Monday, February 7, 2011

At Last - the Cabela's CGR! - a gear review

I decide today was the day; so I drove up to Cabela's to see if they were stocking the new CGR fiberglass rods in their stores yet. These are the new fiberglass rods they came out with as a 50th Anniversary deal and there's been quit a buzz about them

I was in luck! They had about half a dozen sitting in the rack.

I picked up a few and gave them the old wiggle test. Very nice. Just for comparison I grabbed on of their Traditionalist II rods that were next to it; it felt like a broom handle compared to the CGR.

The first thing I did notice before even picking one up is that the lighter weights had an all cork reel seat. The fasteners were only slip on's.  The only rod with an aluminum reel seat was the 7/8wt.  I will admit that I wasn't thrilled when I saw that, but I know enough people with rods with similar set ups that have no issue that I wasn't completely turned off by the idea.

I have a number of older glass rods that are in the 6, 7,  8 wt range. For this I wanted to go something lighter so I decided on the 4/5wt.

Then, after getting a fresh rod from the warehouse, I was on my way!

The really great thing about this Cabela's is that there is a lake not 10 minutes from the store. What a perfacet place to see how the baby casts.

I pull into the park and crested the hill getting my first view the lake.

It's a complete ice out. Just my luck.

Determined to at least cast this thing today (the temperature is in the mid-40's today before taking a plunge for the next week) I undertake an exodus to find some open water.

I'll spare the details, but the next hour is spent finding frozen lakes or unplowed access parking lots.

Finally.....finally I find a place that is open and ready for my casts.

I put the rod together and notice two things. One, is that the 3 sections of the rod do not fit snuggly together, leaving a 1/2 " section of the inner furl exposed.

The other issue is that my reel, what I would consider a standard sized Martin (best reel to be had for $17!) 5wt  wouldn't fit in the reel seat. The top section of the reels tab would fit under the sliding fastener, but not the lower.

The lower fastener went of the lower tab by a hair because the reel was attached, but it was barely a hair. Now I know this can be fixed with a little sand paper, but for a brand new rod I shouldn't have too.

But that being said...... this thing cast like a dream. I could feel the rod loading on small, 10' casts, was wonderfully accurate. I was fishing a #6 BH WB, mainly because I wanted to see how the lighter weight rod would hold out while chucking a nice hefty fly. Well, the only issues that I had were caused by my rusty casting, and not the rod.

I was surprised at the sensitivity of the rod, as I could clearly feel the fly bouncing along the bottom of the stream, better than some of my more illustrious graphite rods.

Due to time constraints I only had about 15 minutes of casting the rod before I had to leave, but in those 15 minutes the rod did impress me and I started to get that "I got a new toy" feeling.

So all told this rod is a great rod and a wonderful (and budget friendly) way to get into fishing with glass. I'm going to try to work and get the rod furls to slide together, but if not I may have to exchange it for another rod.

My advise, when they hand you the rod from the warehouse, put it together yourself and play with it. You just may be saving yourself another trip.

****Quick Update: Once I got home I was able to get both my Medalist 1494 and my 3/4 Allen reel to fit, but it did require a bit of elbow grease.  I was also able to get the rod pieces together with a lot of twisting; almost to the point where I was expecting the thing to snap. I even tried a bit of Hot Sauce reel lube, but no difference.

I was then getting ready to head out for about an hour (taking advantage of that temp again) and went to adjust the strap on the tube and the plastic buckle broke in half. 

I still took it out and, again, the rod cast beautifully. I shot out about 70' of line on one cast, basically just to see if I could. That was pushing the rod a bit but I did hit my target. 

All told, I'm torn between considering this rod one of the best I've ever cast in this price point and a piece of Chinese junk. I'm going to assume that I got a dud, take it back later this week and get another one. 

I'll keep you all posted. Tight Lines. 

