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I was given a new Orvis Helios 3D 6wt and was curious if anyone has casted this rod and if so what line works well with it for targeting redfish. I took it out today for the first time south of Goodland and caught several rat reds using a 6wt RIO Redfish taper line. Wind was about 5mph and I was able to throw a tight loop to around 60’ with a kwan fly. I am pretty happy with the rods performance with the line, but was curious if others have found other lines that work better. Thanks in advance.
 

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i run the saltwater allrounder on all my H3s (5-12wt) and couldn't be happier with it
 
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I'll check tonight, but I'm pretty sure I have Wulff triangle taper and its a great match. I had an older, unfished original rio redfish that did not pair with the rod particularly well. My experience with the rio redfish, was that the rod did not really come alive until I had 40 foot of line out. The wulff line fishes well up close, and I'm still able to cast lead eye flies on 10 to 15mph days out to 50 ft or so.
 

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I cast the 6 weight 3D with what I think was the Orvis saltwater all-rounder. It was a cannon; felt like I could have cast all the line and half the backing if I’d needed to. I was very impressed. Really wish I could afford it.
 

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I cast the 6 weight 3D with what I think was the Orvis saltwater all-rounder. It was a cannon; felt like I could have cast all the line and half the backing if I’d needed to. I was very impressed. Really wish I could afford it.
Then look into getting either a Recon or a used H2. The difference to the 3D is like splitting hairs for a refined expert caster, but, it'll be half the price.
 

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I'll check tonight, but I'm pretty sure I have Wulff triangle taper and its a great match. I had an older, unfished original rio redfish that did not pair with the rod particularly well. My experience with the rio redfish, was that the rod did not really come alive until I had 40 foot of line out. The wulff line fishes well up close, and I'm still able to cast lead eye flies on 10 to 15mph days out to 50 ft or so.
So here is the deal with that rod. It's a light fast crisp rod. It's not really designed to be throwing heavier fly lines. So what happens is some of the trout fisherman from up north will throw on a heavier line, like a Rio Redfish or a Wulff BTT (both heavy lines) or even overload it, to get it to a place where they can feel it loading, more like some of their more progressive parabolic action trout rods they are use to. So you end up taking an expensive rod and turing it into a more of an intermediate level rod, to get it to the action where they are comfortable feeling the rod loading and fishing. If you used a line that is more true to weight to that rod, then they would have to rely on other senses to feel the line loading or aerialize out more line to feel the thing loading, which makes it more of a distance flats rod or bonefish rod, in which it was really intending to be used for, instead of throwing short or used with heavy flies.

This is why Orvis came out with the 3F. So you trout guys can use that rod in the salt up close and person for those short shots with lines with actual line weights that match the rod with flie sizes and weights that match the line size. Then for you and that situation, you will feel at one with the universe and think you are in fly casting heaven.

So let's get back to Steve, who lives in Cape Coral and fishing in the Pine Island (Florida) area and needs his new Helios 3D 6wt rod to feel good on those tailing reds in Pine Island sound, as well as some dock light snooklettes, some spotted sea trout action and sneaking up to those crab buoys for his favs, some tripletail (on the smaller size). I know these tailing reds he's chasing and they will not let you get close to them like in other places. So 50-70ft+ shots is the norm without spooking those fish. So that rod is geared more for what he needs. They don't also want large flies crashing around them (very skiddish fish). So small light weight 6wt size presentation is the key, unlike some of you guys up north of us, or on the Mosquito Lagoon area where you are plopping down 8wt size flies at 20-30ft in front of you while you are looking down and staring at the fish. For that, you might as well be fishing a TFO Mangrove with a BTT Short line or just roll casting an 8wt fly out to them with an 8wt..

