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March 20, 2012 / flogginwater

Gear Preview: Wright & McGill S-Curve II 7′ 2 weight fly rod

Returning readers probably remember me mentioning the little Wright & McGill 2 weight that I purchased late last year. Being the light-rod freak I am, I was really feeling the need for something lighter than a 4 weight. I really was missing the TFO Lefty Kreh Signature Series 2 weight I used to own. It was an amazing small-stream rod, and great for panfish. It was not a rod that would set any distance casting records – but inside 30 feet, it would drop a #12-24 fly in a teacup, with barely a ripple on the water’s surface.

Heading in to my favorite fly shop – River City Fly Shop – I chatted with the owner while drooling over the rods. Now, I’ll say this – the first rod I found that met the criteria, was a Wright & McGill S-Curve II “Fly Girl” model. The blank was purple, instead of brown, and the grip was less western style, and more of a cigar style with a flared butt. It was a really nice rod – but my machismo kicked in and I wanted the same rod without the words “Fly Girl” in pink or purple on it. Besides, if I brought home a rod that said “Fly Girl” – my wife would either think I bought it for her – or that I was starting to bat for the other team. Lucky for my ego and my penis, Don found the “men’s” version of that rod, without “Fly Girl” written on the blank.

In typical fashion, Don produced a small reel loaded up with a weight forward line, and handed me a rod case after hearing a description of what I was looking for. Ten minutes later I was back in the shop waving my debit card at him. It’s a recurring thing, that. I need to stop falling in love with every rod he puts in my hands – I’m going to go broke one of these days. As it is – this was the third rod purchase I’d made from him in a year. Between fly rods, reels, lines, and tying materials – I probably dropped nearly a grand (I realize that’s nothing for a lot of fly fishers – but that was 1/20th my income last year!)

The official model number for my rod is WMSC7024. Simple logic deduces that out to be “Wright & McGill S-Curve 7’0″ 2 weight 4 piece” since that’s what it is.

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It’s a striking rod to look at – very different from any other fly rod, strike that, any other fishing rod I own. The blank is given a mottled brown paint glittery paint job. The wraps are done with metallic looking thread. The reel seat is skeletonized and reminds me very much of that of my Echo fly rods, but with a plastic insert given the same paint job as the blank.

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The grip is where things take a big deviation from typical fly rods – where one would expect to see nice clean, tan colored cork – there sits a rubber composite grip that looks like it was designed by Darth Vader. The rubber grip is trimmed with composite cork rings to make it stand out, and on top of the grip, where the thumb naturally rests with a thumb-on-top grip, is a small sculpted shelf for one’s thumb – which lines up perfectly for my hands.

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It’s comfortable, and Wright & McGill claims the grip is warmer, more sensitive, and less slippery than cork. I’ve never had a problem with a cork grip getting slippery – but some guy out there somewhere might have. I will say this – the rubber grip is preferable to a crappy cork grip that’s full of filler. Good cork is getting more expensive – and we’re either going to start seeing more composite grips, rubber grips, or shittier corks if rod makers don’t raise their prices – otherwise, they’ll give you a nice cork grip and use shittier guides or something – you can’t keep something the same price and use more expensive components, and keep making the same profits. Something’s got to give – price or quality. As for the sensitivity claim – I’ll have to wait and see – since I haven’t taken the rod fishing yet.

One other thing you won’t see on any other graphite rod in this one’s price point – spigot ferrules or “internal ferrules” or whatever you prefer to call them. I like them. I dig them. I wish more makers would use them.

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I have tried this rod out with a few different lines while casting on the lawn – both at home and the fly shop. I’ve tried DT2, DT3, and WF3 lines – and it seems to prefer the DT2 and the WF3 lines best, though the DT3 line did cast reliably at 30′ – which is all I ask of a rod this light. I’ve tried three different reels also – the Fish Field which Don loaned me to try the rod initially – which was light enough to balance well with this rod. I tried my Okuma Vashon 3/4 which also balances, and lastly I tried the Pfleuger Medalist 1494 – which felt the most butt-heavy of the bunch, but not so much that it threw my casting off. I do believe that for now – I’m going to stick with the Vashon reel with this rod, and the DT #3 line it’s already spooled with, until I can afford another line for it.

Wright & McGill has a whole line up of rods in this line from this 2 weight – upto IIRC 9 or 10 weight rods, plus they have their saltwater line that uses the same technology, which actually originated the black rubber/composite grip usage for them. And of course you can get the “Fly Girl” models of these rods, with a purple blank (which I like, sans the “Fly Girl” thing) and the more comfortable cigar shaped grip. These are not your Dad’s Wright & McGill rods – but Dad might like them anyway. I can’t wait to get this rod wet and get some fish slime on it.

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