Orvis Superfine “Trout Bum” 804-4 Fly Rod Review

So I have now used my Orvis Troutbum 8 foot 4 weight for the best part of a season – I had been looking for a nice four weight for lazy days on the Kelvin as well as something for low water conditions on the Clyde. It must be said that I am no expert caster however I know what I like and definitely know what I don’t like. I like a rod that has feel and personality, a rod that is nice to cast and makes catching trout a pleasure rather than a chore.

First Impressions

I won’t lie to you, I like my bling (as if you did not know) – it’s a curse that I have to bare. I was not disappointed- getting this rod out of its bag and tube was great – it was a thing of beauty…

The rod bag is well made and there was a smell of new rod newness – I am sure that rod bag had just been made the previous week. The tube is sturdy however its bottom is arched so you cannot sit it up unsupported.

I put the rod joints together and was impressed by the quality of the handle – I could tell very good cork has been used to make it. I have heard of poor cork and now that I have felt good cork I know which I like – the handle was like holding silk. It also has a maple wood and cork inlay reel seat which reeks class. The blanks also have little dots to align the sections – I always thought this was a gimmick however I have found them great and now miss them on my other rods.

The rod has an olive finish with gold wraps. It also has Orvis Superfine written on the blank with another “Troutbum” stamp further up the blank which I did not like – the first stamp was enough.

Good quality wraps – they looked like speckled tinsel..

You can probably tell by this point I like how it looks – however the proof is in the fishing rather than how something looks, so read on my friends…

Casting & Action

Ironically when I received this rod I was under the impression it was a full flex rod. Orvis have gone all fancy and now rate rods full, mid or tip flex. Full flex is a slow action rod (that’s a bit whippy to the masses) and tip flex is a faster rod (a stiff rod).  Anyway, I thought this was going to be a full flex as that is what it said on the Orvis site – turned out the site was wrong and it is a mid flex. No matter as long it does not cast like a wooden stick. I like my rods slow. The error on the site is now fixed.

I don’t like all this nonsense about using the fastest rod possible – thankfully, Orvis still realise people want to fish and feel the whole act of casting rather than just thinking about power and distance. Not that this is not a powerful rod it is – just on a smaller scale.

This did not feel like a “light” rod – there is an element of old fashioned weight behind it – I don’t mean bad weight I mean solidness – it felt like holding a rod – you know what I mean?

Initially I used this rod with a five weight line even though it is rated for a four. I would like to go all fancy here and say I was just overlining the rod to fish close quarters (I was) however the truth is I only had a five weight line handy at the time. I also liked my Lamson on the rod. It was lovely to cast. I suppose here is where my ineptitude at writing rod reviews come in – I can’t talk about tight loops etc as I just cast and hope the fly gets to where I want it. I did and …well… it did. The rod is lovely to cast, with my five weight line I could feel when it was ready for the forward push and it put out a fair bit of line.

Maybe a month later I found a four weight line and tried that – it was like getting a new rod. The rod again was lovely to cast – sure I had to use a little more effort with timing as it is easier to cast with an overlined rod however that was not a problem.

This rod is lovely with dry flies which is what I prefer to fish – accuracy was high and I never felt under gunned. I used the rod on the Tummel

The Tumel is a place where I would usually use a true 5 weight and I managed to fish the rod all day with no problems.

It felt equally at home fishing this wee stream that I found..

Initially I loathed using a dry and dropper with it – just did not feel right however as I got more used to the rod and the extra weight of the nymph it proved less difficult – dare I say I started to enjoy using the dry and dropper due to the bonus fish…..possibly!

Playing Fish

This rod quickly became my main tool of the season for trout. Like I say, It was as happy fishing a tiny stream as it was something bigger like the Kelvin. I also used it on the Clyde and it handled all the trout with ease. Damn, the rod is just fun to fish with!

I finally settled on my old vossler reel to go with the rod – the whole outfit reeks class (unlike the photo above) – which is handy really as when I am staggering down the bank I usually need something that is going to drag up points for style. I was able to bully trout and get them to hand with the minimum of fuss – this rod bends with a fish which makes using light tippets very easy as it acts like a very good shock absorber.

As usual you get the high standard of Orvis customer service so you know that  if you ever stand on it you will be up and running again in no time at all.

You can buy the from Orvis and fromSportfish UK – probably your local store will order one in for you.


  1. Campbell S · September 22, 2008

    Following advice from a friend who knows a thing or two about rods, i also went down the orvis route this summer. I got the T3 Mid-flex 9ft for a 4wt and must admit its a pretty dreamy rod. I picked it up as a dedicated dryfly rod. I have never owned an orvis rod prior to this and was very happy with it. Fit and finish is fantastic and extremely fishable. Excellent presentation and accuracy. I have used it with success for some pretty big fish. Thankfully I have never had to use the customer service for it, but have used their customer service for waders and like you said its hard to beat. Hopefully if the weather holds I will get to take it out for one last trout session before the end of the season this weekend.

  2. Gareth · September 22, 2008

    Damn sweet rod that Al’. I was looking at the 6′ 2wt superfine a while back for my small stream fishing, they look so good! However, I ended up snapping my 5wt, so replaced that instead with an Orvis T3. One day though, one day…

    I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to Orvis gear, it just looks so nice! It’s normally a fight between credit card and conscience 🙂

  3. ANDY C · September 22, 2008

    nice fish a rod a rod

  4. Pingback: What fly rod for the Kelvin? | The Urban Fly Fisher

Comments are closed.