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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cabelas CGR Glass Fly Rod Review

Cabelas CGR (Top-to-Bottom: 7'6" 7/8wt, 7'6" 5/6wt, 7' 4/5wt)



There has been a lot said about the Cabelas CGR rod line on the internet since its 1st Generation introduction.  The chatter only increased with the 2nd Generation introduction a little over a year ago.  All that chatter, along with the Fiberglass Manifesto review is what pulled me into my original purchase of the 7’ 4/5wt model CGR. I began tracking the CGR prior to last year’s spring opener, and was about to pull the trigger on it for $129, when they suddenly dropped the price in half, and I promptly applied my points and had it in the mail for $49. A lot has happened since that purchase. After a few trips to the creeks with the rod I was convinced that I needed a light warmwater rod and began eyeing up the 5/6wt with it's shortened fighting butt. And after fighting with my lack of patience for a few months, Cabelas held true-to-form and dropped the price 50% again. That was my queue and I ordered the 7 ½’ 5/6 model. As a result, this summer found me hawking the prices again, until I was able to pick up the 7 ½’ 7/8 model for 50% off as well. Now…let me qualify all of that quickly to alleviate any misconceptions about these rods. After fishing and handling the first rod, I would have willingly paid $150 each for any of them had that been required. I personally feel the rod is under-priced in comparison to quality and performance at the suggested retail of $129. However, knowing the pattern of this rods pricing, I waited and held on to my dollars for a seasonal sale.
Now that I am into one season with the 7/8wt and 2 seasons with the 4/5 & 5/6….here is what I have found.





The 7’ 4/5wt
On the water I find the 7’ 4/5 to be a true 5wt rod. I fished it with a Cortland 444 DT4F line, and a WF4F Orvis Easy mend. But when I placed a DT5f on it the rod truly began to shine. It is extremely accurate to cast and is light in hand with virtually no excess vibration. It is on the faster side for glass, yet not too much so and it roll-casts like a dream. But it is a 7ft glass rod, and finds its home with dries and lighter nymph rigs. Weight it down too much and it struggles to pick up large amount of line. But for 90% of my trout fishing, this rod does all that I ask of it and more. I keep it rigged with a DT5F line, a 5’6” Uni-thread furled leader with tippet ring, and fluorocarbon tippet.







The 7'6" 5/6wt
            This rod pulls double duty for me. On one hand it is the perfect light warmwater rod, casting a WF6F Bass taper spot-on wherever you choose to point it.  And with that same line or a power taper it does all the streamer and nymph/indicator fishing the 4/5 struggles with. I would not hesitate to chase steelhead with this rod, as it has landed a number of 20" plus trout without an issue. The 5/6 CGR marries with a wide range of lines nicely, making it a great all-around rod in my book.  My favorite part of this rod however, is how much power it has. No need to hesitate on putting the base of this rod into play and applying leverage. This rod will turn heavy fish right down to the cork. I fish this rod primarily with a WF6F Bass Taper, 6’ Furled mono leader with a micro-swivel, and fluorocarbon tippet.
A blast to fish. The only shortcoming I found was when asking it to cast larger hair bugs. But not something you can really blame it for since that usually calls for a 7/8 wt regardless. Which leads me to the last CGR in my stable.








The 7'6" 7/8wt
           This rod...in my opinion, sets the standard for the entire CGR line. It is extremely well made with a well crafted cork and seat. It loads extremely smooth, and shoots line with little-to-no effort. That’s coming from a fly fisherman who does not like 9’and up fly rods as a rule, and prefers a progressive action. Some critics say  that it is not a “true” 8wt. I differ on that aspect. With a WF8F Bass taper this rod loads instantly and is deadly accurate. It does what an 8wt glass fly rod should with larger bugs. It really hits its stride however for me with a WF7F Bass taper where #2 and down bugs are the norm. If you are looking for a light, well made sub-8’ bass rod that is not a broomstick in the hand?....Look no further.  Will it bull its way through wind and toss graphite-tight loops into the surf? Nope. But it will accurately and effortlessly throw a bassbug size #2 down, into lily pads all day long without double-hauling your shoulder along with it. I fish this rod with a WF7F Bass Taper, 7’6” Orvis AR leader, and Orvis AR Superstrong tippet. Personally?....this rod is built with quality and performs as well as any $300 glass rod on the market.


Power to Spare


Conclusion
         I can’t say that I can honestly find a flaw in any of these rods.  If I had to pick something, it would be the aluminum furniture vs a good nickel silver setup. But then again, the existing furniture works flawlessly and I could go without an additional $50-$100 price increase. The fit and finish on all 3 of the rods I have are on par with top end rods, and I am a big fan of the spigot ferrules. Could they use alignment dots? Sure they could. Is it difficult to properly assemble these rods without the dots? No.  It appears the CGR line is truly on the mark. With quality accompanied by a very attractive price-point, with-or-without the patience to wait for a sale.   I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these rods to any level of fly fisherman, and I have found myself leaving much higher end rods in the den and grabbing a CGR more often than not.

(I am in no way affiliated with Cabelas)