Autumn is a busy time at the Northkill Tackle shop. These are the months when we’re gearing up for the upcoming show season, filling landing net orders and thinking about new gear we can make. While September is a month where I don’t get out fishing nearly as much as I’d like, I recently set aside some time to try out a rod & reel combo from Rent This Rod. I initially found out about RTR in March on the Fly Fishing Insider’s Podcast.
Rent This Rod – The Experience
Rent This Rod is a new company offering a unique service – the ability to rent a high-end fishing rod for a reasonable price. They liken it to renting a Ferrari for a day. If you live close to their headquarters in Asheville, NC, you can rent by the day, but if you’re anywhere else in the USA you can rent for a 10 or 14-day period. I chose to go the 14-day route and my experience began by communicating with RTR c0-owner David Moore. First we traded emails but then Dave took the time to call me on the phone. Dave learned where my fishing interests are, and recommended I try one of their fiberglass Thomas & Thomas Lotic rods paired with a Ross Animas reel. Dave’s product knowledge was incredible and I happily took his rod recommendation.
Before too long I had a tracking number and my package arrived within 2-days. The rod came encased in the Thomas &Thomas aluminum tube and the reel was safely packaged in bubble wrap. Rent this Rod uses some pretty cool packing tape that features the company logo and they also included a sweet sticker too.
Rent This Rod paired me with a Thomas & Thomas Lotic rod (7’10”, 5-weight, 3-piece fiberglass) and a Ross Animas (4/5) reel. This would be my first fishing experience with a modern fiberglass rod. I have a few old fiberglass rods from the 1970s and two things stand out when I pick those old rods up. First, they are heavy (even without a reel) and they wiggle and wobble like wet noodles. In fact, they are so bad that I’ve never used them on the water!
The moment I picked up the Lotic/Ross combo I quickly realized that this modern fiberglass is nothing like the fiberglass rods from yesteryear. This combo was light, weighing just a few ounces. You could fish for 12 hours with this combo and not have any arm fatigue. This rod also had stability in ways that the old fiberglass rods never had. When you do the “wiggle test” the majority of the blank rebounds and becomes stationary almost instantly. The tip section is much slower to rebound, certainly slower than graphite, but it settles within a reasonable amount of time that wouldn’t interfere with casting.
Reel & Line
The Ross Animas 4/5 reel features quite a bit of machined aluminum, a disc drag and a pretty cool handle that is machined from phenolic block. I don’t know why I liked that handle so much, but I did. The reel was loaded with Scientific Anglers Frequency Trout (WF 5-wt) and backing when I received it – all I had to do was provide my own leaders.
I should also say that this equipment was exceptionally clean. I felt like I was the first person so use the rod because the grips were unstained and unworn. All of the guides where in perfect shape too – no grooves, bends, etc. Rent This Rod has some great inventory!
Before I ever hit the water, I spent some time casting the rod in my yard. I quickly learned that I’d have to slow my usual casting stroke to make any decent casts. The bend of the Lotic’s fiberglass blank runs its full length whereas most of my graphite rods don’t bend deep down near the butt during normal casting. Because of its action, the Lotic would definitely be a great double-hauler.
I fished this combo several times on small streams during my rental period. I cast dries, dry/droppers, nymphs with indicators, wet flies and even some small woolly buggers. The only tactic I didn’t use with the Lotic was tight-lining but this rod wouldn’t excel there.
The Lotic functioned flawlessly during all of my fishing but it was exceptional during my time casting dry flies. I don’t know if it was my slower casting stroke or a combination of things, but my dry fly casts were beautiful. Not only that, but my dry fly casts were more accurate than before. It is a shame I didn’t rent this rod in May!
I caught a wide range of fish (most of them small) during my time with the Lotic/Ross. I didn’t catch anything larger than 14″ so I did not get to experience the reel’s drag or see the rod with a truly deep bend. It’s safe to assume that the fiberglass rod would be phenomenal with lighter tippets because the blank will absorb so much of the shock as a fish struggles to free itself.
My experience with Rent This Rod was perfect. I was truly impressed with RTR’s customer service, attention to detail, and ability to connect me with a combo that suits my fishing style. The rods they rent are in perfect condition and shipping is fast.
If I had one negative, it was the fact that there was always something in the back of my mind saying “This is not your rod, don’t break it!” In the event that I would have inflicted some damage I would’ve only had to pay a $100 fee, but still, it’s like fishing with a buddy’s gear.
Rent This Rod will ship anywhere in the US. If you’re heading out for vacation, you can arrange to have a rod waiting for you upon arrival. The service is definitely unique and an opportunity for you to cast that “Ferrari” that you always dreamed of casting.
(I received no compensation from Rent This Rod or Thomas & Thomas for this review. I am not a representative of either company and my thoughts above are my thoughts alone.)