fly rod reviews [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: fly rod reviews

02-11-2002, 01:30 PM
I'm trying to decide on a fly rod to buy after taking a class at school and learning the basics for a semester. There are currently five rods I'm considering and everyday I change my mind on which one to get, so I thought I'd ask some people with more experience. One worry I have is that the class used all Orvis products (Silver label, Rocky mountain, and even a couple T3's towards the end of the semester), and they are beyond my budget, so I'm worried that in comparison, these more economical rods will be a disappointment.
I plan on buying a 6 weight to use on everything from lakes to streams and rivers for trout, bass, and panfish mostly. I'd prefer to spend about 150 bucks but if I have to spend a little more for much better quality, I will. So anyway here are the five rods with their approximate prices:

LL Bean Streamlight ($150)
LL Bean Double L Classic ($235)
Orvis Streamlight ($135)
St. Croix Imperial ($150)
St Croix Avid ($190)

Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with any of these products that could give me some input? Also, any suggestions for accompanying reels as far as brands and click-and-pawl vs drag? Thanks for the help!

Tod D
02-11-2002, 02:01 PM
Sure you've heard it before & you'll hear it here: try before you buy & find one that feels 'right' to you. There, that's out of the way...

I cannot comment on all the rods, but for the money I love Bean's rods. I have 4 Bean rods: 9'7# Double L, 9'9# Guide (Orion predecessor); and 2 SPTs - 9'4#, 9'6# (which they no longer stock). Not sure who makes their blanks/rods now (think it used to be Loomis), but in my humble opinion they wrote the book on customer service & lifetime guarantees.

Heard lots of good things about St. Croix too, but I sure love that Freeport store...

Dble Haul
02-11-2002, 02:46 PM
Brian- I can echo Tod's comments about Bean rods. While I don't own any of the models that you've listed, I do have a 9' 9 wt Quest that I've had since 1997 and it still performs like new. All of their rods are quality.

Makes me miss my days in Maine when I was only 15 minutes from their store in Freeport. But my wallet doesn't miss it. :p

02-11-2002, 03:08 PM
I have a St Croix and liked it until I started fishing rods with a faster action. Also after 10 years the finish has begun to decompose quite a bit. Last year I bought a used Sage 9' 5-weight in excellent condition for $200, you might consider that route. I would save my money, go with the click reel and spend as much as possible on the rod.


02-11-2002, 04:08 PM
I think the try before you buy advice is probably the smartest. This type of question comes up fairly often and I'm putting something together on the rodrack where people can enter an item like a rod, maybe reels and lines if there is an interest. Anyone who chooses to can make a comment on the item and rate it on a scale of 1-10. Items and comments can then be listed to give a gear centric. I had originally thought it would be cool to publish custom flyrod recipes and it has spun off into a factory built rod listing with comments. It's in development now (for the non technical that means it's broken) but I hope to have something working in a couple of weeks.

02-11-2002, 10:19 PM
Add the Temple Fork Outfitters Ti rod to your list.They are a fantastic rod for the price,with a lifetime warranty.I recently tried one and was extremely impressed.I would choose it over any of the rods you mentioned.But that is just me.

02-12-2002, 07:23 AM
My 02... FWIW

After many upgrade purchases totalling ten times more than an original high end purchase, my philosophy has become to target the rods you want to end up with and try to find a deal. As Brad says, even if you buy used you are still covered by the company and a company like Sage offers outstanding customer service.

I once had a rack of bargain rods that stayed home once the right rod came along :rolleyes: I've since sold or given these away except for 2 Sage DS 9wt rods I provide to my SWFF clients as needed.

The rods you listed are great choices. One thing that pops out right away is that you have a wide range of actions in that list.

The streamlights are very supple rods with a calm and deliberate stroke. The Double L and St.Croix rods are not the laid back little sweeties that the S/L are in terms of action - they are pretty tight rods last time I threw them. But for and all-around choice they might be better especially if you are considering haribugs for bass.

Bean's Double L has been a Sage RPL and it's been Loomis in the past, no matter what it is nowadays it's probably a good all-around taper that's not too supple and not too stiff.

In the end, you have to try them and get some good advice - like you are doing now! :)


Trout will not burn your drag out anytime soon unless you fish Alaska, Patagonia, European sea trout or some of the big western streams like where FrenchCreek lives :whoa: A click is fine for trout. The Ross Colorado is an awesome deal at $100 for a machined reel with classic style and a palmable spool. In fact their line of reels offers everything from spring creek to bluewater game flyreels - Ross' webpage (

Big smallmouth and largemouth bass and pike warrant a good drag system. IMHO one of the best deals out there is the Lamson Velocity with the sealed no maintenance delrin conical spline drag and lifetime warranty for ~$200.

