Many anglers are aware of the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod as an entry level fly rod that’s been around for a long time. Nearly two years ago, Orvis released an updated and upgraded model of their Clearwater offering. The new Orvis Clearwater is a fly rod that deserves to be in conversations with fly rods that well exceed the $200 price point.
So what’s different than previous Clearwater models? As usual, technology plays a role. Without getting into too much detail, Orvis basically translated some of the design concepts of their flagship fly rods down through the Clearwater lineup. The hardware such as the cork, reel seat, and guides received a noticeable upgrade. And likely the most impressive is the cosmetic facelift that consists of a black chrome blank with white accents.
The difference in the new Clearwater is a fishable difference. Put simply, these rods fish much better than previous models. In my opinion they are the best fly rod that can be bought at the $200 price point, and the value of this fly rod far exceeds the price point.
Can you buy an $800+ fly rod that is better? Maybe. Is that necessary? Probably not. It doesn’t hurt to have both. If you’ve been in the drift boat fly fishing for smallmouth bass on the river with me you know that I have a 9ft 8wt Clearwater and a 9ft 8wt Helios 3 sitting side by side in the rod rack. I’ve been really impressed all summer how well the 9ft 8wt Clearwater does casting poppers on the river. And interestingly enough, all three of the 20+ inch bass we’ve boated on poppers this year fell victim to my 9ft 8wt Clearwater.
At the club we’ve been using the 9ft 6wt Orvis Clearwater for our rental gear for nearly a year now. These rods are excellent tools for anglers that are learning to fish, but also flat out get the job done when put in experienced anglers hands as well. Anglers of all skillsets consistently catch numbers of fish and 20+ inch trout day in and day out with these rods.
Is the Clearwater going to be your favorite rod you’ve ever fished? Maybe not. But at $200 it’ll be the best value you can purchase in a fly rod. The Orvis Clearwater is excellent to buy for your wives, kids, or anglers learning to fish. The Orvis Clearwater is an excellent choice as a back up rod or to broaden the diversity of rods in your line up. If you put one in your hand to fish with I think you may be surprised how much you enjoy it.
If you want to try out an Orvis Clearwater, stop by the shop to take one for a test drive. If you are in the market for a new fly rod either give us a call or stop by the shop on your next fishing trip.