Gray’s Best Awards 2015

ANGLING: Orvis SuperFine Fiberglass Fly Rods

If you started fly fishing before the mid-1980s, you’ve likely fished fiberglass. Since then, graphite all but drove glass from the market, but of late it’s enjoying a significant resurgence, with fiberglass rods now available from most of the major manufacturers. The Orvis Superfine rods ($395) are the most impressive I’ve fished yet. The return of fiberglass isn’t just about nostalgia, though the marketing tends to play that angle. In certain situations, especially delicate presentations at short distances, fiberglass rods excel. They’re slower than their graphite counterparts—meaning they flex deeper, with a longer delay between front and back casts and less snap in the loop. That kind of action can make casting in windy conditions, carrying a lot of line in the air, or trying to cast weight impractical. But distance and line speed aren’t everything. Small-stream and spring creek anglers rarely benefit from long casts. Instead of distance, they need accuracy to place the fly in a specific feeding lane, a light touch to land the fly softly, and a supple rod that absorbs shocks when fighting large fish on a small tippet. The Superfine rods provide exactly those qualities.