My favorite type of water to fish is a small stream. I love the solitude and peace you can find on a quiet brook away from the crowds, and I’m always interested to see what wildlife might cross my path. And of course, you never know what fish might be lurking in an unsuspecting stream.
In recent months, I’ve spent more of my time at these streams; fine tuning my hike/fish set up. One of my buddies has a very small packable tenkara rod that he takes with him on hikes. I’ve personally never been able to get into tenkara (despite owning a rod), because I always find myself wanting a reel and excess line to cast. That’s when I stumbled across a company called Reyr Gear and the First Cast 4 Weight Rod. This rod seemed to strike a perfect balance between packability and fly fishing with a rod and reel.
Reyr Gear Rod Review
It’s safe to say, I think I’ve finally found my ideal set up both for traveling and small streams. The rod collapses telescopically, and the bit of excess line wraps around a guide and reel seat similarly to how Tenkara rods pack down. The most interesting part about this rod is that there are no guides. The fly line actually runs directly through the rod and out the top.
The Reyr Gear Fly Rod extends to 9 feet and packs down to 19″. It also comes with a soft case to protect it during travel. The rod’s length gives you plenty of room to reach across a small stream and ensure a quality drift. At $279, it’s a little pricier than most entry level fly combos, but comes in cheaper than most fly rods from major brands. I don’t know that I’ll ever be the guy that pays $800 for a rod, but maybe that’s just because I haven’t tried casting one yet! The $279 price for me is perfectly reasonable for all the headaches it relieves when I’m deciding whether or not to bring a rod wherever I’m going. The answer will always be yes with this rod.
If you like hiking and fly fishing at the same time, you really can’t beat this rod. It lightens the load considerably, and would fit into most backpacks. If you’re frequently stopping to fish spots like me, it’s very easy to collapse and continue with your hike. As an added bonus, I no longer feel like I’m jousting oncoming hikers on small mountain paths.
Casting is surprisingly good. I had no problem casting up to 40 feet, but you can tell it starts to hit its limit at a certain point. On a small to mid-sized stream, I can’t see wanting anything more from the rod performance wise. It fits the bill and it’s packability is a huge relief for me. It’s a little stiffer than rods I’m used to, so it took me a little while to get used to casting.
Don’t expect to do any intense tightline nymphing with this rod. It’s not a sensitive rod that is going to pick up on every pebble on the stream bed. Not to say you can’t nymph with it, because I’ve caught several fish nymphing with it, but you’d probably be better off with a sighter or indicator. I actually prefer to use this rod as a dry-dropper set up, but will switch to two nymphs if that’s what I need to do to catch fish.
I can’t say enough about how portable this rod is. The biggest problem I’m going to have is finding reasons not to take it with me everywhere.
Aside from hiking/fishing, I’ve found another use for this rod. Last month, I was at the Farmington River nymphing a run when the fish started rising towards the end of the run. I brought along the Reyr Gear rigged with a dry dropper set up, and was able to switch to casting dries within a couple of minutes. Best of all, I caught a few trout by switching to the Reyr Gear rod.
The only concern I have with packability would be storing it long term with the line wrapped around the guide and reel seat. I think it could permanently put a kink in the line. To fight against that, I’ve actually stored it fully extended when it’s in my house and not in use.
Only time will tell. I tend to be fairly rough with my gear, and in the first few months, it held up nicely. It feels like a fairly sturdy rod, and the drag on the reel seems to work well.