Kyle: Fiberglass fly rods making a comeback in many fishing circles (column)
Fiberglass rods have been making a comeback in many fly-fishing circles. The common fly-fishing rod is made from graphite or a combination of graphite and other materials. The stiffer graphite rods allow for quicker pickup of fly line off the water, the ability to cast farther and an overall lighter rod. So why would anyone want to buy a slower, heavier fiberglass rod? Because they are fun. My fiberglass rod has been my go-to when exploring High Country creeks and streams.
The first thing any seasoned angler will notice about a fiberglass rod is the amount of flex that these rods offer. Fiberglass rods are often compared to a wet noodle compared to their graphite counterparts. When casting a fiberglass rod, you have to slow down your cast to load your rod properly. Often you can feel the rod bend all the way down to the handle. Slowing down your cast can really help an angler practice the proper techniques and will help you when you go back to casting your fast action graphite rod.
Extra flex in the rod means that it will protect very lightweight tippet. The flex in the rod acts like a shock absorber when fighting a fish. This decreases the amount of tension on very light (six or even seven times) tippet and decreases the chances of breaking your flies off.
The price of fiberglass rods is a major bonus for anyone that wants to try one for the first time. You can usually get a very nice fiberglass rod in your hand for half the price of a graphite rod. This is a great bonus because fiberglass rods are usually an angler’s second or even third rod in their quiver. Redington makes a great fiberglass rod named the Butterstick that is priced at $279. Other companies that make great glass rods are Blue Halo, Echo, Orvis and Scott.
Fiberglass rods are great for situations in which feel and presentation are incredibly important, such as dry fly-fishing. If you are planning on using small or mid-sized dry flies exclusively, then a fiberglass rod should be in your hand. Fiberglass rods can delicately place dries flies in the spookiest waters.
If you enjoy fishing the smaller feeder creeks in the area, then a three-weight or smaller fiberglass rod is ideal. Besides being great to cast dry flies, a lightweight fiberglass rod makes even the smallest fish feel like a beast. Fighting any size fish on a glass rod is extremely fun and can put a nice bend in the rod. They are also a great tool for the “bow and arrow” cast used in tight quarters. which might be found in and around small creeks.
When to go with your graphite rod
The common graphite rods do excel in many situations due to their inherent strength, light weight and fast action. Grab your graphite rod when you are planning on throwing hopper-dropper rigs, large streamers, heavy nymph rigs, during strong winds, fishing from the boat and when you plan to fish for the entire day. Graphite is also great when the situation demands long distance casting. If you enjoy “Euro nymphing,” then graphite is the choice because it is more sensitive and is a great material for making longer rods.
Fiberglass rods can make fishing some of our local small creeks or streams a blast. I find myself seeking out areas and waterways that are ideal for my three weight glass rod. Many of these creeks are in our beautiful High Country. Do some hiking with a glass rod strapped to your pack and you’ll be converted into a fiberglass fanatic like me.
Ray Kyle is a manager and guide at Vail Valley Anglers. He can be reached at 970-926-0900 or email@example.com.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.