Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Graywolf Rods Signature S-Glass 8' And 9' Five Weights Review

I am likely not alone in the idea that when a significant fly fishing trip is approaching that a prevailing thought I am left wondering about is whether I have the correct fly rods to take along.  With the trip to Montana this past fall for a week of trout bumming with a couple friends still months away I started thinking (more correctly called obsessing) that I needed a "western" fiberglass fly rod.  I have several eight foot and just a couple inches over five weights but nothing at all pushing the nine foot mark that I'd consider an all around workhorse fly rod.

Quite honestly the glass ceiling for trout weight fiberglass fly rods has always been around eight foot and in the last few years blank makers have pushed that mark to 8'6" in a just a few somewhat rare cases.  Advances in fiberglass material and tapers recently are allowing some blank makers to break through this ceiling with some very exciting offerings where nine foot might not be where it stops and these fly rods will still be response and everything that you'd expect a five weight to be.

Earlier this year Shane Gray of Graywolf Rods sent one of his Signature S-Glass eight foot five weights to be included in the T.F.M. Fly Rod Loan Program.  I spent some time with this fly rod and was really impressed.  Impressed to the point that I'd quickly say it's one of my most favorite glass five weights that I've ever cast or fished.  This model is light in the hand, capable, and a wonderful mix of just enough of a progressive action to get work done but not so fast that you forget that you are casting fiberglass.

When Shane started talking about adding a nine foot model five weight model to the Signature S-Glass line up I immediately started wondering if this could be the "western" fly rod that I've been missing.  With Montana still a few months away I asked Shane if he could have one built for the trip and started figuring in the expense of buying a new fly rod along with overpriced airfare and other trip costs.  Several weeks before the trip the nine foot Signature S-Glass five weight arrived and as with all of Shane's rod work it was nothing short of flawless.  From the deep reddish brown of the blank to the flor grade cork to the Lemke Concepts hardware to the little cork fighting just bled perfection.  Add to all of this a blank that is powerful with a slightly stepped up taper over the eight foot model and it felt like the all around five weight workhorse that I hoped it would be. 

Fast forward to the much anticipated trip to Montana and I spent the lion share of the days with either the eight foot or nine foot Signature S-Glass in hand.  I found each to be extremely capable though each shine in slightly different ways.  The eight foot model is wonderful as an all around five weight that can do all the technical work required from small to large dry flies, emergers, and nymphs.  Streamers would be possible but not likely it's best use.  The nine foot model does everything that it's little brother does and picks up the slack with the ability to bang the banks with weighted streamers and heavy nymph rigs under an indicator.  This was indeed the "western" fly rod that I have been looking for and it's really excellent to have what I would call a big water five weight in the arsenal. 

Shane continues to tweak and make additions to the Signature S-Glass line up and currently there are four models offered with an eight foot two weight, the two five weights mentioned here, and a ten foot 7/8 weight.  Look for several more offerings to be added in the coming year as Shane grows this series of fly rods.

Check out the Graywolf Rods website for more information.  The Graywolf Rods Blog and Facebook page updates several times a week with photographs of Shane's most recent work and shop news.

1 comment:

MattKane said...

as a very fortunate owner of a graywolf 9' 5wt 4 piece s-glass, i can say there's nowhere in northern california i wouldn't feel comfortable fishing for trout with this rod. it excels with a floating line and dries, but chucks streamers on sinking lines as well.