FLY rod reviews
arctIcsIlver USA 9´#6 coast..
Too Far too fast? you be the judge.
goodbuddy Fly Fishing review
"You have to see this thing!"
"This fly rod features new technology and looks like something you have never seen before."
Friends Jon and Steve go fly fishing in Jon's neighborhood pond and review a new fly rod by ArcticSilver.
Like Nothing I've ever Experienced Before
My intrigue was awoken already some years ago when I saw it for the first time! I saw a picture of a rod that didn’t look like anything I had seen before, and I must say that it looked rather different! I thought at that time what an unusual handle but an extremely exciting idea, and I, therefore, experienced great joy when I stood there on Møn, Denmark and could finally hold the handle of an ArcticSilver Coast #6.
I was at first surprised as to how deep the rod worked and how it sat in my hand, but at the same time how it had more than enough power to cast out the whole line, just as well as my normal companion, a sage Method #6. these rods can in no way be compared, so here is my view without comparing it to anything else...
The first thIng one notIces is what everyone says, the handle and reel seat!
I have tested the reel seat with the reels I have, a Redington delta, a Tibor Backcountry and a Tibor signature. The latter two reels have the same reel foot, but all sit ’glued’ in place. The rod handle can feel thick and chunky compared to conventional rod handles, but after a few casts, it doesn’t feel too bad, but rather quite comfortable!! anyway, I like it a lot, and extra cool when you feel the rod work all the way through the hollow handle. It ’s not slippery either with wet fingers.
The fly lines I have tested with the rod, are the lines I normally use. an Airflo ridge del-
ta clear #5/6 and #6/7 and a Rio outbound #6. the line that was the perfect match for
my casting style, was the ridge delta #6/7. the outbound was too aggressive for my
taste, but a marvelous line for faster rods. the way the rod works whilst casting is an experience of its own (if you like deep, full actioned rods), and as said one can feel it
work all the way to the end of the carbon handle! The coolest thing with the whole
design is that the more force you use, the worse the cast. here it’s important to let the
rod do the work and not the strength you have in your casting arm. this is the most
comfortable difference between the rods I have cast before. I use smooth and controlled movements (which is the keyword), but need no more than 3-4 hauls before I
shoot out the whole fly line. this confirms the potential which lays in the design, and
as a bonus one doesn’t get a tired shoulder after a long day in the salt.
Something else that Is great fun is fighting a fish on this rod. It’s strangely good to feel the blank just touch your finger through the small openings at the top and bottom of the handle. the soft, fine full action doesn’t make the experience any worse either and is very sensitive regardless of whether the fish is 500g or 3kg+!!! It isn’t often anything negative is said about this rod and that some have questioned this, but in my opinion, this is a fantastic rod, so I’d like to congratulate Robert Selfors and the rest of ArcticSilver team with an awesome tool. Hunting fish with this rod is worth every penny! The only negative I can put my finger on was what Tommy said when he too tested the rod; a rod tube that doesn’t reflect the style of what’s inside. regardless I have got myself a great new friend to take fishing!!
Stian Transeth Johansen, saltflue.com
Fly rod revIew
goodbuddy Fly Fishing review
Although I grew up in Montana, I was not a fly fisherman. Fly fishing always seemed too intimidating to me and required too much skill. In the spring of 2020, I was introduced to the ArcticSilver rods and lines. The experience was revolutionary. Within a single afternoon, I not only felt like I mastered the rod but was easily outperforming other experienced fly fisherman using high end rods.
By the end of my fly fishing trip, I even had professional fly fishing guides coming up to me asking me about the rod and how many years had I been fly fishing. When I told them that I had been fly fishing about a week, they didn’t believe me – until they tried it. The best part was watching my 14-yr old son learn as fast as I did. I cannot say enough good things about the ArcticSilver rods and lines.
