The History Of Orvis Fishing Tackle

The History Of Orvis Fishing Tackle

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History Of Orvis

Orvis is a family-owned retail and mail-order business specializing in high-end fishing, hunting and sporting goods. Founded in Manchester, Vermont in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis to sell fishing tackle, the company has changed hands only twice and has had only five CEOs in its 150-year history.

Orvis Fly Fishing Tackle

Charles F. Orvis opened a tackle shop in Manchester, Vermont, in 1856. His 1874 fly reel was described by reel historian Jim Brown as the “benchmark of American reel design,” the first fully modern fly reel.  His elegantly printed tackle catalogue distributed to a small but devoted customer list in the late 19th century, were the early forerunners of today’s enormous direct-mail outdoor products industry.  Charles’s daughter, Mary Orvis Marbury, took charge of the Orvis fly department in the 1870s. By 1892, when she published a milestone encyclopedic reference book on fly patterns–Favorite Flies and Their Histories, Orvis had emerged as the country’s foremost arbiter of fly-pattern authenticity and style.

Following Charles’s death in 1915, sons Albert and Robert managed the company until the 1930s, when it essentially collapsed during the Depression. .Under Perkins and Jordan’s successor as chief rod builder, Howard Steere, Orvis became the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of high-quality fly rods and reels.  In 1989, Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, named the Orvis fly rod one of the five best products made in the United States in the 1980s.

Through its fishing and shooting schools and growing network of retailers, Orvis became a leading force in marketing the traditions and activities associated with the broader country lifestyle of which fly fishing was just one part. Historian Kenneth Cameron has written that Perkins’ accomplishment was to “define the look of contemporary fly fishing and the entire social universe in which it fits, no small achievement.”

Charles Orvis and Mary Orvis Marbury have been inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. Among their successors at Orvis, Dudley Corkran, Wes Jordan, Leigh Perkins, and Howard Steere could all be regarded as legitimate candidates for eventual induction.

Today, Orvis has published a multitude of instructional books and Podcasts, most often published or written by fly fishing mentor Tom Rosenbauer who has been with the company for 30 years.

ORVIS FLY RODS View All Orvis Fly Rods »

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rods – Each size is tailored to have the best action suitable for that line weight.  Built with a significant upgarde in reel seat and cosmetics, these rods will revolutionize performance for price.

Orvis Access Fly Rods – lighter than any other rods in their price range, they utilize the Exclusive Load Ratio developed for Helios and Hydros rods to produce a taper that feels powerful yet lively when casting or when playing a fish.  Orvis Access Switch Fly Rods are ultra-lightweight and responsive. The superior power and extended switch grip make these fly rods a heavy hitter.

Orvis Frequent Flyer Rods – 7-piece fishing rods that fits in a backpack, briefcase, and carry-on luggage.  For fresh and saltwater, all in the most affordable, high-quality, high-performance travel rods on the market.

Other Orvis fly rods included Orvis Shooting Star DH Fly Rods, Orvis Superfine Trout Bum Fly Rods, & Orvis Streamline Fly Fishing Outfits.

ORVIS FLY REELS View All Orvis Fly Reels »

Orvis Fly Reels have been on the market for a long time and are made to a high standard to enhance your casting ability.

Orvis Mirage Trout Fly Reels are designed for superb performance and stopping power.  Orvis Hydros Large Arbor Reels – True large arbor, big game reel on the market that carries this disc drag performance at a great price.

Other fishing reels include the Orvis Battenkill Bar Stock and the Orvis CFO Reels

ORVIS FLY LINES View All Orvis Fly Lines »

The Orvis Switch Fly Line is made specifically for Orvis Switch rods. Coloured back taper lets you know the”sweet spot” for a setup.

ORVIS BACKING View All Orvis Backing »

Whether you’re after Bluefin tuna or brook trout, Orvis Dacron backing or low diameter Orvis Gel Spun will help you succeed. Choose the lengths and colours to make sure you’re always in the game.


Orvis Super Strong Leaders are preferred for standard dry fly fishing, for smaller nymph fishing in broken water, and for fly fishing with small streamer patterns.

ORVIS TOOLS & ACCESSORIES View Tools & Accessories »

Orvis Tools & GadgetsOrvis have assembled a collection of must-have tools and gadgets, all designed to make your day on the water more productive – and more fun. These include the Orvis Durable Stripping Basket, Orvis Wooden Priest to a Orvis Mountain Guide Lanyard

Orvis Nipper & Zingers – Keep your essentials close by with quality zingers and never worry about losing another tool when on the water.  These include the Orvis Wire Cord Zinger to the Orvis Ergonomic Snips.

ORVIS TACKLE BAGS & LUGGAGE View All Orvis Tackle Bags & Luggage »

Orvis Safe Passage luggage was created with the angler in mind. Orvis offer a variety of styles specifically designed to get your clothing and tackle to your destination safely and securely. Whether it’s a day trip or a week on the river, Safe Passage ensures easy travels.   Keep track of all your tackle on the way to your next fishing destination with the Orvis Safe Passage Reel Case.

ORVIS BOOKS View Orvis Books »

With Orvis Fly Tying Guides you can learn more about the art of fly fishing with these great resources from Orvis experts and others.  Orvis Guide To Beginning Fly Fishing – With 101 fly fishing tips for the absolute beginner, this invaluable guide from fly-fishing veteran and Orvis expert Tom Rosenbauer covers everything you need to know to get started in fly fishing, from casting methods and knot tying to safety advice. A comprehensive education in a compact package, this guide answers common questions and clearly explains proven techniques, with helpful illustrations and photographs throughout.

Discover our entire Orvis Fly Fishing Tackle range »


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