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Fiberglass Fly Rods by Epic

Bendy, oh so bendy!

A close up of three fiberglass fly rods with a fly reel in the background.



Oh, words, they're fun to use. I don't use them often, so brace yourself for this week's Things We Like. About seven years ago, I embraced masochism by fully immersing myself in a sport called fly fishing. When I start a new hobby, I find myself deep in the rabbit hole of reviews (and I mean 100's of hours of YouTube videos), intending to discover the holy grail. Over the years, I've tried all kinds of brands, but nothing has me as excited as New Zealand's shining star, Epic Fly Rods, specifically their Reference 8wt 888 Fastglass fly rod.


The Reference 888 isn't like the wet noodle your grandmother threw at the wall, a.k.a. that 1972 fiberglass rod you picked up at your neighbor's yard sale. It is a perfect balance of flexibility and power, similar to a moderate action carbon rod but more, should I say, "bendy?" As bendy as that YouTube yoga instructor you watch every morning, thinking to yourself, today's the day I will finally nail that one-legged king pigeon. Yeah right.

My favorite thing about this rod is it makes you feel like a kid again. Do you remember catching a bluegill on a 3’ Power Ranger rod? I do; that was probably a fiberglass rod. Casting the Reference 888 is a blast. It is a game of slowing down. If you horse it, it won’t deliver. The real joy comes when you hook up to a fish. I mainly use the Reference 888 for redfish and speckled trout, but battling anything of size will make you smile. I don’t know of any carbon 8wts that will give you the same childlike enjoyment – besides a 2wt, now those things are fun. 

a close up of fly rod reel seat.

The common complaints about fiberglass fly rods are they’re heavy and don’t cast very far. Well, I’m here to tell you that both are true. I’m no mathematician, but I know fiberglass weighs more than carbon, so there’s not much you can do about the physical weight. However, pairing the Reference 888 with a heavier fly reel will help balance it out. Without one, it will feel tip-heavy, and that’s no bueno. I use the Nautilus CCF-X2 6/8 and it’s a perfect match. Epic has their Backcountry Fly Reel, but I think it pairs better with carbon rods like their 890C 8wt Carbon. So buck up, buddy; it’s time to rip off those sleeves like a WWE wrestler and show everyone at your neighborhood pond what you’re working with. Next!

Complaint number dos, "Waaa, they don't cast far". True, but the Reference 888 has no problem "bombing" line - as the cool kids say. What's also true is using the correct line will help you look cooler in front of your friends. I suggest using a line with an elongated rear taper. Yes, I brought up taper. We don't have time for this, but the elongated rear taper will help carry the line through those three mph winds. I've tried all kinds of lines, but I really enjoy the Cortland Bonefish 210 gr fly line. 

The Reference 888 is not cheap, but the quality is spectacular. As Epic states, “Let someone else do cheap – we do excellent.” And I agree with them. So next time that yoga instructor leads you into savasana, think about picking yourself up a Reference 888 8wt or any other Epic Fastglass fly rod. Thank me later.


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