I have been fishing this rod for about 3 weeks now and I am getting a pretty good feel for the rod. I was able to cast the 6wt versions of the rod before they were release and I already knew they were amazing casting rods. Casting is important but in all honesty it is not the main reason I like this rod.
When it comes to a trout rod which is what I consider the 5wt for the most part I personally look for a rod that can get the job done in different situations. So for this review I will break down each type of fishing I did with the rod and score it on a scale of one to 10. I will also explain why I gave it that score. I will give remarks for the overall quality of the blank and visual quality of the overall rod.
Overall Rod Quality and Craftsmanship: 9/10 – The overall design and build of this rod is really top notch. I have a hard time ranking any rod in this category a 10 since there is always some subjective aspect that anyone can find wrong with a rod. The build quality is on par with the big time rod makers in the US. Honestly being made in the USA as this rod is give is some bonus points in this area. I really like the attention to detail with the FRC logo etched into the reel seat and the logo is also on the blank. The rod also comes with 3 stripper guides which is something you don’t see on many rods I am not sure if it helps improve the casting on the rod but I can say for sure it does not hurt the rod in that area. The rod feels light in the hand and the grip fits better in my hand than most rods I have fished.
Aesthetics: 10/10 – Personally I love the look of this rod. The blue color really pops and makes it unique that is for sure. The rod case and bag being embroidered with a FRC logo is also a great extra touch. That is something extra that you won’t find on a lot of rods out there. Some that I have shown the rod to or let them cast it are not a fan of the blue rod color but others simply seem to love it. This rod was surely built with pride and it shows in the finished product.
Casting: 10/10 – If you need to cast 60 feet or more in the wind this rod will do it with ease. It is described as extra fast and it really is a fast rod that many describe as a cannon. I am pairing with Cortland 444 5wt DT fly line and it loads the rod well. I do think I would get some more distance with a WF line but honestly I do not need it. Earlier this week I was casting dry dropper rig to risers on a local pond and was hitting the spots and distances I wanted with much less effort than other rods I have used there. 50 to 60 feet with accuracy is easier with this rod for me. Even those that are not as proficient casters say the rod feels easier to cast to them. This rod would make a great western fly rod or is great for bigger water and longer cast. Distance is what it may be designed for but this rod holds its own with close quarters in the 10 to 25 foot casting range where most fishing is done. At this range I feel like I can put the fly exactly where I want it and the rod tracking is perfect here. It really is a great roll casting rod to which is something I feel many of the other fast rods out there are not as good at.
Dry Fly Fishing: 10/10 – Dry applications is what this rod is made for if I had to pick what its best at. It puts the fly where you want it with efficiency and that is what matters with dry fly fishing. The quick loading of the rod also allows you to change direction and cast to different rising fish quickly and effortlessly.
Indicator Nymphing: 8/10 – I Like a longer rod with most of my nymphing but this rod will get the job done well for most guys with no issues. If this was a 10′ rod I would likely give it a 9 or 10 out of 10 here.
Streamer Fishing: 8/10 – Again this is a product of a bit heavier rod just being a better tool for the job. This rod will perform great with most streamer applications but the 6 and 7wt versions would be my pick for someone looking for a mostly streamer rod.
Tightline/Euro Nymphing: 7/10 – Compared to other 9′ 5wt rods I have nymphed with this rod performed awesome. It is sensitive enough to detect strikes well and did cast a long leader good enough to work. I feel with the action of this fly rod the same blank in a 10’4wt or 10’3wt would be one heck of a nice euro rod. It will get the job done here but it is not what this rod is built for.
Dry Dropper Fishing: 9/10 – Pretty much the same as the dry fly review with the fact that it is not a 10 foot rod making it impossible for me to give it a 10 here. Overall it works awesome with dry dropper and its likely I personally with use it with this application most.
Fighting Fish: 10/10 – I can hear it now from the comp guys yeah right a super-fast rod that is good at fighting fish and protecting light tippets?!! This rod has a great flex to it when under pressure fighting fish of all sizes. I was actually very surprised by this personally I it really makes me enjoy fishing this rod even more. How this rod is able to handle fish so well and still be a cannon of a casting rod I do know know but really it is what puts this rod in a class all of its own here. The main trout in the first picture fought like crazy on 7x tippet and this rod protected it and brought the fish to the net.
Overall (Average score): 9/10 Really you can’t get much better than this. This rod is 100% in the class of quality and performance with any top rod makers out there right now I would love to do a side by side with the Sage X or Orvis Helios 2 rods just for fun and to be able to say for sure it belongs in that class of rods. But I am pretty sure already it does belong on the same top shelf in any fly shop as those rods.
PS: This rod has some serious big fish MOJO!