Fly fishing rod

Best Grays Fly Rods and Reels on the Market


Fly fishing, it seems, is facing a kind of rebirth. Fishermen are flooding rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ponds in record numbers, purchasing fishing licenses and any fly fishing gear – like fly rods and Grays reels – they can get their hands on.

Many are wealthy, willing to drop thousands of premium rods and reels recommended at local fly shops. Many are not.

“The value proposition is essential,” said Jim Murphy, director of fly fishing for Pure Fishing. “Student loans, unemployment, COVID – it’s forcing people to be more thoughtful when buying equipment. That’s part of what the folks at Grays, a British fly fishing brand owned by Pure Fishing, are targeting with their mid-priced high performance rods. But don’t think these rods are necessarily for beginners. These aren’t commercial rod and reel combos you bought at the local sporting goods store when you were 16 and finally saved up enough money to learn to fly fishing.

Read more : Waters of Plenty: Rafting and Fishing on Alaska’s Overlooked Lake Creek

Grays aims to have a corner of the elusive niche of professional rods at novice prices.

Three dedicated fishing buddies and I carried several fly rods and Grays reels on a weeklong salmon, trout and grayling river fishing trip last fall in Alaska. We broke two, but we also caught more fish than we even tried to count. Since then my husband and I have used the GR60 Streamflex 7wt and GR80 4wt through Wyoming streams, rivers and lakes with everything from nymphs and dry flies to heavy streamers with a sink tip line.

In our range of nearly a dozen rods ranging from the high-end Sage to the mid-level St. Croix, the Grays more often arrive in the truck and go for the ride. For affordable and versatile fly fishing rods and reels with lifetime warranties, they’re hard to beat.

Specifications of the Grays GR80 Streamflex 4wt rod and GTS 600 4/5/6 reel

GR80 Streamflex 4wt rod

Length: 9 feet

Guide type: SIC Stripper / stainless steel snake

Number of pieces: 4

Action: Fast way

Handle material: AAA cork

Construction: Advanced resin system and high modulus carbon construction

Coil set: Custom Grays reel seat with double locking rings

Reel GTS 600 4/5/6

A Grays GTS 600 silver reel

Construction: Complete stock in 6061 aluminum

To glide: Rulon disc brake

Grays Freshwater GR60 7wt rod and QRS 5/6/7/8 reel

GR60 7wt rod

A black Grays GR60 fly rod with a cork handle

Length: 9 feet

Guide type: SIC Stripper / stainless steel snake

Number of pieces: 4

Action: Fast / progressive

Handle material: Cork

Construction: TOREON Nano Composite technology

Coil set: Anodized aluminum reel seat with woven carbon spacer

QRS 5/6/7/8 reel

A black Grays QRS reel

Construction: Complete bar in 6061 aluminum with transparent polycarbonate coils

Premium: Coils come out, allowing up to four different lines on the same reel

What to look for in a fly rod

Ask a dozen fly fishermen what they consider to be the best fly rod and expect a dozen responses. Filter the responses and a few go up to the top.

Weight has counted often, although most newer rods are so light that it’s no longer a big deal.

Then comes the ease of loading a rod. Basically you want the weight of your line to bend the rod enough to pull it forward, but not so much that it crumbles back and forth like a wet noodle. Lots of stems err on the side of being a little too steep. Can you still catch fish with a rod that does not bend much? Sure. Is it also fun? Nope.

“This 7wt had a lot of power to throw big streamers with a sink tip,” said Josh Peterson, my husband who has been guiding salmon and trout fishing in Alaska since 2008 and fishing Wyoming rivers 12 months ago. year for much longer. “If the cane doesn’t have enough spine to throw a heavy streamer over a sink tip, it’s not worth buying.”

Cost is a big issue, especially among those on a budget. This is an area where fly rods and Grays reels are starting to shine. Their best GR80 Streamflex Plus fly rods always cost less than $ 400. A mid-range rod costs $ 200. Both are great.

And keeping the most important factor for the end: the warranty. Grays fly rods have lifetime warranties, no questions asked after paying shipping and handling charges (around $ 40). Anyone who has fly fishing for a while knows that the rods are going to break. Tips hang on rafts and boats. The eyelets come off. Sections break off when landing a big fish just a little sore. It happens. If you spend $ 150 on a cane it sucks when it breaks but life goes on. Spend $ 300, $ 400, or definitely $ 1,000 on a cane, you want to know you can use it and don’t plan on buying another anytime soon.

