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dougm 05-17-2005 01:52 PM

The Diamondglass
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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.
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.

Curtis 05-17-2005 02:07 PM

Re: The Diamondglass
I cannot agree with you more Doug. The D-glass is one of the finest fishing rods I have ever used. My personal fave of this series is the 8 foot 4 weight in the two piece. Though I have not had the fortune of fishing the five weight so maybe that is not an accurate statement. Grays sporting journal also gave the 8' 4wt their coveted choice award and dubbed it the perfect trout rod. And you are right, they are very nice to behold and the quality is fantastic. They cast like they are alive. The less you do with them the more they do by themselves. If the caster tries to take over they don't give up the goods as well. It is more a matter of putting the rod in the right place at the right time and then they are wonderful at what they do best. Glass is definately an understated beauty in the realm of flyfishing and the Dglasses are at the top with other makers like Steffen Bros., Winston, Scott, and Lamiglass.

BigCliff 05-17-2005 02:42 PM

Re: The Diamondglass
DOH! quit taunting me!

I decided to get a different five than this one and ordered it yesterday.

(I'm not second-guessing, but sure seems like my conviction is being sabotaged!)

I'll do a review on the one I ordered and post it soon.

Curtis 05-17-2005 08:26 PM

Re: The Diamondglass
What did you order?

Fish Bones 05-17-2005 10:06 PM

Re: The Diamondglass
Go ahead BC order another one. [poke]

BigCliff 05-18-2005 08:13 AM

Re: The Diamondglass
Curtis I got the ECHO Ultimate Distance 5wt. Can't wait to try it out.

Steve, while I like your advice better, I don't have to live with you. I'll probably have to keep rod purchases to one per quarter at the max.

Besides, I got a new (to me) via a trade TFO today and two "new" rods is enough.

Fish Bones 05-18-2005 09:04 AM

Re: The Diamondglass
I know a guy who claims he once purchase about 6 empty rod tubes on sale. He brought them home and showed his wife the "empty" tubes and bragged about what a deal he had gotten. He said you never know when you or a friend may need a new tube. He then placed the empty tubes in the closet and they were never mentioned again. As time progressed, he began to fill these tubes with new fly rods that he just had to have. She never knew the "empty" rod tubes were no longer empty.
BC... how many rod tubes do ya need??? I offer a quantity discount ya know??<O:p</O:p

BigCliff 05-18-2005 10:09 AM

Re: The Diamondglass
Steve, I know that trick from way back. The two guys I worked with at the Tackle Box would keep all their tubes at the store and most of their rods as well. I think we had more tubes in their pile than we did in back-stock. They both had the big Abel rod cases and would keep the 8-10 they used regularly in there.

Fish Bones 05-18-2005 10:14 AM

Re: The Diamondglass
OK... so see... it works... how many tubes ya want???

BigCliff 05-18-2005 10:59 AM

Re: The Diamondglass
No good there, she pays the bills and sees all cash outflows.

Now if you want to talk about somesort of barter deal, that's a whole-nother-ballgame!

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