This is my unbiased and honest Moonshine Vesper 5-weight review after using the set-up.
Purchasing a high end fly rod can be a challenge. The idea of spending several hundred dollars on a piece of fishing equipment requires extreme confidence and assurance that it will perform for years to come.
I’ve spent years in the world of fly fishing and I am always skeptical when I think of purchasing a new piece of equipment. I especially struggle when looking to purchase a new rod.
I’m never quite sure if it’s going to perform how it’s advertised. I’m hard on my gear so I need to know it’s up for the challenge.
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Why Trust My Moonshine Vesper Review?
I have been able to use the Moonshine Vesper 5-weight rod several times on different types of water and fishing scenarios. 5-weight rods are tricky. Many rod companies make them either too light or too heavy. It’s difficult to find a balance for a proper 5-weight.
These rods should be versatile and able to perform on small streams, lakes and even large rivers. It’s essentially a “do-it-all” rod. If companies fail to do this, it makes me skeptical of what the rest of their arsenal is like.
The Moonshine Vesper fits all of these requirements. It’s a great rod that can handle almost everything you put in its way.
What’s in the Box?
When you receive your order from Moonshine Rod Co., you’ll find a nice quality rod tube, a rod sleeve and the five (yes five) parts of the rod.
The rod tube is high quality and ensures that your rod will stay protected. It has a zip-off cover, handle and the Moonshine Rod logo.
You can take this tube on airplanes and it’s going to be able to bounce around and keep everything protected. You can even use it as part of your carry on or personal item.
The rod sleeve is a unique feature of your rig. Not only do you have protection from the hard plastic tube, but you also have a cloth sleeve with individual pockets for each of the five pieces.
You can keep it organized and prevent the rod from getting scratched and also help it dry properly.
You’ll receive five different pieces for your rod. The first is the beautiful tobacco tiger reel seat with nice cork handle. Then you’ll receive two middle pieces and then the rod tip. The fifth piece is actually an extra rod tip.
This is a special feature! Not many rod companies would send each rod with two different tips right off the bat.
Moonshine realizes that things can go wrong when you’re fishing. You can slam the rod in the trunk, bend it heavily against a tree, etc.
They don’t make you wait extra time for the tip to get replaced. They provide an extra and allow you to start fishing right away! This is a wonderful feature and shows they’re thinking about the customer.
Moonshine Vesper Review Features & Specs
The Moonshine Vesper has several unique features you wouldn’t often find on other fly rods.
It’s one of the more unique looking fly rods I’ve seen and it all fits together well. It’s enough to interest you, but not too much to turn you away.
The Moonshine Vesper is made from Nano Matrix performance graphite. Some anglers complain that graphite makes rods too brittle, but the graphite doesn’t feel this way. It still has a smoothness to it that you would trust to bear a variety of weight loads.
The guides are made of titanium and appear to be very durable. There’s not much give to them so make sure you don’t push them up against a tree or rock. You don’t want a guide to snap. This will allow your fly line to move around more than it should.
The cork is AAAA Grade and has a nice, soft feel. It sits in your hand comfortably and performs well in warm weather. You won’t feel your hand sweat or rub. You can keep a tight grip on this cork all day without worrying about receiving any sort of blister.
The tobacco tiger aluminum reel seat is perhaps my favorite feature. Fly rods have little room for unique designs, but Moonshine took advantage of the limited space on the reel seat and made it a beautiful dark, tiger style aluminum. Plus, it’s salt water ready so you can fish freshwater one day and salt water the next!
The Vesper 5-weight is a moderate-fast action. You can find 5-weight rods in just about every type of action.
Anglers often have strong opinions about this, but I think a moderate or fast action is your best bet when choosing a 5-weight. Moonshine Rods combines both aspects of those action speeds into one.
You have the power of a fast action rod, but also keep the sensitivity you would find on a moderate or slow action.
Again, there’s a fine balance between all of these and Moonshine does it quite well. You’ll appreciate the strength you feel when fighting the fish.
The Moonshine Vesper 5-weight is extremely lightweight. You can’t believe it’s a 5-weight when you lift it. It feels similar to my 3-weight 7-foot rod. You will barely notice it in your hand after a long day on the water.
You don’t have to worry about shoulder or wrist tightness if you plan an all-day adventure. This will take it easy on your muscles and joints!
You can purchase the Vesper series from a 3-weight all the way to a 10-weight. The moderate-fast action can be found in the 3 to 6-weight rods. The fast action comes into play in the 7-10 weight rods.
