We’ve been anxiously waiting for the Carbon XL Euro rods to arrive, and they finally have! I ordered one for myself as soon as they became available to order. The standard Carbon XL has been an awesome rod for us, and we had high hopes for the Euro Nymph series of Carbon XLs – we weren’t disappointed, to say the least. I got out and fished with mine a couple times over the past week, and have been rather impressed with it!
The Carbon XL Euro rod comes in a 10′ length, and is offered in both a 3 and 4 weight. I fished the 3 weight, and was initially impressed with how light the rod was for an entry level Czech rod. With an oversized reel to balance it out, it feels super light in hand. I opted for a 4/5 Echo Ion reel just to keep with the Echo theme, and it balanced the rod out well. The reel seat is a single nut uplocking style, and the handle and fighting butt feel nice. I liked the fighting butt as a point to brace off of my forearm when reaching exceptionally far over a current or fighting an especially sassy fish. Overall, the handle, fit, and finish are great for the price range, and much better than most rods in that price range.
A lot of folks choose to use a Euro style line, like a Rio FIPS Euro Nymph or Airflo SLN Euro Nymph line. These are great choices if you’re only going to be Euro nymphing or if you’re going to be competition fishing, but for our local fishing we prefer to rig ours up a bit differently. I lined the reel up with an Airflo Forge fly line in a 3 weight, and then put a 30′ Hanak BiColor Czech leader off the end of that. That way, you can still effectively Czech Nymph without any fly line out of the rod, but if you do run into rising fish or a spot that’s better fished with an indicator rig, you can simply take the Euro leader off and put a standard trout leader on and be able to cast the rod well. The Euro lines are awesome if you’re only going to be tightline fishing, but they simply can’t cast a standard nymph rig or dry fly – they don’t have enough mass or line weight.
The rod is slightly softer then some other Euro rods, but still has plenty of power in the bottom end to fight fish with. The bottom half of the rod retains plenty of power, but the tip is much softer. The softer action of the upper half of the rod was beneficial to casting lighter flies on a long Euro leader, but retained enough stiffness that I was easily able to control the flies and detect strikes. Casting a Euro Nymph rig with a long, light leader can be awkward at first, but after a bit you learn slow down, use your wrist a little more, and everything works fine. Once I slowed down and let the rod cast the flies, I could put the flies within a couple feet of where I wanted them to be everytime. The 3 weight is soft enough that you can detect some really delicate strikes, and it made an average 10-14″ fish a ton of fun. I landed a fish slightly over 20″ on it, and the more powerful bottom section of the rod handled it beautifully. This is an amazing Euro Nymph rod at half the price of nearly everything else.
Curiosity got the best of me after catching some fish Euro style, and I decided to put a 7.5′ leader, a couple nymphs, and a wool indicator on. This rod will roll cast with the best of them! I was blown away with how far I could cast a nymph rig on a 3 weight, and how well it controlled and mended the line. You can easily roll cast 30-40 feet with this rod. Overhead casting was impressive as well, so long as you slowed down and let the line load the rod. The slower I went, the better the rod casted. You have some great hooksetting ability with the 10′ rod as well – you can pick up a lot of line on the hookset. This is going to be one of my favorite guide rods this year because of how easily it roll casts and fishes.
For the money, I don’t think there’s anything else out there that’s comparable to the Carbon XL Euro Nymph rods. Euro Nymphing has become incredibly popular over the past couple of years, and for good reason – it’s incredibly effective, it’s a new technique that even seasoned fly anglers can learn, and it’s just plain fun. The Carbon XL Euro Nymph rods are going to get folks out on the stream fishing with this style at an affordable price, and they’re going to do it well. Are there better Euro Rods out there? Sure, you could jump into the $500-800 range and have a rod that’s nicer. At $169.99 is there a better value in Czech Nymphing rods than the Carbon XL Euro Rods? I think not. I have no complaints about mine, and I’m excited to get out and use it more and to put it in the hands of my clients this guide season. Check out the Carbon XL Euro Rods and the Carbon XL Euro Rod Outfit on our webstore!