Monday, January 16, 2012

Nick's Fiberhammer Experience

The Scott Fly Rod Company Fiberhammer is on a short list of fly rods that I want to fish more this year and this post from Nick Pionessa of The Oak Orchard Fly Shop has got me excited to swing for steelhead soon in Michigan and then for striped bass in the Saluda River come spring.  

Nick wrote...  I have been fishing the Scott Fiberhammer since just before they hit the market about three years ago. I should start off by saying that it is not the rod for everyone. Well, at least not right off as it takes a little getting used to. I fish a lot of glass single hand rods and have become familiar with their actions and needs. Mainly a line with a gradual taper and a smooth, slightly longer stroke by the caster. So far I have only used the rod for spey casting and swinging streamers for steelhead, lake run browns and smallmouth bass. I have never used it for nymphing techniques. It casts well overhead to with the requisite casting stroke.

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The Fiberhammer is very “bendy” for lack of a better term but it does recover quickly. It has plenty of power for a typical seven weight and based on it’s lines of 400-480 grains it is firmly a seven weight. Probably my favorite line for it would be the Airflo Tactical Steelhead seven weight with the float tip removed and replaced with an eight foot poly leader. This line has a smooth, gradual taper that the softer rod favors, at least in my hands. I also like the new Airflo Rage head in a 420 grains weight. This line has a bit steeper taper but still pretty mellow and is about the same length as the Tactical Steelhead line at plus/minus thirty feet. For me that’s a great length head on this rod. The Airflo Scandi Compact in 420 grains is another line I like but it does take a bit more control from the caster to make the stroke smooth or risk the dreaded tailing loop often associated with soft rods. If you hit it right though that line flies with incredibly tight loops and high line speed you wouldn’t think a glass rod capable of. The Beulah Elixir switch line in the 425 grains is nice if one prefers a full line verus a head and also nymphs well. For bigger tips the RIO Products Skagit Flight is very nice at 425 grains or the Airflo Skagit Compact in 420 grains for serious tips and turnover.  With that line ten or so feet of T-14 is easily doable.

The rod handles even large fish very well and has a lot of power in the butt section. The full flex cushions tippets nicely and also hook throwing head shakes. Playing a fish on that rod a is a joy. I find it loads well in close and has a nice range of where the head can be in the rod to complete a cast. It is very easy going. It is a real pleasure to fish on the smaller, brushier Great Lakes tribs with it’s easy load and short length. It is also perfectly capable of long casts if the wading isn’t too deep. I have used it on a creek here where fifty to seventy casts are the norm and it’s no problem. I would say anything under seventy-five feet would be fine in a decent caster's hands.

Cons for me begin and end with the uplocking reel seat. Everyone knows glass rods are tip heavy and 10'6" ones even more so. The uplock requires you to put a heavier reel on it for proper balance. The rod is not heavy but is tip heavy and a downlocking reel seat could have made all the difference. As is, it requires a nine ounce plus reel and over ten ounces is even better. That just makes the entire outfit heavier than it needs to be. They feel it gives better reel clearance with the short lower handle. Whatever. I could just order one from the Scott Custom Shop site with a downlocking reel seat so the option is available but does mean extra cost.

Nick...thank you for the through breakdown on what works for you on the Fiberhammer.  Notes taken.

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