NEW (but avid) fly fishermen
Fly ROd revIew
Thing is, this grip is comfortable and natural
Fascinating rods. ArcticSilver is a young Scandinavian company starting into fishing tackle with single-handed rods. Look at the grips and clearly ArcticSilver plan to innovate. Work from the tip down and these are modern fly rods, well built and well specified. The upper three sections have some attractive details and the build is conventional: smooth, slim blank, matt olive paint, lined butt-rings, snake intermediate guides, alignment marks.
Then the butt section and that unique grip. The grip is a high-quality molded composite with an integral reel seat. The handle is hard with a rubbery skin, smooth and secure in my hand. Obviously the grip is unconventional in several ways; more oval than round, none of the swellings and tapers I know from cork. Thing is, this grip is comfortable and natural, I normally hold a rod more of less thumb on top so this works for me, the grip size and shape means my hand is relatively open, so my elbow, or at least the tendons in my elbow seem more relaxed than usual.
The reel seat is cast aluminum, screwed to the handle. Fit the front of a reel foot into the fitting and push the reel towards the blank, the sprung fitting at the butt slides and the reel clicks into place. To remove, push the reel along the rod towards the butt, the spring slide backs up and releases the front of my reel foot. I have (once) used a sprung reel-seat on a stylish Italian-built rod, this is not like that fitting. I have to say I like the reel-seat a lot, much simpler than a conventional screw-fitting, my reels were completely secure, fitting and removing reels with cold or gloved hands is dead easy.
The spring-loaded Quick-Lock reel seat – as near plug-and-play as a reel seat gets.
Then look at the front of the grip. Conventional grips, usually cork, are fitted snug around the base of the butt section, glued in place the full length of the grip, similarly, a conventional reel-seat is glued to the blank. The Arctic Silver blank is attached deep down in the fitting near the seat, the idea is that the blank can bend deeper and freely inside the grip, the makers call this Free-Flex.
Being a little curious, I tried casting with my forefinger on the blank of the 5-weight, during normal casting the butt bends! Actually it bends significantly. Clearly these blanks were designed to load deep, the #5 seems to me to load deeper than the #7.
Three first casting impressions: that hard grip gives me immediate, intimate contact with the blank, I can feel any vibrations in the rod; with the 5-weight line-choice seems important; on the scales, these are heavy rods, in the hand that seems a lot less important, compared with a conventional rod all the extra weight is in the grip/seat.
9ft #5 4pce
When I measure this ArcticSilver model, the action figures say this is a mid-flex rod and the stiffness figure says it is a low stiffness 5-weight (both tips). From the objective to the subjective, mid-flex gives good feel, good touch. Where a fast-action rod has a hard, almost rigid, butt-section which tends to insulate me from the line, a deeper action like this offers more sense of the rod loading and unloading as I cast. Relatively low stiffness means easy loading, again gearing this rod towards those of us who appreciate feeling a rod work as we cast (pick up a stiff, fast rod after this and it feels like a broom handle.) The grip size and shape seem to protect my elbow, always a good thing.
10ft #7 4pce
This feels like a more conventional rod, it handled all the #7 lines threaded up it with style and threw an #8 line with ease. ArcticSilver describes this as a salmon rod, it can certainly function as a single-handed salmon rod. In this country, I think we would more likely use this as a heavy trout rod. In my opinion, and in my hand, this can do all I want of a rod this length and line-class. Overhead casting with floating and sinking lines I had no quibbles at all. Then switch to Spey casts and, until I have a stupid length of line on the water, the rod is in command of the line – and casts well.
Build quality is high.
The measurements for this ArcticSilver model say the action is a just a little deeper than a typical, modern, fast-action rod and the stiffness puts it at the mid to low end of the stiffness range for rods this length and line-class; in very good company, similar to several top-class 10ft 7-weights I have handled. Again, I tried casting with my forefinger on the blank, I could feel it moving, bending at the grip but the flexing was slight.
The grip on this rod is the same unit fitted to the 5-weight. Again it feels exceptionally comfortable in my hand, and my elbow is relaxed. Again, thanks to that grip and seat fitting this is a heavy rod, but as line-class and rod length increase so that weight becomes less significant. I'd happily fish this as a boat rod or as a salmon/sea trout rod.
