Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hardy Zenith vs. Orvis Helios 2, Lawn Test and Notes

I took out three rods on the lawn to conduct a mini shoot-out.  The Orvis 9'5 wt. Helios 2 (H2), the Hardy 9' 5wt. 4pc. Zenith and the Hardy 8'10" 1 piece Zenith.  What did I think?  Here are some notes.
  • H2 with SA Textured GPX- The rod felt a bit heavier with this line.  It had more swing weight than the Hardy 4pc.  It cast the line just fine, but I felt like I had to push a bit harder.  
  • Hardy 4pc. with SA Textured GPX- This rod also felt a bit heavier than with a standard line.  The GPX felt good, but again as with the H2, I felt I had to push it a bit more.  The swing weight was lighter than the H2 with the same line.  There was a bit more tip bounce with the heavier line.  
  • Hardy 1 Pc.  This rod can handle the GPX line better, but I still felt it was needing a standard line.  It matched better than the other 2 rods with this line. 
  • My pick with this line:  Hardy 1 Piece, then Hardy 4 pc. 
  • H2 with Rio Gold- This rod certainly felt better and this is the line for this rod.  It was easier to cast and felt like a different rod.   It was smooth and it was impressive.  
  • Hardy 4 pc with Rio Gold-This was blowing the doors off the H2 with the GPX line on the H2.  Once I switched lines, things evened out a bit.  The Rio Gold line is great with this rod.  It was certainly effortless casting this line and I felt this was one of the smoothest casting rods I have ever cast.  
  • Hardy 1 Piece with Rio Gold-If I didn't have this rod, the Hardy 4 pc. would be top dog.  Well, this rod is top dog.  It cast great with the Rio Gold.  With 2 inches shorter, it makes a difference.  So does a single, continuous blank.  
  • H2 with Rio Classic, a standard size line-This line felt good with this rod, but I would use the Rio Gold for this rod.  
  • Hardy 4 pc with Rio Classic, a standard size line-This rod handled it just fine.  I would use the Rio Gold for this rod also, but it felt better on this rod than on the H2.
  • Hardy 1 pc. with Rio Classic, a standard size line-This rod felt just fine.  If you used this line on this rod, you would never question it.  This rod is just that good.  _____________________________________________
  • H2 with a Cortland Precision, a standard size line-It felt great, but I still think the Rio Gold is the one for this rod.  
  • Hardy 4pc. with a Cortland Precision, a standard size line-This line felt really good on this rod. If I were to choose between a Rio Gold and this line, it would be hard.  Actually, I don't know if this line is made any more, so I guess the choice is clear, however if it is still made or there is a similar line, I would blink twice putting this line on this rod.  
  • Hardy 1 Piece with a Cortland Precision, a standard size line-This rod can handle the widest range of lines than the others.  It worked just great with this rod.  _____________________________________________
After spending about an hour casting these rods, I would say that the Hardy 4 pc., in my opinion is a better feel for me than the H2.  It is close, but I would have to say the swing weight on the H2 is a bit heavier and more noticeable.  A Hardy with a Rio Gold vs. a H2 with A GPX is no contest. The Hardy felt so much better, but when you switch lines, it wasn't so apparent.  At that point, I would give the edge to the H2 in feel as the GPX line is just too heavy for me on the Hadry.  At this point, you are really splitting hairs.  Both rods are special in their own way.  The Orvis H2 is lighter in physical weight, but the swing weight is heavier.
Even with these two top notch rods dueling it out, the Hardy 1 piece rod is the top dog.  It handled the various lines better than the other 2 rods.  It was lighter in physical weight than the other 2 and the swing weight was lighter also.  Remember that it is 2 inches shorter than the other 2 rods.  But it just handled everything better and felt the best to me.  The Hardy 4 pc. would be my second choice using a Rio Gold or even a Standard line. It was able to use various lines better than the H2.   The H2 was right behind the 4 pc. with the Rio Gold, but because it was only liking the Rio Gold, it wasn't as versatile as the other 2 rods using the same lines.  The SA GPX isn't the best choice for these rods and I would recommend a Rio Gold or a standard size line for these rods.   There may be better choices out there, but this is all I had to use for my testing.  I hope this helps people out there decide what lines may work better for a rod, but you really have to go out there and cast them and get your own feel for these rods.  Rods and lines are just like socks and shoes.  Some feel better with different socks and not everybody likes the same kind of shoes or socks.  Just because I recommend a shoe, will you go out and buy them with out trying them out?  No, at least I hope not!  Let me know if you have any thoughts on this.


  1. Thanks. I have recently come across the task of lining a Hardy Proaxis 9' 8wt

    1. I am sure the Proaxis will be different than the Sintrix. Good luck on that one! Thanks for tuning in.

  2. Thanks for the analysis. I like your analogy using shoes and socks. The shoes don't always fit correctly without the right socks. I'd love to cast the one piece Hardy. The four piece was wonderful. Jerry

  3. Hi Juan

    interested in sourcing materials for Hopper Juan hopper wing material ...also what is the name of the super glue you use and the very sharp short scissors

    please advise

    Thanks Bjorn

    1. Hi Bjorn.

      I have some kits I put together that have all the materials you will need except for the hair, thread and glue. Shoot me an e-mail.
      Glue: Crazy Glue found at Wal Mart
      Scissors I love: Tiemco Razor Scissors.

  4. Juan, I own many of the zeniths. My BY FAR favorite is the 9'6" 6 wt. if you get a chance throw one. Just straight up amazing.

    Chuck from Chasing Tail Media

  5. I'd love to throw one. I haven't yet, but I have wiggled one. I bet that thing is just a beast!

  6. Hi Juan; tried the Rio Gold on my six weight H2. Didn't like it as I thought it had too much weight up the front of the line for a good presentation. Line seemed to end up in a heap more often than not. Ended up using my existing SA sharkskin on it and it was a weapon. Much better loops and presented better too.

    1. The 6wts are different beasts! The Zenith 6wt. likes the SA GPX better than the standard line. It just handles it better to me. Each rod is different and each line on each rod feels different. Good for you for trying different lines on your rod and not just slapping one on it and going for it!

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