"I'd have no qualms recommending this as a novice outfit, or just as a complete budget outfit."
Great product name…"this is my Encounter Package!" This is a rod, reel and line, a complete outfit: 9ft 6in #6 Encounter rod, Encounter reel, fly line, backing and leader. The Encounter reel is a large arbour composite reel which has featured here before, when I described it as a “bargain workhorse reel” – I agree with myself – no surprises there. The backing looks like Orvis Quick-Sight Fluorescent Orange, quality braided Dacron. The fly line is not labelled but looks like a Clearwater WF7F – smooth, a little dry feeling, casts well.
The parcel arrived. I unwrapped a cardboard box, pulled out a rod tube and reel and, with a few flies etc, I could go fishing. The reel came with the backing, fly-line and leader fitted! I like that a lot, typically I have to fit the parts together, as it happens I have a line-winder and know how to fit a line. Now, imagine you are a novice faced with fitting backing and fly-line. Oh, and it came with little or no plastic packaging, which I like.
In the hand, this feels sound, the balance is slightly tip heavy. Casting the Encounter reminded me of Orvis premium rods a couple of generations back, pre-Helios. Looking at the loops, the lower leg of my loop looks very clean indeed, this has a very well disciplined tip. Casting overhead for distance this rod performed well, a fairly powerful rod, easily throwing a long line straight. At short range, the in-hand weight came into play; try and use a lot of wrist and the Encounter resists. So, casting short, making mends and curves, needs a little more effort than I'd prefer. Same applies to roll and Spey casts. Given the rod length, line weight, power and style of this rod, I'd happily fish this from a bank or boat. It comes with a floating line, can easily handle a sinker.
Build quality is good, neat whippings and varnish work. The full wells grip is a pleasing shape, the cork quality is modest, some filling and figuring. Orvis have used a carbon spacer and aluminium reel seat, I'd tend to avoid getting saltwater on that reel seat.
A sound, solid rod at the centre of a well balanced outfit, not as exciting as the current generation of premium Orvis rods, but nowhere near the price. I'd have no qualms recommending this as a novice outfit, or just as a complete budget outfit. And this comes with Orvis' formidable customer care, which makes recommending tackle so much easier!
9ft 6in #6
Action angle: 70 degrees
Rings: One lined butt ring, snakes
Handle: Full wells
Fighting butt: Small.
Cork quality: Modest.
Reel Seat: Aluminium fittings
Blank: Gloss, metallic warm grey
Build quality: Good
Rod Bag: No
Rod tube: Nylon covered, sectioned
From: Orvis stockists