Orvis Encounter Combo Review

Orvis Encounter Combo Review

The Orvis Encounter streamlines the process between purchasing a rod and reel combination to catching trout along a riverbed. 

For beginners looking to get into the niche pastime of fly fishing, choosing the right rod for you can be intimidating. Everything from the action of the rod, the fly line weight, and the rod length can be confusing to those just dipping their toes into fishing.

Lucky for you, we have experience with this guy, and put together a no-fuss review of the beginner-friendly Orvis Encounter Fly Rod and Reel complete outfits.

Keep reading to learn more about this great all-in-one fly outfit!

The Orvis Encounter is an excellent rod and reel combo for beginners, or a solid backup setup for veteran anglers.

People like the Orvis Encounter because:

  • This rod and reel is a forgiving combo for beginners learning the ropes of fly fishing.
  • Affordable, yet high-grade materials and design for effortless casting
  • Medium action allows for long casting in large rivers and streams, while the heftier lines enable you to cast through rainy and windy conditions.
  • 5 different combinations

Quick Facts

  • Price: $169 for the complete combo (rod, reel, line, leader and case)
  • Pros: Great for beginners, long and accurate casts on lakes and rivers, well balanced.
  • Cons: Not as durable as more expensive lines of Orvis fishing products, doesn’t come with the standard 25-year warranty, doesn’t come with a fly kit.
  • Manufacturer: Orvis 

Overall Verdict

This reel and rod combination is an excellent rod for beginner’s looking to get into fly fishing, or as a backup for veteran anglers with other gear options. All you’ll need to purchase is a box of flies, some tippet, and you’re ready to go. The perfect weight and action of the rod allow for long casts as well as excellent line control. 

In their product description, Orvis writes that they don’t like to think of this rod as a beginner’s fly rod and reel. Instead, they label it as “affordable awesomeness,” and this fly rod outfit lives up to the reputation. The construction of the rod itself allows you to fish in a wide variety of conditions. Yet, despite the affordable price, Orvis designed their Encounter fly rod-reel outfit to stand the test of time.

Furthermore, the Orvis Encounter’s well-constructed design allowed one user to take it out over a hundred times without any significant issues. Orvis constructed the rod with a graphite composite that allows for a lot of flex, providing accurate aim and a good feel of the rod when you cast and reel in a fish.

But at the same time, the fly rod doesn’t sacrifice durability for performance. With a variety of lines weights ranging from 5 to 8-weight lines and rod lengths from 8 to 9-feet, the Encounter fly fishing series allows for complete customization.

Accounts In the Wild

If you still need convincing, don’t take our word for it! On the Orvis website, the Encounter 5-weight 9′ fly rod outfit holds an average rating of 4.7 stars out of more than 200 reviews.

Check out these 5 star reviews on the Orvis Encounter:

Fishing with the Orvis in New Hampshire
I was recently in New Hampshire with my wife and another couple. We happened across North Country Angler in North Conway and met Steve ([the] owner). He ‘hooked’ my friend and me up with the Encounter Outfit, some flies, and accessories. Fishing on the Saco River, I caught fish on my third and seventh casts. A whole lot of fun for not a whole lot of money! Thank you! -Steve
This thing is the effen bomb!
You would have to be a very accomplished fly fisher, or have some insanely technical applications to exceed this rod’s capabilities. And that is not even discounting for the killer price. It has plenty of speed for casts, enough butter for light presentations, and enough backbone to land a 24″ brown in a spring creek fishing hoppers on its first outing.
Soque River with the Orvis Rod and Reel Combo
Strength, feel and smooth drag at a reasonable price. I have caught large bass, rainbows in the 30 inch length and a few stripers in the 17 lb range. This drag can fight the fish with the rod action keeping the heat on as if it had cost much more. Very pleased -Jorge (pictured here with a 30″ rainbow on the Soque River)

Performance Notes: How does the Orvis Encounter stack up where it matters?


When you’re looking for fly rods, one of the things you’ll have to consider is the action of the rod. The Orvis Encounter has a medium action, which makes it the perfect balance for all elements. 

With a medium action rod, you’ll cast farther than slow action rods, and you’ll have more control of the cast and presentation of your fly. For beginners just learning the intricacies of fly fishing, a medium action rod is the best teacher. 


Many fiberglass fly rods, as well as lesser quality graphite rods, break within the first twenty fishing trips. Despite the affordable price, the Orvis Encounter’s graphite rod gives you enough flex for far, accurate casts. 

Orvis manufactured the line with a plastic composite that gives you enough power to fight large trout and salmon. Meanwhile, the large arbor reel on an anodized seat. 

Bottom line: the Orvis Encounter will far outlast its market value. The graphite materials and composite line, and leader ensure your fly rod outfit lasts through many fishing seasons. It’s a great rod to learn the mechanics of fishing, such as casting the fly and presenting it on the water.


There are five different models when it comes the Orvis encounter, meaning you can customize your rod length and line weight if you’re planning to fish in a specific environment. 

