In the world of fly fishing it seems that high module graphite has been leading the way and went through major changes since the introduction of the Fenwick HMG. It seems most rods have went to the norm of needing to be fast action to be used or recognized. I too have been wrapped up in thinking I NEED a fast action rod to be a successful angler. Not saying that fast action rods are bad, they’re not, they definitely have their place. Most of the rivers I fish in Utah and Wyoming are mid-sized rivers. With this in mind most fast action rods require at least a half size larger line weight to get them bending, and most of them are unable to feel load until the full head of line is out (which is around 30-40 feet). This distance being the length of a lot of the rivers that are fished in Utah. Being able to load a rod quicker and instant feel can be a REALLY big advantage. Enter Fiberglass.
All my thoughts of fiberglass have been of big bulky rods that you find at garage sells or your grandparents basement. My thoughts all changed the day I picked up the Redington Butterstick (4wt 7’6”). First cast I was hooked. Being able to feel every cast, the smooth pickup and delivery of the fly. The sensation of the hookset and the ability to feel every last head shake, twist and turn. Watching the whole rod bend when entering fight mode with a fish is a site to be seen, and the ability to play fish with lighter tippets gives better mind set when fighting a fish as well. There are so many benefits to glass that you just don’t get with graphite.
But there are also some draw backs of the awesomeness of glass where graphite defiantly wears the crown. First off is wind. Wind is the worst nightmare of glass. They are still able to cast, but you will be working extra hard to lay the fly out. The second is distance. Throwing bomb casts with glass is not the name of the game. They really shine up close, So if your needing to shoot 60+ feet of line on the norm I would keep your favorite graphite strung up to carry as a backup. The third possible issue is length. Most glass rods (depending on the weight you’re slinging) are 7’6”-8’6”. On large rivers where long mends are needed this could become a problem, but with the soft tips they make quick work of stack mending.
Now if you’re thinking “hey this glass stuff sounds awesome, now how do I decide on a rod?” Let me shine some light on the rods I have that made me love “the bend” of glass. First and foremost, the rod you’ve probably seen and heard the most about is the Redington Butterstick. It lives up to every bit of its name. The color is beautiful and the craftsmanship is fantastic. The action is defiantly buttah smooooth. They are available in 2wt-5wt, ranging from 6’-8’ (depending on weight). The one thing I do not like about this rod is the fact they want $249.99 for a rod made in China. Not Korea, not Mexico or Taiwan, but China. That just hurts a little bit. Other than that it’s a great choice to jump in to the fiberglass game
The closest competitor to the Butterstick is the Echo Glass. Entering the ring at $200 dollars it will save you $50 bucks off the Butterstick. I have yet to see one or cast one. From reading reviews on other blogs and reputable websites it’s a solid rod but most say it’s the stiffest of the rods ive listed which can be good or bad depending on who you are. They are available in 2wt-5wt 6’3”-7’10”rated as medium fast action. Esthetic’s wise, they have more of the coloring of late bamboo rods. Tim Rajeff knows a thing or two about building rods so I would assume this would be a solid choice. There is also a line of Echo Glass Switch and Spey rods.
Now if you’re like most Americans you have to work because you need money for your living expenses. 90% of the time those living expenses drain your account almost completely leaving very little to be spent on what you REALLY want. That being said, check out the Cabela’s CGR rods. Coming in at $129.99 (and as low as $60 bucks if there is a sell going on) it is a great way for the ramen noodle budget angler to get into some glass. Available in 2wt-7/8wt and lengths from 6’2”-7’6”. Mike Clemmer the main man of Fishiki, Rocks the 6’2” 2wt. He loves the thing on small creeks. Cameron Mortenson of The Fiberglass Manifesto (thefiberglassmanifesto.blogspot.com) Gives a great break down on the rod and gives it great remarks for the price point. So if you want glass on the cheap check out the CGR, I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed
Here’s the rod company I think is grabbing the glass world “by the Beard” and will be a house hold name in no time. Introducing Blue Halo Gear! Ever wanted a rod that is as unique as you? Wish you had rod choices that look like they come from a bag of skittles? Or wish your rod would glow in the rays of the sun? Then these guys are for you! I had the opportunity to spend a little time with Utah local Cortney Boice (President/Co- owner) to cast his rods and here the story and theory of Blue Halo rods. These rods come in Three sizes a 3wt 7’6” $279.95 a 5wt 8’ $299.95 and the streamer chuckin 8’6” 7wt. All rods come in 7 colors (Check out bluehalogear.com for list of available colors). All rods come with an awesome rod sock and unique rod tube. All rods have an option to purchase a warranty for an additional $100 dollars. The warranty will cover 2 mishaps. The rod I have the most knowledge on is the 5wt. I had a heck of a time deciding on the 3wt or the 5wt. I came to the decisions of picking up a 5wt because I spend a lot of my fishing time in Wyoming where the wind never seems to give it up. The 5 has much more backbone then the 3wt and the action isn’t quite as slow. The sensitivity is unreal. The tip of this rod is really what sets it apart from other glass rods. Its soft but yet still powerful. Making a mouse skate on the top of the water, a mimicking a swimming fish is killer with the flex of the tip and feedback given. I could easily double haul this rod. The ability to really FEEL the rod load makes a huge difference in judging timing and hitting the intended target. I really cant say enough good things about Blue Halo Beyond awesome product and over the top customer service. Pick one of these babies up and you’ll see yourself fishing it over your graphite and becoming a glass geek in no time.
Thanks for taking the time to read the write up. Keep checking Fishiki for more awesomness.