Fenwick Aetos 7 Weight Fly Rod Review
Can you afford an $800 fly rod? For many people, the answer is no. Fishing with a premium high-performance rod is undoubtedly something special, but you can spend a lot less and still get the job done just fine. One example of an "affordable" rod series that is often spoken highly of is the Fenwick Aetos lineup. While I praised the little 3-weight model that I recently tested right here, not every line weight in a particular rod series may be equally pleasing. Luckily, Fenwick was nice enough to send us not just that 3-weight, but a 7-weight model as well. Would this review be as positive as the previous one?
Length: 9 feet
Line Weight: 7
Measured Weight: Approx 4.55 ounces
Stripping Guides: (2) Stainless frame/SiC insert
Snake Guides: Dark stainless single foot
Reel Seat: Aluminum with graphite insert
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
The grip of the Aetos is a typical full-wells design crafted of AAA cork. As I expected considering the price point of this rod, the cork is not the cleanest to look at and uses a fair amount of filler. The top and bottom of the grip sport thin sections of composite cork which adds both contrast and extra durability to these vulnerable wear points.
The body of the reel seat is comprised of gunmetal-colored aluminum along with a dark graphite spacer. There's double up-locking rings that spin smoothly, while the slide band showcases the Fenwick logo which is oriented upwards for easy visibility when a reel is attached. Although there are no gaskets between the two rings which usually helps improve how they feel when securing a reel, these still cinch down quite well. Below the seat is a fighting butt made entirely of composite cork. I'm used to seeing (and using) fighting butts with more of a rounded-off end shape, but I don't notice any discomfort issues despite the harder edges of this one.
Wraps are black and the blank a glossy grey with the only accenting being some silver and red around the logo area. I really like what was done at the ferrules. Each joint has the rod model number and alignment dots along with a little "guide line" (as I call it) to ensure precision when putting pieces together.
My test rod features two stainless-framed stripping guides that each have SiC inserts. The rest of the guides are stealthy single-foot guides of generous diameters which helps for shooting line and passing knots efficiently. All the wraps were done cleanly, but I did find a tiny runaway epoxy drip on one of the single-foot guides.
I tested my 7-weight Aetos with a textured Orvis PRO Saltwater All-Rounder WF7F fly line. This line has a 30-foot head weight of 185 grains which means it is true-to-size and not built with additional heft.
The Aetos web page seems to indicate these rods are both medium-fast and fast. Sooooo which is it?! After spending some time with this rod, it undoubtedly feels fast to me. While the performance doesn't blow me away in any regard, for a rod costing well under $250 it does perform quite well.
What you get is a nice solid fast action rod that retains good feel in close thanks to a tip that's not overly stiff. Despite the fly line I've used being true-to-weight, the Aetos gives enough feedback without any dead or numb feeling. I never have any issues putting the fly where I want it and never feel like I need a fly line that was built overweight.
The Aetos 7-weight makes quick work of casts at moderate ranges and has enough power down low to throw long with decent efficiency. One thing I notice while fishing the rod is that it really wakes up when using a short, quick casting stroke. When you get the right stroke down, the rod can produce some very compact loops and did a great job of cutting through the wind during one particularly blustery afternoon. Although my fishing thus far has been strictly on freshwater, this should make for a great budget saltwater flats rod, too.
On my scale, the rod's weight came in at approximately 4.55 ounces which is on the heavier side for a 7-weight. However, that doesn't always translate into a rod that actually feels heavy and clunky in hand. While casting, the rod doesn't feel noticeably hefty to me—just kind of in the "average" zone and about what I expected before even weighing the thing. It has never been a problem for me to fish this rod for many hours at a time.
My Aetos tester may lack a little refinement compared to higher-dollar offerings, but the advertised price of $235.95 (that's a rather unique number) is extremely attractive considering the pleasant performance this rod offers. I absolutely love owning and fishing ultra-high-performance rods, but much less-expensive gear that fishes at the level of a loftier price point also offers a ton of satisfaction in its own unique way. For the angler that is concerned about cost, the Aetos is a rod that undoubtedly should be a contender.
Consider buying your new Aetos at