ArcticSilver have developed a genuinely innovative grip and reel-seat unit and fitted blanks specially designed to work with their grips. The Free-Flex idea is intriguing, with a deeper loading blank it seems to offer unusual touch or 'feel', which I like, it seems slightly less convincing with a more powerful blank for higher line weight. The finished rod is well made, packed in a stylish bag and tube and certainly looks different
By Magnus Angus
Fly ROd revIew
Fighting butt: n/a
Cork quality: n/a
Reel seat: Integral, sprung
Blank: Matt olive
Build quality: High
Rod bag: Canvas
Rod tube: Nylon covered
Arctic Silver 9ft #5
Action angle: 65 degrees
Stiffness: 98.1g (Fast tip 99g)
Rings: Two lined butt rings,
Arctic Silver 10ft #7
Action angle: 68 degrees
Rings: Two lined butt rings,
single leg snakes
From: At the moment
Arctic Silver rods are available online.
Is this fly fishing rod a Revolution or flop?
All fly rods are strongest in the butt section, and it’s ArcticSilver’s ambition to let the
forces from the deep be released. Traditional rods are hindered by the cork handle
being glued on the blank. ArcticSilver have replaced this with one that is hollow all the
way down to the reel seat. To get this to work has been a costly and time-consuming process, but the rods are now available in the ArcticSilver webshop, and we have tested them.
When it comes to ArcticSilver’s construction, we have concluded that it doesn’t require you to change your casting style. The ultimate test was when I let my daughter cast the rod, whom has most experience with faster middle actioned 5-weight rods. Even
though the ArcticSilver rod had a deeper action than she was used to, she managed double hauls and fine, tight loops straight away. The lightning fast adaptation is a testament to how the rod gives clear communication to the caster. Rarely – if ever – have I felt the contact with casting better than with this rod. Generally due to the
handle, but to how much the smooth and deep action contributes, is obviously difficult to conclude. To be able to evaluate it, I would have to have the same blank but with a
conventional handle. But as I hadn’t, I have tested it with the best of the rods I have available. This is to a degree acceptable, as it is how the rod competes as a fishing tool which will decide whether ArcticSilver will be a success in the marketplace.
Compared to the best
To compare the 5-weight, I have used a Orvis Helios 2 Mid-Flex (tested in AOF 2/2013) in the same AFTM. At 71g, the Orvis is maybe the industry’s lightest nine footer for a 5-weight, whilst ArcticSilver at 162g is probably the heaviest amongst graphite rods. But weights ‘lie’, as when I compare the top three sections, the result is a draw 25-25.
Therefore the weight difference is localized at the handle, and particularly at the reel seat where it hasn’t any other influence than with heavier reels, the rod naturally becomes heaviest at the rear. Though in return the reel seat is the most functional I have ever experienced. No clumsy screwing with rings which are difficult or lock when they shouldn’t.
«Smack» and the reel is in place, and it sits glued until you just as easily remove it. The spring-loaded handle is situated so that you can’t accidently release the reel while fishing. A clear plus for the reel seat as the handle is somewhat crude, and doesn’t sit as well in your hand as a beautiful cork handle. This most notice- able for casters with small hands, but for adult men it isn’t an issue.
When it comes the casting attributes, the ArcticSilver Trout immediately gave a good impression. The good contact with the casting makes it a precision tool, especially when the fly is to be presented closely, but it doesn’t falter when you work out a long head and really press it with a double haul. With all types of cast, it holds it own compared with the test winner from Orvis, and the weight difference not heavier to work with. The largest difference lies in the casting rythym, where ArcticSilver is clearly
slower. The advantage with the long working motion is that the cast is easy to
time, but if you are deep wading and casting long heads at a distance, it’s easier to keep the loops clear of the water with the bottom stiff Orvis. It gives a somewhat different use, but not a deciding difference in casting abilities.
The 5-weight rod «Trout» gets a definate max score from my evalutation. ArcticSilver will ultimately be very interesting for flyfishers who enjoy deep rods that give a decisive response. Easy to get to know which should suit casters of all levels.
