November 21, 2011
Fly-Rod Review: Cabela’s CGR Glass Rod
By John Merwin
A long ago time I used to fish nothing but fiberglass fly rods. Not because I thought they were better than graphite, but because graphite fly rods back then had not yet been invented. In that light, Cabela’s new line of fiberglass rods gave me a refresher course.
First, a few details--the rod I used off and on in recent months was a CGR 570-3, seven feet long, 3-piece. It’s labeled as “4/5” for line weight, meaning (I assumed) that it will take either size. Cabela’s doesn’t list a rod weight. On my postal scale, the rod weighs 2.6 ounces, or very roughly 25 percent heavier than a comparable graphite model. The difference, I think, is negligible in a short rod.
The rod is light in the hand and casts with exceptional smoothness, albeit with the slower, more relaxed stroke required by fiberglass. And it is definitely a 5-weight and not a 4-weight. Which brings up another point relative to both fiberglass and bamboo rods.
Bamboo and fiberglass are both much heavier and more flexible than modern graphite. There’s a lot of suspended weight extending out beyond the rod grip. When you flex the older style rods, they bend into a casting configuration. That means that even with a line too light for the rod, that line can be cast because the rod is bending of its own weight.
That’s what I found trying this new glass rod. I could cast a 4-weight line okay, but had no feel for the line. Then I tried a 5-weight line. At that point I could feel the line bending the rod in casting rather than only feeling the rod bending of its own weight. That’s a big difference, and is why I call the rod a 5-weight in spite of it’s 4/5 label.
Modern graphite rods don’t behave in the same way. They are substantially lighter and stiffer, with less suspended weight out beyond the rod grip. When you wiggle one, it doesn’t bend in the same configuration as when cast with an appropriate fly line.
And therein lies the difference. The Cabela’s glass rod was a refreshing change of pace in casting and fishing. The rod is more relaxed and laid back, mostly because it won’t work any other way. It reminded me of taking a deep breath or two when I’m trying to force myself to relax. And for $99, the nicely finished rod is a very good deal.