********* (Another) Update: 
I was just talking to someone and they advised that the ferrules are supposed to fit like that to account for the wear and tear of the rod. I officially stand corrected. Rod just got pushed back into pretty friggin sweet and will stay (I can deal with the broken buckle for now and try to return it the next time I get there, instead of making a special trip. 


  1. I cant believe that the reels dont fit.. Elbow grease?... count me out!
    CZN- now thats a freakin rod!

  2. That was my sentiments too. It only took 4 swipes of sandpaper to fix it, but for a new rod I was still a little disappointed. I haven't tried the CZN but I've heard good things. Shame they don't come in an 8wt, I'd grab one for steelies.

  3. The cxn's do work pretty good for what I use it for.. A Czech rod, that I abuse with long line roll casts.. I fish the 5wt and the tip is softer than my good 4wt.. a 6 would fish like a 5 and so on..
    I have never fished for steelies... But I know you boys need the big stuff, and I admire what you do.

  4. If you ever get the chance to go after them, take it. Last fall was my first time and it was awesome! I was planning this years trip already while driving back. I made do with an 8wt 9', but an extra foot or so would have been helpful.

  5. I need an 8wt for Steelies next month! Any suggestions? Hey, by the way, I had the same background on my blog when I started...I like earthy stuff...but, just made a change due to a couple of bloggers making a new blog header!!
    What's a girl to do...say no? Haha. I will be following along... ;)

  6. I think I got my background by picking it and saying "Yeah... that looks good enough." lol I used a $30 Cabela's rod when I went for steel b/c I wasn't about to get a rod for just on trip. My buddy who went with bought (just for this trip) a Temple Fork Lefty Kreh Series 8wt that was pretty sweet. I'm thinking about upgrading by Fall, and I'm really tempted to try one of the new Allen rod's, maybe the 9'6" 8wt. Decisions... decisions....

    And thanks for following: Welcome aboard!

  7. Hey Anthony, welcome to the blogoshphere. Since you got a whole lot of class by fishing glass...check out the review on Fiberglass Flyrodders if you haven't already.

    I believe Cameron also posted reviews on the Fiberglass Manifesto.

    It's not unusual at all to find that certain reels and reel seats don't match up. It depends on how old they are and who made them. I've seen this problem more with cap and ring seats like yours. It's not a problem with the rod, but with matching the reel to the seat.

    Stop by Windknots & Tangled Lines and say hello. Another fiberglass nut.

  8. I picked up 4 of the Trad. II rods when they were on sale for $25 ea. They are a great "back up" rod for when you break your good rod on a rock or tree limb. It could keep you fishing, if you keep it in the car. If you don't need the Trad. II for fishing, you could always use it as a handle for your tire jack. It doesn't just feel like a broomstick, it is a broomstick. I'd like to try one of those new glass rods. I may just have to send back the 4 "super-deal" Trad. II's and get one of these glass rods.
    Thanks for the post about 'em.


  9. Cofisher - Howdy! I just read through a bit of the FFR post now; it seems to be a love/hate deal with this one. I personally liked the way it cast, but then again I have only limited exposure to glass (got my first on free in late spring last year.) But for the price, for a new glass rod, I think one would be hard pressed to beat it.

    Owl - LOL. I'd be afraid that I'd bust a lug with the Trad II as a tire jack! I have a Cabela's Three Fork rods for just the purpose(as a beater, not a tire jack). I almost grabbed a few more after Xmas when they were $30 a pop, but restrained(since I was already spending 6 times that amount on other "necessities"...)

  10. They must not have had the 5/6 wt out, it has an up locking reel seat like the 7/8... they definately are nice casting rods. Im gonna do a multi part review for the next two months on my 7/8.

  11. They didn't but I had heard that the 5/6 had the locking seat. I kind of wish they did, I probably would have opted for that one, since I was eyeing something in the 5wt range. I can already see my fight a 10 lber and have the reel fall

    That's cool, I'll keep checking in for your reviews.