Largemouth Bass Lineup

Largemouth Bass Lineup

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gear Review: Cabela's CGR Rods

A while back, I got an order from Cabela's that I shared with you all.  Included in the order were these:

For a while I had been wanting to jump on the fiberglass band wagon. Cameron over at The Fiberglass Manifesto has done a wonderful job reintroducing the fly fishing community to fiberglass rods. A revolution of sorts has started with more and more people turning to fiberglass rods. My first glass rod was an Eagle Claw Featherlight rod. I loved it then and I still do now (it has only been 5 months but hey who is counting.) Cruising around the Cabela's site a few months back, I noticed that these rods were down to a mere sixty dollars a piece. I just couldn't resist anymore. I was worried that with the new rods coming out, these rods weren't going to be available anymore so I decided to buy two. I checked the site as I wrote this and learned that I was indeed correct, the rods are sold out and no longer available from Cabela's.  As you can see in the photo, I managed to get my hands on a 4wt and a 5/6wt. Here is what Cabela's has to say regarding the rod "In honor of Cabela’s 50th Anniversary, we’re proud to reintroduce a cherished line of rods with a modern face-lift. The Custom Glass Rods (CGR) series matches the classic feel and action of traditional glass rods and improves them with the addition of high-grade components and the latest in rod engineering. Lighter and stronger than their revered predecessors, these E-glass models’ forgiving actions excel at delicate presentations and tight, short-range casting. Finishing touches include high-grade cork handles with model-specific grips, durable Pac Bay DPL stripping guides and spigot ferrules. Traditional green-colored blanks complete the timeless aesthetics. Includes a Cordura® nylon rod case with an embroidered 50th Anniversary logo."

Well I finally had a chance to use one of them and let me just say! Before heading out to family vacation, which as some of you will remember was along the Shenandoah River, I got an extra spool for my Lamson Konic and loaded it with some Scientific Anglers Mastery Series Bass Bug weight forward floating line in 6wt. My thinking behind this was that I already had my Eagle Claw Featherlight rigged with the same line but in a 5wt so why do I need two 5wts? By the way, I will positively deny writing that and blame one of you for it if Melissa ever reads it. She always asks me why I need two of the same weight rod, fly line, reel, flies etc. It is a constant battle but I digress.

One of the first things I noticed about the rod was the color. The rod came in a hunter or forest green color and looked stunning.  I really dug the color of the rod.  It was a far cry from the yellow of the Eagle Claw, which on the one hand makes it distinctive but on the other hand reminds one of baby poop. 

Anyways, color aside, the next things to catch my eye were the guides and ferrules.  Almost immediately after putting it together, I noticed that the ferrules in each section had some spacing and by spacing, I mean they looked like they had a huge gap.  I, of course, went into panic mode and called for Melissa.  She was quick to point out that it appeared as though this was done on purpose.  Another examination of the rod revealed that she might be right.  It appeared as though the ferrule sections were spaced as wide as the guides were.  I did have some concerns over this regarding the possibility of losing a section or two of rod during use.  My other concern was whether or not it would be strong enough to handle the big fish I knew swam in the Shenandoah River.  I suppose at the time my thoughts ranged from only time will tell to god I hope so!  Putting the rod together and taking it apart at first seemed like an impossible task.  It was very stiff and hard to work with.  Over time though it did loosen up a little.  Here are some photos of the guides and ferrules.

Since the rod is no longer available, I can't see what if any options are available regarding the reel seat and butt section.  This is what I got on mine.  

Now we will move on to the performance of the rod.  Right off the bat, I would have to say that this rod performed really well.  I was actually quite surprised at how well it did.  One thing I always forget regarding fiberglass rods is that the action needs to be slower than I am used to.  I seem to be a fast caster which causes problems when using a fiberglass rod.  You really have to slow yourself down while using these rods to get them to work properly.  That being said, I forgot to do that the first time I used it.  After reminding myself to slow down a bit, the rod worked like a dream.  I was casting around 50 feet without a problem but that was at the end of my range.  Mostly fiberglass rods are better suited for close in work and this guy was no exception.  I will say though that another fly fisherman commented to me on how well I was casting and the distance I was getting the first day so it is possible.   I could also feel every strike.  I was throwing a size 10 Road Kill and could actually feel the fish nibble the fly. I was amazed at how delicate it was in that regard. Using a fiberglass rod allows even the smallest of fish to show off in a huge way.  Every fish feels like a whale and puts up one hell of a fight on a fiberglass rod.

Despite the fact that these rods are no longer available I would whole heartily recommend them.  In fact I would love to get some more.  I am curious to see how the new CGT rods stack up against these.  However, the first review of the rod on the Cabela's site does not look promising.  I love my CGR rods and I plan on making it my go to river smallie rod.  While the heavier weight rod is more than I am used to, the fight of the fish on the rod as a result of the fiberglass it out of this world.  Sixty dollars well spent!

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