Terje Bomann- Larsen
Text & Review
ThroughouT The years, i’ve seen loTs of ‘innovaTions’ ThaT basiCally have only been CosmeTiC...
Now I have spent a near forty fly fishing trips accompanied by the various ArcticSilver rods, and I can tell you straight away that I’m extremely pleased with all of the rods.
Here’s how I would describe each rod: The 9’ 5-weighT - TrouT
A rod for enjoyment. Long casts, short casts, you name it, with this rod all challenges are accepted and tackled with brilliance. It is probably the deepest of all the ArcticSilver Free-Flex rods but has more than enough power when you may need those extra-long casts. Spey-casting is performed to perfection, and it is a pure joy to fight fish on. You must simply relax your shoulders when fighting fish and let the rod do the job.
The 9’ 6-weighT - CoasT
It was this rod I was most skeptical too and the one that I have used most lately. In my opinion, the 6-weight rod is a tricky one to get right. Often the rods are too stiff or they demand heavier lines than their class implies. The ArcticSilver Free-Flex 6-weight is a REAL 6-weight designed for coastal fly fishing for sea trout, and an action that compliments this type of fly fishing. It isn’t until you really push the rod that you actually realize the power potential this
rod has. As with all of the other ArcticSilver rods, it has ample power reserves in the butt section for when you may need them, though not forgetting a true pleasure
to fight fish on.
The 10’ #7 - salmon
This is an immensely important rod when it comes to captivating single-handed salmon fishers. Again this is a deep rod but a bit tougher than the previously mentioned rods. ArcticSilver doesn’t hide the fact that they had river fishing in mind when designing this rod, and that’s why this rod is all about Spey-casting. This is especially felt in the rods fairly active bottom section and a relatively flat top. But don’t get me wrong, this rod casts far whilst overhead casting – just remember to aim high, focus on the treetops on the other side of the river, and don’t be surprised if you end up on the other bank. As a Spey rod, well it does it all one could ever want It really performs with all types of anchored casts and casts really far, easily. Just remember to lock your wrist relatively firmly as this rod is longer than the others, and therefore needs to be a more determined grip. I can add that this rod handles surprisingly heavy flies – something that most probably have to thank the action for.
All the rods I’ve tested have landed fish, lost fish, cast long distances, short distances, in tailwinds, in headwinds, in sorrow, and in joy. The Free-Flex rods have given me the best thinkable support whenever I have needed it – and that’s certainly something a fly fisher
needs now and then. If there is one thing I’ll claim, that is that if one doesn’t cast further with ArcticSilver rods, one will at least cast simpler, easier and a little more comfortable.
My Orvis Helios and G-Loomis NRX have been swapped in favor of the ArcticSilver rods – and
that says a lot!
What the #5, 6, and 7 all have in common is a relatively deep action and a fairly flat top. So what is the deal about the Free-Flex concept? Well, the first thing you’ll notice when picking up an ArcticSilver rod is the hollow Free-Flex handle. The patented handle, the key behind the whole concept.
Here’s how ArcticSilver describes the concept: When trying my first ArcticSilver rod, I immediately felt that the Free-Flex handle was different from conventional handles. All you need to do is wave the rod in the air and you can feel that it flexes into the handle section.
Robert Selfors, the man behind the concept was so sure about the whole concept that he even lent me an ArcticSilver #5 fitted with a conventional cork handle. Throughout the years, I’ve seen lots of ‘innovations’ that basically have only been cosmetic and with little practical
value. Having the cork reference rod allowed me to comparatively test the concept – and it really proved the case! I no longer have any doubts. ArcticSilver is the real deal – a company with a vision and a concept that works! They represent a milestone in the development
of fly rods.
I recommend anyone who gets the chance to test an ArcticSilver Free-Flex rod in his favorite class/ weight. I will be very surprised if the “Free-Flex Feeling” doesn’t take you aback as well! My test score is without a doubt a 6/6!
