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November 13, 2011 / flogginwater

They got it Wright (& McGill)

Getting back on track with the fishing core of this blog, I’d like to share with you my first impressions of my latest arrow in the quiver – the Wright & McGill S-Curve II 7′ weight.

I picked this rod up on the fly-shop equivalent to an impulse buy. I went in to the shop yesterday to get some curved nymph hooks and uni-thread. I walked out with that (plus some marabou) and a 7′ 4 piece 2 weight Wright & McGill SC-II.

This is not the Eagle Claw or other lower-end rods people might think of when they hear the name Wright & McGill. This rod is worth considerably more than the $100 price tag it wears.

The blank is thin, light weight, and strong. The ferrules are spigot style – which is a nice touch. This keeps a more even taper to the blank. The stripping guides are Pac Bay with Zirconium inserts, the snakes are stainless steel. The rod blank itself is given a multi-layered (but super thin layers) paint job that reminds me of an Abalone shell, if the shell was brown (or purple with the “Fly Girl” versions of these rods.)

The S-Curve II rods feature the high density rubber grip that can be found on Wright & McGill’s newer casting and spinning rods, along with their saltwater fly rod. It doesn’t have the classic, traditional look of cork (which is it’s only down-size) – but it definitely gives you a good grip on the rod, even with wet hands (which I got to try first hand when casting, since it was raining yesterday when I was at the shop.) The rubber grip is just as light as a good cork grip would be, and it’s trimmed on both ends with composite cork rings. The rubber grip also has a sculpted dish for a thumb-on-top type grip, which is a modification I had done on some of my other rods with cork grips, and was nice to see a factory rod come with this same feature. As a final touch – they went with a skeletonized aluminum up-locking reel seat with a nicely polished wood burl insert.

The rod comes with both a nylon rod-sock and a heavy-duty PVC tube with screw off end caps (on both ends) that have molded-in holes to allow attaching to a snap-ring, a carry strap, or hanging the tube off a ceiling hook for storage, which is another nice touch.

The rod I bought has a moderate-slow action rod, as were the 3 and 4 weight models. The 5 and 6 weight rods were a moderate-fast action. The “Fly Girl” versions of these rods, as I mentioned before, have purple paint jobs instead of the brown of the “standard” versions. They also come with a slightly different grip shape – similar to the Orvis Superfine grips or a composite of a cigar grip and a western grip. Both grip shapes are comfortable, and truth be told – I like the grip on the Fly Girl versions more – but my shred of machismo kicked in and I went with the “standard” rod. (Note to Wright & McGill – it’d be nice to see the “Fly Girl” rods without “Fly Girl” badges!)

I cast these rods with 3 weight lines – since the fly shop didn’t have a #2 line setup on a reel, and coincidentally, I have a #3 line on a reel that needed a proper home. I tried both weight forward and double taper lines – and found the weight forward line actually cast much nicer than the double taper, even at shorter ranges. I’ll be back to the fly shop when spring approaches to replace my double taper line with a weight forward line.

The rods I played with in the fly shop are good enough to make me wish that they’d been on the shop’s shelves in September, when I bought my Cabela’s LSi (I love my LSi, but these Gen-II S-Curve rods would surely give the LSi a run for the money in the looks, performance, and feature department, but for less than 2/3 the cost.)

According to the Wright & McGill website, these rods come in lengths/line sizes from a 7′ 2 weight, to a a 10′ 7 weight (including an 11′ 5 weight that I’m guessing would be targeted for Euro style nymphers who want a bit more powerful rod?)

Wright & McGill is striving to prove that you don’t need to drop a lot of money to have a nice fly rod with features you’d have to spend a lot more to find on other rods. These are not your grandpa’s WMG rods (though if your Gramps is still kicking, I bet he’d love one of these for Christmas.)

This rod has brought my meager fly rod collection back up to 6, after having sold a few earlier this year. I’m now equally represented by Echo rods (x2) Cabela’s Rods (x2) and Wright & McGill rods (x2). It’s really going to be hard to tell, at this point, what my next rod will be. I’m digging the current offerings from all three companies, and I’ve read up on rods that are coming for 2012 from each company, and they’re only getting better. I really doubt that it’s ever been as good for anglers as it is today with so many quality rods that don’t break the bank.

Thanks again to Don at the River City Fly Shop in Beaverton for helping me further my rod addiction. If you want to read more on the Gen II S-Curve rods, POKE HERE.

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3 Comments

  1. Jay / Nov 14 2011 16:11

    Good review. I've been wondering about these new W&M rods. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cofisher / Nov 14 2011 19:10

    Great review, but what do I know. All my W&M rods are from 40-50 years old!

  3. Mark / Nov 15 2011 00:21

    Jay – they're definitely worth at least going and wiggling and test casting. If you've got more impulse control than I do, you might even make it home without buying one *right then and there* – I couldn't – it was just too sweet of a caster.

    Howard – you might give one of these new-fangled graphites a spin some time. Any Wright & McGill fan should try these rods. I have to say, the 2, 3, and 4 weight rods really reminded me of a good glass rod in their action – but they didn't have the same heft of glass.

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