I have to start this tread by stating that I have always been one of the largest non-supporters of Orvis, for as long as I can remember. Why? I couldn't really tell you. I can say that none of their rods ever did anything for me. The whole "Orvis" lifestyle that they seem to push on people rubbed me the wrong way. The Orvis specialty stores never appealed to me, etc., etc. Me and Orvis anything were not going to happen, period! Today I had the opportunity to cast both the 9ft, 5wt. and 9ft, 9wt. Helios 2 or H2..... What do I have to say about the H2? The H2 is one DAMN FINE rod! Cosmetically, this is a very, very attractive rod! The "Midnight Blue" color to the blank is gorgeous and when the sun hits it, it is beautiful! The stripping guides are solid, the proper size (nice and large on the larger rod weights to help shoot line) and very clean. The rest of the rods guides are recoil guides which I really like and the reel seats are very nice (buckeye burl on the lower weights and carbon fiber, if I remember correctly on the larger weights). All of the guides were wrapped straight, clean and neatly. And I know it doesn't matter or shouldn't matter, but the carbon fiber rod tube is bad azz (great graphics on it). Overall, I put this rod at a 9 or 10 out of a 10. When it comes to casting, this may very well be the best casting, best feeling rod I have ever thrown and I have thrown a ton of 'em. Both the 5 weight and the 9 weight were tip flex models and lined with true 5 and 9 weight, weight forward floating fly lines. The 5 weight was a bit difficult to load under 25-30 feet, but again it was the tip flex model. Once beyond that point, there was plenty of "feel" when the rod loaded. When it came to line speed, this rod had it. Casts between 40-60 feet were not a problem and casting the entire fly line has never been easier. Was the rod fast? Yes, but now where near as fast as say an NRX and not nearly as stiff as an Xi3. The 9 weight was a cannon, with "feel". Believe it or not, there was no issue loading this rod at 25-30 feet. So a Bonefish or 'Poon sneaking in on you will not be a problem. When it came to 40-60 feet, it got there easily with one double haul. Casting the entire line again has never been easier! The more line that was carried, the more "feel" there was and the deeper the rod flexed. Again, this is a fast action rod, however it is not extra fast nor is it stiff. I think it is the perfect blend of fast and flexible. When it comes to accuracy, it was rediculous. I picked random and various targets from 25-80 feet and every time the rod cast exactly where I was looking. Find a target, manage the line and make the cast, it really was that simple! So how do I feel about these H2 rods? Lets just say I am waiting to see what other models they release in January, but as of right now, I am looking at dumping all of my GLX and NRX rods for these new H2 rods! This is coming from a VERY anti-Orvis person! Incredible is all I can say about these rods and you owe it to yourself to try them.