FiberGlass Fly Rods - From Glass to Back: Coming Full Circle

The first decent glass fly rod I owned was a vintage brown glass Fenwick. A tad short, a bit stiff, and with a plastic triangular tube that didn’t hold its shape and couldn’t keep its cap, it worked, and fairly well. Next I stepped up to an Orvis Golden Eagle, the last glass fly rod I purchased until just a few years ago. But that’s where it ended as I was swept up by the graphite tide.
Best Fiberglass Fly Rods

From Glass to Back: Coming Full Circle


At 60-years young, like most people my age I learned to fly fish on fiberglass rods. At the time, glass rods were the relative newcomer, having bumped bamboo from the mountaintop roughly a generation earlier. Like most fly fishers from my generation however, I moved on to graphite fly rods when they crashed the party. But after roughly 30 years of pushing carbon, I have come full circle.

I grew sick of the same old same old.

How and why I ended up back on glass is as interesting as the fact that I did, at least to me. The whole thing was very much driven by a rekindled interest in small stream fishing, which was very much tied to a newfound appreciation for wild native fish, and a realization that there was more to the sport than I was getting out of it.
After years of chasing big fish – species and origin be damned, pulling on oars and anchor ropes, untangling overly complex rigs, casting more than fishing, competing with an opponent that didn’t care to compete, and dodging crowds, I grew sick of the same old same old.

Fishing Fiberglass fly rod

I also came to the realization that while I had always thought of myself as a conservation-minded fly fisher, I was actually a conservationist that fly fished. I decided that saving fish, wild and native ones as they are what really matters, was more important than saving fishing, and that saving the latter was not going to save the former but saving the former might save the latter.

This late-in-life epiphany pushed me back to brook trout, the fish of my childhood and primary native in my New England homeland. And brook trout pushed me back to their namesake waters, brooks. Brooks in turn pushed me toward glass as it is the perfect tool for the job. To me there is a clear synergy between the three…

Cutthroat trout on fiberglass fly rod

My Glassroots

The first glass fly rod I owned was an Eagle Claw Trailmaster spin/fly “convertible.” Like most products designed to perform multiple functions, it didn’t do anything well. Next was a classic but horribly clumsy Shakespeare Wonderod. Then I purchased a Daiwa VIP Gold, a good-looking but marginal stick. I owned several Shakespear Ugly Stik’s as well, and other than being virtually indestructible, they were, well, aptly named: Ugly. I also bought an amazingly heavy and incredibly poorly finished Kodiak, and a few other long- and best-forgotten dogs and cats.

The first decent glass fly rod I owned was a vintage brown glass Fenwick. A tad short, a bit stiff, and with a plastic triangular tube that didn’t hold its shape and couldn’t keep its cap, it worked, and fairly well. Next I stepped up to an Orvis Golden Eagle, the last glass fly rod I purchased until just a few years ago. But that’s where it ended as I was swept up by the graphite tide.

Best Fiberglass Fly Rods

After a hiatus of twentyish years, I found myself looking at glass rods again for the reasons noted above. As the owner of a shop at the time, I looked at what was available through conventional fly rod manufacturers. While one company offered a well-wrapped rod with modern tapers and a narrow profile, there was just not that much out there.

Having purchased a best-in-class mainstream S-Glass rod, I started looking beyond my vendor circle. What I found was this niche cult-like market dedicated to pushing the envelope and developing cutting edge fiberglass fly rods. Some businesses made blanks, some wrapped other people’s blanks, and some made blanks and rolled their own finished rods.

Soon I took on a fiberglass rod column in a regional online magazine, and quite accidentally. Apparently someone had agreed to do it and failed to deliver, leaving the publisher holding the bag, and him handing it off to me. This upped the anti and planted me solidly in the glass rod camp, and the rest is history.

