I got my start in glass with vintage rods, for two reasons. First, because when I got into glass there weren't many rod makers building glass rods. And second, the older rods could be had fairly cheaply. My first glass rod was an old 5'6" 5-weight Eagle Claw rod that cost me under $20. It was short, but boy, could it cast. After that Eagle Claw I got old rods from Fenwick, Garcia, Heddon, and many others. Within a short time more and more modern rod companies started offering glass rods. And, in the last few years there have been a bunch of low-cost modern rods showing up on the market. Most of these rods are made in China or other foreign lands, but hey, a fly rod is a fly rod, so who cares where it was made. Am I right?
|UltraGlass 8' 5WT 3-piece|
|Aventik 8'1" 5WT 4-piece|
I have been especially intrigued by a couple of rod brands that have popped up: UltraGlass and Aventik. Both are readily available on ebay, are made in China, and cost somewhere around $100 or thereabouts, including shipping. I felt as though I was in need of a 5-weight pack rod, although I probably didn't actually need one, but since both UltraGlass and Aventik make one of those, I decided to try them both and see which one I like the best. Both arrived this week, so let's do some casting!
To start my tests, I used the exact same reel (a Lamson LP-2) and the exact same line (a brand new 5-weight WF line from Maxcatch) on each of these two rods. And the rods are set up similarly, as well, the only difference being the Aventik is an inch longer (8'1" vs. 8'). I took them out in the yard next to my office and gave them a go. I should state that the yard next to my office is always windy, as there is very little shelter around and the wind comes howling off the wide open soybean field across the road. That was the case today when I did the testing.
The first thing I can say is that these two rods have very different actions! The UltraGlass is very fast for glass, possibly the fastest glass rod I have ever cast. And it has some power! I was casting 60' casts fairly effortlessly with minimal exertion. Most of my casts while fishing are under 40', though, and the UltraGlass did not seem all that capable of making the shorter casts with any delicacy. It was quite difficult to make shorter casts at all... The less line I had out the more the rod felt like a broomstick. Maybe that would be solved by moving up a line weight to a 6, but since it's labeled as a 5, I wanted to use a 5.
The Aventik rod had a much more fluid and slow action to it; it was an action that I preferred. You could feel it flexing and loading, like most other glass rods. And it loaded easily with 15-20' of line out. I could still cast for distance, like with the UltraGlass, but the closer casts felt much better with the Aventik rod.
As far as aesthetics go, both rods were finished very nicely, and come with quality accoutrements. High quality cork grips, nice wood reel seats, and neat guides and thread wraps came on both. The Aventik comes with single-foot guides, which aren't my favorite, but they serve their purpose so I will try not to complain too much. Both rods come with nice, sectioned rod bags and cordura-covered rod tubes with carrying straps. It's pretty amazing to me that these nice touches are included on such inexpensive rods...
All in all, I like both the UltraGlass and the Aventik rods, you know, because they are fly rods and all fly rods are awesome. But for my taste I would rate the Aventik higher on the castability scale. The UltraGlass feels a little too much like graphite for my taste. If I was looking for a nice 6-weight rod, I would think the UltraGlass might be perfect, but I am not, so I would choose the Aventik. If you have a chance to try either of these rods, let me know what you think!