Greys GR80 Streamflex Fly Rod Review
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2020 marks the return of Greys to the United States. For those of us who have been at this long enough, you'll remember when Greys left us some 6 (or so) years ago to become a European only brand. Like an Alfa Spider, Greys faded out of the mainstream and into the fond memory of enthusiasts. And now, they're back.
You might be asking yourself.... who cares? Well, if you're in the market for a sub $500 rod, YOU should care. Back in the early 20-teens, Greys made the excellent XF2 which was widely recognized as being the best trout rod in its class. The new GR80 Streamflex ups that bar.... significantly.
Fit & Finish
The GR80 is an overseas-made, price-point fly rod. That means you shouldn't expect the same hand-built fit and finish you'll get on a Winston, but it's actually pretty nice. They wen the extra mile here to make a rod that really looks as good as anything else in the $300 price range. Check out those burls!
Componentry is solid and more or less what you'd expect.
The 9' 5wt GR80 has a total weight of 3.21 ounces and a swing weight of 66.9 gm2. That's pretty middle of the road in the weight department, but fly rods are light these days and you won't notice the weight unless you pick up a Sky G right afterward...
The GR80 is a quick rod that gets your line out fast and accurately. For a do-it-all rod, this is one of the better rods out there in terms of distance. While I have never found myself in a trout fishing situation that required an 80-100' cast, if you were forced, you could probably get it done with the GR80 (and a nice tailwind).
- 30-feet: The Greys GR80 is a quick little rod, but it's still really accurate in close. Remember, this is an all-around rod and isn't going to be the absolute best for short casts, but it more than gets the job done.
- 45-feet: Still SUPER accurate and a pleasure to cast. This rod will do it all. Dry flies to sipping fish? Yes. Hopper dropper? No problem. Heavy (-ish) streamers? Done. You won't miss your $800 rod at 45'.
- 60-feet: No problems here. This rod is fast and powerful enough to make our longest test casts with ease. If you're fishing technical waters where longer casts are the norm, you'll be able to get them done with the GR80.
Flex & Feel
In 2020, rods are trending softer with 'medium-fast' action rods being the hottest. I'd say this rod is a bit faster than that and more of a true fast action rod. It recovers even faster and that gives it a lot of accuracy and versatility. The GR80 reminds me of the Hardy Zenith. It's a fast, do-it-all, rod that still has the right amount of flex, feel, and feedback to make it super fun to fish at virtually any distance and condition.
Greys return to the US market may have been a little quiet from a marketing standpoint, but their products are absolutely top-notch. This GR80 Streamflex is an absolutely incredible rod at any price. If you slapped a fancy label on this blank, you wouldn't know that it's not a $900 rod. It's that good. At $375, it's just insane.
2020 may not have been the best year. Ok, it's really more of a dumpster fire. But the GR80 might be something to make it all just a *tiny* bit better for some. Is this the best all-around trout rod for less than $400? For most people, I would say that the answer is yes. Move over BVK...
Watch Our Review
- Incredibly accurate across the range
- Very reasonably priced
- Not the lightest rod on the market
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