It’s been a while I haven’t mentioned that RX6 project of mine, but I’ve been busy on it all the while.
First, I test cast the 9 guides configuration on which I had performed a static check earlier. That went remarkably well, I couldn’t tell a difference with all the 10 guides rigs I cast in my life. No blank slapping I could detect, no guide-related sloppiness in the line handling, it’s just fine.
I didn’t want to talk about the casting properties of the rod before putting the finish on, since it tends to slow things up, and by adding weight on the tip, may increase tip bounce (something that was already a concern with the bare blank, see my wiggle test). Now that the rod is complete and I spent a couple of hours with it on the lawn, I can give an educated opinion on it.
The RX6 is not a blank for everyone, and certainly not the best blank there is. Anyone who tells you that you can’t do better than a €50 blank is probably pulling your leg or trying to sell you shit. So if you have anything like consumer experience, you’re expecting me on value. “Not the best but superb value”. Well, I hate to give in the cliché, but it’s rather true: the RX6 offers a lot of rod for a rather modest sum. So if you want to wrap a good fly rod for (a lot) less than a hundred euros, be my guest and you will probably be happy with it.
Obviously, this is not a rod for everyone. It’s on the slow side, clearly, but at around 65 of AA (everything and more than you want to know about the CCS measures here or here), it’s not bending down the handle. The thing is heavy by the standards of 2012, which means that it is not incredibly light. But this weight compliments very well the casting stroke that will get the better out of the rod. My limited casting abilities are not that weak that I cannot spot roughly the way to handle the thing. For a 6wt like this one, you want to be somewhat powerful, but smooth, no aggressive speed. Then it really casts like a charm. You will get distance out of it, and control also, provided you let it take its time.
As for the backbone, I cannot say for I haven’t caught anything on it. But an extrapolation from the 8’6 #4 I built a long ago and abused in every possible way since, it will fight any beast that cares to take your fly and subdue it with ease. The way it bends absorbs all the angry head shaking and protects your tippet.
One defect of the rod, foreseeable since the very beginning of this project, is tip bounce. That’s what you get for saving that much money. The rod looks brilliant, its holds a lot of line and will send the fly over there and get that fish in the net, but the tip bounces. I can dampen it, the waves it sends in the rod leg of my loop are not that catastrophic, but I almost never manage to tame them completely. I think a very good caster will reduce the bounce to very little, but it will require effort. So if you want to cast a mile, this will be a problem. If, on the other hand, you’re one to let the rod do the work, you have some finesse in the way you handle it, this RX6 may very well be the ticket for you.
I rigged it with my Barrio GT140S, and the team worked quite well. Plus the bright orange on blue was pure eye candy.
A final note on colors. I wrapped it with Gudebrod’s Royal Blue, because that’s what I have. The idea was to get the wraps to blend into the blank color. The result is not bad, and blends in rather well when there’s not much light, but I guess there is a better matching thread on the market, although I don’t know which.
EDIT: after a couple extra hours with this rod, here’s my final opinion. It’s a superb rod. Once you’ve adjusted a little the grip to dampen the bounce, it’s a ball to cast.