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Epic is a fly rod company we don't hear much about here in the US. A New Zealand-based operation, Epic is known for its high-quality fiberglass fly rods. That being said, Epic makes graphite rods, too, and the Epic Graphite/Carbon Fly Rod is their flagship graphite rod series. Epic is a relatively new company for us here at Trident so we were excited to get out on the water and cast this Epic graphite rod for ourselves. Turns out, the rod's performance surprised us in the best way possible.
Dynamic componentry, a blazing light swing weight, and a stylish unsanded rod blank make this rod an angler's dream on paper. But how did it perform at typical trout distances? Who should fish this rod and what style is it most suited for? We answer those questions in this fly rod review along with a host of others. Read on to find out how Epic's Graphite/Carbon rod stacks up against the competition.
There are a ton of componentry-centered features we really like on this rod. Pictured above you'll see the rod has a triangular Alps reel seat that makes fitting a reel onto the rod easy and efficient. A nice grip gives way to a Grey, natural, unsanded blank similar to the recognizable Scott blank style. Alignment dots make putting the rod together a breeze and spigot ferrules add to the craftsmanship of the rod. Add titanium stripping guides and premium snake guides and it's easy to see why Epic is known for craftsmanship and high-quality rod designs.
This is a real strong suit of the 5wt Epic Graphite/Carbon rod. The rod weighs in at 3.28 ounces which, while on the light side, isn't particularly revolutionary. A look at the rod's swing weight, however, of 57gm2 tells a different story. This swing weight is certainly one of the lightest on the market and you can really feel that when casting the rod. The rod's lightweight design adds to its smoothness on the water.
While Scientific Anglers MPX Fly Line overloaded the rod a little bit at distance, we found that the rod did have a lot of reserve power when partnered with the right fly line. Rio InTouch Perception made this rod come alive at distance and increased the rod's accuracy. We routinely landed the fly on target at 60-feet with Rio Perception and we found that line to be best for this particular rod.
Because of the rod's detailed taper, it's a little 'line picky' at longer distances. While the SA MPX line maintained solid accuracy at short and middle distances, it was just slightly too heavy for this rod past 60-feet. The takeaway, for us, was that the rod does best at longer distances with a lighter line. If you're a distance caster, a fly line like Rio Gold is probably a solid option on this rod.
This is a joyously accurate rod at short distances. Seriously, we'd put this rod up against any 5wt rod at 30-feet in the accuracy department. Epic designed the rod to be delicate and finesse-oriented for technical trout in New Zealand and the rod's accuracy at short distances is reflective of that design choice. Loops are tight, presentations are delicate, and accuracy is unparalleled. If you're an angler who finds him/herself in a close-range dry fly situation often, this is the rod for you.
We're pretty happy to report that the rod's accuracy continued into the middle distances. Again, smooth, effortless casts led to pinpoint dry fly accuracy at the classic trout distance of 45-feet. Ben says "you can tell how much research and design time has gone into this rod because it just performs really really well in close and at medium distances". The Graphite/Carbon is simply expertly designed for accuracy at both short and middle distances.
We found the rod to be a bit overloaded at longer distances with SA Amplitude MPX as aforementioned. What does this mean? It means that the rod is built for responsiveness, delicacy, and finesse, not power. That being said, the rod's accuracy improved when cast with Rio Perception.
This rod from Epic is designed as a medium-fast action rod. The rod casts beautifully off the tip which is part of the reason its accuracy is so spot-on at close range. And it also has a forgiving middle section to accommodate a variety of casting styles at middle distances. That being said, the forgiving middle section is part of the reason the rod is easily overweighted at longer distances.
You can also feel the fast recovery speeds of the rod. Minimal tip wobble, solid tracking, and a lively blank contribute to the rod's smooth, powerful feel. The rod's light swing weight also contributes to the effortlessly smooth feel of the Epic Carbon.
The Epic Lifetime Warranty
If it's measurables you're looking for, the Carbon's blazing light swing weight, Nano-Tech blank design, and triangular Alps reel seat are just a few of the innovations that make this rod one of the best. If it's feel, the Carbon has that, too. Seriously, this is one of our favorite trout rods at the short and middle distances and its accuracy is unparalleled. If you haven't checked out Epic Fly Rods or Swift Fly Fishing, we highly recommend casting a rod today.
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