The Warranty on the rod is great! It’s a lifetime, no-fault warranty as long as you have proof of purchase. You’ll have to pay a $45 replacement fee, but other than that, you’ll receive a new rod. This gives anglers peace of mind that you can fish with this without worry.
Too often, high end fly rods don’t come with great warranties so anglers are worried about fishing them and the potential of breaking something. Moonshine wants you to fish these rods hard and see what they can do!
While 5-weight rods obviously have their limits, don’t worry about trying to make a certain cast because you might get stuck and snap something.
The aesthetics on The Vesper are some of my favorite of all my arsenal. The matte blue finish is great. The sun doesn’t reflect off of the rod or blind you when you’re fishing it and doesn’t reflect into the water and potentially distract the fish.
There is also one small dot at each of the connection points on the rod. Line each of these up and you’ll find yourself with a properly pieced together rod. This is just a small feature that allows you to get on the water faster.
My favorite feature of the rod, like mentioned above, is the reel seat. The dark design catches the eye of everyone that looks at the fly rod. It’s a great option for anyone looking for a bit of a unique design on their rod.
This rod is going to cost you around $450. For a top of the line rod from a company, this is not a hefty price tag.
From any other major company you’d find yourself paying upwards of $700 or $800 dollars for a ride of this quality. Don’t shy away from this rod. You’ll be pleased with the purchase.
Accuracy is an important aspect for any fly rod. Anglers shouldn’t have to worry about where their fly is going to go when making a cast. If you’re a consistently solid caster, this rod is going to keep up those skills and even improve your casting ability.
You won’t feel hindered by this rod, you’ll actually feel like you’re a bit better.
I put up to 60 foot casts out with this rod on a consistent basis. I fished this rod in 10-15 mph winds and still had the power I would like.
It took a bit more effort, but I was able to power through the wind and hit the exact spots I would like.
As you cast, you’ll find the power coming from the lower in the rod near the cork. You can feel the tension build from the bottom and release through the tip of the rod.
You won’t feel like you don’t have enough power to hit the exact spots you want. Timing on your casts is still important, but if done properly, you’ll be pleased with what the rod offers.
Short-distance casting is often overlooked when anglers purchase a rod. Most anglers think about the 50-foot beast of a cast across the river to the opposite bank when they make their purchase. However, many fish are caught within 15-30 feet of an angler.
The moderate-fast action can turn anglers off about the Vesper. They’ll think it’s too stiff and difficult to finesse a cast around a boulder just a few yards out in front of us. This isn’t true.
You’ll be able to make those 10-15 foot casts all day long. Short, little flicks of your wrist are going to ensure you can pick those exact spots that you want.
The most difficult part about maneuvering with short casts is the pace that the fly hits the water. We don’t want to smack our flies down on the water.
We want to lay them down softly so we don’t spook the fish and can make a natural presentation. The Vesper can accomplish these clean lay downs, but it takes time to work out the small details of a rod!
Anglers often wonder about the versatility of a rod. If you’re primarily a trout angler and you want to take the Vesper to lakes or rivers in search of bass or pike, you can. I landed two bass and a carp on it and both of these fish are extremely solid fighters.
They tested the rod and I had to work them, but it landed the fish. I was able to fight them well and felt like I had enough power to get them to shore.
It didn’t feel too easy and I didn’t feel like I had no control. It was a nice balance that kept the fight entertaining!
Moonshine Vesper Review: My Personal Thoughts
To finish off this Moonshine Vesper review, I want to give a few more of my own opinions after using the rod.
Power. The Vesper has quite a bit of power packed into such a light weight. It feels great in your hand and you will feel like you have the ultimate control when casting.
I find myself fishing on windy days quite a bit and this rod performs the best out of any in my arsenal. It’s a great fighter as well. It’s going to give you it’s all no matter what type of fish you catch.
This rod is also extremely sensitive. I was able to cast into a school of sunfish with a small San Juan just to see how sensitive the tip would be. When one of the sunfish hit the rod, I felt as if I was getting bit by a 14-inch trout.
I had no doubt that there was a fish on my fly. It was impressive to feel!
My fly line made a bit of noise passing through the guides as I was making casts. It wasn’t extremely loud, but it was noticeable as I was casting. Obviously not a deal breaker, but don’t be surprised if you hear yourself as you are casting.
Concluding My Moonshine Vesper Review
The Moonshine Vesper is a can’t miss. If you’re looking to upgrade your 5-weight and you feel as if you’re ready for a higher-end rod, this is a great option. You won’t break the bank, but you’ll receive a high-quality rod that is going to work hard for you.
The only thing you’ll be missing is the name from a well-known fishing brand. But don’t worry, I anticipate it won’t be long until Moonshine finds its way to the top.