Featured | Fishing | Gear reviews

The Moonlit Lunar S-Glass is a creek freak’s fly rod

A Moonlit fly rod

moonlitflyfishing.com, $179

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to test and review a number of fly rods over the years, and I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t like some more than others … or that I liked every rod I tried.

But I’ve never gotten to test a rod in the field with the owner of the company that makes it. Until now.

My friend Brandon Moon has been asking me — literally for years, now — to go fishing with him and to try out the fiberglass rods crafted by his company, Moonlit Fly Fishing. I’ve always responded positively. We live in the same community. We’ll find time.

But, of course, life gets in the way. We never were able to get our schedules to coincide and make the time until recently, when I had the chance to take Brandon up on his offer and put the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass rod to the test.

And I’ll be honest. I was skeptical.

I love to fish glass. Love it. I love the slower cast, the softer feel. I love how glass gives smaller fish some heft. I love the bend in the rod that stretches into the cork. Glass fly rods, in my opinion, provide a more intimate, visceral connection with the fish we’re all after.

And, in what might have been considered some bad news for Brandon, I’ve fished a lot of glass rods over the years, from Redington’s Butterstick to the new Scott F-Series. These are both exceptional fly rods and they set a high bar.

I met Brandon on a local brook trout stream, high on the fringes of the Island Park Plateau, just a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park. He handed me a handsome gray case containing the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass 6-foot, 6-inch 2-weight rod.

“Here you go,” he said confidently. “See what you think.”

I’m something of a skeptic when it comes to books with great covers, movies with amazing posters and fly rods that come contained within fancy cases. But as I pulled the rod from its protective outer shell, I knew right away that I was going to be in for a fun day chasing brookies on small water.

Upon assembly, the four-piece rod (quite the engineering feat for a 6-foot, 6-inch fly rod) is light and just wiggly enough to bring a smile to any glass-junky’s face. And the vibrant lime-green finish — the blank looks almost radioactive — is stunning. I armed the rod with a new RIO Creek fly line and agreed to try one of Moonlit’s furled leaders (something I haven’t fished with for years).

The Lunar S-Glass is light and responsive. It’s a true 2-weight that bends deep and casts slow — if this is your thing, you’ll love this little rod.

After dosing a size 14 black ant and the furled leader with Moonlit’s Nirvana Dry Fly and Leader Floatant, we hit the creek. On my very first upstream cast into a deep pool shaded by late-summer willows, I stuck a 6-inch brookie and marveled at how the light glass rod revealed a sweet, deep bend as I brought the little char to hand.

But, of course, that first-cast fish is almost always a curse. Things slowed down considerably, and, while we caught a few fish, it wasn’t a lights-out brookie day that we’d both hoped for. But the rod was, indeed, a lot of fun to fish with.

Pros: The Lunar S-Glass is light and responsive. It’s a true 2-weight that bends deep and casts slow — if this is your thing, you’ll love this little rod. And, because of that deep bend, the rod gets the bulk of its power from the bottom third. With the right touch, even with the shorter rod, it’s a great little roll-caster. On more than one occasion, I was able to complete a drift and then simply flip the line upstream and try again. You might also think this is a “dink and dunk” rod meant for shorter casts. Truth be told, it’s a great “in-close” rod, but on a couple of runs, I had to uncork 40-foot casts, and the Lunar S-Glass was up to the task. As I noted earlier, it’s appearance is simply gorgeous — when the sun hits the rod just right, it’s damn near luminescent. And Brandon’s company checked a simple, but oft-ignored box for me — alignment dots. Moonlit rods come with alignment dots so, as you’re assembling the rod, you can match the ferules up without having find the reel-seet opening and make your best guess. Finally, these days, perhaps more so than in recent memory, price matters. That the Lunar S-Glass retails at $179 is appreciated. It should be noted that this little rod stacks up nicely to the “big boys” that go for three or four times the price.

Cons: While I loved the black hardware, for a rod that’s meant to fish light, I might have chosen to go with single-foot guides rather than double-foot snake guides, just to reduce, even slightly, the overall heft of the product. The reel seat is also a bit basic — no handsome inserts or anything to “dress up” the rod a bit. That said, for a rod this small, I would have liked to have seen a simple cork friction reel seat, again in the interest of crafting the lightest possible fiberglass fly rod. I do like the oversized tip-top of the rod, however, and the black thread wrappings are classy.

Overall impression: For the price-point, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a glass rod that does what the Lunar S-Glass does so well, particularly in its lighter iterations. That nice, deep fiberglass bend is tough to beat for a small stream “creek freak” like me, and the rod doesn’t get in the way of my natural casting stroke. I wish I had taken Brandon up on his offer months ago.