Although fly-fishing is the name of the game, we’re all aware that it isn’t just about catching fish. Sometimes merely the very act of going fishing is enough to lift your spirits. It might be the calming ripple of the stream, a shaft of sunlight to warm (however fleetingly); or maybe just the sheer pleasure of handling a beautifully crafted rod in idyllic circumstances. This latter was definitely the reason for the beatific grin that crept across my face last Saturday morning.
The Gouldfish Lemonglass 7’ #3wt is constructed on a modern, unidirectional glass blank in 3 sections, made by CTS in New Zealand to Chris Gould's specification. The range of colours is almost bewildering, but Chris has chosen the lemon colour for this build which is both striking & classy. Right from the unwrapping it’s immediately apparent that you’re looking at an exquisite, craftsman made product. The solid aluminium tube is slim in the hand and the screw cap has an etched Gouldfish logo. Stylish. Opening the tube leaves you in no doubt that you’re handling something very special indeed. The high quality cloth bag has the logo embroidered and is beautifully finished with dog-tooth stitching and printed tapes. The rod itself is pure eye-candy.
The yellow of the blank appears classily understated; but view it against the light and it’s almost luminous in its intensity. All of which brings you very nicely to the quality of the build itself. Sheer wraps to show the feet of the guides seems to be a thing with modern glass artisans. The Lemonglass is no exception with translucent yellow wraps that are ever-so-slightly darker than the blank. This is further enhanced with some red contrast at each end of the wrap. The finish is exceptional. There is not a hint of streaking, no unsightly bulges in the coating or residue in the guides. A lot of care has been taken here. The cork is obviously a very high grade with no discernible filler. The review model has a cigar shape, but colours & grip style can be tailored to individual specifications. The reel seat is of a single ring up-locking style with quality hard wood insert; which once again can be customised to your taste. The reel seat cap is engraved with the Gouldfish logo, too. Classy little touches all round which elevate this rod into a piece of functional art.
In use, the rod is a delight. I won’t go into the technology behind uni-directional glass here. Suffice it to say that there is no hint of the sloppiness or ‘droop’ associated with classic E-glass rods. There is a re-assuring poise evident as soon as you weigh it in your hand. Initially I coupled it with my little Orvis Battenkill and a WF #3 Cortland Sylk line, which seemed to balance it well. Although I was happy with the combination, I was keen to test it with Mike Barrio’s Smallstream; a line specifically developed with these shorter, lighter line rods in mind. This was an inspired move, as the rod came alive!
Standard overhead casts, little rolls, bigger rolls, single-handed speys and upstream/downstream mends; this combo handled them all with ease. I thought I’d push my luck by putting on a heavy, tungsten-headed nymph. But no; it was just as good with a delicacy and accuracy that was rather satisfying. The presentation was everything you could wish for, with the line landing light as thistle down. Perfect for spooky stream dwellers or small hill-top lochans.
My overall impression was of lightness, crispness & control, yet with a finesse that even the best graphite rods would struggle to get anywhere near.
Sadly no Dulnain trout deigned to join me in my experimentation. But it was of no consequence. Coffee in one hand, Lemonglass in the other, sitting on a boulder in my back-yard stream effortlessly flicking out perfect short lines in the Spring sunshine, I was certainly in my happy place. Care to join me?