There are many choices I;m sure others will chime in

02-12-2002, 10:28 AM
ok I'll chime in - I've had a St.C Imperial 4pc #5/6 for about 9 years. I like it very much & it was in my price range, never had the need to "upgrade" (read: buy another 5/6 wgt.)

I'm biased to St.C for that reason but I'm looking for a 9# rod that is better suited to me - my choices are St.C Avid 3pc., Bean's $200, 4pc. (streamlight?) and I'm looking into others at the up-coming show.

Reels: keep it simple, at 6# the only real use it will have is line storage...

advise: cast a bunch and feel for yourself. pay attention to what you like AND dislike about each one.

good luck & good fishing.
let us know what you get.

John Desjardins
02-12-2002, 11:00 AM
In the price range your talking about I'd add a few of Reddington's, and Diamondback All American series.

02-12-2002, 12:07 PM
Well I think I'm starting to lean towards the St. Croix Avid because of some opinions I've gotten lately. Just about all the replies I've gotten here have mentioned that I should try out the rods first. This may seem like a stupid question but how do I do that? The only store around here that I know of is an Orvis one, so how do I get my hands on a St. Croix? Can you order them, try them out, and just return them if you don't like it? Any suggestions?

By the way, thanks for the advice everyone.

02-13-2002, 09:17 AM
Well if you wanna check out the rods, check out the dealers. Go to the web site(s) of your chosen few and find the dealers in your state. lists several in the areas you listed. Probably the other manufacturers do, also. Nothing too hard about this...

02-13-2002, 09:43 AM
Always cast them first but...

Temple Forks rods. You get a 4pc. for $150 with a lifetime warranty. IMHO they give the Big name company high end rods a run for the money. Completely blow away their low end offerings.

Similar scenario what Redington did to the reel market last year.
Add a Redington reel and your good to go with out breaking the bank. My. 02

02-15-2002, 12:18 AM
Gotta agree with the Temple Forks guys. I tried all the rods at the show and ended up buying 2 Temple Forks rods. They`re every bit as good as the top end major meaufactures and at only $150.

02-23-2002, 12:58 PM
i agree with juro.after trying to go cheaper and then the upgrades,and you know they will come,i have spent far more than if i had just bought a quality rod to start with.

02-23-2002, 10:35 PM
I was totally amazed at the Temple Fork 9wt 4pc for the money. It's not super strong in the first section from the handle to the first ferrule but the heart of the blank is su-weet and it has a good recoil if you load the blank fully and avoid starting the next stroke too early. It threw a whole 9wt WF intermediate line pretty easily at the Stony Brook JFFT fly tying get together last weekend and although I'd have to fish it for a weekend to know for sure what kind of fishing tool it is, it does appear to be a price/performance value winner without many peers in the most affordable category.

I wouldn't fish anything more than a 325 grain on the 9wt, and I wouldn't slip much line past the color change on that as well - but since AFTMA grain wt ratings are 230-250 for a 9wt ( that's playing with fire anyway.

I'd be curious to see how the 10wt casts. Some good-natured blanks offer all-day casting in a 10wt even if you aren't arnold schwartzanegar (sp?), like the Sage DS 10wt 2pc.

Anyone have the 10wt and going to the casting clave?

old man
02-26-2002, 05:03 PM
After reading all of these post I decieded to get me another fly rod. Lord knows I really don't need one.
I use to have a 7'6" St Croix spinning rod,but I broke it this winter fishing. Took it back to the dealer and they sent it in. When I got it back I traded it in on a 9' 4wt St Croix fly rod. If you guys didn't talk about them so much I probly wouldn't have done it. I now think that I have enough to fish any way I want to. But you never know!! Jim S.:)

02-26-2002, 05:29 PM
Can never have to many fly rods.

My wife just does not understand !

old man
02-26-2002, 08:14 PM
My wife doesn't care just as long as I don't go hog wild. Jim S.

02-26-2002, 09:45 PM
Juro,I'm going to be purchasing the 9ft 10wt 4piece Temple Fork Outfitters Ti in the next couple of months.It should be able to handle sinking heads well without being exhausting over a days fishing.I e-mailed them and apperently they will be bringing out longer models in the next year or so designed for steelheaders.Can't wait.I'll give a report on what I think of the rod once I get it.I was very impressed with it,out on the lawn and think it's one of the nicest 10wt rods I've ever cast.For $280CAN it's in a class of it's own.