The BROMANoDELL, Esox Lucius Pike Fly Rod
Reviewed by David Wolsoncroft-Dodds
I arrived at Bowood with Paul Sharman just as it was getting light. In previous years, this wonderful old estate lake had been kind to me at the start of the season. Last year had been particularly good, with the opening week producing a fabulous haul of big, double figure pike and five fish of more than twenty pounds for myself and my guiding clients.
Today's visit had an added purpose. Paul and I were field-testing BROMANoDELL's new, Esox Lucius pike fly-rod. BROMANoDELL is a Swedish company, producing a whole range of fly fishing and spinning rods. Johan Broman is the founder of BoD, an all-round fisherman on fly and lure, and principal designer of BoD equipment.
Paul and I tackled up at the car and downed a mug of full strength fresh coffee to kick-start the brain cells and convince ourselves that it was daytime. 4.00 am has its compensations at this time of year. We had seen fallow deer and a hare on our drive through the estate. We were parked by a group of mature oak trees where a colony of herons was greeting the dawn with their harsh calls. As is often the case by a lake at first light, there wasn't a breath of wind - although the weatherman had forecast a stiff breeze for later.
I fitted my trusty old Hardy salmon reel to the rod. We were going to start by fishing a shallow (3-4ft) bay so I opted for a 10wt. Floating line (the Rio Pike Fly-line) a 7ft leader of Varivas, 16lb fluorocarbon and a 12 inch wire trace. My 7 inch, 3d streamer would sink slowly but my retrieve would keep it clear of the blanket of weed on the bottom of the lake.
The rod has a stealthy, matt black finish. This is a good idea as the pike will often follow the fly right to your toes and a flashy finish to the rod could easily spook them. I started fishing back from the bank and making short casts to cover the close water. I knelt to keep my profile as low as possible. The BROMANoDELL rod loaded easily and enabled me to make the short casts smoothly and with the minimum of splashdown. Having satisfied myself that there wasn't a pike close in, I stood up and started to make a fan of longer casts.
The rod has a smooth, through action. It isn't an ultra fast casting machine. Johan Broman's objective when designing the Esox Lucius had been to produce a rod that would be good at playing a hefty, powerful pike and would be easy to use for a relaxed, full day fishing session.
Sadly, the session didn't produce the hoped for big pike to let me test the rod's fish taming qualities. (I have since landed a 19lb pike on it without mishap) Certainly, it's easy to cast with and delivered my big 3d streamer without fuss.
If you are a top grade caster, used to making long-range casts with big pike-flies, the rod has its limitations. A faster rod will let a good caster make longer casts. However, rather than regarding these limitations as shortcomings, you could take a more positive view. It would be an ideal rod for fishing smaller rivers or for bellyboating, when its easy loading characteristic would make it a pleasure to use. It would be great for fishing from a boat along shallow, reed-fringed margins, when a stealthy approach is called for - you're less likely to rock the boat if you can cast smoothly. Bear in mind too that the saltwater fly-fisher using a quick auctioned, 10wt rod will probably make far fewer casts in a day than a pike fly-fisher.
To sum up - the Esox Lucius is easy to use. It's rated as a 9/10wt but, in my opinion, it's better with a 10wt, weight forward line which takes advantage of the through action. The build quality is good. It has a fine diameter, 3 piece blank and feels light in the hand but robust enough to stand up to the rigours of pike fishing. The cork handle is well finished and is slightly thicker than on most rods - this goes with a more relaxed grip.
I was surprised to discover that the rod will retail for £150.00, complete with its camo bag and rod-tube. It looked and felt like a more expensive product. The Esox Lucius would make an excellent first pike fly-rod. It would also be a useful addition to your armoury if you do a lot of pike fly-fishing and like to have a rod for every situation.
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