What is the Orvis Superfine Touch?
The Orvis Superfine Touch is a premium fly rod from Orvis with a soft, full flex action. It's designed for making delicate presentations of dry flies on small rivers and streams, but is also brilliant for similar applications on small stillwaters.
What's it like to cast?
The Superfine Touch is a beautiful rod to cast. It has an extremely low swing weight and feels impossibly light and wand-like. The action is sublime. It's really precise, easy to cast and can even achieve reasonable distance, despite being designed for close quarters casting. I love using it.
Is it capable of handling larger trout?
It's really designed for smaller trout and will bend all the way down to the butt with only a modest sized fish attached. It's been brilliant on the Welsh Dee for small trout and grayling.
Fish of a pound or two pose no problem and are great fun on this rod. I've had fish up to about eight pounds on mine (unintentionally, of course), but although the rod stood up to this well and the light tippet I was using was well cushioned, I felt under-gunned, but still landed the fish in reasonable time to enable a comfortable release.
What line is best for this rod?
Orvis produce some lines specifically for this rod range which are designed to help the rod load at close range so you can cast to nearby fish when wading in rivers.
I use a Barrio DT double taper fly line on my Superfine Touch, which is great. It roll casts beautifully and lets me make longer well presented casts when I need to.
What reel is best for an Orvis Superfine Touch?
Since this is such a lightweight fly rod you really ought to pair it with a similarly featherweight fly reel. The Orvis CFO is designed to be a good match - though at a few hundred quid it's rather a costly addition, and the appearance is somewhat antiquated.
I went for the cheaper but almost as lovely Orvis Battenkill II. The Battenkill II looks great on this rod and balances it nicely. A miniature Battenkill I is a good match for the smaller models in the Superfine Touch range.
Are there any downsides?
Well, it's really designed for relatively short delicate casts in fine conditions. It doesn't really cope as well with longer casts and it's not a great rod to use on a windy day as it lacks the punch to get through a head or cross wind, however, it's not designed to either.
Nor is it brilliant for larger flies or weighted ones. But, as a dry fly rod for close up work in good weather conditions, it's near perfect I think. It really is a lovely rod to fish with and so addictive it's hard to put it down.
Is the Superfine Touch still available?
The Orvis Superfine Touch was discontinued in 2015. It's now been replaced by the new Orvis Superfine Carbon and sits alongside the new Superfine Glass, for those who fancy something even more old school in feel.
The Superfine Touch remains an extremely sought after rod, so they still demand high prices on the second hand market. (I can certainly see why.)
They're cheaper than the Superfine Carbon second hand, but will lack the usual 25 year guarantee. However, if you can live without the warranty a second hand one is a potential bargain.
What are the fittings like?
The blank of the Orvis Superfine touch is very basic. There's no paint on top of the carbon, just a coat of varnish, and it's fitted with the usual snake rings and the trademark Orvis whippings which are flawless.
The handle is made from really good quality cork with hardly any filler and the reel seat is very high quality and extremely light. The only thing I'm not particularly keen on is the fact that it's gold. A silver one would be a bit less blingy, which is probably why they've gone to silver on the new Superfine Carbon model.
How much are they?
The Orvis Superfine Touch is now discontinued, but sold for a similar price to the new Superfine Carbon - so around £375. I paid half that when I picked mine up in an Orvis clearance sale.
While £375 sounds a lot (and is), it's going to last you decades and it's guaranteed for 25 years, even if accidentally snapped - so you've effectively got an insurance policy built in.