REVIEW: Vale Creek Rod Works 4wt three piece fibreglass rod
THERE has been a lot of talk of late amongst fly anglers about “raising the glass” in regards to the use of fibreglass fly rods. With the long weekend looming and the last chance to fish the small creeks and streams I contacted Mick Warren from Vale Creek Rod Works. I met Mick at his rod works where I checked out the custom builds on hand and talked about the advantages that the new age of ‘glass brings to fly fishing. We ended up talking and casting his rods from 1wt through to 6wt well into the dark.
I was very surprised at how well these rods cast. I left with a three piece Seele Zeitlos series 7ft 9in 4wt S Glass with spigot ferrules, matched with a Wild Creek reel. The fly line was a Rio Trout LT DT 4wt with a Blue Sky furled trout leader, to which I attached a 4lb tippet. Heavy rain in the lead up to the long weekend meant many of the small streams were swollen and dirty so I found myself fishing downstream of a local dam in waters that hold trout, redfin, golden perch, European carp and the odd Murray cod.
The 4wt was pure pleasure to cast with very little effort to lay the line out on the water. The first fish to fall to this rod was a small golden perch that had sucked in the wet fly and was now thrashing around in the water at my feet. The Blue Sky furled trout leader and the medium action of this rod ensured the 4lb tippet was not at risk of breaking, but unfortunately the hook let go just as I was about to slide the fish on to the bank. Not 10 casts later the rod again bowed to the Huon pine reel seat as yellowbelly number two sucked in the wet fly about three metres out from the bank. Again the action of this beautiful little rod handled the small perch with ease and with the fish landed, photographed and released I moved further on.
I changed flies to a perch pattern fly with a small flash back nymph as a dropper fly. The 7’9” rod handled the two fly rig with ease and in the hours leading up to dark I managed to put a good feed of reddies together. With the sun going down on this overcast, drizzling and windblown day I was pretty happy as I walked back to the car in the gathering darkness. I was more than impressed by the casting ability of this rod whether the fish are at your feet or 15m away .
For those interested in the specs of this rod they are as follows:
- The rod tested was a Seele (now McFarland rods) Zeitlos series 7ft 9in 4wt S Glass with spigot ferrules.
- Wraps are YLI silk grey with lavender highlights.
- All guides and tip are snake brand light wire universal with black nickel coating.
- Grip is a J-Candle shape and the reel seat is a Vale Creek Rod Works creation, up locking with Huon pine insert and butt cap.
- The rod has a medium action that is a nice all-rounder. It roll and overhead casts beautifully and delivers the fly with accuracy and finesse.
- The rod bends deep into the blank when fighting a fish and it has good fine tippet protection.
- This build weighed 3.2 ounces and a custom build like this would be around the $775 mark.
If you’re a keen angler who looks forward to a life time of fishing and like the idea of a custom built boutique fly rod with your choosing of reel seats and cork grips sanded to your hand grip and a rod that may be a three or four piece pack rod check out the Vale Creek website or call Mick and arrange to have a cast of his rods. I am sure you’ll be surprised how good the new generation of fibreglass rods are!
Mick also has built his own prototype fly reels, they have a 63mm diameter with a 21mm wide line groove and are purpose built for 1, 2 and 3wt lines with a light clicker and pre-seat drag system. It weighs 5oz with line installed and should be ready for first run production later this year if all goes well.
More info www.valecreekrodworks.com
By Ken Smith