I hope that we will be able to review some tackle here, not just the fancy stuff but also the very low priced products as well. Fly fishing is a sport that should not cost the earth.Our reviews will be based on our experiences using equipment that we are provided with at events or during our work. For example while we were at a children's day we had the opportunity to evaluate the rods provided by the angling club that were hosting the day.
Masterline XL 9ft 6-7# and 9ft6in 7-8#
At Winterborne Zelston we were provided with Masterline XL 9ft 6-7# and 9ft6in 7-8#. The retail price of these rods was £35.99, they have a mid to tip action but are a touch on the heavy side, that said they are ideal beginners rods as they will take a certain amount of hard use being a sturdier walled blank. The handles are reasonable quality cork in a full wells pattern. The stripper and tip ring are lined and the intermediates are snake rings. For children a slightly shorter and lighter rod would have been ideal, but these rods are needed for teaching adults as well.
There are a lot of good lines on the market so look for a line suited to your rod (look at the numbers if the rod has 6# then you need a 6# line) For various uses still and running water then it may be worth going for a Weight Forward (WF)line as opposed to a Double Taper (DT). A double taper is what it says and the line is parallel through most of its length with equal tapers at each end. Weight forward again as it says the majority of the casting weight of the line is at the front of the line with a slimmer running section behind. Finally as a beginner then a floating line will give you better opportunity to practice your cast and adapt to various situations. Therefore a 6# rod I would suggest you use a WF6F line. As for the line make, Snowbee XS Prestige, Coartland 444 ( not lazer), Shakespeare Worcestershire and various others, expect to pay £30-50 for a good line.
Remember that when buying tackle if you locate the right outfit at one retailer then there is a good chance of a discount.
Orvis Zero Gravity 8' 6'' #5 Tip Flex 10.0 and Orvis Zero Gravity 9' #6 Mid-Flex 7.5
We managed to obtain these two Orvis Zero Gravity rods to "play with" before the launch. I have used many of the different Orvis rods over the past 12 months and I have not managed to break one yet, so I was intrigued by the claim of 20% less breakages with this new technology (does it mean I can build up a credit of breakages!). Actually the reduction in breakages was introduced into the T3 rods and is now tried and tested so they have figures to back up the claim. You might ask yourself with the warranties that are offered by most of the manufacturers these days why buy a rod just because it is less likely to break. Good point - well if you are a guide and instructor it is very important and it cost time and money and money every time a rod gets broken even with the warranty. If you are not a a professional fly fisher(person) then just think about paying hard earned money for a day on a beautiful chalk stream - shame if your rod broke. So I can see where they are going with this. They will save money as well.
Down to the rods themselves. The 9' mid-flex did show a bit of tip bounce when pushed hard but as with both rods was very light and beautifully finished. The 8' 6'' Tip Flex #5 is a real cracking rod and I hope that I will be carrying one next season or a 9' Tip-Flex.
There is no discernable spine to these rods and they are very light - the technical stuff talks about military technology and aircraft and helicopter blades, that covers the lightness and the strength part. It just casts nicely with a tight loop. I look forward to giving it a go with some fish in site.
Anyone who knows me will know that I always moan about people who use very fast rods as I think it is some sort of macho thing - well maybe I am starting to change my mind. Sorry all you TCR and Angel TE owners... it looks like there is another kid on the block.