With the popularity of Fly-Fishing on the rise, new product releases have been the corollary. Whether they’re changing the world of fishing on the fly, or simply gift-shop-gimmicks, there is no doubt that this is a time for innovation (or, perhaps mutation) in our beloved sport. It was under this thinking, that our ears naturally perked up at the word of a new kind of fly-rod. In our efforts to explore anything and everything fly-fishing, we decided to take a look at what was being pitched as a “The go-anywhere, always rigged, telescoping fly rod“. Here, you can find our thoughts on the REYR Gear First Cast Travel Rod.

reyr gear rod
Image courtesy of REYR Gear

Initial Thoughts: 

We reached out to Derek Roedel, founder of REYR Gear to try to get our hands on the rod. Upon initial unboxing, we had to admit, we were impressed with the size. The rod came neatly packed down in a neoprene case no longer than 17″. The rod itself felt solid, and to our surprise was already reeled and rigged. This satisfied our immediate reluctance in comparing the rod to a Tenkara, as it resembled a normal fly-rod except with a unique telescoping aspect.

After the initial unboxing, we took the rod outside for some initial casting tests. After flicking the telescoping rod out like a toy lightsaber (which we were later informed was NOT the proper method), we inspected the rod in its entirety. The guideless aspect fo the rod was a bit unsettling at first, but could be written off as a necessity considering the functionality of the rod. It was about 2x thicker than a normal fly rod (as the base had to house the rest of the rod), but felt pretty sturdy overall. We gave it a few good flyless “driveway casts” and then packed it back up.

derek with rod
Image courtesy of REYR Gear

The thicker nature of it definitely compromised some of the action a normal fly-rod operated with, however, it wasn’t a deal-breaker. We were able to pack the rod back down in under a minute, which was definitely impressive. However, upon a few more times unpacking and repacking the rod, we noticed the line had a tendency to get stuck in the release bay. However, we agreed that this could most likely be avoided with some additional attention to care.

Getting on the Water:

That weekend, we arrived at an undisclosed lake located at around 10k ft. in elevation. The rod had been easily packed into one of our daypacks and was easily retrievable. The lake, once housing a plethora of Brook trout, was now overrun by Rainbow’s that had been most likely stocked many years ago. Within our first sighting of a cruising fish, we had the rod rigged and ready within minutes.

With a beaded micro leech on the end of some 6x tippet, we flung casts towards the middle of the pond. When actually casting with distance as a focus, we were slightly underwhelmed with the performance of the rod. What we were able to deduce was that the friction of the guideless set-up influenced the line’s ability to shoot even with a healthy double haul. That being said, we were still able to get around 30 feet of line out comfortably, which was more than enough for the three of us to all hook up on a few fish each.

rainbow trout and reyr rod
Image courtesy of REYR Gear

Final Report:

Don’t go throwing out your Sage anytime soon. The REYR Gear Rod doesn’t pack the same feel or power like any premium rods on the market. However, if you’re looking for a fun rod to pack for hikes, prolonged travel, or just a day on the golf-course: this rod is a neat tool to bring along. It’s easy to pack away, carry, and rig, and offers a fun new way to get on the water. In the end, if you’re willing to spend the money and are looking for a good gift for someone new to the fly-fishing scene, or someone just looking for a novel camping accessory, we recommend the REYR Gear First Cast Travel Rod.

We sent over a few questions to Derek Roedel, CFO (Chief Fly Officer) of REYR Gear to learn a little more about the product.

What is the REYR Collapsible fly rod?

Derek: This rod is a blend of both the tenkara and traditional rod styles to create something totally unique (or rare) in the outdoor world today.  The rod is meant to find the right balance of capability along with setup and storage ease to help get people fishing everywhere.  The rod is internally lined (no guides on the outside) and collapses down to 17-19″ depending on the model.  When the rod is collapsed you can leave the fly tied on in the hook keeper so that you can set up in about 30 seconds from case to cast.

bike with rod
Image courtesy of REYR Gear

What is the main purpose of a piece of gear like this?

Derek: The main purpose is to have a rod always ready for action and to take literally anywhere.  It fits in small backpacks with the fly tied on. It fits in desk drawers, it fits in a bike bags, or it hangs off your hip for that extra rod at the river.  Many customers are finding that they are also fishing in more places than they would normally try due to those saved few minutes of setup – do you drive past a fishy looking pond on the way to work that you have always passed up? Well, this rod helps take that inhibition away and get your fishing.

What were some of the hurdles you’ve had to jump in designing a collapsible fly rod?

Derek: The collapsing and internal line design had many hurdles to development. The number one thing being is that it is just so different than other rods that this needed to be designed as a system to work together. The line and the rod contact each other so much that we really had to dive into the resin and layup of the rod along with custom lines to help make it work as best we can.  The system works well now and performance is just like the blend of the styles it takes from.  It casts further than tenkara, not as far as traditional – but you can fight fish with a proper reel and store this rod with the fly tied on in a normal backpack.  The biggest hurdle now is convincing people to open their minds to this new idea!

walking with rod in hand
Image courtesy of REYR Gear

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