I've been studying the Wulff lines. Both the standard TT and the BTT are a full line weight heavier than the stated line size. If you have a shop that you could try one out, try a 5wt BTT. For Steve, it will be Norm Zeigler's place, West Wall and I saw that Ammelvets SWFL ROd Rack in Cape Coral carries them (But IDK what they are). So for Steve, if he's looking for a fast action for the flats, then go with the BTT in a 5wt, which is a true 6wt line. If he wants to fish close and load close, like up in the mangroves, then use the BTT Short in a 5wt. Otherwise, just buy a SA Mastery Saltwater taper line in a 6wt. Remember, with a very fast and crisp 6wt, the rod is temperamental and will tell you if it likes the line or not. SA doesn't have the Amp Smooth or the Amp line in the Saltwater taper (light, all around line), just a Bonefish taper (light long taper for lightweight bonefish size and weight flies, which the 3D loves to throw), or the Grand Slam taper (More aggressive and slightly heavier). I'm hoping SA brings out the Saltwater Taper in the Amp Smooth or Amplitude series eventually. But you can just cheat and add on some food grade silicon spray on the fly line every day before fishing and you'll think you're throwing a line with the AST+ coating (which is the overall improvement on an Amp line).

If Steve was only looking to cast up close in those tight places up in mangroves, or for throwing at reds 20-40ft from the boat, then he really didn't need that rod and could gotten away with a less expensive rod. But for a 1 rod deal like the 3D, to do it all, then either have several lines or know proper techniques to cast short or long with the same line and rod (again, coming down to casting techniques). Otherwise, he can just pick his battles that he knows will work for that combination, and just move-on from the other battles that will be a hassle with that combo. Otherwise, grab another rod that will meet those demands. (I always bring at least 2 rods with me in a boat or canoe, or just mainly only fish one situation with a yak or on foot).

If he's wanting to throw slightly larger or heavier flies (that are really meant for a 7wt and even an 8wt), then he needs to have the 6wt BTT or just go with a bigger rod.

I really like the weight and taper of the Cortland Liquid Crystal Flats taper. It's got a long rear taper (opposite to the BTT), that really helps to control the line for very precise fly placement. It's also true to weight, so no down lining or up lining needed. But when it's cold, it does have a line memory problem and if Steve is yak fishing with it, then it will be a PITA. SA has a line that is close to that, called the Mastery Series Expert Distance line and they make it up to an 8wt and it's great for throwing smaller flies with a fast crisp rod like the 6wt 3D and with really reach out there if that is needed. The difference with the SA Mastery Saltwater is the Saltwater will handle slightly bigger/heavier flies than the ED without blowing up the place like with a Grand Slam line or a Titan (which the 6wt 3D wouldn't like so much anyway).

Main thing with that rod is if you can keep the heaviest flies to an Ex Sm size lead dumbbell or lighter (preferably bead chain or a few wraps with lead wire for any weight), then he'll be Ok at any distance. ;)

Ted Haas
 

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Then look into getting either a Recon or a used H2. The difference to the 3D is like splitting hairs for a refined expert caster, but, it'll be half the price.
One of my 5s is a Recon; that’s the most expensive rod I own. My 8 & 12 are Clearwaters; I think that’s a lot of rod for the money. The 7 and 10 are TFOs, as are the half and 2 weights. The rest are other brands, , but none more expensive than the Recon.
 

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One of my 5s is a Recon; that’s the most expensive rod I own. My 8 & 12 are Clearwaters; I think that’s a lot of rod for the money. The 7 and 10 are TFOs, as are the half and 2 weights. The rest are other brands, , but none more expensive than the Recon.
Is the Clearwaters the newer ones with the bright green blanks? What rods are the TFO's? Do you like the 5wt Recon?
 

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The Clearwaters are 5 or 6 years old. I like the Recon. I got it when I broke my old 5 Clearwater. They sent me a new one that was apparently crushed just above the handle before I got it. I didn't notice it, and I took it on a white bass trip shortly after receiving it. I came to a deep pool and took it out of the case (they live in hard cases) to cast some weighted flies that the 2 weight couldn't handle. It collapsed on the first cast I ever made with it. I took it back and they let me upgrade to a Recon for $200. That Recon has zapped a lot of reds and specks...... I normally carry a 5 with an unweighted fly, a 6 or 7 with a lightly weighted fly, and an 8 with a heavier fly when hunting reds; that saves me from constantly retying different flies, and when conditions permit I can drag out the half or 2 weight and really have some fun. The TFOs are Pro IIs, except for the half weight. They are okay, but I really prefer a little faster rod. But they work, and they fit my budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
So here is the deal with that rod. It's a light fast crisp rod. It's not really designed to be throwing heavier fly lines. So what happens is some of the trout fisherman from up north will throw on a heavier line, like a Rio Redfish or a Wulff BTT (both heavy lines) or even overload it, to get it to a place where they can feel it loading, more like some of their more progressive parabolic action trout rods they are use to. So you end up taking an expensive rod and turing it into a more of an intermediate level rod, to get it to the action where they are comfortable feeling the rod loading and fishing. If you used a line that is more true to weight to that rod, then they would have to rely on other senses to feel the line loading or aerialize out more line to feel the thing loading, which makes it more of a distance flats rod or bonefish rod, in which it was really intending to be used for, instead of throwing short or used with heavy flies.

