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.