When a triple fly fishing world champion tells you that a product is seriously good, you listen. But at Smart Angling we like to test products ourselves before we bring them to the Canadian market.
So here we are, Ian Troup, Ciprian Rafan and yours truly taking advantage of a rare February warm spell to try the first Arcay Kingfisher rod brought into Canada. It is the 7+ version: the "+" indicating a capability to deal with heavy sinking lines.
Each of us has his favourites and biases, and we make a point to bring a bunch of rods from other brands so we can compare. In a matter of a few hours of casting to chunky Franklin Club rainbows, all three of us have concluded that the Kingfisher is the next big thing in fly rods: as I am writing this we are all waiting for ours to be delivered to Canada.
Here is what made us a feel like this:
I matched the rod with a DI 7 line and made a few casts at the parking lot for fun while setting up for the day. The extra long 41 m (45 yard) Arcay competition lake line went almost into the backing on the very first cast without much effort. It is very impressive, but a good fishing rod is not defined only by how suitable it is for distance casting.
Casting at different ranges: from close to far
So we were very curious to cast the rod at different distances with different lines and to catch some fish and see how it handles them. And this is when the rod really started to impress all of us. There are plenty of rods on the market that would cast a long line, but many of them are not as good at short and medium range: they do not load well until you have a lot of line out of the guides. Or the opposite: some work well at short distance but get overloaded once you try to hold a longer line in the air.
We compared the Kingfisher with several models of rods from well-known brands. All three of us agreed that the Kingfisher is better than all of them in helping us make effortless casts at various ranges.
We found the Kingfisher capable of loading right away for a short and medium cast, but at the same time it seems like there is no limit to how much line you can hold in the air for a long cast. Arcay claims that the 7+ is best for heavier sinking lines (there is a 7 version for floaters and intermediate lines), but we found it to handle well everything: from a floater, down to a heavy DI7. What differentiates it from the other rods we compared it to is the (relatively) soft tip that dampens quickly allowing for good delivery at all ranges.
Light, Strong and Sensitive
These three characteristics usually do not go hand in hand, but this is where the nano technology really shines. The 10ft, 7 wt Kingfisher 7 + feel surreally light in the hand. It is at least 10% lighter than the rods that we previously considered to be very light. It is also quite sensitive which helps with strike detection.
In terms of strength: the manufacturer gives this rod a lifetime warranty for breakages in a fishing situation. It will of course break if you close your car door onto it, but the chances of breaking it on a fish or a snag are close to zero. We had fun horsing in a few 2 to 6 lbs rainbows.
While powerful, the Kingfisher is not a super stiff rod, it bends on a fish and there seems to be no limit to how much it will bend (before your leader breaks...). It does keep you connected to the fish and gives them little chance to throw the hook.
The question that everyone asks...The Kingfisher will sell in Canada for $ 799 CAD. Yes, this is not cheap... but for a top quality, exceptionally well-designed rod with a lifetime warranty the Kingfisher offers great value for money. Other brands' nano rods on the market sell for over $ 1000.
THE ARCAY KINGFISHER WILL BE AVILABLE IN CANADA VERY SOON EXCLUSIVELY AT SMARTANLING.COM