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Rod & Fly rod and reels

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Rod & Fly 6 weight rod

Chris Roberts evaluates an affordable 6 weight.

Although I have close to 25 years fly fishing behind me, I still regard myself as an ‘intermediate’ angler. The majority of my fishing is for trout in lakes and rivers in Tasmania, with the odd bit of light saltwater fishing thrown in. Indeed my current rod is a 6-weight, which I prefer over lighter rods in order to cope with Tassie’s windy conditions.

I have two main requirements of a fly rod. First, it must be able to cast accurately with good presentation and control; and second, be able to shoot line at long or short distances with minimal false casting. The Rod & Fly 4-piece 6-weight came up trumps on both counts, a little to my surprise. I was able to cast close to the entire WF line with a single false cast, a match for my current yet far more expensive whipping stick. In addition, its ability to shoot into tight corners when searching with a small wet, and to present the fly quickly and lightly on the water in difficult blustery conditions proved it a rod worthy of serious consideration.

The big advantage of this rod is its value for money. At $250 it is able to compete favourably against rods twice or even three times its retail value, thanks to Rod & Fly’s position as a local brand that mainly retails direct.

At first glance the rod looks good, finished with quality reel seat, cork handle, ferrules and stainless snake guides (although my preference would be for smaller diameter guides). Not liking flashy rods myself, the matt finish is a big positive. Again a spare rod tip increases value for money, leading me to immediately think of it as an ideal spare hiking rod for out in the Western Lakes, or a good solid beginner’s rod with its added insurance against breakage. It also comes with a strong tube and good warranty.

A small criticism was a little vibration or bounce transferred to the line, due in part to the rigidity of the blank, which has some effect on control of delicate presentations. This may be of more concern to the elite or specialist fly angler, but may also be largely a matter of getting used to the action.

Other rods in the Rod & Fly range seem to be of similar quality. They range from a 6'6" 3-weight to a 10' 8-weight.

Different rods suit different people, but if you’re looking for a new rod give one of these a try. You’ll be surprised by the quality, while being able to comfortably admit what you actually paid for it.

For more information contact Mike Tenner at Rod & Fly on 03 6266 4480.www.rodandfly.com.au



Rod & Fly 3 weight rod

Dave Anderson gets some cheap twiggy thrills.

Let’s start with this rod’s most obvious feature—$189.95 with spare tip and hard tube. At that price I wasn’t expecting much in the way of action or feel from this 6'6" Rod & Fly 3-weight. In fact, like a few other cheap twigs out there, I was expecting the rod to be a complete dog. If it had barked on every back cast, sniffed at my crotch and fetched the paper it wouldn’t have been any surprise.

To test the rod I put a weight forward #3 XPS line on it, headed to an overgrown and tight little creek I know, and because I’m a complete rod snob and was afraid to try it, let a friend who’s very new to fly fishing use it for the day.

Right away he was making nice casts into tight spots and catching fish. By the end of the day he looked like an old pro (who occasionally hooked trees), such is the forgiving and lovely nature of this rod. Intrigued, I thought I had better try it myself.

My own test over grass only furthered my admiration for it. The blank is fairly fast for such a light rod, but still manages to have a lot of feel in the tip and will throw very short lines with no problem. Adding a quick 50 feet to the cast is also no problem, tight loops and all. It will cast further, but starts to get a bit sloppy.

The blank itself is made from IM10 graphite. It’s very thin, with a classy matt black finish and black wraps. And the build quality is good for such a cheap rod. So surely it’s too good to be true. What’s the catch?

Well, if I have any complaints about the rod, it’s the reel seat. It would look fine on a 5-weight and might even balance up, but on the little 3-weight it adds too much weight to the butt of the rod, unless your reel is very light. I’m sure having the same reel seat for a lot of rods keeps the price down, but I would be willing to pay more for this blank with a classy little all-cork sliding-band number on the end.See Our New and Improved Cork and reel seat 08/09 model

It is a minor complaint given the quality of the blank and the low, low price, and I suspect that on the water all would be forgiven after the first couple of casts.
For more information contact Mike Tenner at Rod & Fly on 03 6266 4480. www.rodandfly.com.au

 


Discovery Fly Reels
Brad Harris heads north with a budget fly reel from Rod & Fly.

While I’ve got a bit of trout gear, I had hardly anything suitable for a trip to Darwin. I didn’t even know what I’d be chasing really, other than barra. My experiences of barra didn’t involve blistering runs or too much backing, so I couldn’t justify spending a grand on a reel for a yearly two-week trip.

With a call to Mike at Rod & Fly and $189.95 extracted from my account I had a shiny 7/9 weight Discovery Large Arbor Fly Reel on my bench. For those sort of dollars, I was pretty impressed. It is fully machined from 6061-T6 alloy. No castings, no plastic. Even the handle is machined alloy. You get a choice of black or silver too.

The spool runs super smoothly, and is silent, which I like. It has a pawl-bearing at one end of the shaft, which engages a cork and teflon disk-drag system. This in turn has a big well-shaped adjustment knob which clicks as it is adjusted.

It’s a large arbor design and has plenty of meat where it’s needed in the frame. It’s not super-light, but not heavy either. Before going north I gave it a trial run for a month on my 6/7 weight, which balanced okay, and used it most of the time around Darwin. It was fine on my 8-weight for casting all day.

The fully sealed drag has given me no trouble and worked fine to stop barra and queenies. I was going to try it on a milkfish, but hadn’t loaded enough backing, so didn’t risk losing my line. I suspect it would have handled it though.

I also grabbed a few Dahlbergs and poppers from Rod & Fly, which I couldn’t be bothered to tie myself, and they all caught fish, so are clearly okay! I haven’t got a clue what sort of hooks they’re on, but I didn’t straighten or snap any, which is good enough for me.

I’m not a particularly materialistic or ‘gearsnobbish’ person, and I’m sure this reel will be perfectly fine for many years of my ‘occasional’ use. Sure, if I fished every day or weekend in the salt, it might be worth investing in a more proven brand, but I’m on a tight budget and this reel more than did the job.

Check out www.troutflies.com.au for pricing and ordering.

Product Code: J61

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