Beulah (pronounced byoo-luh) fly rods have been on my radar for a long time. Based in Medford, Oregon, this company may not be as prominent as some of the biggest names in the industry, but these rods sure are gorgeous. In fact, that beauty is what first caught my eye some time ago and led me to pursue this review. Having never held a Beulah rod before, I was both curious to see the custom touches and feel the performance for myself. I recently had a chance to test the 6-weight from their Platinum Single-Hand series, so let's get into it!
Length: 9-feet 6-inches
Line Weight: 6
Material: IM-8 Graphite
Rod Weight: 4-ounces
Stripping Guides: Stainless frames / SiC inserts
Guides: Chrome snake guides
Reel Seat: Aluminum
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
If you like your tackle to stand out from the masses, this rod does a great job of helping you achieve that. This is one beautiful, classy stick that adds just the right amount of custom touches without going overboard. Starting with the most obvious, both the grip and the fighting butt make use of both standard and decorative composite-cork bits that really set off this end of the rod. The cork quality is very good and feels equally as nice to the touch.
Below the main grip, the black aluminum reel seat sports a faint amount of texture on its surface. To secure the reel there's double uplocking rings for added insurance. Typically, the reel's foot slides into a hood that's flush with the bottom of the main cork handle. This Beulah is a little different in that there's a trim ring around this part of the hood/handle—something I can't recall seeing before. Not a bad thing whatsoever; just something different!
The blank itself is a kind of glossy olive-brown color with some contrasting lighter wraps and a touch of trim at the butt and ferrules. Attached to the rod are stainless-framed SiC stripping guides and hard-chrome snake guides. The ferrules fit together snugly with no "tick" felt when shaking the rod. Overall, the craftsmanship of the rod is very pleasing with no complaints from me. The only thing I found wrong was a pretty healthy chip taken out of the first stripping guide's insert by one of the previous rod testers—ouch!
Being boat-less for the time being (unless a friend has room on a skiff), I'm a shore-bound angler. In some of the spots I fish, a little extra length is a big help. It may not seem like an extra 6-inches added to a fly rod's length would make a noticeable difference, but it does. It allows for slightly better reach, distance, and most importantly, helps keep the back cast up a little higher when casting over brush or other obstacles. The Beulah made casting for beach snook and small pond largemouth a breeze!
Speaking of casting, the 9'6" Platinum 6-weight is a very capable one. I threw it specifically with RIO's WF6F Bonefish Quickshooter which is probably an odd line choice compared to what most users of this rod will be throwing. As advertised, the Beulah exhibited a true fast action. The performance was fine at close range and even better at "average" fishing distances of about 40–60 feet or so. Going long wasn't a problem either, especially with the extra rod length. Tight loops came easy and there was enough power to easily cast small weighted streamers.
In-hand, the weight of the rod feels about average. I never felt it to be tiring or uncomfortable fishing this stick. Also in regards to comfort, I'd rate the grip above average. The size, feel, and shape is excellent. When in my hand, my thumb rests right on the decorative cork rings at the top of the grip. Their texture and slightly-rubbery feel makes the grip (and fighting butt) even more comfortable and pleasing to use.
Beulah did a great job with this 6-weight. There's plenty of fly rods on the market that get the job done well, but the Beulah does this while also giving the customer added custom touches at a modest price tag. While my very brief testing of the Beulah on local snook and bass is probably not what most folks will be targeting with this particular rod, the line rating and added length also make it a solid pick for fish like steelhead, big-water brown trout, or carp. In addition to making casting easier for the land-based angler, a longer rod like this also benefits the float tuber or kickboater by keeping false casts higher up off the water!
Link: Beulah Platinum Single-Hand Fly Rods