Shopping For A Rod
Well I suffered momentary brain cramps Saturday and broke the tip on my Diamondback All-American. Dropped it off at the Bears Den this afternoon and, as expected, it'll take two to three weeks to turn around the repair. While this rod has been more than servicable I have felt undergunned lately, so I have been thinking of getting a ten weight or a nine weight with more backbone for awhile. While at the Bears Den, Scott rigged up several rods to try. Additionally, last fall I tried a 10 wt. RPLXi and a 10 wt. Redington DFR. I'll offer my impressions (keep in mind I'm a relative neophyte) and ask for comments.
1. Of the tactile pleasures in flyfishing the rare occasions when I find my casting stroke is key. Kind of akin to finding your stroke with a jump shot in basketball or with a cue in pool. I want a rod that enhances that pleasure.
2. I have felt undergunned when fishing in big water and when trying to turn the larger "schoolies" I've been catchin this year. Would like something with more backbone.
At my present skill level these two criteria seem to be contrary. Of the rods I test cast, one stood out and a second impressed, especially considering price. But these are first impressions. It would be nice to spend some time on the water.
I liked the RPLXi 10 wt but it seemed a bit big in terms of weight and feel. Guess I'm looking for something that feels more like a nine wt.
The 10 wt DFR was an instant hit with me. Very tactile. I guess the action is what you call progressive. Also lighter than most nine wts.
The nine wt Stu Apte Diamondback is a real stick. Beautiful finish. I tried it with a ten wt. line. I'm not ready for this one.
Very fast - not very tactile for the neophyte.
St Croiux Ultra Legend 10 wt. did little to stand out for me. Its ok.
The Sage DS2 10 weight I could live with, very tactile, but it probably does not offer much more in backbone than what I have now.
The Diamondback Backwater 9 wt. Based on the breakage problems I'd heard about, I wasn't thinking about this rod. Scott didn't feel this was an issue based on his experience and the number of returns. This rod seems to fit me like a glove. If I'd stayed off the butts I would have enough in my fishing fund for the DFR, but I think I can be happy with the Backwater
I like the Diamondbacks. A little heavier than more expensive rods but for the money, I don't think they can be beat.
I'm getting tired of 2 piece rods though, do they have 3 or 4 piece rods now?
As far as service, when I broke my 8 weight last year, they just sent me a whole new rod & tube. I think the turnaround was 2 weeks. Can't complain, I think it would be faster if you asked them to speed it up. I've found Cortlands customer service to be very responsive.
From shore - for every fish, there are hundreds of casts and for every cow there are dozens of schoolies. Therefore the numbers would indicate that the order of precedence would be:
a) best casting
b) best fighting
c) all the rest - durability, warranty, looks, etc
That being said, the number of 30-40" class fish has gone way up this year and I fish hard currents more than ever so I am eyeballing a bigger stick for the rips myself.
Still, my criteria is the same: best casting first, BUT with the additional stoutness for big fish in the rips.
note: I hate stiff blanks. I've owned my share, they don't let the rod cast the line - they make you do all the work. Personal pref, some really like broomstick rods.
Not to sound like a broken record but the two-handed solution seems so obvious...
If you get a chance check out the new for 2001 Sage VPS 4-pc travel 10wt. I haven't cast one yet but it's high on my list.
IMHO - the stiffness of the rod plays the biggest role in the 'end game' the last portion of the fight. When the fish is out there you can use the butt of the rod to bring them in, it's the last part of the fight in tight where the stiffness through the blank plays a part. I am not sure if that's worth the poor casting qualities for me, in fact I know it's not. The alternative is a blank that distributes load throughout with some stoutness to it, but not stiffly. It's a good compromise between the optimized casting designs and the broomsticks. I am still looking...
Can't speak to the casting qualitiies of the DFR, as I only own the "regular" 4-pc. TSRs, but I can say that Redington's warranty program is nothing short of exceptional. Having had the misfortune of breaking a tip on the beach last season, it was delightful to walk into a Redington dealer (and not the one I bought the rod from) with a broken rod and walk out five minutes later with a new one.
Jeff - The Backwater is available in a 3 piece. The wieght of the 9 wt, 2 piece is 4 oz which was surprising, the three piece 4.5 oz.
Juro - I agree with your criteria. I'm a flogging wader so I need something thats going to be kind to my shoulder.
Marvin - For me that DFR is a sweet rod to cast. I wonder about durability but with the Redington warrenty I would not hesitate to buy, but I'll have to re-start my smoke cessation motivational fund in order to buy one.
The Backwater really impressed me and I think I'm going to pick one up. Only decision is whether to go with the two or three piece. I cast a two piece. I figure with only one ferrule chances of the apparent weakness with this rod are reduced, I think. I'll try the 3 pc before buying.
Brian Casey - Didn't you recently have a problem with your Backwater? Any insights?
Thanks for the feedback,
Went down to pick up my fixed All American (about a week and a half turnaround) and buy a new rod. Hem'd and haw'd and bought the Backwater. Got home and my wife asked "why didn't you get the rod you wanted". Well I don't need much prodding, so I called Scott at the Bears Den and said I'd be right back. Got a deal on the 10 wt. DFR, AL reel and Clear 444SL.
Congrats Fred! The DFR is a great rod, and leave it to a woman to remind us that some things are penny wise but pound foolish. We should always buy the best, right dear? }>
Haven't been to the site in a bit and read your post - I have two backwaters and the only thing I would have cautioned would be to get them in 2 piece, not three piece. The three piece rods are too stiff - the two piece rods are totally different and much nicer rods IMO. Glad you got the rod you wanted - buyers remorse has a way of creeping in and you would probably always wished you had purchased the DFR. Hope you enjoy the rod and you land many larger 'schoolies'.
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