This is why Orvis came out with the 3F. So you trout guys can use that rod in the salt up close and person for those short shots with lines with actual line weights that match the rod with flie sizes and weights that match the line size. Then for you and that situation, you will feel at one with the universe and think you are in fly casting heaven.

So let's get back to Steve, who lives in Cape Coral and fishing in the Pine Island (Florida) area and needs his new Helios 3D 6wt rod to feel good on those tailing reds in Pine Island sound, as well as some dock light snooklettes, some spotted sea trout action and sneaking up to those crab buoys for his favs, some tripletail (on the smaller size). I know these tailing reds he's chasing and they will not let you get close to them like in other places. So 50-70ft+ shots is the norm without spooking those fish. So that rod is geared more for what he needs. They don't also want large flies crashing around them (very skiddish fish). So small light weight 6wt size presentation is the key, unlike some of you guys up north of us, or on the Mosquito Lagoon area where you are plopping down 8wt size flies at 20-30ft in front of you while you are looking down and staring at the fish. For that, you might as well be fishing a TFO Mangrove with a BTT Short line or just roll casting an 8wt fly out to them with an 8wt..

I've been studying the Wulff lines. Both the standard TT and the BTT are a full line weight heavier than the stated line size. If you have a shop that you could try one out, try a 5wt BTT. For Steve, it will be Norm Zeigler's place, West Wall and I saw that Ammelvets SWFL ROd Rack in Cape Coral carries them (But IDK what they are). So for Steve, if he's looking for a fast action for the flats, then go with the BTT in a 5wt, which is a true 6wt line. If he wants to fish close and load close, like up in the mangroves, then use the BTT Short in a 5wt. Otherwise, just buy a SA Mastery Saltwater taper line in a 6wt. Remember, with a very fast and crisp 6wt, the rod is temperamental and will tell you if it likes the line or not. SA doesn't have the Amp Smooth or the Amp line in the Saltwater taper (light, all around line), just a Bonefish taper (light long taper for lightweight bonefish size and weight flies, which the 3D loves to throw), or the Grand Slam taper (More aggressive and slightly heavier). I'm hoping SA brings out the Saltwater Taper in the Amp Smooth or Amplitude series eventually. But you can just cheat and add on some food grade silicon spray on the fly line every day before fishing and you'll think you're throwing a line with the AST+ coating (which is the overall improvement on an Amp line).

If Steve was only looking to cast up close in those tight places up in mangroves, or for throwing at reds 20-40ft from the boat, then he really didn't need that rod and could gotten away with a less expensive rod. But for a 1 rod deal like the 3D, to do it all, then either have several lines or know proper techniques to cast short or long with the same line and rod (again, coming down to casting techniques). Otherwise, he can just pick his battles that he knows will work for that combination, and just move-on from the other battles that will be a hassle with that combo. Otherwise, grab another rod that will meet those demands. (I always bring at least 2 rods with me in a boat or canoe, or just mainly only fish one situation with a yak or on foot).

If he's wanting to throw slightly larger or heavier flies (that are really meant for a 7wt and even an 8wt), then he needs to have the 6wt BTT or just go with a bigger rod.

I really like the weight and taper of the Cortland Liquid Crystal Flats taper. It's got a long rear taper (opposite to the BTT), that really helps to control the line for very precise fly placement. It's also true to weight, so no down lining or up lining needed. But when it's cold, it does have a line memory problem and if Steve is yak fishing with it, then it will be a PITA. SA has a line that is close to that, called the Mastery Series Expert Distance line and they make it up to an 8wt and it's great for throwing smaller flies with a fast crisp rod like the 6wt 3D and with really reach out there if that is needed. The difference with the SA Mastery Saltwater is the Saltwater will handle slightly bigger/heavier flies than the ED without blowing up the place like with a Grand Slam line or a Titan (which the 6wt 3D wouldn't like so much anyway).

