Gear Test: Pescador on the Fly's El Cinco travel rod

For the Pescador on the Fly “El Cinco” 7-piece 9-foot, 5-weight fly rod, one thing is for certain: the company achieved its main goal of convenience and portability.

Flying a mu

ltiple leg trip from Charlotte, N.C. to Last Chance, Idaho, I did not want to take a chance on arriving without my gear, so into the carry-on went the rod and reel, as well as waders and sling pack. What else could a girl possibly need for the next seven days?

After setting up the rod and reel for a lawn-based casting practice with instructor Jeff Juracek, I was able to put the rod through its paces, and get a feel for it in various types of dry casts. Using a 5-weight fly line, the rod’s performance was notably different than the rod I used the day before. Most obvious differences were in the overall “feel” of the rod—it is lighter, requires a softer touch, and has faster action. The rod loads quickly on the backcast, an asset for me considering my tendency to overly shorten my casting stroke in the windy conditions we were experiencing. This fast loading results in fairly tight loops, which was also beneficial in the wind, as there was less opportunity for the line to get “carried away.”

Hitting land-based targets was doable, although when employing a reach-cast, the fast loading and unloading left little time for adjustments to the line mid-cast. Moving into the river and using the rod in various presentation scenarios, including a water-load cast, proved a bit more challenging. While the light-weight rod prevented fatigue of my casting arm, the lack of heft resulted in little “ballast” to utilize during shorter casts with my light-weight tippet and a dry fly. Presentation felt a bit awkward under those conditions, and the fly line tended to slap the water more than the Henry’s Fork trout preferred (likely as much an issue with my cast as with the rod).

An additional concern was the challenge of letting out slack during a drift, as the guides on the rod tip are quite small and seem to make feeding line out awkwardly—perhaps some larger guides in future models could improve this.

All in all, I am sold on the portability and compact nature of this snappy graphite 7-piece rod. I would happily take it with me on future trips, but may consider a lighter/smaller diameter fly line. The soft feel is very comfortable and allows for hours of casting tight loops without an aching arm at the end of the day. The reel seat is solid, yet the overall lightness of the rod allows for easy detection of strikes. This alone proved quite helpful when trying to ascertain if it was, in fact, my mayfly in a sea of bugs that was just taken from the river’s surface.

— Dani Wise Johnson, North Carolina

By Chris Hunt.