About grays

If you haven’t heard of Grays, or if you vaguely remember it from years ago, that’s understandable. The company is British – founded in 1968 by Malcolm Gray – as a spin-off of a company called House of Hardy, which has been making exceptionally high-end fly rods in the UK since the 1800s.

“Their goal was to have a range of technically advanced equipment at good prices,” said Murphy. Less ambitious and more concrete. Like many businesses, she has gone through a variety of properties and partnerships. Grays burst onto the US market in the mid-2000s when the so-called Czech nymph started to gain even more popularity. Years and more in revenue later and the business is back and causing a stir, according to Murphy.

“We were missing this adventurous explorer fisherman and the technically knowledgeable youngster who can’t afford the Hardy,” he said. And they hit that target hard. A sneak peek of Grays new reels to release this fall include the Tital reel, which earned them the best fly fishing reel in the new product showcase at ICAST 2021.

A fisherman holding a caught fish and a fishing rod in a river
The Grays 7wt and 4wt rods have been successful in both the Alaskan rivers and the lower 48. Jessica haydahl richardson Jessica haydahl richardson

Testing Grays 7wt and 4wt rods and reels

We took a handful of rods on our trip to Alaska, from 8wts for silver salmon to 4wts for shade. We have all tried them and have all caught fish. But for the sake of this review, we can dive into the 7wt and 4wt, which I have also used in the past year on the lower 48 rivers.

In fact, the 7wt and the 4wt excel in nymphs. The Czech nymph, or European nymph, consists (essentially) when one or more nymphs are tied to the end of a line with a little weight and the fisherman keeps the line short and tight. A cane should be stiff enough to react quickly to blows and blows.

We used a variety of flies, as well as split shots in Alaska, on both the 7wt and 4wt and none were disappointed. The 7wt also performed well with heavy salmon streamers and a sink tip line. Such a weight requires a quick action of a cane.

The best part I realized at home after months of fishing in the local tail waters for 24 inch brown trout and in mountain streams on the rising speckled trout, was that both rods can perform more d ‘a spot.

“With the 4wt, you want something that will cast dry flies well and also do a good job of throwing a nymph platform with some weight,” Josh said. “We have a 3wt rod which is really fun to use with dry flies, but if you want to ride with woolly spunk or flies with a split shot you’re going to swear. Grays did a good job in both cases.

What he lost in a margin of flexibility and pleasure with a caddis that he compensated by being able to switch in both directions. The gray fly reels performed well, with a smooth drag and no issues with tangled lines. The interchangeable spools on QRS reels are especially handy, especially for going back and forth from the floating line to the tip of the sink.

What the Grays GR60 7wt and GR80 Streamflex 4wt do best

The top-of-the-range GR80 Streamflex and mid-range GR60 performed well under all the circumstances we put on them. They were throwing tiny midges and heavy Dolly llamas. What they do best is multitasking. If you wanted to buy a niche rod for a niche task, you could still end up spending that $ 1,000, but if what you want is something that will be fun to use, catch yourself fishing almost anywhere. and don’t go into credit card debt, these can be the best fly rod and reel option.

The worst things the Grays GR60 7wt and GR80 Streamflex 4wt do

We ended up breaking two Grays rods on our trip to Alaska – each time a section broke during the throw. Matt Bertke, an Alaska fishing guide and lodge owner, has since struggled with a few other rods that his guides removed.

Of the many I brought back to Wyoming, one had a problem with a carnation that broke breaking ice on a cold February day on a river. The others resisted well. The stems seem more brittle than the other brands we’ve tried, but not so much that I wouldn’t buy another one. And as we mentioned, they are guaranteed for life, so they can be repaired without a problem.

The coils are slightly heavier than high-end coils from companies like Orvis and Ross. But they also work well and cost a fraction of the price.

Are the Grays GR60 7wt and GR80 Streamflex 4wt and GTS and QRS reels fulfilling their mission?

Yes, they certainly do. There’s a reason the Grays rods and reels became popular years ago, and a reason the Tital reel took top honors at ICAST. They are offered at affordable prices for beginners and for anyone looking to expand their rod and reel family. They will also do almost anything you ask them to do, and do it well. Can you buy a rod or reel that does a little better? Sure. Will you pay this little extra? Absoutely.


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