Fiberglass rods have made a resurgence over the past several years, and for good reason – they’re tons of fun! Five years ago if you were fishing a fiberglass rod, you were probably some sort of feral hermit that had been living under a rock in the eyes of the general fly fishing community, but a lot has changed. Theres a plethora of fiberglass fly rods on the market these days, and there’s a lot of damn nice ones. In the past, fiberglass was really slow and whip-like, and didn’t have the accuracy or line speed that the rods today produce. While not all of the glass rods on the market today are the faster versions, they’re all useful fishing tools in their own respects. If you’re looking for a short 3 weight for a small stream, a slower action rod might be a great option. If you prefer to fish bigger terrestrials and streamers on bigger rivers, you’ll probably want a rod that’s a little faster and more powerful. There’s several companies that manufacture and sell fantastic fiberglass rods at all price ranges – here’s a short breakdown of some of our favorites!
Echo Glass – The folks at Echo know how to build a darn good fly rod for a great price, and the Echo Glass is no exception. The shorter rods, which come in 6’3″ to 7’10” length in 2-5 weight, are more of a traditional fiberglass feel and make fantastic small stream rods. While these are slower action fiberglass, they track extremely well and throw nice, straight loops. If you like fishing small streams with dry flies and maybe a dropper, these rods are the cat’s meow. Echo also makes a longer version of the Glass, which comes in 8’6″ and 9′ length, and 4 through 6 weight. These rods are a stiffer, faster fiberglass that’s better suited to bigger rivers and bigger flies. These are great sticks for fishing dry flies on bigger rivers. There’s a surprising amount of power in these rods, and the bigger versions can easily throw a nymph rig. A 14″ trout bends the heck out of these rods and makes it a ton of fun to catch average-sized fish! At $199 to $219, these are fantastic rods to get into the fiberglass game at a great value!
Redington Butter Stick – Another great rod in the sub-$300 range, the Redington Butter Stick is as smooth as it’s name. These are true fiberglass-actioned fly rods, and they bend deep and cast slow. These are fantastic fly rods for the fisherman that likes small streams, wild fish, and solitude. The Butter Stick comes in 6’2″ to 8′ lengths, and 2 through 5 weights, which pretty much covers every small stream situation that you’re going to encounter. These rods cast incredibly smoothly, and you feel every part of the cast. These rods cast exceptionally nice loops and are incredibly accurate at short distances like you’re typically going to encounter while fishing small streams. At $250, the Butter Stick is a great value and an awesome way to get into fiberglass at a reasonable price!
Scott F2 Fiberglass – The Scott F2 fiberglass rods are the Caddilac of small stream fly rods. Like the Butter Stick, these are traditional action, slower fiberglass fly rods. Small streams, bushy dry flies, and brook trout come to mind when thinking of these rods. As with all of the other fly rods Scott makes, these rods are handcrafted in Montrose, Colorado from beginning to end. The F2 is a beautifully finished fly rod, and casts beautifully as well. It doesn’t throw tight loops like a graphite rod would, but it has a nice, relaxed casting stroke and it tracks very well. It can put a Humpy right behind a rock at 20 feet, every time! The F2 comes in lengths from 6′ to 7’7″, and weights from 2-4. This is a true small stream fly rod, and it’s one of the perfect tools for the small stream flyfisherman.
Epic FastGlass Fiberglass – These Kiwi-made fly rods have turned the fiberglass fly rod world on it’s head with the introduction of Epic’s ‘FastGlass’ Fiberglass. These aren’t your normal slow-action fiberglass – they’ll do everything a graphite rod will do, and with a lot more feel! A cool thing about Epic Fly Rods; say you want an 8’6″ 6 weight – you can get it in six different colors, three different handle configurations, and two different reel seats. That’s a lot of options that you can get out of the same exact blank, and it’s spread across the full range of trout-sized rods they offer. Pretty cool! These rods fish incredibly well, with the feel of fiberglass but the power of a lot of graphite rods. Epic Fiberglass rods throw laser-like loops, but still retain the smooth action of glass. In my opinion, these are the best fiberglass rods manufactured for general-purpose fly fishing. I have the 686 and I’ve fished Hans’s 480, and they are both fantastic fly rods that cast without hardly thinking about it. Here’s a link to a blog post that I wrote on the Epic 480.
Fiberglass can be a fun way to go fish your home water, or to go search out some great small streams. If you’ve never had a light rod and fished small streams for wild brookies and browns, you’re missing out! Fiberglass is a great way to open up new water as well Give fiberglass a try, you won’t be disappointed. To paraphrase Ron Burgundy – Keep it Glassy, South Dakota.