Main thing with that rod is if you can keep the heaviest flies to an Ex Sm size lead dumbbell or lighter (preferably bead chain or a few wraps with lead wire for any weight), then he'll be Ok at any distance. ;)

Ted Haas
Thanks Ted. Here is the deal with the rod. My dad is a big trout fisherman and donates a generous amount of money every year to Trout Unlimited so they sent him this rod and a matching Orvis reel. He is 84 years old and doesn't like fast action rods so he gave it to me. I had the 6wt Rio Redfish line on an older 6wt St. Croix Legend Ultra and the line performed pretty well with that rod (I think better than with the 3D). I also used the St. Croix with a sink tip rio type shooting head line for streamers fishing trout out west. I have not tried the shooting head line on the 3D yet, but I have my doubts that it would be a good fit. From what I have read about this 3D rod is it is a rocket for dry flies when trout fishing, but I would rarely use it for dry since I prefer 4-5 wt rods for dry flies. So I took the reel off my St. Croix with the Rio Redfish line and gave it a try on the 3d. I understand everything is a trade off, and I always have at least an 8wt and 6wt in the boat. What I trying to figure out is if this 3d rod is a good fit for a wide range of saltwater fishing with light flies. I am thinking it would cast better with more of a bonefish type taper, but I still want to be able to get some close shots when needed. I will try and get by one of the shops and see if I can cast some of the lines you and others recommended. Next time you are down this way let's get together, bring some lines...lol
 

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The Clearwaters are 5 or 6 years old. I like the Recon. I got it when I broke my old 5 Clearwater. They sent me a new one that was apparently crushed just above the handle before I got it. I didn't notice it, and I took it on a white bass trip shortly after receiving it. I came to a deep pool and took it out of the case (they live in hard cases) to cast some weighted flies that the 2 weight couldn't handle. It collapsed on the first cast I ever made with it. I took it back and they let me upgrade to a Recon for $200. That Recon has zapped a lot of reds and specks...... I normally carry a 5 with an unweighted fly, a 6 or 7 with a lightly weighted fly, and an 8 with a heavier fly when hunting reds; that saves me from constantly retying different flies, and when conditions permit I can drag out the half or 2 weight and really have some fun. The TFOs are Pro IIs, except for the half weight. They are okay, but I really prefer a little faster rod. But they work, and they fit my budget.
Are the Clearwaters the bright green shiny blank rods?

For the TFO's, - you definitely should try the TFO Axiom 2, the Recon and the new Clearwater in the 7wt. and see what feels best to you. If the 10wt feels good in the Pro II, then keep it. If not, try it in the Axiom 2. If you are not in love with the Clearwaters you have, try the 8 in both the Axiom II and the Recon. If the 12wt rarely get's used and it's the older Clearwater (not the bright green blank), then you should be good there.

Also, make sure you check your lines and replace them if they are not doing so good, doesn't feel them loading properly or getting too old. Like if you have lines older than 4-5yrs old, then they need to be replaced with a fresh new line that matches the rod. Nothing replaces a really good fly line. As I say to many times to many people.... "a crappy fly line can make a good fly rod feel and cast like a crappy fly rod. But a good fly line can make a crappy fly rod feel and cast good!"

-Ted Haas
 

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Not a 6wt, but a Recon/fly line point of reference and along the lines of Backwater's post-

I recently traded for a new 10wt Recon here on the forum. I was planning to try/buy a new 10wt line the next time I visited the local fly shop. In the meantime, I happened to have a newer Wulff BTT 9wt line laying around so I tried it just to test the Recon out. I love it! Seems to be a great match (at least for me and my admittedly less than perfect technique).
 

