Let’s get a few things out of the way right at the beginning. The rod designer responsible for this fly rod is a member of this forum whose pseudonym is “pegboy”, has been enthralled with rod design and desiring to build rods the way he wants his fishing rods to be for some time. His friends maintained; “yea right, you’ll start your own rod company when pigs fly!” Hence, “Flying Pig.” There is a big elaborately embroidered Flying Pig logo on the Cordura cover of the rod tub and a wee Flying Pig logo at the usual brand location on the butt of the rod along with the size designation. Other than that the rod is glossy black with black low friction stripping and snake guides wrapped with black thread…and the Cordura is black too. The mortised aluminum reel seat is anodized a sort of Lager color and the machined hood is captive to the upper of the two lock nuts to maintain alignment. I like that. The pre-formed cork work in the salt water typical Wells grip is above average with only some filler and the fighting butt is capped with rubberized cork composite similar to what Winston fighting butts use for good looks and extra durability. The hands that apply the finish to the black wraps do so a bit more uniformly and with less globular overlap onto the blank than the employees in Twin Bridges accomplish, however. Oh yes, though thoroughly designed and advanced materials like carbon fiber scrim and very high modulus graphite pre-preg are specified in America by an American rod designer; these Pigs fly home from China. This is the first Chinese fabricated and assembled rod I have cast that has truly impressed me.
I prefer a written evaluation of a fly rod to not be exclusively my own opinion; I strive toward greater objectivity by getting the rod into the hands of anglers I respect and who fish the type of environments a given rod is designed for. First I take an unknown rod out in the outfield with my dogs running about. I’ll cast the rod, first close, then medium and, ultimately, as far as I can with a minimum of three lines, more if the rod won’t click. After a little while I have formulated a subjective impression; does the rod mate with a line I like to fish with, does it need to be over lined or require a weight compensated line, how smooth and narrow a loop is easily formed and how much stroke modification is needed to achieve it, how does it track, how quickly and with how much oscillation does its tip recover, where is the power or lack there off located in its taper, does its guide size and placement impede or enhance either casting or presentation, how communicative is it to the motion of the line and how does it feel…dull, vague, sharp, lively, sweet?
The Flying Pig “Liquid” series 8-weight rod was happy with both RIO’s Bonefish Taper and SA’s Mastery Bonefish therefore it is not a line temperamental rod and is a true 8-weight, unlike some that require a ½ size or more over-lining to come alive. It intuitively generates beautifully formed loops, stable and smooth at all distances. There is plenty of power to hold as much line in the air as you might want. There is just enough flex and feel in the tip to facilitate off the tip wrist casting for in-close shots but this potent rod is built for bigger casts. The one complaint I have is the inclusion a loop style hook keeper in front of the grip on a rod on which no one is likely to festoon a forged stainless steel saltwater sized fly right next to one’s fingers. Loose the hook keeper on all saltwater and heavier line sized rods; it’s just in the way.
A line match-up established, I like the SA line on it by a nose, and with an initial impression formed, I showed the rod to a group of casters including a long time and well published angler, casting instructor and leader of hosted fishing trips; four a year to the Bahamas. I’ve known this man for a long time and am familiar with his strong tackle biases. I told him nothing about this rod…just put it into his hand saying it was new, what do you think? Within moments he was throwing a tight loop into the distance, a bit of colored backing left lying at his feet. “Wow! He said, how much does it cost? I would have guessed more.” A week later the FFF hosted a “Casting Rendezvous” at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center. FFF Certified Casting Instructors from all over where doing their thing…many of these men and women, I swear, think more about their casting than fishing itself and, favoring 7-weight rods for their testing procedures and casting games , the lawn has loaded with ONE’s and NRX’s. An old fishing buddy, now a Master Caster, who has always exhibited superior casting form than mine, was a leader of this event. He is a great fly rod evaluator. “This is a new company’s rod called Flying Pig, how does it feel?” Following a few strokes there was a group of Certifiables gathering around us asking for a turn to cast.
I release information slowly about country of origin and price point, preferring unvarnished feedback on perceived swing weight, accessibility of power transition in the rod’s taper, impressions of the rods appearance and casting performance. There was no dissension from my initial and growing impressions of a light weight, smooth and powerful performer. Granted, we were casting on grass…not presenting a weighted crab fly to a big bonefish grazing toward us at 11:00’clock with a contrary stiff breeze over the wrong shoulder. There will be a follow-up, actual fishing, field –test to supplement and complete this plus-positive casting report as soon as I can make it happen. It is, after all, Hendrickson time currently.
Should these crisp, dramatically progressive action Flying Pigs prove adequately durable and if all models can be kept in stock and expanded upon, their workmanship and performance…supplemented by their unique and memorable moniker...could render them superior competitors to mid-price point rods from much better known, established brands as their performance is more comparable to premium priced fly rods.
The “Liquid” 9’/#8 4-pc. is the one in the middle. It weighs 4 oz. and costs $239.99, the same as its #4, 5 and 7-weight siblings.
The Lifetime Warranty features repair or replacement for a $50 fee which includes shipping.