|Steeped in olde timey, bitches.|
Amongst things devoted to wet flies has been an interest in obtaining a rod to fish them correctly. At this time, I have little interest in the North Country, tight line method espoused by such notables as Oliver Edwards and Davy Wotton (a personal note to Mr. Wotton: Please consider a manicure before your next video. For the love of God, your nails are revolting, and since you're tying flies I'm forced to look at the disguisting things. Yes, this matters), but am much more focused on the more traditional cross stream methods most commonly associated (and derided) with wet fly fishing.
I tried a couple of rods to start, first a 10' TFO Jim Teeny 5wt (with a 6wt line), which turned up the myriad of shortcomings, both expected and not: Tight loops and high line speed are not ideal for wet fly fishing. You want to keep loops open to ensure your droppers don't tangle each other (which can be done somewhat by simply changing stroke), but the line speed issue is more or less integral to things due to the intrinsic power you put into a stiff rod. The thing I didn't know ahead of time is that fast line speed turns fuck ups into catastrophes, meaning if you tangle your line against itself in a bad cast, you're gonna end up cutting and retying alot. When your cast hits a branch, it tends to wrap itself tight, and you'll loose a lot more flies, whereas a slow rod allows your tangles to be unwound without constant recutting, and you can retrieve flies without having to clomp across the stream.
So, the Teeny was out, and a $20 eBay (including shipping!) Silafex 022985 was in. We're closer, as its slower, fuller action seemed to prevent alot of the issues, but its basically a 6/7wt (emphasis on 7wt) rod, which is a bit too much for the small fish I frequent. I may have resolved the issues of a fast rod, but it was definitely overkill for the smaller waters I frequented.
Come the Somerset Fly Show, I met with Cameron from TFM, and mentioned what I'd been fishing. He suggested a rod I should try out, and said he'd send a loaner up my way.
Three weeks later, I came home to a surprise at my door.
|A path to wet fly taper perfection.|
You know what I mean. You do it to. We all do it. Its an entirely unscientific and stupid metric that means jack shit, but fuck if you want sit there and wave rods above your head in the store, anyways.
Fortunately, despite the fact that its February, and the heart of winter in Pennsylvania, I had a weekend of upper forty degree weather ahead of it, so I was able to get out and enjoy it in decent weather (not that I won't fish the ever loving hell out of it til he makes me send it back).
SFRC offers two lines of fiberglass fly rods, the Classic and the Fiberglass. The latter are evidently rolled in house by Margot Redington, and the former are made by Lamiglas to SFRC's specifications. The C9052 is a 9', two piece blank that comes in that trade mark
peanut butter honey colour Lami blanks are known for.
|Only the stripper and ferrules featured the brown tipping.|
The cork is exceptionally smooth, with a nice black metal winding check at the top. Its a standard Western grip to hide the uplocking reel seat hood. While the rod is already on the heavier side (its a 9' fiberglass rod, so that's not unexpected), I really wish it had a reverse or a full wells. Maybe that's personal bias, but I think that helps with holding and using a heavy rod.
The seat is plain black, but very nicely machined. A single ring will cinch the reel in place against a nicely matte finished wood thingy. I'm not a fucking carpenter, so don't expect me to know what the wood is, but its nice and sort of light brown, and certainly not obnoxious to look at. The nicest little touch is the SFRC name etched into the lower band. Evidently the insert is not SFRC standard fare, but the seat is.
The whole thing comes in at a non-ridiculous $300 sticker, and its completely made in America, which is nice. Blanks are also available at $147, so you can be a cheap skate and change what you want on the rod.
So, of course, the questions that really matter are how does it fish? In a word, sublimely.
|Its the little touches that make it cool.|
So, it casts like a champ. Its also easy to mend due to its length, as well, letting you flop line around like a fat kid with cupcakes, making it really fun to fish with. It handled a three wet fly cast admirably, without a single accident incident of the line crashing into itself and ending up a jumbled mess. I also was able to shorten the leader, and flip a bucktail streamer out to either strip it back, or swing it down and across with ease. I'm not sure how it would handle a heavy monster streamer, but I don't really expect that to be the domain of a real 5wt rod, anyways, it would certainly be workable with one that's got some lead wraps under the body, though. It was also happy indicator nymphing, again, with reasonably weighted flies but it did get a little floppy when you started to crimp shot on the line. Then again, maybe that's shitty leader design. Its not exactly my forte.
¥ou know where els it didn't work so well? Wind. Again, there's a time and a place for tight loops and fast line speed. It would not be my first choice on a windy day. Matter of fact, casting into a moderate breeze is a shit show. Period. There's no flowery way to say it, it just flat out sucks ass.
Its also a bit heavy in the hand. Its to be expected, and on day one I definitely felt a little strain after using it. By the end of day two, either my muscles had needed to get used to fishing again (its been a shitty, cold winter), or I had found the right stroke, as it was alot less strenuous on my wrist and hand. That said, I prefer a rod with some weight in the end of it, as I think that's what makes fly fishing fun, and it gives you the necessary life and soul to the rod that is, really, my whole point to being out there. I don't necessarily care about catching fish, as long as I'm having a fun time in the process of attempting to.
|Fly fishing hipsterism in action: The wet fly wallet.|
I'm probably supposed to send it back someday, which is a shame. I'm half thinking about telling Cameron that I've been held up by pirates or some shit, although since I've now stuck that plan out there for the world, I don't imagine he'd believe it anymore. That said, its exactly what I've wanted since I've decided I've wanted one (how's that for roundabout logic), a perfect, and true, 5wt rod suited for the down and across fishing I've come to really enjoy in the last six months, and for a very reasonable price considering its American made.
(ps, since I suspect you'll read this at some point: completely sober, beginning to end, you can tell due to lack of unfocused anger)