Inevitably my journey landed me at Epic, manufacturers of best-in-class glass rods. In fact, once you delve into the world of modern fiberglass rods, all roads eventually lead to Epic. Their blanks are clean, the tapers modern, the cork flawless, the hardware top-notch, and the workmanship impeccable. And while clearly high-tech products, they still have that traditional glass feel that I have grown to love.
My affair with Epic started with an S2-Glass 370 FastGlass Studio Built rod, a great all-around small stream rod. Next up was a 476 Packlight FastGlass, a 5-piece rod for backcountry use. While I’m not sure where I’ll go next, I am sure I’ll go…

Bob MallardBOB MALLARD has fly fished for forty years. He is a former fly shop owner and a Registered Maine Fishing Guide. Bob is a blogger, writer, author, fly designer, and native fish advocate. He is the Publisher, Northeast Regional Editor and a regular contributor to Fly Fish America magazine; a columnist with Southern Trout online magazine, and a staff fly designer at Catch Fly Fishing. Bob is a founding member and National Vice Chair for Native Fish Coalition. His writing, photographs, and flies have been featured at the local, regional and national level including Outdoor Life, Fly Fisherman, Fly Fish America, Fly Rod & Reel, American Angler, Fly Fishing & Tying Journal, Fly Tyer, Angling Trade, Eastern Fly Fishing, Southern Trout, Fly Fishing New England, MidCurrent, OrvisNews, The Fiberglass Manifesto, Tenkara Angler, the R.L. Winston catalog, and the books Guide Flies, Caddisflies, and America’s Favorite Flies. Bob has written two books and contributed to several others. Look for his books, 50 Best Places Fly Fishing the Northeast and 25 Best Towns Fly Fishing for Trout (Stonefly Press.) Bob’s next book, Squaretail: The Definitive Guide to Brook Trout, is due out summer of 2019 (Stackpole Books.) He can be reached at www.bobmallard.com, info@bobmallard.com or 207-399-6270.

