Fiberglass vs graphite

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Bill Johnson, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. I've been fly fishing off and on, more on now that I'm semi retired, for 40 years. I have a 5wt 8'6" fiberglass from the early 70's that I use occasionally, and a 5wt Sage graphite yada yada yada. My buddies have Sage, Winstons, etc. We all spend a lot of $ on equipment, but I'm starting to question this. Most of the rivers I fish (local, Montana and Idaho), are constrained to casting up to 40 or 50', and quite honestly, I'm not sure I can cast that much better with my Sage vs my old fiberglass unit. We trade rods on occasion, and yes, these rods all feel great and cast well, but I keep going back to fiberglass and wonder if the $400+ I spend on graphites is worth the money vs. the fiberglass. I catch just as many fish, present the fly just as well (I think), and can't cast any further or more accurately in the 40 or so feet ( or more typically 15-20') these rivers allow with one rod over another. Granted, the fiberglass rod I have was pretty high end when I bought it - not a 70's Eagle Claw etc.

    As an analogous situation, I have a buddy, same age as me, who is a scratch golfer. Until recently, he golfed with the same set of Hogan’s he used in college. About two years ago he bought a new set of clubs, and after two years of serious golfing, he dropped a couple of strokes. A little better, not much.

    So, what's the group think? Is a $400 Graphite all that much better than a $50 fiberglass?

  2. I love my old graphite/fiberglass 6 wt no brand name stick that I use when trolling on lakes or wading small rivers/creeks. The action on it is like whipping a wet noodle compared to the sage I use on the salt.

    So for me, it comes down to personal preference. What's that old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
    If it cast's the way you want it to and catches fish, then use it! :thumb:
  3. I think it is up to what you like. But I'm selling all my graphite and going back to fiberglass and bamboo. There are alot of custom fiberglass rods you can get, that are as much or more then the graphites. I just like the feel and how glass casts.
    I you are interested in another one check out tjs bearden on the internet. They just found a custom maker to do fiberglass rods for them.
  4. Probobly not, Ive never had a fiberglass rod though

    Ive been through this before, started shooten trap with my grandpa's winchester model 12, a couple years ago I got a remington 1170. Never really shot all that well with it. Then I picked up a sweet Benelli, never shot nearly as well with it. Well now Im back to the model 12, its gotta be 50 years old but damm I shoot well with it

  5. I like and use both depending upon the situation.

    30+ years ago my first rod was a glass Eagle Claw. Over the years I adopted ever faster graphite, peaking earlier this decade with a collection of Sage TCR's and XP's. They were cannond, but I also noticed getting tired after a long day of casting, breaking off a lot of fish, and shattering a few rods for the first time in my life.

    Then I tried someone's Winston IM6...and then someone's old Fenwick glass rod, and several years later most of those super fast thunder sticks are gone and I use a mix of fast and medium action graphite plus slow glass.

    More than anything, it depends on the design of the rod. A rod designed by a genius will be awesome no matter the material. You just have to understand its intended use and use it within those limits.
  6. This fall i went on a pheasant hunt for a charity at a game farm. Well i show up with my Ithaca Model 37 and got laughed at. the other guys were shooting the 3500.00 -5k guns. Well at the end of the day i had thouroughly out shot them. All their fancy clothes and guns did not buy them shooting or hunting skills. To many times people try and buy skills by buying expensive gear. The old saying goes. its not the arrow its the indian.
  7. Blondes, brunettes, redheads. Supermodel, actress, fat chick.
    You seem to have a good grasp of your priorities, needs and preferences. I bet most of us have not got our shit together that well yet. Pick your stick and master it! There are plenty of others who will have huge stable of rods and never attain the same fluidity with them that you have with your favored glass rod. Great question.
  8. I have noticed more distance and less weight with the graphite rods. I still use my old fiberglass once in awhile on small streams. My Fenwick I broke the tip a few years back, and I really enjoyed it. But, I do believe I get more distance with a good graphite rod.

  9. I believe the upper end rods are way over priced. I have fished some of my friends Sages and Loomis rods and for the slight benefits, I'll stick with my lower end graphites. I have an Old Springfield 1903A3 and at 200 yds I can hold a smaller group than my friends with their newer Winchesters and Remingtons. Expensive guns don't often shoot any better than a moderately priced guns. I also have an Ithaca Model 37, they do shoot well. They aren't an inexpensive gun but they certainly aren't in the 3500k class. Those Older Ithacas are now collectors items I'm told.

