The Stickman P-5 Fly Rod Reviewed 

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Stickman P-5 Amber. Photo by Louis Cahill

Stickman P-5 Amber. Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

As soon as you take the Stickman P-5 out of it’s tube you know you have something special.

The leather patch sewn to the tube, which bears the name Stickman, and the natural linen rod sock trimmed in black are your first clues that this 9-foot, 5-weight was made with exceptional attention to detail. When you slide the rod from the sock, it does not disappoint. You instantly know that you are holding a hotrod.

The matte finish and transparent wraps are striking. You can tell it’s a very high modulus by the sound the sections make as they touch. The rod is extremely light, due in part to the delicate single foot guides and aluminum reel seat. When you fit it together and give it a shake, you feel power and a blistering recovery rate. You instantly know it’s a caster.

What you will not find out until you get it on the water is what a remarkable fishing tool it is. There are a couple of very cleaver design elements, which make the P-5 a unique tool. Being a Hungarian company, Stickman seems to be free of conventions, which dominate American rod design, giving them a very clear vision and allowing them to produce a rod which is more than it might appear.

My first assumption was that this rod would be another fast-action distance casting rod.

The kind of rod which shines at the casting pond, but not necessarily on the river. While there is plenty of power here to launch a line, you quickly find that the emphasis is on precision and not distance. The P-5 will not let you down when you need to reach a distant riser but that’s not what you’ll love about it. When you start to target pockets and fish under stream-side cover you’ll find that the P-5 feels like a laser pointer.

The P-5 is capable of making loops which are remarkably tight and clean. I want to be very clear on this. Casters make tight loops, not rods, but all rods are not equal. A great rod will not fix your casting problems but it will reward good technique. The P-5 does this in spades.

On closer inspection I’ve developed a theory on how it’s done.

The blank has a very modern action. It is very fast, due to its recovery rate, not its stiffness. This means that the rod loads effortlessly, even with a short line but delivers incredible power. It would have been very easy for Stickman to have set this blank up to shoot backing, but they made a much more interesting choice. While the action of the blank is exceptional, I think the magic is in the guides.

If you read my article, “A Guide To Fly Rod Guides,” you might remember my saying that the guides on a rod transition the fly line from an unorganized state to an organized loop. In the world of physics nothing is free, so this organization comes at a cost. That cost is energy. Large guides rob less energy from the cast and favor casting distance. Small guides take more energy but organize the line into a more consistent and refined loop. The clever trick Stickman has played with the P-5 is to create an extremely powerful blank, and used that power to organize the line rather than cast it a mile. They have done so by using extremely fine, small diameter, titanium, Recoil single foot guides. It’s a brilliant design, and it works.

DSCF8493It wasn’t until I’d fished the rod, and fallen in love with it, that I went to the Stickman site and read the description. Again, I was surprised at what I found. A pretty straight forward and accurate assessment of the rod:

“This rod excels in average fishing distances from 5 to 20 meters. The med-fast action and the lightning fast recovery helps you cast easily and precisely. Presenting a no.18 CDC is just as easy as chucking a heavily weighted streamer to 20 meters.”

I’d say that’s exactly what I experienced from the P-5. I fished small dries, big foam hoppers, heavy streamers and even nymph rigs and, regardless of the setup, the rod felt like an extension of my hand. It performed effortlessly and with precision. It placed flies under deep overhanging cover. It pinpointed seams and pockets. It turned over heavy flies and it made delicate dry fly presentations.

In short, the P-5 performed as promised. As an exceptional all-around fly rod, capable of handling changing conditions with ease. I’d fish this rod with confidence anywhere, anytime.

The P-5 is available in four models, which vary in aesthetics rather than performance. You may choose the Amber, the rod I have, the Forest, the Stealth or Evil Black, depending on your taste. The difference being the color of wraps and material of the reel seat. It’s a fun idea and makes your rod feel more personal. The slim, half Wells grip is high quality cork and is exceptionally smooth. Every detail of the rod speaks to its quality.

At 699 Euros, ($830) the P-5 is solidly in the premium fly rod category and Stickman clearly takes that seriously and delivers premium quality. Stickman offers a 14-day, money back, return policy. No questions asked if the rod is in new condition with the plastic on the grip. They are sold direct by Stickman with free shipping worldwide.

If you are looking for a fly rod which delivers performance and accuracy in real-life fishing conditions, the Stickman P-5 is worth a look. You can get more details on the P-5 and other stickman rods at

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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