Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scott Fiberhammer Review Begins

With the river levels down to 600 CFS and finding myself with a rare weekday off, I spent a few hours on the Saluda River to begin the review of the Scott Fly Rod Company Fiberhammer Two Hand Assist rod.  This 10'6" fiberglass seven weight switch rod really surprised me and it was great to finally get it on the water.

While gearing up this morning I had to figure out which line to start with.  I decided to go with the Airflo Skagit Compact 420 grains head since it was the line that was closest to what the boys at Deneki Outdoors recommended on their review of this rod and I figured that they might know a thing or two about casting two handers and switch rods.

There is something strange about fishing in downtown areas.  I parked at the Gervais Street bridge, which leads into downtown Columbia, and listened to the morning commute buzzing over me like bees as I walked upriver.  The Saluda River is a bit tricky to wade and I was glad for a wading staff which has become essential gear when I'm on big water.

The flies used this morning were several colors and sizes of Intruders which were tied by Scott Behn over the winter.  I had told him I wanted something that looked flashy and fishy.

These flies look perfect in the fly box but even better wet.  I'm sure the stripers will not pass them up...that is...once I find where they are at!

So...the Fiberhammer review begins and I went fishless, which was disappointing, but it really gave me a chance to work this rod out.  I really didn't know what to expect since I have limited experience with two handers, and even less so with switch rods, but after one morning on the water with it I can understand why so many that have demoed this rod have called Scott Fly Rod Company and asked how much it would cost for them to keep it.  

I was really surprised how similar the Fiberhammer felt to the ECHO Dec Hogan two hander that I have.  The Dec Hogan is described as "Medium Action" and the Fiberhammer felt like it's little brother...with a deeper and fuller flex.  I guess fiberglass can feel like graphite and likewise.

The Fiberhammer handled the 420 grain Skagit Compact head quite nicely and though it wasn't pretty at times I was able to make casts perched from rocks into the deeper runs that I was very happy with.

At the end of the morning session it dawned me how many false casts were saved by fishing this switch rod with spey type casts.  It really is quite enjoyable to fold your line upstream, D-Loop, and cast a long length of line across the water.  

One of the things that surprised me about the Fiberhammer is that it didn't feel heavy in my hands and I really think that it is essential that you find a heavy fly reel to balance this rod out.  The Fiberhammer weighs in at just over seven ounces which isn't skinny by any means but not out of line for a rod over ten feet long.  In my case I was using a brick of an old Martin MG-9 reel that made this outfit feel right in my hands.  Balance is essential.      

Look for future (hopefully soon) installments of the Fiberhammer review to include Airflo Scandi Compact heads in 300 grains and 390 grains.  I also have an Airflo Nymph line in seven weight which might be interesting on this rod as well.  The Fiberhammer may be just as good at traditional fly casting as it is with short to medium length spey type casts.


Bigerrfish said...

Nice lookin striper streamers..
Scott fly rods are build here in my home town... that hand writen paint on the butt, is the hand writing of my good friend BoB's big sister... small world huh?
you Might be surprised to know, that Ross Reels are built a block from my house..

Unknown said...

You don't see to many two handed rods out here in the souteast, At least i've never seen it down here. I once sat for a while on a bank of a Washington State river with my week little 9' 7w and watched a spey caster work the river. It was a schooling in casting just to watch. Looks like a great rod and the Saluda is a good place to use it.


very cool! Cameron.
Looking forward to the part 2.

Blake Merwin said...

I have a Fiberhammer switch the Scott rod rep dropped off, right here in the shop.......and I still haven't taken it out to play. I'm definitely planning on getting it out on the water soon.
I've heard the Compact Scandi 390 casts well on it. The Royal Wulff Ambush 10wt (400 grain) would also probably be pretty sweet.

Cameron Mortenson said...

Bigerfish...they LOOK like great flies...but will they catch fish? I'm pretty sure that they will.

AYOTF...you're right about a lack of two handers down here. I'm trying to do something a little different. We'll see if it pays off.

Mark...I'm looking forward to Part 2 as well. Maybe next week.

Blake...I think that this rod will respond best to good balance and finding the correct line that works for the application. I'm still working through the process. Get yours wet!

Jon B. Lund said...

Hello Cameron,

After trying several different lines and shooting heads on my Fiberhmmer I have settled on the Wulff 450 gr Ambush Head in conjunction with a 10'Airflo poly leader plus 3'. Of tippet of choice. For running line I use the 30# Airflo Ridge running line. This is a sweet set up for surface fly Steelheading. For sub-surface the new 420 gr Airflo Skagit Switch head and your choice of sink tip material up to 10' works quite well.

Jon Lund, Eugene, OR

Cameron Mortenson said...

Jon...thanks for the note and mentions on what has worked for you on this switch.

A good reminder that I need to get Part 2 and Part 3 done on this fly rod.