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.