This review is also posted in the Articles forum.
ALLEN Fly Fishing
ATS Fly Rod Review
With the way the economy is these days it gets more and more expensive to start fly fishing. Some one who wants to give fly fishing a try can have sticker shock at the price of fly rods and fly lines. When you add in all of the various things we fly fishers use, the price can be out of reach for some potential fly fishers. Companies like ALLEN Fly Fishing provide products from around the world that represent good performance and quality for a reasonable price. ALLEY Fly Fishing has been upgrading their rods and this review is about their new ATS Fly Rod. This review is about the ATS 5wt 9' medium action rod.
The Allen ATS is an entry level rod or for any fly fisher wanting to save some money but still have a good casting and fishable rod. ALLEN states that the rod has a medium to medium-fast action. I find it more of a medium action rod but I favor fast action rods and my assessment may be off a bit. If you like to fish light weight leaders this rod would give you a good cushion. A medium action rod is a great rod for a new fly fisher to start with. It makes you slow your stroke and gives you good protection to light tippets. The ATS has the power to cast reasonable distances but still work with short cast. I did find that I was over powering the rod and had to back off on my power application. This is not a fault with the rod but with my inexperience with medium action rods. The rod is well built with good cork, good wraps, and just a great all around rod for the price. The color of the rod inside the house is a dark red. You might even have to look carefully to see that it is red. But take it out into the sun and it has a beautiful red color, looking like a Red Garnet Gem stone, a really gorgeous color.
The rod comes in a plastic case that is covered with a red fabric that looks tough. The Cap is part of the cloth cover and closes with a zipper. The zipper assures that you don’t lose your cap but also offers a place for potential problems. Zippers break but this one looks like it is up to the task. The zipper is heavy plastic so no worry about rust. With reasonable care this zipper should last for many years. The cap and the bottom of the tube has a foam insert to protect the rod pieces from damage. This case doesn't come with a rod bag and it doesn't need one. Sewed into the case are cloth compartments that provide a slot for each piece of the rod. At first I was surprised but as I use this setup it works great and you don’t have to worry about loosing the rod bag. The rod case comes with a carry strap that is sewed onto the cloth cover. One other thing attached to the rod case is a Card that states the warrant and the Web address of Allen Fishing. The card also gives instructions for the Care and Handling of your Allen rods and reels. Overall this is a very good case and will definitely protect your rod.
The rod is four pieces and has good hardware. The snake guides appear to be stainless and good quality. The tip top doesn't look like the same material as the snake guides. The wraps are done really well and the over all finish of the rod is very high quality. Especially when you consider the rod's cost. This rod is built in Korea and that is a plus for us consumers. The rods that I have seen coming from Korea are a step or two above what I see coming from China. I know it has a lot to do with the manufacture but I prefer rods from Korea. The grip has good cork and the quality is what you would expect from a rod at this price point. All holes in the cork are filled and the handle looks like one from a more expensive rod. It has a Reverse-Half-Wells grip that is very comfortable to my hand. The ends of the grip have a darker cork that is the norm for many rod grips these days.
I especially like the up-locking reel seat. The knurling on the lock nuts is excellent. There are two lock nuts so the reel should never come loose while fishing. There is a wooden insert with an indent saddle for the reel to set in. There is a metal insert inletted at the back of the cork grip that holds the reel foot firmly in place. There is a machined plug at the butt of the grip for a nice finishing touch. The threads on the reel seat don’t appear to be machined but they are well formed and up to the job. There is a whole lot to like with the grip setup.
I attached my Allen 5/7 Trout Reel to the ATS and that reel seat really holds the reel in position.
The rod is stamped with the Allen name, the model number, the length and the line weight of the rod. Each joint has alignment dots that make assembly easy. There is a huge stripper guide with an insert. There is a fly keeper just in front of the grip. The ferrules are sleeve-over design and done very well. The lower section ferrule gives a nice continuous taper to that rod section. The top section female ferrule is just slightly larger than the rod diameter. Obviously this is done to reinforce the ferrule. If you didn’t look real close you would not notice that the ferrule sleeve is slightly larger in diameter than that rod section. Overall the ferrules are well done and should give great service.
The rods are available in the following weights and lengths as listed on the Allen Fly Fishing site.
Weight Length Sections Action
2/3 7’3” 2 Med/Fast
2/3 7’6” 3 Med/Fast
4 8’3” 4 Med/Fast (Coming Soon)
4 8’9” 4 Medium (Coming Soon)
5 8’6” 4 Medium
5 9’ 4 Medium
6 9’ 4 Medium
The list price runs $159.99 to $179.99. Members of the Fly Fishing Forum, NA qualify for a discount. Contact Allen Fly Fishing
direct for your price. Overall this is a very good fly rod at a fair price. Beginners and Budget Minded buyers will be happy with these rods.