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Give the Gift of Choice No Delays, No Shipping. The Perfect Fly Fishing Gift On Time Every Time - Instant Delivery! Looking for the perfect gift for the Fly Angler in your life? Give them the gift of choice with a gift card. Gift cards are delivered by email from you directly from our website and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. Gift cards are charged and redeemed on our stores base currency - $US For customers outside of the USA you can still shop and check-out in your native currency, our store does the conversion for you. Shopping for someone else (or yourself) but not sure exactly what to choose?Not sure what to get? Length, color or size?  It's very easy with an Epic Gift Card. You give - they choose! Schedule a Time to Send!You can even prescheduled  time / day / date that you would like your Gift Card delivered What is this?Gift Cards are delivered to you the purchaser by email and contain simple instructions to redeem them at checkout for products in our store. Each gift card features a unique code. Your gift card can also be printed out and gifted to the recipient, or it can be emailed to them immediately. Need Help? - drop us a line and we'll help you or your gift card recipient choose. How does it Work? Simple, you purchase the gift card you would like to give and check out just like you would for any online purchase. Our system will send you an email the recipient your gift card with your custom message. (That gift card has a unique voucher code on it) The recipient uses the voucher code to redeem against the purchase of their choice. Questions: Gift Cards work just like cash Any unspent balance can be used later Purchases can be topped up with cash, credit card or Paypal for larger purchases Customers can check their balance by visiting the unique gift card link sent via email Gift Cards have no additional processing fees. Purchase in your native currency to be redeemed at any time.Any questions or problems, just email us
Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag Epic Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault $119.95
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Fish faster and smarter with the Backcountry Double Fly Rod Vault! This powerhouse of a storage solution is designed to carry two 9ft fly rods and reels, rigged up and ready to roll. Durably crafted from tough, water-resistant 600D Cordura material and reinforced by 210D Ripstop Polyester inner, you can rest assured your valuable fly rods and reels will be safe in all conditions. Waterproof YKK zippers keep moisture and dust out while the thickly padded interior protects your precious fly reels from being scratched. A hardshell outer helps look after your fly rods no matter what terrain awaits you. This is an unbeatable way to transport two complete setups. Save time and be ready to fish at a moment's notice!
Best fly reel for fly fishing as voted by field and stream best of the best Best fly reel waterproof fly reel
Backcountry Fly Reel $399.95
Large Arbor Backcountry Fly Reel II The best looking fly reel on the river. Our Backcountry fly reel features a smooth, sealed ceramic drag mechanism that boasts 3kg of drag and is easily swapped from left to right-hand wind. Super smooth sealed drag, lightweight large arbor, stealthy satin finish. Suitable for both fresh and saltwater use. CNC machined from cold-forged tempered 6061-T6 aluminum, High capacity large arbor spool Waterproof sealed stacked ceramic drag Type III military spec hard anodised finish Suitable for both fresh & saltwater use Large Arbor Spool The large arbor spool features a curved U shaped design that adds strength and assists in line levelling upon retrieval. The exposed reel edge makes for easy palming. A no-nonsense, tough, waterproof and lightweight fly reel. Epic in every way. Finished in a stealthy low sheen type III hard anodised satin finish available in any color as long as it's black.  Backcountry 3/4 Backcountry 5/6 Backcountry 7/8 Weight: 115g (4oz) Weight: 131g (4.6oz) Weight: 139g (4.9oz) Capacity: line + 50m  Capacity: line + 100m  Capacity: line + 150m  Dia:  84mm Dia: 94mm Dia: 104mm Got questions? - Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.
Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit $199.00
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry Fly Tying kit features the very best Italian made tools by Stonfo and a pair of remarkable hand crafted fly tying scissors by Renomed of Poland. There are no finer fly tying tools made. We've taken the best of the best and presented them in a thoughtful waxed cotton canvas tool roll featuring genuine leather trim and straps fastened with classic brass catches. The hand stitched waterproof tool roll houses & protects these high quality tools and features two additional pouches to tuck away fly tying materials and hooks. The Renomed "Fly Tier" scissors feature a 'super cut' finely serrated blade that makes cutting deer hair and fur a breeze, and the larger scissor handles afford comfort and extraordinary durability and functionality. Tool Collection  Renomed Fly Tier Super Cut scissors (retail US$45) Stonfo Dubbing Twister Stonfo Hackle pliers Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Dubbing Brush Stonfo Bobtec1  Adjustable Bobbin With Ceramic Insert (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless steel) Stonfo Elite Whip Finisher (Stainless Steel)
Streamer wallet fly wallet Streamer wallet fly wallet
Backcountry Streamer Wallet $69.95
Back Country Streamer Wallet Carry and show off your streamers in style in our cotton canvas fly wallet Handcrafted and waterproof in waxed cotton Canvas, genuine sheepskin and hand tooled leather. Each wallet is hand cut and stitched from waxed cotton canvas and lined with lambswool. Measuring  12cm wide by 17 cm closed (4.5" x 7") Big enough to house and protect even the biggest lures and streamers. Streamer wallets have a few advantages over dropping your expensive streamers in a fly box. The open ended design and fine lambswool liner drys flies and lets them breath Flies are kept separated - No more tangled flies and hooks Easy to see and easy to grab - particularly if you have stinger hooks on your streamers They look sensational and big fish love them! Measuring 11cm wide by 17 cm long closed (4.5" x 7") Waterproof, small enough to fit in a wader pocket but capable of holding a large collection of flies
Fly Tying Vice Travel Fly Tying Vice
Backcountry Travel Vise $69.95
Backcountry Travel Vice Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry vice is a robust, beautifully built, no-nonsense fly tying vice. Featuring hard steel jaws, quick lock cam and all packed away in a stylin' protective felt case made from recycled plastic bottles! Holds hooks from size 2 to 22 Hard steel jaws Quick-lock cam' operation Rotary head Fully adjustable Allen key Recycled PET felt carry pouch

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