3 Cool Old Fly Rods to Search For
Have you ever sat back and thought about some of the fly rods you've had in the past?
Even though I have fly fished for nearly three decades, if you gave me a few minutes to really think about it, I'm pretty sure I could name every fly rod that I've ever owned! The sign of a real tackle junkie I guess...
When anyone thinks about those rods from years gone by, there's likely to be a few that really stand out. Perhaps they felt especially awesome or were just there with you on some particularly memorable days, but if they've since been sold, chances are a part of you kind of misses those old sticks. No matter how eye catching, refined, or more advanced the latest rod model may be, I often miss some of my old school rods and wish I still had them laying around. Perhaps I wouldn't fish them as often as the newest stuff, but it would be sweet to still have them here anyway.
I have a bunch of memorable fly rods in my mind, but three of them immediately leap out ahead of the pack for various reasons:
4-weight G. Loomis GL4 - The classic GL3, IMX, and GLX rods are familiar names to longtime Loomis fans, but the lesser-known GL4 series was a personal favorite of mine. These rods were a pretty matte-green color, with gold lettering and black aluminum/woven carbon reel seats. Many folks likely haven't heard of these because they weren't around very long, but they did briefly fill the void left by the IMX rods for a short time, which I believe was in the middle or later part of the 1990's.
I owned the 9'0" 4 and 7 weight two-piece rods and remember both being lightweight and very easy to cast. Although I really enjoyed them and caught oodles of fish on each, the 4 really stood out as a truly great rod to me. Although I don't recall the action being particularly fast, it was an equally awesome performer whether I was making short presentations on mountain streams or going for sheer distance at the San Francisco fly casting ponds.
These rods were not particularly cheap back then—I want to say in the $450 or $500 area—but there seems to be plenty of deals on them now. If I come across a 9'0" 4-weight in great condition, I may have to pick it up simply for the nostalgia factor!
5-weight Cabela's L-Tech - This one likely comes as a surprise, but the 5-weight Cabela's L-Tech was easily one of the best 5's I've ever used. My rod was finished in a gorgeous moss-green color, with a Recoil stripping guide, cork/composite cork grip, and a unique "skeletal" reel seat. Weighing under 3-ounces and sporting a fast action, this beautiful rod cast like a dream and had an extremely high "fun-to-fish" quality. In fact, I took mine to Pyramid Lake, NV for three days back in 2009 and landed over 120 trout on it during that time...talk about fun!
These rods were pretty affordable and I believe retailed in the low to mid $200 range. I actually experimented with several Cabela's rods back in that 2009–2011 time frame and was genuinely impressed by most. Another standout was the 10-weight Cabela's LST, but the L-Tech 5-weight easily takes the top spot out of them all.
9-weight Sage RPLX - Debuting in 1989, the RPLX series were the first saltwater-specific fly rods which launched in 8–12 weight sizes. These fast sticks had that classic Sage olive blank coloration, chrome hardware, full-wells grips, aluminum seats, and fighting butts.
My mom gifted me an RPLX 9-weight, purchased at the Reno Fly Shop back in the early 1990's. Being in my first few years of fly fishing at the time, this was easily the nicest fly rod I had! My RPLX didn't see a ton of use until I got a small boat a few years later, after which I then used the rod often for saltwater striper fishing. For that purpose, the stout fast action of the RPLX blank was perfect, easily handling both floating lines, shooting heads, and big weighted Clousers. About the only things I didn't like were the skinny shape and firm rubber end of the fighting butt, and the 3-piece configuration was always kind of awkward when breaking down.
Sage has made a lot of great saltwater rods since those days, with a couple of my favorites being the Xi2 and Salt HD rods. However, if you need a powerful saltwater rod and want to fish with a piece of Sage history, the RPLX would be an interesting classic to hit the water with.
Out of curiosity, I often look online for these rods and other discontinued models. I have to say, it's really surprising what pops up on Ebay and other sites. I consistently find brand-new rods that somehow went unused for years, along with others that I totally forgot even existed. Even if I don't buy anything, simply coming across a nostalgic old rod always brings back some great memories of past years and fishing experiences!
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