Epic 990 Review & Build from Snowman Custom Rod Works

9 weight Fiberglass Fly Rod"I am really impressed with the Epic 990 profile. It seems like nobody builds a high weight rod for small water 30 pound king salmon. This profile would be ideal. I often find myself caught up in powerful seven and higher weight rods that can generate more line speed than Indiana Jones whip, but has the feel of construction grade rebar. This rod is a mix of both and it's performance is STUNNING.

Up until fairly recently the idea of a 9 weight, 9 foot, 4 piece fiberglass fly rod would have been pooh-poohed by those that thought they knew a little,  or even a lot about fly rod construction.

A glass rod sporting those spec's might conjure up images of a very heavy, very slow stick with a butt diameter about the same size as your thumb - And Historically this might have been true, hell we had a few doubts ourselves.

The Epic 990 blank is actually very quick, very responsive, light  and incredibly tough - much tougher than a graphite stick of equivalent weight. 

You see, we actually did "reinvent fiberglass" 

So, Zeb over at Snowman Custom Rod Works has been building on one of our Epic 990's for Cameron Mortenson at the Fiberglass Manifesto.

We've been following the build process with great interest and now the blue beast is complete here's Zeb's review of the blank, and a detailed description of  what the build entailed!

This is the most comprehensive and precise build I've seen, ever - and the result. Nothing short of Incredible.

Superb job Zeb, thank you. We're blown away!

Join Zeb on Facebook for see more stunning builds


Epic 990 Review from Snowman Custom Rod Works

The 990 is remarkable, the diameters are comparable to a 85% of the graphite rods on the market. With the exception of the rods utilizing nano strand composites and rods that employ advanced resins. The flags which are visible in the transparent So Blue are crisply cut and display proper orientation. It's the stupid little things that show quality even prior to the spining process 

The bend profile is the real stunner. It is as described "fast glass" not modern day graphite rebar. I like this notion considering Andrea and I do a lot of New York salmon/lake browns/steelhead which can be small water requiring roll cast and single hand spey. The latest and greatest high modulus graphite from brand x,y, and z is not geared towards this scenario. It favors the large water aerialized line casters who need to power thru wind. 

Backbone it has plenty. It was initially my fear this would be a cork flex blank. Very wrong, it flexes from about the tip to a third of the way down. It has reserve power to turn big fish, and throw huge meaty flies. 

To recap this thing is rock solid rod.  Anyone who is looking for a heavy line rod that with feel and sensitivity this is a serious contender. Whether it is graphite or glass, this rod will compete with the best of the best 9wts and very user friendly from what little casting I did on it. 

The Build Notes

"I am really impressed with the Epic 990 profile. It seems like nobody builds a high weight rod for small water 30 pound king salmon. This profile would be ideal. I often find myself caught up in powerful seven and higher weight rods that can generate more line speed than Indiana Jones whip, but has the feel of construction grade rebar. This rod is a mix of both and it's performance is STUNNING.

A couple notes on the build I will likely forget in the rush to overnight this down on Wednesday.

I built this rod saltwater safe. I created stops on the male side of the sleeve over to butt tight against the female to block possible saltwater creep. It gives a finished look but it keeps caustic water out.

I ran the epoxy deep off the edges and out from underneath the thread tents. I don't build freshwater rods this way because its not necessitated by condition. Also I floated the guide and used guide adhesive to create a thin barrier between guide foot and blank. This was in an effort to eliminate any potential for a guide foot to etch the blank where the guide is mounted.

The reel seat hood, cork check, and winding check have all been epoxied in place to eliminate potential entry of saltwater. Also there is a very thin barrier on the inside edge of the hood.

These were the steps I have taken to hopefully eliminate the possibility of saltwater damaging the rod. Fiberglass can rot very easily if there is any scuffs nicks or any site that water can get beyond the epoxy. That's it for saltwater protection.

The basic stuff is the thread. Turquoise mains, royal blue, and basic white silks. I stepped down all the tipping to create a flowing look. I repeated these efforts with the epoxy, thru varying viscosity and coats. At the main 16mm stripper there is over five coats of "thin" and at the tip three coats of water thick epoxy. I signed the rod in a basic white ink.

I used a mutation guide profile with the static placement set at 3/4 pull. So it's geared more towards mild profile lines or shooting style heads in the 35-45' range. The guide placement will show linear characteristics on mid weight fish to slightly bigger, and you will see the line not following the arc of the rod on LARGE fish. This is not uncommon and depends on where the builder sets the static placement on day one of the build.

One note about the guides. Frequently guys have bitched that recoil snakes are loud. They can be dependent on the fly line used. This can be negated with something like slick shooter line dressing. This also will help with some of the gummy worm intermediate lines."


The components. 

  • Lemke seat
  • Undersized handle set
  • Titan striplings guides
  • REC Recoil Snakes
  • Hard chrome large loop tip top. 





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