It is highly improbable to be able to cast all the rods out there in the market. Not impossible though, if you have unlimited funds and a whole lot of time to experiment, not forgetting heaps of space to store them.
Hence, an impartial albeit highly subjective review on a particular rod can be extremely valuable. In this section, I hope to be able to shed some light and provide some information on tackle which I have had the opportunity to try out or own.
My reviews will mostly be based on rods which are in the #5 – #8 weight classes as those are the rods which I believe are the most versatile.
For my tackle reviews, a total of 8 categories will be considered. These categories are:
- Overall weight
- Performance at 30 feet
- Performance at 60 feet
- Performance at 80-90 feet
- Fun to use? (my personal opinion)
Fly fishing can sometimes be obscenely expensive. I think that price is a major factor in deciding whether a rod is good in terms of value for money or extremely horrible in the sense that you would be able to get a similar or better performance at half the price.
We all love a handsome good looking rod with smooth finishes and excellent workmanship. All these, come at a premium. As cost outweighs the superficial, I will not be spending too much time here. I believe most people will agree.
Now, this is a tricky one. I have not actually had an experience with triggering the warranty because I have very fortunately not broken any rods so far. However, having said that, I believe that the warranty policy is important. Getting your rod fixed and returned to you in 2-4 weeks and purchasing a brand new one makes a heck of a difference. I have also heard many stories of rods breaking on bone fishing trips or even when a brute of a Peacock Bass comes to pay a visit – watch GeoBass and you’ll understand.
Imagine making long casts all day, surely this will take a toll on your shoulders and arms. So therefore, a rod’s weight is essential when considering its overall performance. How a rod’s weight may affect the general likability of the rod will ultimately boil down to personal preference and the overall balance of the set up.
Performance at various distances
The basic function of all rods be it conventional spinning, bait casting or fly fishing rods is to put your bait/lure/fly where you want it to be. This is where the rod’s real mettle – performance is tested. Sometimes, distance makes all the difference.
In Singapore’s waters, our prime target would have to be the Peacock Bass or the Giant Snakehead. True, there may be monsters lurking at your feet and other times just a couple of feet out but it is certainly always beneficial to be able to cast that little bit further, especially when fishing for Mahseers in Thailand or Borneo as well as Bonefish on the flats.
At 30 feet, a decent rod needs to be able to cast both accurately and quick. This is when you can actually see the fish and are continuously throwing your fly at it, praying that it takes an interest. At this distance, roll casting or a cast with a quick singular back cast would very often do the trick. Some rods, especially those with softer tips will give you much more feel and the ability to consistently put the fly where you would want it. A decent rod will need to be able to load nicely and turn your fly over at this distance.
At 60 to 65 feet, which is the range considered to be the most important, a good rod must possess the power to rip your line off the surface of the water immediately into a good back cast and catapult it on the forward cast with little or no hauling. The main reason being, you would want a rod that is able to chuck larger streamer or weighted flies into the distance so that you cover more area in the water and also have more time to work your fly however you plan to (in order to entice a monster).
Another reason why I consider this distance range to be important is because of the nature of fishing spots in Singapore. There is little or no back room, less the few spots where you can actually wade into the water and enjoy the real pleasure of fly casting with plenty of open space where you can shoot line. Therefore, a rod that is able to cast 60-65 feet with minimal room for a back cast (or a little one) is a valuable advantage you would come to appreciate. Here, fly lines and how they are designed play a big factor too.
Anything in this range is a privilege. However, having said that, it is the kind of privilege you would want to have. It is like owning an Aston Martin. You don’t actually need it, but it really wouldn’t harm having one. The best rods should be able to achieve this distance easily using a double haul. Of course, much of this also depends on the line which you are using (which is another conundrum to be spoken about sometime in the future).
Fun to use? (my personal opinion)
This category is reserved for my very own special discretion where I hope to give you the confidence to know that you are headed in the right direction. Of course, every angler is different and people have many varied preferences. I once heard of someone who loves nothing more than to cast a fly, but not so big on catching fish. On the other hand, we have people like me, who would do anything to catch a fish.
You don’t have to trust me, I’m no expert
In all, my reviews are HIGHLY subjective with the intention to archive my own experiences. At the same time, hoping to help give you a guide to which rods you may want to try or acquire. I am no expert so please feel free to disagree and leave your comments. I’m learning too.
Stay tuned for some more upcoming reviews.