To Glass or Not to Glass

...That is the Question

Unless you are oblivious, you have noticed that fiberglass fly rods have definitely shown back up to the fly fishing party.  They seemed to sneak in, but now are certainty gaining in popularity among those that fling a whip around.  But what is good about them, what is bad, and when and how should or could you use one?

History in Short

Fiberglass rods have been around since the 1940s, replacing bamboo as the most popular material for fly rods.  Fiberglass was cheaper and easier to work with than bamboo.  In the 1970s, fiberglass began to lose popularity as many fly rod companies began to use graphite as their material of choice.


Many of the reasons that fiberglass lost popularity in the 1970s are the same reasons people don't use fiberglass today.  Fiberglass was almost completely phased out in favor of graphite.  Graphite provided for a lighter rod, and was better for casting greater distances and in stronger winds.

Fiberglass fly rods are heavier than their graphite counterparts.  They also are typically shorter and have a slower action than graphite.  Shorter rods and slower actions make casting at distances an issue.  So, if you are looking to sling more than 50 feet or in heavy winds, a fiberglass rod might not be for you.


Although there are a few drawbacks, there are many advantages to fishing fiberglass fly rods.  Shorter length rods, accuracy at shorter distances, and durability, make fiberglass fly rods

Where fiberglass might not be able to cast great distances, it excels at closer quarters.  Casting distances from 30-50 feet can be done with great accuracy and with minimal false casts.  Be honest with yourself, how often are you fishing Texas freshwater and needing to cast more than 50 feet?  If it is often, then fiberglass probably isn't for you.  If most of your casts are in this range...then consideration of fiberglass is warranted.

The typically shorter lengths are also great for casting in smaller water (rivers and creeks) where most of our Texas Freshwater Fly Fishing is done.  Being able to cast under cypress trees, or any other low hanging branch, provides more opportunity for us Texas small water fly fishermen to access our fish.  The shorter length and durability of fiberglass rods make them "safer" to transport and hike with, when you have to walk, canoe, or kayak, to the water you are fishing that day.

Fiberglass rods also have great "feel."  With so many fly fisherman wanting to "connect" to their fishing, fiberglass rods give great feel in casting.  They also force you to slow down and connect with each of your casts.  Not only does the slower action of fiberglass allow the used to feel the cast, but it provides for great feel of the fish when you are fighting that Guad.  The slow action makes fighting the fish a little easier.  The softer bend and play in the rod absorbs the shock of a Cat shaking its head or a Rio making a quick run, allowing you to apply more pressure to turn the fish while protecting your tippet a little better.

Finally, fiberglass rods can provide a enjoyment to different side of fly fishing than other rods can.  There is a certain level of nostalgia for many, especially those who originally learned to cast with fiberglass.  For other anglers, fiberglass rods can add excitement through the many options for color they can provide.  Basically if you can dream up what you want your rod to look like, fiberglass can probably make it.  Countless color choices are available to those looking for some artistic flash.

To Conclude

So, is a fiberglass rod right for everyone?  Maybe not.  Can a fiberglass fly rod be right for a Texas Freshwater Fly Angler?  Absolutely.  If you are looking to fish for bass on a big clear lake, like Lake Amistad, where you need distance and to fight the wind, fiberglass is probably not the best choice.  However, a fiberglass rod can be perfect for a day spent floating a small creek or the San Marcos River.

What are your thoughts?  Fiberglass rods good, great, or terrible for what you do? Why?


  1. Agree 100 percent. Also, with advances in materials and resins, modern glass rods are not even necessarily much heavier than carbon rods.


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