Depending on the length of your rod and the weight of the line and fly, the Orvis Encounter is a high-performing fly rod that helps beginners develop a passion for the sport. The medium action and fly line weights allow for fly fishing in a variety of conditions. And those conditions can be on the coast or along a local river.


For the price range, the Orvis Encounter product line vastly out-performs the competitors. This fact is especially the case for beginners, since the medium action, reliable leader, and adequately weighted fly line makes learning the sport more accessible and fulfilling.

Orvis Fly Rod and Reel Combo Rig

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by the “action” of a fly rod?

When it comes to fly fishing rods, there are three different rod actions: fast actions, medium action, and slow action. The “action” of a rod describes how flexible it is when you’re casting and fighting a hooked fish. Depending on your skill level and where you’re fly fishing, the action of a rod is vital. 

Fast Action 

A fast action rod is excellent for experienced fishermen or beginner’s looking to fish in windy and rainy conditions. By remaining almost completely rigid during the backcast, with only the tip flexed, a fast action rod allows for long casts. The quick action also means you can fight through the wind during storms and blustery days without too much physical strain.

Medium Action

Experienced and novice anglers alike take advantage of medium action rods. While it doesn’t have the extreme flex of a slow action rod, medium action fly rods have enough flex to make them ideal for most conditions. 

Whether your fly fishing off the coast or in a small stream, medium action rods provide enough casting power while also giving novices better tools to aim their casts. 

Slow Action

Slow action rods are great for small bodies of water, like ponds and streams, because the slow casts allow beginners to perfect their presentation on the water’s surface. However, if you’re looking to catch larger fish at farther distances, a fast or medium action rod will serve you best. 

Recently purchased this rod and reel
I recently purchased this rod and reel from Orvis and it has performed perfectly. Light, durable, and I caught my first 16″ brown trout with it!

What is the best rod lengths & line weights for me?

Manufacturers of fly fishing products measure the weight of the lines in units called grains. The average grains you’ll find universally range from 1 to 14, with 14 being the weightier end of the spectrum. This weight is significant because it’s the weight of the fly that launches your cast, not that of the line itself. Choosing the wrong fly and line weights will impact your accuracy immensely. 

Before purchasing a rod-reel outfit or a pack of flies, make sure the weight of the flies works well with the heaviness of the line you plan to use. With the right combination of weight, you’ll learn to control the spot and presentation of your fly when you cast. 

Here’s a quick and easy guide to figuring out which fly line weights work best for the types of fish you’ll catch. 

  • Small Fish (trout and panfish): 1-3 Fly Line Weight
  • Small to Medium-sized Fish: 4 Fly Line Weight
  • Average-sized Fish: 5 Fly Line Weight
  • Trout, Bass, Small Salmon: 6 Fly Line Weight
  • Large Bass, Trout, Salmon: 7 Fly Line Weight
  • Saltwater Fish: Fly Line 8 and up

What else should I consider about Orvis Encounter fly rod?

Fly Rod & Length

For the length of your rod, anything 8 feet and less will work best for small stream and pond fishing. At eight and a half feet, you find the rod works best in a variety of conditions. At 9 feet and above, the fly rod will help you make long casts with a heavier fly line and fly. 


The best fly rods for traveling break down into four pieces, meaning you can pack them in the backseat of your car or truck. In terms of quality materials, stay away from fiberglass because graphic fly rods work best to withstand the elements of most environments. 

Speckled Trout caught on the Orvis Encounter
This setup offers everything one could want for fishing the rivers and streams of the southeastern United States.

Competitors and Other Fly Rod Favorites

If you’re not sold on the Orvis Encounter, here are 2 product alternatives that are both affordable and high value. 

Wild Water Fly Fishing Complete Fly Fishing Rod & Reel Starter Pack (9′, 4pc., 5/6 Wt.)

The Wild Water fly rod and reel combination is a four-piece, slow-action rod with a 5-6 line weight. The handle is a western-style cork handle that won’t give you blisters after a day of casting. It comes with a box of flies as well as a convenient travel case.

Piscifun Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Similar to the Wild Water fly rod and reel, Piscifun’s fly starter pack comes loaded with a slow action makes learning to fly fish in smaller bodies easier, with a more precise cast and realistic presentation. This kit includes a convenient rod case, a zinger retractor, a fly box, 3/4 dozen of 3 different fly patterns, and a stainless-steel line cutter.

Orvis Encounter: The Bottom Line

While this combo doesn’t come with the 25-year warranty found on many Orvis rods, this outfit is an excellent fly rod combo for beginner’s just learning the niche hobby of fly fishing. With five complete outfits starting at $169, novices won’t go broke trying to learn this great sport. 

For veteran fishermen, the primary purpose of this rod would be as a backup rod outfit. Most veteran anglers want a higher-end, more expensive rod as their “go-to.” 

The Orvis Encounter is a medium action rod, which is more comfortable for beginners just learning the sport. It’s also not ideal for shorter casts, since the barely flexible rod doesn’t allow for precise aim.