Text & Review
IB AND ANDY ROD REVIEW
Andy reviews the Arctic Silver Zense fly rod, featuring the groundbreaking Free Flex system which Arctic Silver claim creates a flyrod with more feel, and that is easier to cast than its competitors.
Andy spends time casting and fishing with the 9' 5# fast version of the Zense, catching trout and using various rigs and fly lines to test this revolutionary new fly fishing rod.
LIgHT AS A FeATHer, STroNg ANd THougHT THrougH
The Free-Flex rods from ArcticSilver don’t look like traditional fly rods, but that’s the only reservation we have regarding this innovation. If people can get past this hinder, then we quickly believe that a 50-year-old from Fauske, Norway has revolutionized the traditional and difficult fly rod market. One can say a lot about both fly fishing and fly fishing equipment, but most will agree that the traditional fly rod has always
kind of looked the same. The rods have quite rightly been built with different materials, where everything from split cane to steel has been represented, but the handles have basically stayed the same.
The norm is a handle consisting of glued on cork with a simple reel seat, where one screws the reel in place. There has been different alternatives, both spinning and sliding variants, but the brand new Free-Flex handle is something the fly fishing
world has never seen. It’s exactly this special handle that gives that extra dimension to the new rod series from the ArcticSilver Team. The idea behind the Free-Flex handle is the logical principle that the power potential of the rod is stored in the blanks
butt section. The ArcticSilver handles are hollow, something that allows the butt section the bend freely in the handle.
This sounds fantastic in theory, but we all know that theory and practice don’t always go hand in hand. Though luckily in this example it does. We have tested the rods under relatively windy conditions, and with relatively heavy streamers, and they work formidably. Long, precise casts in tough Western Norwegian headwinds is no obvious ability, but with the 6-weight rod from ArcticSilver was actually non-problematic. The first casts with the Free-Flex handle were a little unfamiliar, but it doesn’t take many casts before you get used to it, and you end up liking the deeper than normal action. Fly fishing is as much about precision as it is distance, and even though the Free-Flex rods excel at bending then energy translation, they are extremely sensitive.
Hitting a rise with small dry flies on a flat calm works just as well as herling out heavys in 10m/s winds. We tried both examples with just a few hours between them, and we were amazed that the same rod had two different qualities. Surprises are not always fun, but when they are positive, there are not much better.
When you hold a Free-Flex rod in your hands for the first time, there are three things you notice. Firstly is the hollow handle as I have described above. This can be experienced larger than most other contemporary handles but you get used to it pretty
quickly. The casting comfort is good too. You really feel that you are gripping the fly rod, and then after 2-3 casts, you don’t think over it anymore.
The second thing you will notice is how light the rod actually is. even though it is heavier than the lightest rods on the market, the weight difference lays in the handle.
The rod feels well balanced, and to compare with other rods, it isn’t especially heavy whilst casting. It’s crazy to think how much power is in a rod that hardly weighs anything at all, but that’s how it’s progressed. The third thing that really stands out
from more traditional rods is that special reel seat. Here there is nothing left to
chance. The so-called ‘Quick-Lock system’ is a spring-loaded reel lock, and it seems so simple that it’s rather strange that this has been a standard on fly rods for years. We have only tested three different reels in the reel seat, but all have sat firmly. The maker informs us that they have tried hundreds of reels to get to the point of a perfect lock. It
seems that they have succeeded.
After a great deal of testing this summer, we sit with very few negative points. The rods are light, strong and precise. As well as being a dream to fight fish on. We are also in no doubt that the Free-Flex rods have been our first choice when the opportunity has arisen. The rods cost a couple of yearly road taxes, but you get a lot of rod for the money.
