You’re on the internet, (you are reading this, hence the logical conclusion…). You have typed the words “fly fishing” at some point. When you add together the preceding two statements, there’s great certainty that you have heard of The Fiberglass Manifesto.
I first came across TFM right after buying my Hobie Outback and my first fly rod a couple of years ago. Immediately, Cameron Mortenson (the self-proclaimed Glass Geek) had my attention. I had fished fiberglass rods when I was a child, but with a hook and bobber, not a fly.
Furthermore, I had no recollection of the feeling of glass, nor how it differed from today’s graphite. My curiosity awakened, I became a regular visitor to Cameron’s blog and knew that someday I had to find out what all the commotion was.
Skip forward eighteen months
When I scheduled a week of Montana fly-fishing in July 2012, I knew two things:
- I was camping waterside (a waste to stay indoors while in Big Sky country).
- I was going to fish as much small water as I could.
By chance, I saw a post on TFM about the T.F.M. Fly Rod Loan Program, a project Cameron has implemented to let anglers demo glass rods from various rod shops. A true champion of fiberglass fishing, Cameron wants to help us make educated decisions before buying our next fly rod and promote the use of fiberglass to improve our fishing experience.
I own a TFO (Temple Fork Outfitters) 9 ft, 5-weight that I am very happy with, but I thought I might like to try something a bit smaller for some of the mountain streams I had in mind. As I am sure is the case with most fly fishers, I have always imagined myself in the proverbial small and pleasant mountain stream, with a fly rod and trout itching to be caught. On dry flies as you would expect.
After a little discussion, Cameron sent a 7 ft., 4/5 weight rod built by the South Fork Rod Company. I opened the tube and found a beautifully finished rod, realizing at once that I was holding a rod builder’s truest art. I can see the beauty in the color of the blank, the wraps, and the smooth finish, but also felt an unfamiliar flexibility and different kind of power than what I am accustomed.
I fished small creeks and streams in the Bitterroot Valley for three days.
With the South Fork fly rod in hand, paired with my 5-weight, large arbor TFO reel (and a Willie-Joseph Surge pack for good measure), I wandered off in search of more private, serene locations where I could be alone with my thoughts and the water.
What ensued was nothing short of a gift and more than I had ever dreamed it would be. The first day out, several cutthroat and two very nice browns brightened my day, along with a large rainbow that broke me off after a good ten-minute fight. The
second and third days totaled 40+ trout, mostly cutties and browns, with the occasional brookie. I truly have no idea of the total number for all three days.
Fishing the South Fork Rod Company Fiberglass
The experience of fishing the SFRC fiberglass rod has left me wanting much more. The slower action of the glass leant itself very well to my casting, making my presentation more graceful and exact than I had previously achieved with any consistency. The flex of the rod is a thing of beauty. I loved the way the rod loaded, easing me smoothly into
my cast and performing the way I wanted no matter the distance of my target. I found glass to be very sensitive to even the lightest of bites, and a joy during the hook set and ensuing fight.
All things considered, I want to buy a rod like this. It truly was among my favorite fishing experiences, and although I know not
every day of fishing is going to result in so much catching, I have to admit, this Mortenson guy knows what he’s talking about. Glass Is Not Dead!
Important Note: I would be remiss not to mention that I had a very productive and most enjoyable two-day, guided trip down the Bitterroot River with Jack Mauer of Wapiti Waters. I was using my larger, 9 ft. TFO fly rod, which performed to perfection. I do not wish to detract from that spectacular trip by not mentioning it in the above post. I simply wish to savor it as a story for another day. It was afterwards that I began my quest to find skinny mountain waters. I seriously doubt my personal fishing time would have been so successful had I not received the instruction and insight Jack provided while we were on the water. He is a great guide and extremely amazing person!