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Old 05-17-2005, 01:52 PM
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Default The Diamondglass

Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair:
Product Update
The Diamondglass by Diamondback
By Doug Macnair

Fiberglass rods? In this day and time? You’ve got to be kidding, Doug … This is the day of graphite.

[IMG2="right"][/IMG2] Folks -- This may or may not be the day of graphite. It all depends on your point of view. My view happens to be that fiberglass fly rods are alive and well. This opinion, by the way, is not “retro” – looking back on things that once were – it takes in a view of today’s field of fly rods as they are…

Not so long ago I asked Ed Story of Feather-Craft, Inc., which rod he considered to be the most understated of them all. His almost immediate response was the Diamondglass by Diamondback. For those who might not know of Feather-Craft, it is and a fly shop - family owned – that should serve as an example to all others for honesty, integrity, expertise, service, and inventory.

Ed told me the story of a wealthy client who purchased a Diamondglass 4-wgt. After fishing Montana, et al., for the summer, the gentleman made Diamondglass his primary stick. (Anyone who can fish those waters for an entire summer is someone I consider “rich.” Not only that, he can afford any rod he wants.)

In the old days, fiberglass rods were heavy – not only heavy but clumsy, as well. Fishing one all day was a body-building exercise that soon qualified you for a role in Conan, the Barbarian, playing against Arnold. And as you know, Arnold has/had big muscles. The fact is that shorter fiberglass rods were not the same and, sad to say, never got their due. They are superb! In fact, my favorite rod of all those I own is a little custom 6-footer I bought way back in the Sixties. Why? I am not certain I know – I do know the little rod will throw a 5-weight line 65-feet, no fudging … In fact, with a little work 70-feet is well within reason. And let me add that it’s my impression is fiberglass is characteristically more like bamboo than graphite will ever hope to be. It’s also true that today’s fiberglass is not the fiberglass of old just as today’s IM-6 is not the IM-6 of the 90’s.
Click the image to open in full size.
I think it’s important to note that today’s fiberglass is not heavy … in fact; it’s lighter than many of today’s graphite’s as the chart at the end of this review depicts.

I must admit that when I venture forth into the wild outdoors - somewhat hard to find these days – I carry a fishing weapon suited to my place of visit. If it’s to be the salt flats, bed assured I carry a fast graphite suitably equipped for either Mr. Wind or the big fish that may someday come along. (Not Jaws, I hope.) It’s hard to beat a quick 9-footer made of graphite in these hostile environs.

Of course, I don’t fish the salt flats everyday … Most of the time it is creeks, rivers, and ponds. After all these years, I’ve come to the conclusion that Lee Wulff was a genius: He loved little rods and so do I. They are quicker, more maneuverable in close quarters, and out-cast their graphite brethren as the length of the rod dips to 7.5-feet or lower. It took me a long time to figure this out, and now that I have it’s become much easier to explain why.

The “why” is in the remarkable action fiberglass possesses in the shorter rod lengths. As a friend and fan of Diamondglass recently said, “It is so easy to cast, it almost casts itself.” Quite a compliment from a seasoned fly fisher.

At my request, Cortland sent me the 8-foot, 5-weight, Diamondglass used in this review. Before going further, let me suggest that 8-feet is about the maximum length for fiberglass. Perhaps that’s why Diamondback’s Diamondglass rods top out at 8.5-feet, their longest rod and a 3-weight. It’s also true that fiberglass favors the lighter weights – Personally, my favorites are the 4 and 5-weights.

Putting the horse before the cart, I fully agree with Ed Story – This is the most understated rod on the market. What it does superbly well is help the fly fisher make the cast. The “sloppy” graphite’s may do the same thing but they do it without the guts of fiberglass; on the other hand, the fast graphite’s do nothing at all to help the caster.

After throwing the Diamondglass 5 for a month or so, I would be hard-pressed to find a better rod for the purposes it serves. And it serves many … from chasing Brookies in the Great Smokies to the native trout of alpine streams and ponds of the Rockies. Then, too, there are those who cannot make the cast unless they feel the rod load. Finally, if you want to handicap a neophyte for success in this sport, give them a Diamondglass. It is a rod they will never replace; it simply grows better with age … and the older they get, the more apt they are to fully appreciate the gift of a lifetime.

Line Length Pieces Weight Action Price
#2 5' 2 1.6 oz Medium $295
#5 6' 2 2.0 oz Medium $295
#3 6'6" 2 3.1 oz Medium $295
#4 7' 2 3.2 oz Medium $295
#3 7'6" 2 3.3 oz Medium $295
#4 8' 2 3.4 oz Medium $295
#3 7' 3 3.3 oz Medium $295
#5 8' 3 3.5 oz Medium $295
#4 8'6" 3 3.6 oz Medium $295

If you are concerned with quality, don’t be! The Diamondglass is a beautiful rod suitably adorned with quality accouterments. The pictures included in this review simply cannot reflect the detail the rod features…

For more information about the Diamondglass series, contact Diamondback, Inc., TEL: 1 800 847 6787 or


© Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 2005.
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