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Thanks Ted. Here is the deal with the rod. My dad is a big trout fisherman and donates a generous amount of money every year to Trout Unlimited so they sent him this rod and a matching Orvis reel. He is 84 years old and doesn't like fast action rods so he gave it to me. I had the 6wt Rio Redfish line on an older 6wt St. Croix Legend Ultra and the line performed pretty well with that rod (I think better than with the 3D). I also used the St. Croix with a sink tip rio type shooting head line for streamers fishing trout out west. I have not tried the shooting head line on the 3D yet, but I have my doubts that it would be a good fit. From what I have read about this 3D rod is it is a rocket for dry flies when trout fishing, but I would rarely use it for dry since I prefer 4-5 wt rods for dry flies. So I took the reel off my St. Croix with the Rio Redfish line and gave it a try on the 3d. I understand everything is a trade off, and I always have at least an 8wt and 6wt in the boat. What I trying to figure out is if this 3d rod is a good fit for a wide range of saltwater fishing with light flies. I am thinking it would cast better with more of a bonefish type taper, but I still want to be able to get some close shots when needed. I will try and get by one of the shops and see if I can cast some of the lines you and others recommended. Next time you are down this way let's get together, bring some lines...lol
Your Dad seems like a great guy and I know the trout fishermen are grateful for his donations. Do ask him though to change this year's donations to help your own home waters by supporting and donating to the "Captains for Clean Water" organization to help them petition the Florida and Fed Gov'ts to tackle this situation that causes the green algae from the Lake O run-offs down the Caloosahatchee and the Red Tide and thereby fish and marine life kills it causes. In the end, he will be shifting the need to help the fisheries conservation to where the emergency problem lies now. Yes I know there was a time where trout conservation was a big issue and the need was there. Now the need is down here for this fishery in your backyard.

The St. Croix Legend Ultra has been around for quite a while (over 20yrs). The 3D is a much faster (considered extra fast), crisp, light weight rod in the 6wt and makes a great distance rod to wade for those tailing reds, were you are casting small unweighted or slightly weighted bonefish size flies to those tailing reds south of Pineland. Also, small clearish white minnow or shrimp patterns from your flats boat to those under slot snook under the dock lights or walking the beaches for snook in the early a.m. with small white flies (and a striping basket). Also good to blind cast to sea trout, spanish macks, small jacks and big ladyfish in the channels. So that rod needs a more true to weight line.

This is another reason the trout guys like them up north where they are reaching way out into the streams with a rod that can throw razor tight loops and send a nothing weight dry fly out further than they could normally reach out in a big river before. Also, with the right casting meathod and fly line, the tight loops can help to cut through the winds.

But it's not the rod to throw dbl dropper rigs close in, now mouse flies, nor those big honkin bunny flies that resemble something a pike guy would consider throwing. Why? cause these rod and the extra fast speed of it is designed to throw razor tight loops and anything heavy trailing the end of that fly line will start to collapse the loops and therefore hinder the cast.

Your St Croix on the other hand is a more parabolic progressive taper (considered more of a medium fast rod) that can handle both big streams, lakes and saltwater with bigger and slightly heavier flies than the 3D can handle since by nature, the loops this rod makes are larger and thereby carry more wind resistant and heavier flies that drag your fly line end and leader down during the cast. No, it can't cast as far, but you can feel the rod load up quicker. Also, tho the rod has more flex in it, the butt section is supported with a wider butt, stiffing up the butt section, which helps to handle those heavier fly lines and therefore flies you are throwing. The sacrifice is distance and cutting through the wind with big, wind resistant loops (which is doesn't do both well and will struggle in that dept.).

Where your casting is slower in the LU to allow the rod time to load up on each leg of the cast, the 3D has a faster recovery time and therefore, you can pick up the pace when casting and hauling and therefore, generate more line speed and tighter loops. That's where it get's it's distance ability from. So once the rod is loaded, it will let you know when it's ready and shoot really well. It does all this with only a few false cast, if any. You can actually shoot a bit of line on each legs of the cast to get more line out there in the air to load it up quicker. Also, the "pick up and lay down" cast are impressive, as lond as you are slowing picking the line up off the water to allow the rod to load up. Also the 3D is less forgiving than the LU, so your casting skills need to be more "spot-on" to take full advantage of the rod. If your casting strokes (and the rod tip) is not tracking straight and true on both the horizontal plain and the vertical plain, it will reflect in feeling the rod load, your shooting and accuracy.

