Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Ever since I got my little St. Croix Imperial/Sage 3200 three-weight outfit a few years back, I've been smitten with ultralight flyfishing on small waters. In fact, if the fishing gods decreed that I could no longer fish with anything larger than a three-weight, ever, I'd probably just shrug my shoulders and go on fishing. It's just so much fun, and so much more in line with my personal flyfishing ideal (no offense to all you 12-weight-slinging saltwater guys and gals...).
Anyway, some time back, in pursuit of going ever lighter, I came into possession of a sweet little Redington Drift fly reel in size "Holy Shit That's One Tiny Sumbitch!" which, for non-Okies, roughly translates into a size 2/3. My idea was, and is, to pair it up with a short (seven-foot or under), cheap, moderate-action one or two-weight fly rod, and then give it a name like "The Bluegill Bomber" or maybe "The Panfish Prowler" or some other equally hoaky, alliteratively-strained nickname. Because I'm stupid that way.
The problem, however, is that I can't seem to find a rod for it. There are plenty of one and two-weights out there, but most of them are either too long (I really want one in the six-foot range), too expensive, (it's perch in a creek we're talking about here) or too long and expensive.
There are a number of very nice custom and semi-custom right-sized glass rods being made, but again, virtually all of them are beyond my means. Such is the life of the terminally broke.
Enter the Cabela's CGT fiberglass fly rods. Normally, at $150 they'd be out of my price range, too, but as it turns out they're on sale right now for $79. All of them. Even the 6'2", two-piece, two-weight model that would fill my bill perfectly.
But here's the catch: the CGT rods have gotten somewhat mixed reviews from the fiberglass fly rod crowd, with the main complaint being that, though nice, they fish a bit too much like a graphite rod. When Cabela's first introduced the original CGR fiberglass rods in 2011, they received almost universal praise, including a good review in Field & Stream from the late John Merwin. They were also only $99. I, of course, didn't buy one back then, and by the time Cabela's updated the line with the CGTs, the original rods were long-since sold out.
Also, I have to admit, I've never been a huge fan of house-brand rods and reels. Don't get me wrong: by and large I like Cabela's and own a lot of Cabela's-branded stuff. Much of it is great (for example, their waders) while some of it (for example, some of their bird-hunting gear) is sort of meh. Just like any other retailer. But when it comes to rods and reels I've always preferred companies that actually make rods and reels rather than retailers that re-brand or outsource their own lines. OK, I admit it, I'm a rod and reel snob.
But for 79 bucks, especially for a rod that will be plying the depths of the piscatorial low-rent district, perhaps I should tell my innate snobbishness to go get stuffed? On the other hand, I'll also be using the rod for fishing small trout waters (must keep up appearances, you know...), so maybe I should just keep using the three-weight for now, save up a few more pennies, and get a custom fiberglass rod built just for me?
Here's where my flyfishing noobishness comes in. Considering my casting skill (which I describe as "Flailing Stork") would I even be able to tell the difference between a $79 dollar Chinese-made rod and a (roughly) $300-400 custom job? Aesthetically, sure. Custom rods are prettier, and nicer. But what's also nice is actually being able to go fishing now rather than waiting while you sell 27 pints of plasma to pay for a new custom or high-end rod.
Any suggestions or advice, oh flyfishing brethren?
Posted by Chad Love at 12:53 PM