Snowbee XS-P Tamar, 12ft6in, #7/8

Never heard of Snowbee? Neither had I, but their new mid-length Spey is worth a look.

Snowbee is a big name in the UK and is now moving into the North American market in a big way.

Hence they sent a rod for me to try out, and judging by it they have value and quality that deserves a serious look.

First a few specs: 4 pieces, dark forest green colour, hook guide, medium quality cork grips with a nice built-in cork-composite butt for wear, a good quality aluminum reel seat, with two screws from above for a solid reel connection and easy-out for changes. The rod blanks are made with tri-modulous graphite, as in IM8, and they feel like it. [As a general observation on the newer Kevlar type materials (not in this Snowbee), they are great when stressed for casting and with a big fish on the line, but ting one against a metal door frame and weep when it breaks – a definite downside is that the priciest materials are brittle, a problem that rod manufacturers are going to have to address or they’ll be replacing ones with life time warranties many times.]

I tested the Snowbee with a 9 weight Skagit line, and though the line was a higher weight, the rod handled it well, through floating to slime line, to medium sink tips. It was a bit pressed to pick up a heavy sink tip, and bottom dredgers, but that was to be expected with the heavier fly line.

This is a nimble, new rod made of contemporary blank materials and has that new compact, high strength to rod weight quality of the better rods built today. In other words it is a faster rod, yet with a tip that, the top half of the rod reminiscent of the Scandinavian rods made for quicker loading, looked lighter than it acted.

I was particularly impressed with the lower weight of the butt section of the rod. I could feel the lightness immediately, even before casting, and that that made the whole rod easy to use and manipulate because the butt moved well and transmitted hand momentum easily and with accuracy to the rest of the rod.

And the best part here is that the rod sells for a measly $655 CDN, which is hard to believe. Certainly it could be $1000 and you wouldn’t blink an eye..