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May 21, 2011 / flogginwater

Gear Corner – WW Grigg Heritage Series Fiberglass

At the request of Cofisher from Windknots & Tangled Lines here’s a review of the WW Grigg Heritage Series fiberglass 5/6 weight fly rod. It’s the bottom rod in the picture below.

I got this rod as a Christmas present in 2008 from my wife. We have a hard time keeping surprises from one another, so we usually give our gifts early, or take one another shopping and let the recipient pick out what they really want. It’s worked for years for us, and it worked this time. For Christmas that year, my wife got a nice new Casio 8Mp camera. When she asked what I wanted, I mentioned that I’d like a new fly rod, a good fiberglass rod if we could find one. We went to the Sportman’s Warehouse in Clackamas, OR to see what they had – as they usually had a good selection of the rods normally in our price range (which is normally under $150 for just the rod) – and I knew they had rods made by WW Grigg, a rod maker from Canby, OR. I always like supporting local when I can, and it’s nice having a rod maker so close to home. At that time, I had an 8′ 4 weight rod made by WW Grigg – it’s a graphite rod, and one of my favorites of all time. I had also previously owned a 9′ 4 weight rod also made by Grigg, so I was happily surprised to find that they had a fiberglass rod, made by Grigg sitting behind the counter. It hadn’t been tagged yet for stocking on the shelf, they’d just got it off the truck.

The rod in question is 8′ 6″ long, two pieces, with a nice wood reel seat insert, solid uplocking hardware, and the typical slender western style cork grip. The rod blank itself is really neat – I’m not sure how they did it – but they got a bamboo appearance on the surface of the rod blank. It could be paint, it could by decal (however I’ve never been able to detect a seam or edge of the decal if it is one). There is a single foot, ceramic stripping guide, and 8 chrome snake guides and chrome tip top on this rod, and a chrome hook keeper. Wraps are a lovely red wine color – they really accent the rod well. The rod is rated for a 5 or 6 weight fly line. It also came with an Argus (Grigg’s reel brand) 5/6 size disc drag fly reel.

The Grigg rod is pictured above along with an Eagle Claw Featherlite.

After getting the rod home, I dismounted the Argus reel matched it up with an Okuma Sierra 5/6 standard arbor disc drag fly reel, and I loaded the reel up with a Scientific Anglers 5 weight double tapered floating fly line at first. The Argus reel was placed on one of my Pfleuger flyrods, and loaded with a short #6 weight forward tapered floating fly line.

The fiberglass rod has a nice medium action to it – not really slow, but not fast either. A double tapered 5 weight line on this rod will put dry flies down delicately, but still let you nymph or fish streamers. Switching up to the weight forward 6, the rod will throw a #4 deer hair bass bug, or weighted streamers – in addition to dries, nymphs, and unweighted streamers.

The 6 weight line slows the action of the rod down, and gives it the same feel as some of the nicer, older fiberglass rods I’ve had the pleasure to cast. It’s still not a noodle, but you feel that slow, powerful flex when you’ve got a good head of line out. 60 foot casts with normal flies are a breeze with this rod. 35-40 foot casts with air resistant deer hair bugs aren’t a problem either.

Having this rod for two and a half years now, I’ve caught a number of fish with it – mostly trout, panfish, and bass.

Recently, I gave my nephew a gift of my Eagle Claw Featherlite 5/6 glass rod, along with that Okuma Sierra reel and the 5 weight double tapered line. I’ve also acquired a Cabela’s Wind River 4 weight rod, which I’ve mated with the Argus reel that originally came with this Grigg Heritage rod – so that left me with the problem of needing a reel for the Grigg. I solved that by getting a Cortland CDM mid arbor 5/6 disc drag reel to go with it, loading the Scientific Anglers #6 weight forward line onto it.

I got to fish this combo last Thursday, the 19th. The CDM seems to be a solid, reliable reel – my biggest complaint with it is the lower frame cross member has a rather sharp edge on it, that abraided a short section of the surface of my fly line, because I made the mistake of stripping line while casting. Not an issue with older reels that used the thin, round posts between sides of the reel’s frame. With newer, cast reels, this is a bad idea. My mistake. Not the reel’s fault!

The rod balanced well with it’s new reel, and I was happily tossing my deer hair bass bugs with it for the better part of the afternoon. I got no fish that trip – but the rod did it’s part.

With two heavy fishing seasons under it’s belt, and another to come, there’s been no sign of defect in the quality of this rod – the epoxy has stayed firm in the reel seat, grip, and guides. The finish hasn’t lost it’s sheen, the reel seat hasn’t tried coming apart, the blank is still as strong as it ever was, despite being whacked a few times with flies or fly lines from flubbed casts. I’m pleased as punch with this rod, and it’s one of the few rods in my collection I wouldn’t part with for anything.

WW Grigg proved once again that you don’t need to spend a lot of money for a rod of good quality, that will fish. The price tag for the rod, with it’s Argus reel? $60 (okay, it was on sale, but the regular price was under $100 for the combo!) Gear snobs may look down upon it because it didn’t cost me a paycheck – but I could care less what gear snobs think. They probably aren’t in to fiberglass anyway!

One of these days, I’m going to probably break down and get a nice older standard arbor reel, maybe a Pfleuger or something – and match up with this rod, and mount the CDM on a graphite rod. Until then I’ll happily fish the combo until I fall apart, it falls apart, or the world ends (which, if you believe the kook from Kalifornia, will be in 2 hours and 12 minutes from the time I’m typing this sentence.)

I’d buy another Heritage rod in a heartbeat. There are 2 other models in the Heritage Series – all 5/6 weight rods, all 2 piece, the other rods are 8′ and 9′ – I got the middle rod in the series at 8’6″. You can learn more about them HERE

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