My journey in fly fishing began with fiberglass fly rods and may very well end with fiberglass fly rods. After learning the nuances of knots, casting and fly selection, I left fiberglass at the altar and joined the graphite revolution of the 1970s. Graphite fly rods were stronger, lighter and more rigid than fiberglass.
Oh, and more expensive too!
I shudder to think of the various brands and configurations of graphite fly rods I’ve owned over the last several decades. I’ve never met a fly rod I didn’t like and I have wonderful memories of fish caught and destinations visited with an arsenal of graphite rods.
I was intrigued nonetheless when I heard the news that Fenwick had reintroduced their Fenglass fiberglass fly rods. This was the battery of fly rods I used in my early years of fly fishing.
It took a while before I found the Fenglass rods on display in my area. When I could finally handle one, it was love at first sight. I was impressed with the lightness and balance. Aesthetically it was a beauty. The price tag was reasonable. My dilemma now was which of the six models to try.
The Fenglass line-up has something for everyone.
Small streamer trouters will love the 6’6” 3-weight or the 7’ 4-weight. Bass and salmon/steelhead anglers can enjoy an 8’3” rod in either 7 or 8-weight. Those looking for an all-purpose fly rod can choose between a 7’6” 5-weight or a 7’9” 6-weight. All Fenglass rods are three-piece and include a handsome, sturdy travel case.
I was tempted by all the Fenglass models. I settled on the 8’3” 7-weight. My decision was influenced by the time of the year, being late spring and having a summer to look forward to popping for bass, followed by our annual steelhead run in the fall.
I mounted an Okuma SLV 7/8 fly reel spooled with Rio Power Fly weight-forward, 7-weight line and headed to a nearby farm pond with a box of poppers.
Perhaps the most notable feature was the way this rod casts. The rod loads with minimal false casting, regardless of the length of line. Miss your target? One pick-up and lay it back down with ease. I cast size 4 poppers and long wet streamers equally well.
The rod fishes wonderfully, creating a full arc and transmitting every head-shake and tail wag of each fish. It has the strength to horse a bass through weeds and lily pads, yet doesn’t overpower a bluegill or crappie.
I’ve since fished this rod on several bodies of water on foot, canoe and float tube. I even caught a small musky with it! My appreciation of this fly rod grows with each outing. My only problem now is deciding which of the remaining five models I should add to my collection!
Many other manufacturers are producing high-quality fiberglass fly rods. Temple Fork Outfitters, Redington and the entry level Eagle Claw are all worth scrutiny.
Whether for nostalgia or just a different fly fishing experience, consider a fiberglass fly rod. I’m confident you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.