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Weighed On Our Scales » 4.66 oz (132 g) - Rod, Reel, and Line
by Ryan Jordan, Copyright ©2005 BackpackingLight.com
We've been searching for the "ultimate" packaged kit for the backcountry fly fisherman who is serious about their small stream fishing experience. With the Fly-Lite company, I believe we have finally stumbled onto something great!
Few, if any rods on the market have been optimized for small stream backcountry fly fishing. Master rod craftsman Dave Holloman and the Fly-Lite company change all that.
The Fly-Lite Mini Rod and Reel is manufactured with quality components and an attention to detail found in fly fishing equipment characteristic of manufacturers that charge three or four times as much.
The Fly-Lite Mini Rod uses top-quality IM6 graphite, which combines the sensitivity required for delicate presentation with enough power to launch longer casts if you happen to stumble across that "off the map" alpine lake on your backcountry adventure!
However, it's the Fly-Lite Mini Reel that is the true treasure to behold in this combo. Custom-machined by Fly-Lite to balance precisely with the Mini-Rod, the Mini-Reel is a gem of quality, beauty, and simplicity. I don't know of any other reel on the market that reflects the ultralight backpacking philosophy better than this one. And, at 2.7 ounces, it's one of only three high end fly reels that tip the scales at less than three ounces (the other two are from Hardy and Sage, and cost more than this entire kit!).
But there's more - the kit includes a storage case designed specifically for this combo, a 4-weight floating fly line, a leader, and a soft - and ultralight - reel sack to protect your reel while packing.
And what's it like catching fish on this? I've had the pleasure of using the combo on remote headwater streams in both the Wind Rivers and Beartooths - where every brook trout is an anarchist more interested in keeping the water free of insects than self preservation! A brookie big enough to fill in the volume of your ultralight titanium cook pan will feel like an ocean going steelhead on this rod when you're at 10,000 feet! Yeah, but I only catch BIG fish. No problem, I have a soft spot for huge trout myself. On (* location censored *) Creek in Yellowstone National Park, I hooked and landed a twenty two inch Yellowstone Cutthroat on the Fly-Lite Mini Rod. And this, my friends, is an experience to behold. You can wax eloquent all you want about the power of your fast action six weight you keep in the trunk, but you haven't lived until you land a backcountry lunker on a mini-rod like this.
Can you tell, I'm enthusiastic about maximizing my backcountry fishing experience? The Fly-Lite Mini Rod and Reel Combo has a lot to do with it. You cannot get this
quality and innovation at this price from any other fly fishing equipment manufacturer.
The Fly-Lite Mini Rod and Reel combo includes the following components:
All lengths are versatile enough to be fine for small stream fishing. I prefer the 5 foot length because it stows shorter (when not using the included case, which is the same length for both rods) for bushwacking, and it gives me that much more casting flexibility in tight, confined, brushy creeks. For larger waters where you want every possible edge on casting distance, you might go for the 6 footer.
Be smart about what you expect from this rod. It's short, very light, and has a limited line capacity on the reel.
If you are an experienced fisherman, you'll be able to delicately land large (18+ inch) trout on this combo. If you don't have experience playing fish of this size on larger rods, there will be a learning curve. This isn't bad!! It's just going to leave you with a few more lunkers that break you off as you learn the unique characteristics of the rod. The bottom line: these fish will cause excessive heart palpitations when using this rod, so this rod is not recommended for serious fishermen with heart problems.
Another caveat: the short length and light weight of the Fly-Lite Mini Rod and Reel Combo is that it's optimized for small stream use and short casting distances. And so, if high winds and A River Runs Through It casts are your gig, then this rod ain't for you!
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