Fly Fishing with Fiberglass: A Cast from the Past
“If you haven’t tried glass, well then maybe it’s time you did.” Short, sweet, and straight from the mouth of aficionado and all-around fly fishing guru, Cameron Mortenson.
As the author of online blog, The Fiberglass Manifesto, Mortenson has a lot to say about the resurgence of fly fishing rods made from fiberglass over the past several years.
First, some brief perspective: Fiberglass has been used to build fly rods since the late 1940s. After World War II, it largely replaced bamboo as the preferred fly-rod material because it was cheaper to obtain and easier to handle. In the 1970s, high modulus graphite became an option for rods, offering lighter weight, greater sensitivity, and a sleek appearance. Fiberglass was then largely replaced, just as it had upset bamboo decades before. Since then, many would say fiberglass rods have seen their greatest popularity as a collector’s item, hanging from the walls of fishing lodges.
But, once again, the demand for fiberglass is growing and it’s evident as custom providers and big name manufacturers, like Orvis, Echo, and Redington, alike, are making more fiberglass fly rods part of their 2014 lineups.
So what’s all the buzz about? Well, it’s about new ideas on taper design, the idea that the rod should do the majority of the work (not you), so that you feel the forward and backward cast. It all boils down to a weight and movement that only fiberglass rods can deliver, according to fans like Mortenson, who sums it up, almost poetically:
“You can feel the fly rod load, which I think is an essential component to the motion of fly casting. Casting glass just has way more feel and there isn’t anything like the big bend of a glass stick under the pressure of a fish. In short, a fiberglass fly rod can certainly sweeten your experience while on the water.”
Enthusiasts also cite durability and affordability as even more reason to go with fiberglass when it comes to fly rod selection. For even more information on fiberglass reinforcements, and the differences between fiberglass and carbon fiber (graphite), read About Reinforcements at our Learning Center at FibreGlast.com.