Endre Hopland, Hooked.no
Review by endre Hopland, Hooked.no // 22/08/2014
fly rod revIew
it JUST FLIES
with less use of power
ArcticSilver started as a crowd-funded concept through Indigogo and eventually came on the market with it's Limited Edition series, which several of us in Saltfly have used since. The rod we have used most is "Limited edition" (LE) 9ft # 6 COAST, and when Arcticsilver introduced their micro diameter lines (MD series), we felt they complimented the rod series well. We tested both thoroughly and the reports can be found on saltflue.no.saltflue.no
Before we continue, we want to clarify some details around saltflue.no and Arcticsilver (ASI). Several of us in Saltfly received the offer of a pro guide deal by ASI, but in order to maintain our integrity as a standalone group and unobtrusive, we graciously declined their offer. ASI respected that decision and gave us an offer to purchase the rods and lines so that we could have tested the products. We decided to accept that offer with the provision that we were free and to write an honest review of the products. Kevin and Odd Arild who have never used ASI previously bought their own rod with line, as did Stian and Nicholas who have used # 6 a lot since it was introduced.
As a coastal fisherman, it is always comfortable to walk with a light weighted Rod. There is, however, something called "weather cover," and it's not necessary until a # 6 gets a little thin in combination with big flies and a lot of wind. We missed a 9ft # 7 that did not exist in "LE" because in that series there was only a 10ft # 7. During the presentation of new products from ASI in February 2016, Stian and Nicholas put their hands on what would be 9ft # 7 ASI ZENSE and from that moment we knew that the Zense series held promise. Since then, we have anxiously anticipated the arrival of the new Zense series.
Just over a month ago, and a few days before leaving for Bornholm, the day had finally come. The new ZENSE rods from ASI had finally arrived after a year of waiting, and the expectations for the new 7wt rods were big. In any case, we were 4 men from Saltfly, who had been with Nordic Fishing Equipment to Bornholm in early April, and we all had one of the new Zense # 7 and the latest batch of # 7 MD lines. We decided that Stian and Nicholas, who have a good knowledge of ASI, write their assessments with comparisons to the LE 9ft # 6 and the "free-flex concept." And Kevin and Odd Arild write their experience of everything with new eyes. We have used the rods for about 1.5 months under all conditions.
ArcticSilver int # 7, SA Sonar Titan Full int # 7 and Rio Outbound f / s3 # 6.
ArcticSilver Int # 7, Rio Outbound Short Int # 6, Rio Quickshooter # 6.
ArcticSilver Int # 7, SA Sonar Titan Full Int # 7, Rio Outbound Short s3 # 6
ArcticSilver int # 7
As you can see, the Rio lines are sized down as our experience of these lines is that they are somewhat heavy, and by sizing down, line tracking becomes better and the loops are tighter. All the lines fit the rods well, but the ASI intermediate line is like a hand in glove and is the one that fits the rods best. We have a little different taste when it comes to rods, where Stian prefers a medium/fast action and Nicholas swears for ultra-fast action. Compared to the "LE" series, ZENSE is noticeably faster, without compromising the free-flex concept that ASI is built on. The casting technique must be calm and the pause must be deliberate so that the rod has neutralized the tension and the line rolls out. Due to the free-flex handle, it is felt that this takes some more time with conventional cork blades regardless of action. But here the free-flex concept also illuminates its potential, slowing down gets a lot of speed and "punch" without the need to use muscles and energy to cast far. It is worth mentioning that it goes a long way without much use of power, we all were able to cast the MD line to the backing that hung off the reel after a cast. We were able to do the same with the ASI line on other rods as well, but with much more effort. When using lines with a shorter belly, things tend to collapse with a lot of overhang. The same must be said for ASI lines, but on ASI lines it is felt that you can have some more hangover before it collapses. On the last back cast, it has been easy to lay 3-6 meters extra. All in all, the lines should be considered for those who like casting in the medium-speed action range. It's simply a throwing machine that requires little effort and is forgiving unless you make serious mistakes.
Compared with Limited Edition 9ft # 6, ZENSE 9ft # 7 has more of the features you want in a coastal rod. It's faster, tolerates significantly more wind, and a joy to cast for hours. LE # 6 is still on tour under milder conditions, but if we had to make a choice, we chose the ZENSE 9ft # 7 as the "go-to" rod. We like the design of the handle, and from an environmental perspective, maybe a future with materials instead of cork could work for other manufacturers as well.
fly rod revIew