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.