Hexagraph Rods Will Change the Way You Cast and Fish
Saturday, Oct 24, 2009 by Ken Morrow
There is a whole different world of fly casting out there.

It is a world vastly different from that created by the advent and advancement of mass-produced hollow graphite fly rods and only a descendant of the venerable and nostalgic world of fishing with handcrafted split-cane masterpieces. And it isn't something "in the middle."

They call this new land of fly casting magic and mystery "Hexagraph."

I say "new" because Hexagraph rods have only been commercially available since the late 1980s and in the US since the early 1990s. But in today's world of dizzying updates, upgrades, new releases, true technological advancement, and pure marketing and media hype, that hardly seems new...does it? I mean that's plenty of time for a product's claim to legitimacy or relevancy to have been proven false, right? Surely, 2 decades is long enough for the market influence to have done its work and put such a product in its place. And Hexagraph remains...price structure and business model intact.

I only recently traveled to the land of Hexagraph. I can't really tell you why I didn't get there until now. I guess my best excuse is that I've been busy. Master Casting Instructor, teaching guide, fly fishing retail guru, and Certified Adaptive Fly Fishing Instructor, Bob Stehwien took me to the magic kingdom of Hexagraph while we were in Mountain Home, Arkansas, for the Southern Council Conclave. Bob has been fishing and finishing Hexagraph rods for over a decade - religiously. And it didn't take me long to figure out why.

It isn't advisable to tell someone about Hexagraph rods when you have the opportunity to put one in their hands...preferably near water. Bob carries a small cutaway section of the rod blank, too. Simply tell them to slow down, relax, and let the rod execute the forward the cast without any "help," and let the rod give them the guided tour. Then you can tell the story and answer their questions. They will have some.

Hexagraph fly rods are solid, not hollow like bamboo, glass, or graphite. They combine a crush-proof cellulose foam from the aerospace industry with a laminated carbon fiber outer layer. These strips are cut into tapered lengths just like planed bamboo for a split-cane fly rod, but without any inconsistencies or imperfections because they are 100% manufactured. 6 of them are formed into a hexagonal fly rod with a completely uniform full flex progressive taper. The result is a perfect action fly rod...no joke. There is ZERO ovaling under load, as is an unavoidable fact of the laws of physics with any hollow rod. There are no nodes, joints, or inconsistencies of grain as with even the finest bamboo. And the tensile and crush strength of the blank is about 10 times greater than the best modern graphite fly rod's. Hexagraph rods have less than a 2% breakage history...for any reason. That qualifies as comparatively "indestructible" in the world of fly rods! They are far lighter than comparable bamboo or glass rods, and far more accurate and versatile than comparable (in line weight and length) graphite rods.

But here's the best part: the Hexagraph rod...at any distance and with any type of cast or mend...does between 50 and 90% more of the work than a comparable modern graphite rod. This part is more like glass or bamboo. But...frankly...the power of the Hexagraph is superior to glass by far; and superior to bamboo by a noticeable margin. This characteristic gives the angler a significant advantage: a lot less fatigue! There is virtually no need for false casting. In most situations, a properly matched Hexagraph and fly line combination will shoot the needed line with only a single backcast for any fishing cast and (frankly) many tournament casts as well. And the Hexagraph fly rods are true "repeaters" in another sense: pin-point intuitive accuracy! The hexagonal shape of the blank creates a true line. Thus, where you point it, it will cast...period. I can't explain why the intuitive part works, but I can tell you it does. A seasoned caster with good fundamentals doesn't have to give any thought whatsoever to accuracy. He/she only needs to look at their target. The fly will go there! It's almost like telekinesis. Do it again and again and the fly lands there...as in right there (within 6" or so)...again and again. The first time I cast a Hexagraph, I was picking a leaf on the ground and hitting it consistently (8 out of 10 times) at 45 to 55'! Close range work is equally easy if not moreso. In fact, this is where the Hexagraph simply puts a major thumpin' on graphite rods. Try a side-by-side shootout with any hollow graphite or glass rod and a similarly configured Hexagraph at ranges inside 40' and the Hexagraph is going to blow it away...I mean all the way down to nothing but leader outside the tip guide! Some bamboo rods can keep pace on this challenge. But no graphite or glass rod can. Again: it's physics.

Hexagraphs come in styles from diminutive models under 6' long for small stream fishing to 9'6" 10wt saltwater models. And when I can cast a 5wt Hexagraph with reasonable accuracy 80' in a 30 mph wind, you can bet the 8-10wt models will handle saltwater action! The excellent shooting power all but eliminates the need for false casting, which reduces the impact of wind on casting and increases recovery time between casts dramatically. This all means way more fun in my book!

Hexagraph fly rods are not cheap. But they aren't over-priced, either. They out-perform most everything around and are competitively priced with most high-end mass produced graphite rods. ($350-$850) They are made to order and come with a 30-day 100% satisfaction guarantee plus a lifetime warranty. Blanks and component kits are available as well. The rods are finished to look like bamboo rods. They're beautiful. For the angler in the market for that "fly rod of a lifetime" sort of purchase, the Hexagraph is definitely one to consider!

Curse you, Bob Stehwien! I curse you, my wife curses you, and our financial advisor curses you! I curse you because I can't afford one. My wife curses you because she is afraid she will be badgered into affording one for me. And our financial advisor curses you because that will force him to rearrange some things - and we all know how bean counters hate to rearrange plans they've already made and gotten others to agree to.