#FlyGearTopPick — EDGE Gamma Beta 5-Weight Fly Rod Review
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
The 5-weight is likely the most popular fly rod size on planet earth. From bluegill to small bonefish and everything in between, it's incredibly versatile throughout the spectrum of smaller species. While most single-handed 5-weights are packaged with about the same general style, the new EDGE Gamma Beta 5-weight strays a bit from the norm by offering a design that lends itself well to slightly more demanding applications. Designed by the legendary Gary Loomis, this rod seems to ooze a high-end techie vibe. Would its looks translate to outstanding performance, or would it totally fall flat?
Length: 9 feet
Line Weight: 5
Rod Weight: Approx 3.38 ounces (measured)
Stripping Guides: ALPS Titanium
Snake Guides: Mike McCoy Snake Guides
Reel Seat: Silver aluminum/Buckeye wood insert
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
Very reminiscent of Mr. Loomis' old-school creations, my test rod touted a very sleek but minimalist appearance. The made-in-the-USA blanks are hand-sanded for a smoke-grey matte look—no shiny coating to be found here. In fact, EDGE claims the lack of coating provides a weight savings of up to 20%. True? I surely can't say, but it absolutely doesn't hurt.
Both the tip-top along with the Snake Brand guides are generously-sized to allow for easy line flow. Two ALPS titanium-framed stripping guides can be found further down the blank, with all the guides being secured by simple gloss-black wraps. No alignment dots are used on this rod, but the ferrules fit together snugly with no "tick" evident when shaking/flexing the EDGE.
While thus far I've cited no cosmetic imperfections, the rod's logo on my tester could be cleaned up slightly. During an up-close inspection, I noticed a few tiny bubbles in some of the "EDGE" lettering. It's definitely not a glaring issue, but if I see it I mention it!
EDGE uses an excellent flor-grade full-wells cork handle that's both comfortable and attractive. It has more flare/shape in it than I'm used to, but thankfully the comfort level is high. Adjacent to the grip, you'll find an up-locking aluminum reel seat with a beautiful buckeye wood insert. This reel seat is unique to the Beta 5-weight, as all the other Beta models get a unique slotted aluminum reel seat. Despite the seat having just one locking ring, it locks a reel down with a snug, confident feel thanks to the black gasket (or whatever it is) on the ring. At the end of the reel seat is a fighting butt with a flared composite-cork end that is sized perfectly.
I paired this premium rod up with an equally-premium Abel 5/6 SD reel that was loaded with a 5-weight RIO Bonefish line so I could overcome the warm Florida weather. While I originally had Florida peacock bass on the brain, the Beta 5-weight also helped me tie into big cichlids and two whopper grass carp that I estimated at 20+ pounds each....quite a handful!
Equipped with a fast action, my 5-weight Beta was a phenomenal performer at any distance. Fast-action rods are my favorite, and this one is a reallllly good one. It's capable of achieving very tight loops and some serious distance, but at the same time the tip has some good softness to it for close work. While casting, the rod also feels very lightweight, crisp, and accurate with some very noticeable reserve power. As the rod unloads, there's a nice pop to the blank that helps give the caster more confidence with bigger flies or when facing a headwind.
What a great 5-weight this is for both fresh and saltwater pursuits. I had no problem delivering flies ranging from a little berry imitation for grass carp up to a bushy size 1 streamer. When hooked up, the fighting butt and ample backbone made for a great combination when putting the smack down on some serious carp. This rod is an absolute cannon and a pretty spectacular instrument to fish with!
Impressive. Period. If you have your mind on swinging streamers for trout, sight-fishing carp, casting at tailing bonefish on a slicked-out Bahamian flat, or any number of other similar species or scenarios, this is most definitely a rod you need to take a serious look at. The price is far from what I'd call "affordable," but it's lightweight, sleek, and a straight-up performer that's one of the best I've fished.
Fast-action Gamma Beta rods range from my 9'0" 5-weight up to a 9'0" 12-weight. There's also 8,10,11, and 12-weight one-piece Gamma Beta rods that all measure 8'10" in length. EDGE also offers 3,4,5, and 6-weight moderate-action Gamma Alpha rods in lengths from 8'0" to 9'0". Prices span from $675.00 for one-piece models up to $895.00 for the heaviest saltwater rods. All rods include a tube (Betas get polished aluminum; Alphas get black graphite) and a cloth sock.