By Bob Sherwood, Guideline Power Team
Here’s Matt Ashley from the UK casting the EXP4 and 4-Cast line. Look at that loop. Hard to believe he’d never picked up a fly rod before, isn’t it?! Matt is an ex-British Army Serviceman who endured some brutal experiences in Afghanistan. Matt had an inkling that fly fishing might just be the peaceful but challenging pursuit he now needs in a quieter phase of his life. He clearly loves the outdoor life and was keen to learn as much as he could.
Is this the best beginners’ outfit yet?
With a little demonstration and some tuition, Matt was soon throwing some incredible loops for someone who had never touched a fly rod before. And that’s even though his rod hand lacks the top part of his thumb!
Ok, this guy was a particularly good student (and his girlfriend Michelle was no slouch with the rod, either!). But it was clear to see how the feel of the EXP4 and the versatility of the 4-cast line helped so much with the learning experience. It’s just so user-friendly.
New for this season, I’ve been teaching all my trout fishing clients in the UK with Guideline’s EXP4 series rods. Though it’s still early in the season, I’m already convinced I made the right choice.
As an AAPGAI master instructor and member of the Guideline Power team, I think it’s critical what gear I put in the hands of my clients – especially beginners who are often experiencing their first taste of fly fishing.
My kit has to look great and give my clients a quality feel from the off. It has to have excellent components and be robust. It has to be capable of all the casts I teach in a single-handed tuition session – from basic overheads to roll casts, double hauls and single-handed spey casts. It has to be able to produce tight loops, maintain line shape on long casts, minimize tip bounce that upsets the bottom leg of the loop and generate high line speeds. It needs to be able to deliver short casts and smoothly handle the power for longer casts. And it needs to have feel and suit a wide range of casters. That means a tip that recovers quickly and a progressive action that flexes more deeply as the line length increases.
That’s a lot to ask. And then there’s the tricky bit – it needs to be affordable so that novices are not put off or sent away feeling that they have to spend a small fortune to take up our sport. I insist on quality kit but I want to show novice anglers that they can produce great results with affordable kit if they choose carefully.
So, for stillwater trout fishing tuition here in the south of England, I’ve settled on the 9’ #6 EXP4 teamed up with a WF6 4-Cast floating line and a Reelmaster LA 46 reel. I thought it might be good – but it’s turned out to be the best beginners’ outfit I’ve used. Roll casts, feel on a short line, deeper flex for long casts, tip control – it’s all there. After a few sessions, I have complete confidence in it as my go-to tuition set-up.
And, more to the point, my students like Matt have complete confidence in it. And it turns out the EXP4 is also a joy to play fish on, flexing smoothly and consistently, cushioning the hookhold and giving great feedback during the fight. Just ask Matt. I didn’t think he was going to give it back!