Friday, June 5, 2015

Gear Review - Orvis Encounter 9'/8wt/4pc

I've had the Encounter Outfit for about 18 months and feel that I have put in enough time to properly test and do a review.  I'm hesitant to recommend gear after only fishing for a few weeks or after a test outing to the local pond.  Most everything will keep its shine for a few weeks.  To really know how something will hold up and function, you need to put it through some real world fishing.  That's what I've done, and its been fun!

I've used it in both, saltwater and freshwater environments.  Its survived the kayak environment catching smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass, redfish, grass carp, gar, catfish, and some descent sized trout.

It isn't a specialty set-up, it's varied enough to get the job done for most any angler and modest in price.  At $159, it's not going to win a beauty contest...but it flat out works.

The tip is a little stiff and it needs about 15' of line out to really load.  But that also helps set the hook into big tough mouthed fish.  The drag isn't great for stopping big reds but it's delicate enough to not snap off a big trout.  The combo requires some attention after a salt trip.  Some noticeable corrosion happens if not cleaned and allowed to dry completely.  It's not a true hardcore salt set-up by any means, but it's not advertised as such.  Orvis, "An 8 Wt. affordable fly rod perfect as a first saltwater outfit or backup travel rod".

I'm 6 hours from salt and my day-to-day targets reside in freshwater, so I'm not complaining.  It has served me very well.  As evident by the 3 spools I have filled with, floating line, sink tip, and I'm planning on getting a full sink for heavy flow and deep water applications.    

The only drawback that I can see is, it doesn't come with the usual Orvis warranty.  It's not warrantied ($159 gets you, fly line, rod, reel, leader, and a case - understandable) and that concerns me, since I tend to break stuff.  We'll see how long I can keep it in the 4 pieces it arrived in.

If great performance and diversity, at an affordable price, are what you're looking for in a combo, you won't be disappointed.  Another fine product from Orvis.

See it in action in the FL Keys:

My Youtube Channel has more Fly Fishing videos: Looknfisy on Youtube

Other reviews you might find interesting:
Orvis Recon and Hydros SL review
Orvis Clearwater 9'/6wt/4pc
Orvis Silver Sonic convertible waders
Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boot


  1. Not useful for me, but I can guarantee the quality of Orvis rods.

    1. I never hesitate to recommend Orvis. They've been good to me.

  2. Even though I have gone toward ultralight spin fishing more than fly fishing these days, I will second what Howard said about Orvis Rods. In addition, I will say that I have never bought an inferior Orvis product. Like your approach on how to go about testing a product extensively before you write about it. Many of us, me included, have jumped on the bandwagon on new products only to eat "Turkey" sometime later!

    1. No company is perfect but they have always made things right. Great customer service and great products...echoing what so many others have said..."great company".

  3. Drew
    Glad you found an combo that meets your needs. Are you using a heavy fly line with the combo, the reason I am asking is I have found the bass bug line to be perfect for my 7 wt. which makes it easy for me cast heavy flies, in other words I don't have to work as hard at getting the fly to my target. I do know when fishing 5 or 6 hours with my 7 wt. I am tired; I can fish that same amount of time with my 3 or 4 wt. and keep going. Thanks for sharing

    1. Bill, I have thought about over lining, but currently it's still got the line that was included with the outfit. The only time I notice is when I'm targeting reds and casts can be shorter than 15'. But when I replace it, I'll overline it. Thanks thanks for the tip