In this review, I’m going to put the Epic 9 foot 5 weight Graphene fly rod through its paces. If you’ve followed our articles and Youtube videos, you’ll know that I built this rod from scratch using one of Swift Fly Fishing’s ready-to-wrap kits.
Ultimately, this review is here to show you how the rod looks, how it performs, and very importantly, who should consider buying it.
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As a disclaimer, I must point out that Swift Fly Fishing sent me the rod all the way from New Zealand so I could try out their building kit and review their rod. I try to remain as unbiased as possible.
What Is Graphene?
So, the Epic 5 weight 9-foot Graphene. First question, what is graphene? If you look at graphene under a powerful microscope, you’ll see that it’s made of a single layer of carbon atoms. The bond between these atoms is so strong that it makes the material tougher than steel and harder than a diamond.
But, because the material is so thin, it’s incredibly lightweight and it has a great degree of elasticity, which means it returns to its preformed shape after it’s been deformed.
Well, what does all this mean for the fly rod industry? Because graphene is so flexible, strong, and lightweight, it’s the ideal material to incorporate in rod building.
Now the next question is, how is it incorporated in the rod?
The carbon material the blank is made from isn’t graphene, but a “traditional” high modulus carbon material. The graphene is incorporated within the resin of the rod, and it’s this process that makes graphene rods so much stronger and more durable.
Where and How Was the Rod Tested?
I chose to take the 5 weight 9-foot Epic Graphene rod on a stillwater mission to a remote dam in Western Cape, South Africa. The dam is more than 80 hectares in size and in some places more than 30 meters deep.
It’s an intimidating piece of water, and finding fish can be on the tricky side.
I tested the rod on both floating and fast sinking lines and fished it from the shore and off a drift boat, covering nearly all aspects of stillwater fishing.
At one stage I was chucking a 3-inch long Game Changer pattern, whereafter I quickly had to adapt to fishing tiny buzzers to shallow cruising fish. I even presented a size 16 Parachute Adams to a fat rainbow circling around the inlet.
Watch the Epic 590G Graphene Fly Rod Review
Where Does the Epic 590G Shine?
So, let’s see how the rod fares in all these conditions.
Most modern high-end rods have a fast to extremely fast action. I’m not saying there’s no place for this, and I know many anglers who prefer this kind of rod. My preference is something slightly slower, and this is where the 590G comes in.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a medium-action rod, but it feels like it adapts to what you want to do, rather than forcing you to fish in a particular way, if that makes sense. The action is bang on for a 9 foot 5 weight rod.
A 5 weight 9-foot rod is probably one of the most versatile rod weights and lengths. It covers the widest range of freshwater applications, and the Epic 590G absolutely proves this point. You can use the rod on rivers and stillwaters and catch most freshwater fish with it.
Where Does the Epic 590G Fall Short?
From a fishing perspective, and from what you’d expect from a 9ft 5weight rod, I couldn’t detect any shortcomings at all. The only reason why I think you aren’t seeing more people fish with this incredible rod is the price and the fact that it’s not that well known compared to a Sage, or an Orvis, etc.
For a factory-built 590G, you’ll be paying just over $1000 USD, and that’s without the shipping from New Zealand. If you find a local dealer in your country, you might get away without paying for shipment. Don’t get me wrong, I think the rod is worth the money, if you have it, but this must be mentioned.
Where it gets really interesting is that you’re able to buy the Epic 5wt 9ft graphene rod as a ready-to-wrap kit, and then you can build it yourself just like I did. Now, you’re looking at a price of under $450. This to me is an absolute steal, as you’d struggle to find a better rod for the price.
Obviously, the risk in building your own rod is that the finish might not be as perfect as the factory rods, or the line guides won’t be aligned perfectly. But, if you follow the building instructions to the T, you shouldn’t have any problems that hamper the performance of the rod.
Let’s get up close to the rod itself, and look at it in more detail.
The rod is shipped in a matte black fiberglass tube with the Epic name on its side. The top cap is made from black aluminum with the rod’s details noted on it.
Inside the tube, you’ll find a black rod sock with four segments, which you fold open to access the rod. It doesn’t have the rod’s details on it, though.
After building the rod myself, the overall weight came in at 2.9 ounces, which is incredibly light. The components are all top quality, and let’s look at each in more detail.
Starting off at the butt section, you’ll find a black anodized uplocking reel seat with a single uplocking ring and a black fiberglass insert. Now, I prefer having two locking rings on my reel seat, and if I ever get the chance to build another Epic rod, I’ll try to incorporate a different reel seat for this purpose.
The butt cap has the Epic logo on it.
When ordering your ready-to-wrap kit, you can choose between a slim wells grip and a classic western style grip. In my case, I opted for a slim wells grip and it’s made from high-quality cork, so no problems there.
The blank has a natural matte carbon finish with the texture of the carbon coils visible. I chose to go with black thread wraps, as I like the understated look.
The first stripper guide is placed on the second section of the rod, and it has a titanium frame. The rest of the line guides are all black snake guides.
My Personal Thoughts
So, after spending a good amount of time fishing the Epic 590G on a stillwater and catching trout, what are my final thoughts?
- The rod is a pure joy to cast and doesn’t push you to speed up your casting stroke. You can relax and do your thing, and the rod will respond positively to what you need it to do.
- The Epic 590G is versatile, allowing you to use it for a wide range of applications.
- At the time of the writing of this article, the rod seems to be very durable.
- The primary negative point is that the Epic graphene rod might not be within the reach of everyone’s budget. The silver lining here is that you can save over 50% off of the factory rod’s cost by building your own one with Swift Fly Fishing’s ready-to-wrap kits.
Who Should Buy the Epic 590G?
Who should consider buying the Epic 590G? Well, this is a pretty easy question to answer. I can easily recommend this rod to any moderate to experienced fly angler who wants to buy an incredibly good fly rod that they’ll be using for all their trout, bass, and grayling applications.
It won’t disappoint you, and it’ll probably become the rod you’ll be using the most out of your arsenal.
I hope that you found this review helpful, and if you have any questions about the rod, please leave them in the comment section down at the bottom of the page. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
If you own one of these rods or have fished with one before, please let me know what your opinion was!
Until next time.