  10. I love fiberglass is certain situations, I won't fish mine any day anymore though
  11. I'll toss something else into the mix: "S-Glass" (there was another one called "E-Glass if memory serves). This was the transition material between fiber glass and graphite. And it was one of the sweetest materials rods were ever built from. In fly rods, the 'action' was very similar to Bamboo ... without the cost.

    Some manufacturers still produce a few rods (Lamiglas being one) out of this material, but options as to what you can get are few and far between. If someone started building fly rods out of this, I'd be all over it in a 'New York Second.'

  12. As with most things, what you "think" is paramount. If you think that you cast better, shoot better, etc. with one piece of equipment versus the other, it's probably due to ingrained memories or the like - the power of positive thought, mind over matter.
  13. Fred, "S-Glass" is a different weave than "E-Glass." Same "glass," but a different weave. I used to build my own surfboards, and on the last one I used "S-Glass." The S-glass was supposed to make a stronger shell than "E-Glass." My glass job turned out to be fairly light and relatively bulletproof. In my opinion, the S-Glass was at least a slight improvement over E-Glass, for surfboard skins, anyway. I still used the same polyester resin with it.
    I glassed a different board with E-Glass and Epoxy resin, and that was a strong, ding-resistant board, too. Hated working with the epoxy resin, though. Tough to sand.

    I like my old "slow action" glass rods at times (fly, spin, and bait-casting). All of the ones I still use are Fenwicks. As light as they are, they seem strong and have survived some abuse over the years. I don't think I'll ever sell 'em or get rid of 'em.
    I never used to break rods until I started using graphite. Its really brittle stuff when compared to glass.
  14. Well lets look at it this way. A graphite rod is just another word for Fiber Glass rod.

    Lets go a little farther in this. If you were to have a rod made out of just graphite you couldn't afford it. The Graphite rods are Fiberglass rod impregnated with graphite material. More or less of the material gives you what you all try to achive. A smooth casting rod.

    Me, I prefer a four piece rod over a two piece rod. I really don't give a shit what it's made out of except a graphite impregnated rod is lighter. SO it don't wear you out as soon as a heavier rod does.

  15. I own (or used to own) many rods of both S and E glass. My personal preference is S glass for its slightly faster recovery while still maintaining a very soft and glassy feel. Today Steffen Brothers and Scott both make S glass rods that are really good -- high performance even. T&T and Diamondglass also made excellent S glass rods until recently. You can still get them used of course. Lami only makes E glass now in fly rods, at least according to the experts on the Fiberglass Flyrodders forum.
  16. Thanks for the update :thumb: on 'S' and 'E' glass ... working (from my end anyway) from a 20 years + "back in the day" memory.

  17. Over the past half dozen years, I've finally learned that my own spastic casting stroke is a lot more efficient when using a medium action or slower rod. As a result, I've pruned all my former graphite 'rocket launchers' from the closet, although I still have a set of medium-action Sage SP-5s in 3wt to 5wt and a medium-fast SLT-5 in a 6wt for big fish in wind.

    Part of what caused my re-evaluation was my exposure to bamboo rods, nearly all of which are waaaaay slower than even medium graphites. I learned that I could cast a cane rod nearly as far and just as accurately as a graphite one but with less effort and end-of-day soreness was a true epiphany.

    Here's a modern glass rod built on a Lamiglass 904-6 that a friend wrapped up for me last spring. The sections are just under 17" and the whole tube fits nicely inside even my smallest day pack. The action is slow but completely progressive, even with all the joints, allowing me to easily bang out 35-40 foot casts from a float tube. I don't fish for steelhead or salmon any more, but even a little trout feels like a steelie on this beauty!


  18. What does better mean?

    I have no problem with these debates, but I don't think it ever has to be about money, name brand, or material. Yet this is often what we want to debate.

    Ultimately it always comes down to does the fishing tool do what you want it to and do you enjoy using it.
  19. I wish I had some extra money so I could pick up a glass rod. Always wanted to try one, as I think I lean towards slower actions myself. Perhaps I'll sell/trade a rod or two sometime to get my hands on one.
  20. Now THAT IS ONE COOL STICK! :thumb:


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