Saturday Shoutout / Deeter on Rod Reviews

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Photo by Louis Cahill

If you ever plan to buy a fly rod you should read this first.

I’ve written my share of rod reviews. I’ve recommended rods I love and tried to be clear about the virtues and shortcomings of each. I’ve been praised, blasted, questioned and on occasion trusted but in the end I have always tried to make it clear that I’m only expressing my opinion.

My buddy Kirk Deeter (yes we’re still friends) has written the best article I’ve seem on the subject. In typical Deeter, no-BS style he tells you exactly what you should know before you buy a fly rod based on anyone’s review. His, mine or anyone else’s.


Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Saturday Shoutout / Deeter on Rod Reviews

  1. Kirk said it right, put it in your hand and test it out. Invest our time into honing your skills on the water. With some many factors rod speeds, line, reels, lengths its tough to recommend a perfect setup. I remember watching Lefty Kreh present to a group and say for most folks a rod under $100 will work perfect.

  2. Agree so much with Kirk, that half a line size heavier works better on the faster rods too. The slower rods that I prefer feel dull and lifeless with such lines.

  3. Okay sure.

    Here are two questions:
    1) How many fly fishermen are able to cast well enough to truly judge a fly rod by casting it? Seen so many people test casting a rod at a fly shop and the loops were horrible. And I hear ‘yeah, this rod casts great!’ (……)

    2) How many fly fishermen will or is able to judge a fly rod without getting steered by all the hype (or no hype)? A friend of mine recently said ‘… you don’t want to be seen with an Echo rod on the stream’.

    • Two questions I’m happy to answer.

      1 every angler is qualified to judge the rod they are throwing their money down on. Their loops may be horrible, as you say, but if they are the best loops they’ve ever made…then that’s the rod for them. And that’s how everyone should choose a rod. Reviews are only the start of the process. It doesn’t matter how well an angler casts. There are plenty of fish to be caught right off your rod tip and plenty of days to be enjoyed.

      The beauty of fly fishing is that it’s a life long pursuits. No matter how talented you are, you can always improve and no matter how bad you are you can still enjoy it. The thing about rods is, to some extent, the better a caster you are the less you need a good rod, and yet the more you appreciate it. True, a really fine rod does not perform in the hands of a poor caster, but in the hands of an intermediate caster it makes all the difference. An intermediate level caster needs a good rod and that’s were most anglers are.

      2 Hype. Well I guess hype is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a vague term with a negative connotation so let’s talk about 2 kinds of “hype”.

      There’s marketing, which may or may not have any basis in fact and varies wildly by company. I know most of the folks in the rod business and I can tell you they are all good people. None of them are lying to you, but some have better marketing departments than others.

      Then there’s excitement. There’s often a genuine level of excitement about certain rods. I, for one, love fly rods and I get excited about a really great rod. You hear a lot of excitement from other anglers and in the media. I think that’s good. It helps narrow the field for the angler who’s in the market. It also makes many of us buy rods we don’t need, but let’s be honest, none of us need a fly rod. They are toys. And anglers deserve the toys they want, if they’re spending their own money. Personally, I would never choose a rod based on what anyone might think when they see me with it. I own some pretty nice rods and I own some ridiculously nice rods. You will often see me on the river fishing rods by Echo and Redington. Why? Because they are the rod I like and want to fish. I’m not one bit ashamed of that.

      The best advice I can give you on not being swayed by hype is to stop listening to people who are full of shit. I’m a broken record on this point, but I’ll say it again. There should be no ego in fly fishing. We should all be a lot nicer to each other. If your judging people by how good they are at their hobby, that’s just sad. If you are independently wealthy and get to fish every day, you’ll be pretty good at it. Does that make you a better angler than the guy who works his ass off, spends his weekends with his kids or helping elderly parents and only gets to fish a couple of times a year? That guy deserves a $1000 fly rod.

      • Good points here Louis!

        What I am trying to say is that we often forget fly fishing is about having a good time, alone or with friends, and not about the price tag or brand.

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