Ever since I was a kid, I've had a special affection for 4 weight fly rods. While the 5 weight is undoubtedly the the most popular for freshwater anglers, the feel and fun factor of the 4 has always worked well for me and been more appealing. This size is also far more versatile than some may think, capable of handling dries, nymphs, and even small streamers.
North Carolina based Mauser Fly Fishing builds rods with a meticulous, personal touch. If you've followed us for awhile, you may have come across my early 2019 review of their Waterman 8 weight rod which can be seen here. While the Waterman rods are labeled as a fast action "all water" series, the new Mauser Arete series fills the more delicate freshwater-specific void with their medium actions.
Line Weight: 4
Measured Weight: Approx 2.9 ounces
Stripping Guide: Titanium frame / NanoLite insert
Snake Guides: REC Snake Guides
Reel Seat: Aluminum/Carbon insert
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
Clean and classy is the best way to describe the appearance of our Arete rod.
The blank of the Arete is a hand-sanded matte charcoal finish for a simple, no-nonsense look that keeps the weight to a bare minimum and the sensitivity at a maximum.
Mauser went the premium route when it comes to this rod's guide set. There's one titanium stripper guide with a NanoLite insert, while the remaining guides are titanium snakes from REC which are flexible and corrosion-proof. All guides are affixed with translucent spring green wraps that are covered in four thin coats of epoxy over a four day period.
The 7-inch reverse half-wells grip is crafted from good quality cork that's comprised of 1/4-inch rings. Mauser states that "With 1/4" rings, you'll never have to worry about soft spots or large voids in your grip."
Arete reel seats each feature a single up-locking ring with some light texturing that provides adequate grip, and there's a beautiful jadewood spacer with etched Mauser logo to nicely compliment the rod's wraps.
Mauser takes a lot of pride in craftsmanship and it shows in our tester. Build quality was excellent—clean, tidy wraps, the ferrules all fit together snugly, no errant epoxy blobs, etc. It's a solid package.
I fished my Arete for largemouth and peacock bass using Orvis' new WF4F PRO Trout Textured fly line which weighs 120 grains @ 30 feet — right on the "ideal" 4-weight fly line target weight per AFFTA standards.
I kind of knew the Arete would be a strong performer before the very first cast was even made. It just feels good in-hand and gives off a sense of precision and crispness while holding and flexing. String a fly line through its guides, and there is nothing to be disappointed about when it comes to performance. It's really a pleasure to cast.
Rated with a medium action, the rod felt like it edged more towards medium-fast to me. Regardless of your take on that, one thing I think everyone who holds this Arete can agree on is that it feels very light. When coupled with my Ross Colorado LT 3/4 reel (which weighs under 3 ounces) during testing, the whole setup felt GREAT.
I tossed my typical little streamers on this rod which were handled with ease. There was plenty of feel at all distances along with just enough reserve power to cast a good distance if needed. The forgiving action makes roll casting pleasing, yet slicing a fly through the breeze was not a problem when needed. For someone like me that typically fishes faster action rods, the Arete was very relaxing and easygoing to use.
Though I only fished streamers on the Arete, it should make a solid nymph rod and a killer choice for dry flies. I did notice the slightly shorter 8'6" length both in terms of casting and line control, but at the same time it makes the rod a little crisper and made it ever-so-slightly easier to maneuver my casts under and around the shoreline trees found at a few of my favorite local spots.
Sometimes, companies both inside and outside of the fishing realm can really nail one type of product, but fall short in another category. The crew at Mauser definitely seems a little more saltwater-oriented, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect with a freshwater-specific rod from them. Well, any doubts have been erased! The 4-weight Arete boasts quality craftsmanship and Grade-A performance which equals a big fun factor. Though still pricey at $645, it is noticeably less-expensive than other premium rods from "big name" companies yet still offerings some very formidable competition.
Mauser Fly Fishing