Just prior to last fall’s Fly Fishing Retailer show in Denver, we heard about a new switch rod that sounded pretty unusual and awfully interesting – the Scott Fiberhammer.
The Fiberhammer is not like most rods being made today. It’s a 10′ 6″ switch rod for a 7 weight line, but it’s made of fiberglass. That sounded pretty cool to us, so of course we had to get our hands on one.
This past week we spent an afternoon on the water with a Fiberhammer and we really, really liked it. It took a little bit of doing, but once we felt like it was lined right, it cast and fished like a dream.
It’s made of fiberglass, and you’re right if you assume that it’s not fast. Assemble it and give it the wiggle test, and yeah, it wiggles – right down to the cork. It weighs 7.1 ounces, which is heavier than normal for a modern 7 weight switch, but not totally out of the ballpark.
For our style of fishing in the Pacific Northwest (lots of sinktips, some bigger flies – Skagit-style, basically), we like shortened versions of modern Skagit spey lines on switch rods. Note that we rarely cast these rods overhead – we tend to think of them as little spey rods, and that’s how we cast and fish them.
Opinions vary widely on how to line switch rods, and our experience with the Fiberhammer was no exception. We wound up liking a line that was more than 100 grains heavier than the recommendation we got from Scott. Given that, we should probably give a warning and disclaimer to fish the line we liked on this rod at your own risk.
When the cutting and casting and experimentation was said and done, we loved the Fiberhammer with a 570 grain Airflo Skagit Compact with 5 feet cut off the back end of it, which resulted in a 20 foot head that weighed 480 grains (we’re sure of those numbers – we measured it and weighed it). That was connected to an Airflo Custom Cut 200 tip, cut back to 10 feet and about 110 grains.
On The Water
Once we got the line dialed in, the rod really came alive. It’s slow, but not super-slow. As opposed to telling ourselves to “slow down”, telling ourselves to “be smooth” resulted in really nice casts.
Because it’s slow, it loads really easily. That meant that less-than-ideal casting situations – limited room for a big D-loop, casts off our bad shoulder – were not a problem at all. This rod would love rivers like the Deschutes, where you often find yourself standing in the brush.
Casts to about 75 feet were easy. We didn’t spend much time trying to bomb it out there, because that’s not really what this rod is about. It’s got a lot of soul, and it casts well at distances where you can actually fish effectively. One thing you can’t do with this rod is overcome a bad D-loop by yanking with your bottom hand – there’s just not enough backbone in the butt section for that to work well at all.
With the reel and line balanced well, it didn’t feel heavy. No it’s not a rod that makes you think, “man this thing is light”, but it feels very comfortable in hand.
Easy livin’. That’s what comes to mind. After a couple of casts with the right line, one tester said out loud “this would be a really fun rod to fish all day”.
Sorry, we can’t yet tell you how it fights a fish – we used it on a blown-out Puget Sound river that might have had a couple of steelhead in it. No grabs!
If you want rocket-ship power, this is not your rod. If you like super-fast rods, this is not your rod. If you like soulful, mellow rods that feel great and cast well in real-world situations and at real-world distances, you should get your hands on a Fiberhammer and give it a go. Just take it easy!
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Spencer Ballard says
That is what glass rods are all about… Real world fishing distances where you can fish effectively, mellow, feel good, cast well… Glass is the perfect material for most fly fishing applications in freshwater. You didn’t mention that it is also MUCH more durable than graphite, way less prone to breakage. I really enjoyed your review, I gotta get my hands on one of these!
Nick Pionessa says
i have fished this rod a bunch and i can’t see why you would want to put a frankenskagit on it? most soft rods and especially glass perform their best when they are allowed to work without being pushed. try an Airflo compact scandi @420 grains and you will have a completely different, much more responsive rod in your hands. i cannot fathom the overloading of such a sweet casting rod. might as well put an 8wt bass bug line on your favorite 5 wt cane.
Hi Nick, thanks a lot for checking in. We get accused of overloading rods a lot, and we’re OK with that – it probably has to do with our casting style, or lack thereof. I’m sure it casts awesome with that Scandi!
Has anyone overhead casted with this rod?
Jon Lund says
Regarding the Fiberhammer, it really is smooth with a Wulff 450 gr Ambush head. I have the head attached to 30# Airflo Ridge running line.
It’s a sweet set up.
brad melville says
Im buying one of these rods tomorrow, why… becouse its sweet.. and becouse of this review, thanks guys- Brad
Awesome, Brad – have fun with it!
Mark Yuhina says
I was wondering when you cut off the back end 10′ of the compact skagit line, Did you glue back the back taper? or you just leave it like that… What casting style you guys are doing for skagit line? Just curious…
In that case we cut 5′ off the back of the Compact Skagit and just left it. It was a little clunky but cast fine.
I wrote this post in the days before the Airflo Skagit Switch heads came out – today I’d definitely just throw on a Skagit Switch 480 and let ‘er rip.
I tend to use a lot of very-sustained-anchor Perry Poke-type casts myself.
Thanks for your input!
Stasha Rice says
Any idea where I could get my hands on a Fiberhammer? I have a boyfriend who basically collects Scott rods and would absolutely love to gift one to him! Thank you!