When fly fishing companies design an affordable or “entry level” rod, it often goes one of two ways. It either disappoints but becomes a way for the company to make some extra money, or it catches on to become a great rod that far outperforms the price.
The Snowbee Classic happens to be the latter. Although it’s their most affordable rod, it’s a reputable rod that anglers of all skill levels can use on a regular basis without noticing a drop in performance.
I’ve used dozens of entry level rods from various companies. I love seeing the time and effort companies put into their most affordable gear. If a company can make a great entry level rod, the trust in the rest of their equipment skyrockets.
I’ve had the Snowbee Classic rod for about six months now, and I’ve been able to use it in a variety of conditions. Aside from a few wide rivers, I’ve done most of my casting with it on narrow mountain streams with lots of overhanging vegetation.
In this Snowbee Classic review, I’ll tell you all about what it’s like fishing with this rod. I’ll explain its makeup, which scenarios it excels in, and what I think could be improved, all based on my many years of experience as a fly angler.
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Why Trust My Snowbee Classic Review?
As mentioned, I’ve had the chance to spend some time with this rod on several different bodies of water. Airing it out and fishing it in extremely tight scenarios gave me the opportunity to test the strengths and weaknesses of this rig.
At Into Fly Fishing, we only review gear that we’ve put to the test. Whether it’s gear we’ve owned for years or a recent acquisition, each piece of equipment is given ample time to showcase itself.
I’ve not only put this rod through its paces, but I’ve owned enough entry-level rods that I have a good idea what to compare it to. So, how does the Snowbee Classic measure up?
Watch the Snowbee Classic Review
What’s in the Box?
When you receive the Snowbee Classic, you’ll see that it comes in a nice rod sock as well as a tube. The sock protects the rod well and adds a nice aesthetic to the rig.
The rod tube is small and packs the rod comfortably. It’s only around 2 feet long and can easily be brought onto planes or packed in a tight space within a car, depending on how you’re traveling. I’ve done both and had no problems.
Snowbee Classic Review Features & Specs
Snowbee is well-known in the fly fishing industry for its waders. However, they’ve recently burst onto the scene with their rods, reels and lines. Their popularity has crossed over the Atlantic Ocean, and they’ve found a strong market in the United States.
The Snowbee Classic is made of high modulus, lightweight graphite. The A-grade cork handle combined with the aluminum reel fitting make the lower portion of this rod feel quite comfortable.
The lined stripper rings and oversize hayfork tip rings also create a nice feel. While I was fishing it, my line never got hung up in the guides, and I always felt confident that I had control of my rig at all times.
Whether you purchase the 2/3 weight or the 7/8 weight, you’ll receive the quality on this Snowbee Classic rod that Snowbee puts into the rest of their products.
The Snowbee Classic is a mid-fast action rod. Mid-fast action rods are perfect for beginner anglers as well as anglers who are looking for a great all-around rod. I fall into the second category, although my years as a beginner aren’t so distant that I can’t remember what it was like.
A moderate-fast action has a bit more flex than a fast action, and this allows you to change how you fish. You can throw small dries, nymphs and even some streamers. I found that it was an excellent rod for the mountain streams in Montana I was fishing.
If versatility is what you’re after, the mid-fast action rod will provide that for you. You’ll have the power to fight through the wind and the sensitivity to detect those small strikes in the winter.
The 4/5 weight option from Snowbee isn’t quite a mid-size rod. The 8′ 6″ option offers you the chance to bring it to small or even medium size rivers, but also toss it around on smaller streams with quite a bit of cover, like I did.
Rods on the lighter end of the spectrum need to be able to lay down your flies softly. The Classic isn’t as delicate as the Snowbee G-XS, but it does a nice job. You won’t feel as if you lose control in the final flick of your wrist.
Also, when I wanted to make noise with a popper or a larger streamer, I found it was more achievable. I also appreciated the sensitivity that this rod provides.
Short Distance Accuracy
When being cast short distances, more affordable rods can quickly show their weakness. They’re either too clunky or so overly sensitive that it’s almost impossible to find the right timing.
Casts up to 15-20 feet feel good with this rod. I didn’t find that it was difficult to maneuver. However, I did notice that casts shorter than that took some perfection. Sometimes I missed my spot a few times before I eventually found it.
Long Distance Accuracy
This rod doesn’t have the backbone that you’ll find on a fast action rod, but it does have a nice amount of power that allows you to air it out. I was making 40 to 50 foot casts with this rod all day.
You’ll have to work for it a bit, but it’s possible. Again, this rod wasn’t created to be exceptional at anything. It was created to be good at a variety of different fishing techniques. Keep that in mind when you’re wondering whether or not to purchase it.
The Snowbee Classic is protected by Snowbee’s lifetime warranty. If it ever breaks or fails, go ahead and return the rod. When you return the rod, you’ll have to provide a $40 handling and postage fee as well as the original invoice and sales receipt.
Snowbee will help you with the replacement options from there.
Snowbee Classic Review: My Personal Thoughts
- This rod is a jack of all trades and master of none. It’s one of those rods that I’ll keep in my truck and always have in case I drive past a body of water that looks like it could hold fish. I won’t have to worry about it holding its own anywhere I go.
- The rod is fun to use. It quickly feels like the “old standby” that many of us have in our arsenal. Maybe it’s the rod you learned on or bought when you barely had enough money. It has that familiar feeling where you know it’ll work even if it’s not created to thrive in that situation.
- The rod is affordable. For only $150, it won’t break the bank. You can beat it up, fish it hard, and feel okay about it at the end of the day.
- The design of this rod is okay. I’m not a huge fan of the all-black reel seat. They have a good thing going with the maroon and tan, and I don’t think the black reel seat adds much to its aesthetic.
- Short and delicate casts aren’t a piece of cake like they are with Snowbee’s other rods. They take quite a bit of time to understand. You’re probably going to miss because the tip of the rod has a tendency to go astray. It’s not anything that’s unmanageable. It just takes some getting used to.
- Extra long casts take work to get there. You can make 30 or 40 foot casts with ease, but longer than that will require some really solid timing.
Overall, the Snowbee Classic is a solid rod. If you’re a beginner, you’re going to be extremely pleased with how it performs. It’s light and has the look and feel of a high end fly rod. The performance isn’t far behind.
If you’re an expert angler, you’ll notice where this rod has its shortcomings. They’re easy to forgive because of the nice familiar feeling that this rod provides. However, understand what you’re purchasing.
You won’t be getting the top-of-the-line rod from this company. Bring this rod along as an extra, teach somebody with it, and always carry it as a backup. It’s one that you should always keep with you in case you need another one.
Finding a competent backup rod that doesn’t break the bank is no easy task. Snowbee has found a nice niche with this rig, which will allow anglers to not notice too much of a downfall when they start to use it.
As far as affordable rods are concerned, you won’t find one that’s much better. There are extremely large fly fishing companies who make “beginner” rods that don’t measure up to this. You can tell that Snowbee spent a bit more time with this rod than other mainstream companies.
Also, many companies don’t back their entry level rods with a lifetime warranty. Snowbee knows that you won’t run into many troubles with this rig, so they unreservedly gave it a lifetime warranty.
Snowbee deserves more attention. Finding a medium sized fly fishing company that hasn’t gone for the money and lost sight of their quality isn’t easy to find.
They understand that if the products are high quality, the customers will come and stay loyal. Even after using their higher level equipment, I’m pleased with the Snowbee Classic.
Purchase one and keep it around. Odds are it’ll find its way into your regular rotation.