Off the top of my head, the Diamondback Clout has to be the most unique fly rod I've ever seen in my life. Care to take a wild guess as to why that is? All kidding aside, you likely noticed the very different handle design before even reading the first word to this review. I first saw these rods at the IFTD show in 2015 and knew that one day I absolutely had to get a demo to fish with. Who wouldn't want to try a rod like this?
Let's get the obvious out of the way first—the grip. Comprised of five pieces of very clean cork, Diamondback calls it their LINK Grip. Its purpose is to reduce fatigue while allowing the caster to have increased blank contact for increased sensitivity. It's truly a creative and wild design, but the reason behind it makes perfect sense. How did I like it? More on that in a bit!
This stick is quite a looker. The aluminum reel seat features a single up-locking ring and a diamond-cut pattern that looks pretty incredible. The blank and wraps are a stunning ruby red color with some silver accents that provide good contrast. My test rod features two titanium stripping guides with zirconia inserts and thin-diameter stainless snake guides for efficient line flow. Other nifty details include a hook keeper, diamond logos on the reel seat and cork, and diamond-shaped ferrule alignment marks. The quality was on point as everything was crafted and assembled with care.
At just 2.5 ounces, the Clout feels quite feathery. The light weight and the way my fingers sink in between the cork pieces make the rod feel like a big matchstick—a cool and interesting sensation. In other words, the rod feels thinner in-hand since the fingers can contact the blank within the handle itself. I constantly kept things fun by playing around with a few different grip styles to see what felt best. Overall, I liked the grip and found it contoured to my hand relatively well, but I still much prefer the simplicity, versatility, and feel of a traditional one-piece style overall.
Since my testing was in the sweltering summer heat of Florida, I exclusively used RIO's WF5F Bonefish fly line on the Clout. While it's rated as a medium-fast, it felt like it leaned a bit more towards fast to me. Feel in close was good thanks to a nice soft tip, but I really liked it at modest distances of, say, 30–40 feet or so. The rod has the power to easily drive out longer casts, but the slightly shorter length gives this rod the upper hand when it comes to accuracy at more average ranges. I can't remember the last time I fished an 8'6" 5-weight, but I felt like I could aim just a tad better than usual with this sub 9-footer.
Clout rods come in 4 to 6-weight sizes between 8 and 9-feet long. All models are 4-pieces and carry a retail price of $425. Along with the rod, an awesome graphite rod tube and a soft embroidered rod bag are also included to round out a polished and impressive package.