Tested: Fenwick Fly Master
  |  First Published: November 2004

Marketed by Pure Fishing, these new Fenwick rods come in line weights (5/6, 6/7, 8/9) suited to the trout, bass, flathead, smaller trevally and tuna side of the flyfishing spectrum. Available in two- and four-piece styles, they come in a handy carry bag complete with Abu Garcia reel and fly line.

These budget units are best suited to folk who fish only occasionally or who want a back-up rod. That said, I did note the outfit cast very well and I’d have no hesitation in using one for any flyfishing the rod is suited for.

Tested was a four-piece Fenwick Fly Master FM 904 8/9wt. At 9’ (2.7m) the rod is long enough to be useful for boat angling and shore fishing, and I found its action to be quite crisp. The fittings were well finished, with the up-locking reel fitting being off set by a neat timber reel seat. A small butt extension, also in cork (the same as the well finished hand grip), completed the rod’s major fittings. Snake guides and stripping guide lined up neatly and I was quite happy with the bindings and overall presentation of the unit. Colour was a matt green – very good when fishing for shy fish in shallow water.

The Fenwick reel supplied as part of the combo had sufficient capacity to take quite a good measure of backing and was in fact set up with enough Dacron type backing to be put straight to service. The outfit’s floating fly line, as supplied, carried no manufacturer’s details but certainly cast well enough to make fishing easy. With a tapered leader on the fly line the rod could be used straight from its pale green reinforced tube. The tube incidentally, has an in-built section to accommodate the reel, with a zipper to allow access, so it can stay on the rod during transportation.

I took the combo north on our Teemburra barra trip and did a couple of rather embarrassing things with it. On one occasion we were catching barra from a school of fish around the 50-60cm mark so I put on some lighter 15kg fluorocarbon tippet and a small bass style fly to take a small fish for show with the rod.

Yep, you guessed it. Second strip a complete horse of a barra with no table manners ripped the fly straight off and nearly pulled the rod out of my hand.

And my embarrassment didn’t end there. I tried the same trick with 40cm sooties and a rotten barra got into the act and tore off 15m of fly line through around five lantana bushes in the water. Much messing about to sort it all out.

That said, the rods action is sweet, it can cast all of its line by someone who knows what they are about and Scott and I had a good time using it in Cattle Creek near Gargett while chasing sooty grunter. For bass, flathead, tailor and the like it will be ideal. And retailing at a fair bit less than $200 it represents good value for money.


1) No reflection on either rod or angler, but Scotty took the smallest sooty grunter in Cattle Creek, Gargett, with the Fenwick Fly Master combo.

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