test.
The Access rod series features many of the same traits as its more expensive siblings in the Helios line, especially the proprietary rod tapers that focus on accuracy and casting power. But by employing less expensive components, the Access offers those advanced designs at a lower price. The tip-flex 5-wt proved to be a powerful casting stick ideal for big waters, big flies and big fish, but it also brings enough finesse and accuracy to be used with small dries and tight casts.
Casting Distance and Accuracy
The Access met the winds of the lower Deschutes head on, allowing our team to throw tight loops into the teeth of 15-20 mph winds, letting us get out to fish when other anglers struggled. When the winds calmed, we found could push line far out into the river, getting our streamers in front of more fish. When we encountered a yellow sally hatch on the Yakima, we found we could replace our weighted nymphs with small dries and get them to the rising trout, but presentations weren’t as precise as we’d sometimes hoped. Much more careful effort was needed to make a delicate presentation than was needed to throw a long cast.
General fit, finish, and feel
Hand made in the USA, the Orvis Access rods uphold the company’s reputation for making beautiful rods. The rod blanks themselves are the color of a malty amber ale (a deep rust-tinted brown) and the reel seat is a color-matched woven carbon fiber insert girdled by a gold-anodized frame. The half-wells grip fit comfortably in hand for each of tester, from Donna’s small hands to Dan’s beefy mitts.
The Access 905-4 tip-flex caught fish for us in a wide range of conditions and waters, including dry fly fishing for rising brook trout in mirror-calm alpine lakes, but it really excels at fishing big waters, with big flies. It is a power player that has a skinny-water game but should only by an occasional dry fly stick.
We tested 9-foot, 5-weight tip-flex version. The rod is also available in a mid-flex taper that improves accuracy but limits distance. Both versions are available in 3- to 12-weights in a variety of lengths.
Dan Nelson- Managing Editor & Fly Fishing Editor
Dan Nelson is GearInstitute.com's Managing Editor & fly fishing editor. He is based in the Pacific Northwest.