A year ago, I might have told you that the best rod for trout fishing was a 9’ 3wt.~at least here in southern Ontario. That opinion would have been based upon what is still my love of very light fly rods. Catching trout (big or small) on light tackle, coupled with the challenges of wind and various flies, presents a unique set of challenges.
It is quite a rewarding feeling. The flaw in my logic then, was the opinion that anything over a 4wt. seemed like a club for all but the biggest fish. With enough fly fishing time under my belt to be thoroughly set in my ways, the issue of trying a heavier rod would either have to be addressed, or forgotten forever.
When Damon Fly Rods sent us a the 8’6” 5wt. to try out, I considered where I would take it and how heavy a streamer it could cast. Overkill, I was convinced.
I set out to do a little bass fishing at my local bass pond, not really sure of what to expect from this rather well-appointed rod. If the 1-2lb bass and sunfish put even a slight bend in the rod, it might be a good candidate for a trip to the river for some trout fishing. What a pleasant experience it turned out to be!
The rod’s debut was on a hot late summer evening a couple of hours before the mosquitoes would make things unbearable. I opened one of my streamer boxes and stared blankly at the options. A short distance away I heard a splash and looked up to see the swirl of a rising fish. Not exactly mayfly territory, I tied on one of my favorite black foam bugs and cast it to the water adjacent to the cattails. I carefully stripped in the slack line without moving the rubber-legged creation. A quick splash and the fly disappeared. I was ready, and set the hook on a largemouth that was probably just under a pound. The rod seemed every bit as sensitive, responsive as my favorite 2&3wts. Can’t be. Maybe its a soft 5wt. and the light fly made it feel powerful. Feeling like my light-rod convictions were on shaky ground, I switched to my heaviest dumbbell-eyed black wooly bugger and set up the cast. With GREAT authority the Raquette launched the streamer as far as most the 7wts. I’ve tried.
It was the first time I think I started to believe in the possibility of 5wts. being the best “all-around” rod. A few fish later, I was wondering what a larger fish might feel like on this rod. Well, that question was answered only minutes after the little vampiric devils took flight that evening. In the last minutes of daylight a fish swirled a mere 18-20 feet from where I was casting. The disturbance was significant. I tied on a big deer-hair mouse and put the Damon to work. When the mouse landed, I left it alone for about 30 seconds imagining a big bass that might be intrigued, but not convinced.
I gave the mouse a short, but quick tug and the water erupted. What a shock! I’d only ever caught bass up to 1-1/2lbs. here and this brute was a great deal stronger.
After about a 5 minute fight, the chunky largemouth came to hand.
This rod performed beautifully! When one considers Damon’s commitment to rod building, this performance is no accident.
With a clear recognition of the variables that render every single blank unique, Damon takes the time to carefully "evaluate and test each individual rod and adjust all aspects of assembly and finish to ensure maximum performance." Essentially custom-rod attention to production rods. In order to yield the highest power and accuracy "Each Damon rod is meticulously "spined" in a multi-step process. We locate the major power axis of each blank section before fine-tuning the process with the rod sections placed together as a whole." A stress-distribution test to each blank then determines the best possible spacing and placement of the line guides. Performance is excellent in this rod, as is the appearance. A "gloss evergreen" colored blank, mated with machined titanium anodized reel seat and figured maple spacer amount to a fly rod with high marks in the looks department.
At $285.00 US, this is allot of rod for the money.
Available from a 6′6" 2wt. all the way up to a 10′ 9wt., there is a Damon Raquette to cover almost any fishing situation.
Related Link: Damon Rods