I had no intentions of buying this rod…well…I mean, I have had my eye on one for awhile. While on a visit home to Erie, PA to see my parents, I innocently went in to the Lake Erie Ultimate Angler fly shop (http://shopultimateangler.com/) to buy some bass bugs and I spotted it hanging out in the display rack. You know that feeling when you pick up a rod you’ve been wanting and give it a wiggle. By that point it’s about over. Your brain has confirmed that you “need” this rod. The only thing standing in the way is that pesky hang-tag with the dreaded price scribbled on it. I had come this far so I went ahead and asked about the price. To my surprise it was on sale. I had to ask again. “On sale you say?” Again, the shop employee confirmed the discounted price. I decided then and there that it was meant to be.
Many times I had envisioned a fresh Lake Erie steelhead peeling line off of my reel and my fiberglass switch rod bent down into the cork grip. I finally had the rod but it was the end of June. There wouldn’t be any steelhead for months. Bass would be the obvious alternative. I was waist deep in Presque Isle bay before the sun was up.
The bay was flat calm and I picked a spot that had a long shallow flat before dropping off into deeper water. Top water flies, especially poppers, have been my go to patterns this year. I hoped that the bass would be chasing baitfish up onto the shallow flat and I could persuade a few of them to look up.
The best part of owning this rod is going to be finding which line configurations work well on it. A brief internet search turned up a little info. It seems some people have found a nice marriage with a 420 grain Scandi head. I’ll probably get into something like that for our winter run fish but for now I’d like to find something like a Rio Clouser taper to use for summer bass fishing. This time out I just used what I had on me which was a Scandi tapered head that I had been using on another 6wt switch. It seemed to pair up ok with the ‘glass switch for some overhead casting with a smaller Clouser Minnow. It didn’t fare so well with the big poppers. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to throw big bass bugs with any grace at all. They are about as aerodynamic as a school bus and make as much noise when you strip them in. Trying to overhead cast poppers was cumbersome to say the least, but servicable.
Another thing to consider is a reel to balance the 7.1oz rod. Using a 3 3/4″ diameter reel left the setup fairly tip-heavy. I don’t get super crazy trying to find a balance with my rods and reels but it would’ve been nice, especially trying to overhand cast this rod today. My arm received a considerable workout while waving the 10′ 6″ Scott around. So how does it handle fish?
I had no problem with hook-sets and the rod has ample backbone for much larger fish. Another attribute of glass is that it has that soft feel to it so even smaller fish will give you a nice bend. When you do run into a respectable fish, you can feel it all the way through the cork. So is this rod a cannon? No probably not. It does have enough oomph to turn bigger fish and the tip is nice and soft allowing me to use lighter tippet if required. Overall I’d describe the Fiberhammer’s action as “smooth”. I can’t wait to swing some flies this Fall with it.