When going back and forth between both rods, from the 3D, then to the LU, you have to remind yourself to slow back down for the LU, otherwise, you'll wonder why your casting just fell apart on your LU.

So keep both rods and both are good to have and have their place and specific purpose. So the 3D can be used like I mention above. The LU can be used for sit down yak fishing, for bass fishing, throwing bigger bass bugs, also tight in mangrove fishing where you are doing a combination of sight casting close up with slighty bigger flies, or throwing up in the bushes. Also throwing to stumps on the island tips with the sink tip line or day fishing docks with weighted flies. Then both can be used for trout up north for 2 different purposes.

In the end, both rods are keepers and will be great to have the 3rd rod on-board for that specific purpose, if conditions allow. Go ahead and get another reels/backing/fly line set up for the 3D and go have fun with both and still take your 8wt along, just in-case.... ;)

Steve, yes we need to get together one day soon. :cool:

Ted Haas
 

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Ted, Steve

Ted - I'm not going to disagree with your assessment of the Orvis 3D. You have proven to be generous with your time and a wealth of experience. I always pay attention when you post.

That said - my personal experiences with the rod, and line pairings is a little different. I think the rod may be more versatile than you think. In a lot of ways - I feel I got 2 or 3 rods in one. As mentioned - I first put the original issue rio redifish line on the rod, and did not love it (sounds like Steve may have had the same experience - hence why he posted) until I extended my casting distance - my first thought was "wow - with a traditional weighted bonefish line - this thing will be a cannon for spooky fish." However, fishing in Northeast florida, most of my fishing is 50ft and in. Paired with an overweighted line, the rod still performs well for me, even if its not situations it was designed for. I guess what I'm trying to say, is even though I'm fishing an overweighted line, it doesnt "turn soft" like I have experienced with many other rods when fished with "big fly" tapers. Honestly, despite the thinness and lightness of the rod - it fishes like a 6.5wt - i mean this in a good way.

I also spent a week with the rod this summer, fishing my way through Idaho. I paired it with the Orvis Bank Shot https://www.orvis.com/p/hydros-hd-bank-shot/17fs. Its a fat, heavy line. And I fished all manner of big foam terrestrials, dropper rigs, streamers and drys. It was great in every scenario. It certainly would have been overkill on really spooky rising fish, but I caught plenty of fish on single drys. I'm a saltwater guy, and have never been great at roll casting - but I can say this is a great set up for that. It sounds crazy that the 3D would be a great roll casting rod, but with this line pairing it is. I was very easily roll casting hopper dropper rigs out to 40 feet. I had my 4wt with me, but actually never fished it because I found this rod/line combo so effective for fishing small streams with a lot of back brush.

So while it is a fantastic rod for what it was designed for & distance, properly weighted lines and flies, it still performs double duty for other scenarios, and admirably. I've gone down the path of having multiple purpose drive set ups for my 8 weights. But for me, the beauty of this rod, is that just by changing the line, I have a different set up, without feeling like I compromised. This works well too, because my 8 wts are usually my go to rods, and my 6 wt sees more specific use - low wind winter days, trout trips, funnin around, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks everyone for the replies. Good thing about being retired is I can take my time to fine tune my fly rods, I am in no hurry. Mcraft173, glad the 3D rod worked well for you out west trout fishig, the trout guys rate the rod very well. The rest of the story is my father also gave me a Winston Boron III 5wt rod last year (also from Trout Unlimited) and it has become my favorite trout rod, pushing my beloved Beulah 4wt to the side. The Winston rod is a rocket with dry flies. Well, I am going to Flamingo for 4-5 days the beginnning of February, I think I need to try a few different 6wt lines while I am down there. Thanks again
 

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Steve, I have 6wt Helios 3D with the Rio Bonefish. I love this set up. I think for what you are wanting to achieve, the Bonefish line would do the job.

Mcraft173 nailed it with his assessment of the 6wt Helios 3D. It is my go to rod. I also have the Helios 5wt 3D and the 8wt 3D and I find that I use the 6wt more than the other 2. The 6wt line is a little heavy for quietly dropping drys, but otherwise, it does everything else I need. It might be one of my favorite rods I have ever cast.
 
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