When I first saw the First Cast rod from Reyr Gear, I was completely taken aback and just plain excited. Having hiked many, many times back into remote areas to find the next tug, I know the struggle of getting snagged up in trees, thorns, shearing off line on rocks, and stabbing yourself with your flies as you detangle an awkward 9foot long rod knee deep in brush. Being a big fan of bluelining and hiking, I have had my eye out for some time to find something that would be easier to take into the woods on a long hike, or even to make traveling easier since I find myself flying out two to three times a month at least. Wanting a better way to enable my impulse fishing trips, I decided to give it a shot.
The rod came super-fast in the mail, already packaged with a case, mini fly box, and a quickstart guide that was super easy to follow. I also watched the instructional video that helped show the set up since it can be a little confusing when we’re used to traditional fly rods.
The matte black finish and bright blue line were a pleasant surprise and the reel seat and reel itself felt substantial and with nice finishes –definitely backing its price point. To be honest, I just thought it looked sexy.
The casting of the ‘First Cast’ by Reyr Gear feels more like an 8wt when you cast it, but it lobs out line with ease and great control. Having fished large tailwater for the most part, being able to get some line out was always my chief concern, as was accuracy. The action was surprising in that I was able to get my flies where I was aiming, and while the finesse may not be as delicate as my 2wt flicking an elk hair caddis out on to still water –it was surprisingly controllable and there wasn’t the drag I expected with it being an interlined rod. I set it up with an indicator + two nymphs, a dropper dry, and had at it fishing a piece of tailwater outside of Pittsburgh and it didn’t let me down once.
The skeptics in my DMs were plentiful, and full of questions like ‘well what about ice?’ and ‘ugh, like that will ever take off…’ but all in all, I was able to be set up and on the water in less than a minute and when I moved spot to spot, my flies were tied on and I was ready to go to the next hole. Not being a big fan of fishing in 15 degrees, I’ve not had any trouble at all with the icy Pittsburgh weather thus far with it. Also, at no point has the rod collapsed on me, gotten jammed, or been awkward to cast.
· Quick to be out on the water so it’s faster set up for when you want to try ‘just one more’ spot on your trek back to the car [me AF all the time]
· The flies stay tied on so you’re not having to tie anything new on or elaborately wrap it around the guides [anyone else make insane knots doing this? Just me? Mmkay…]
· Fits in my work bag, my tiny Civic coupe, my carry on, and my car seat pocket and comes with a case already with the reel and fly left on.
· Materials and finishes are top-notch and feel substantial and not at all ‘dinky’ for how small it packs down.
· Line flows naturally out of the rod and doesn’t fall back through guides like with a traditional rod — my arch nemesis when first learning to fly fish.
· It takes a minute or two to get used to setting the rod up and getting the line out when you don’t know how many sections are coming out. [Pro tip: gently cast out, any missing sections will show themselves and you’ll be set to go in no time].
· While it can accurately cast out more line than I expected, it takes a while to get used to the action since it’s a stiffer cast [more like an 8wt] but with a 5wt line.
· Setting up your other rod[s] will start to annoy you because it takes FOR-EV-VUR… #Sandlot
This has become my go-to fly rod for most trips anymore. It doesn’t leave my car, and it came with me on road trips for the holidays and was nestled safely in my airplane seat back pocket flying home from Christmas. I have taken it in my work bag to show coworkers, taken it on the subway, bus, and it fits in my car seat pocket without taking up any space at all.
If I’m fishing dry flies, I will probably still use my traditional rod because the casting is a bit lighter, but saying that, I’ve caught some brookies with a stimulator with this before and had no trouble with it smacking the water or not being accurate.
Overall, it lived up to my expectations and beyond and the materials used are top-notch. I’ve casted a bit of every kind of rod at this point [being friends with guides has its perks!] and this suits my needs without compromise.
My typical set up:
· 9ft 5wt Orvis Clearwater
· Dropper dry rig on a 9ft 5x tapered leader
My typical water / fishing style:
· Tailwater, long roll casts, medium fast water