You do not get to fish a 12 weight one hand rod every day. GFF partner Martin Joergensen has had the pleasure of field testing a Sirrus 12 wt - an impressing rod at a very good price.
Sirrus Co-MATRiX 9'0" 2pc 12wt
Sirrus 9' 2pc 12wt
Retail Price $224.95 US
Lifetime unconditional warranty for first owner
Available from Sirrus directly.
Sirrus is now called Airrus
The only 12 weight rod I ever fished with before this one was a 15 foot two hand salmon rod. That was one heavy rod! What might have influenced my anticipation of the Sirrus 12 weight that I was to review on Global FlyFisher.
When I got the rod I was surprised by its light weight and lack of that "heavy rod" feeling. The rod felt almost close to my trusty 9 weight salt water rod albeit somewhat stiffer.
Made for power
The rod reveals its ability to handle heavy loads in two ways: the blank is thick (like in really thick) and there is an extra fighting handle above the usual casting handle. This rod looks mean!
The blank is one centimetre or almost 3/8 of an inch thick at its base where it seems to be double in the material with some enforcing cross windings that Sirrus calls Filament Wound.
The rod is fitted with two shooting eyes and one legged snake eyes. The top eye is a large pear shaped metal eye. All the wrappings are excellent and the finish of the rod is dark and smooth except for the lower cross-wound part, which appears strangely shining - but absolutely not without beauty.
I would have liked to see larger shooting eyes on the rod. A seasoned tarpon fisher warned me about too small shooting eyes. The danger of line tangles getting stuck in the lower eye is very real when a tarpon takes off.
The reel seat on the test rod was silver and seemed hard as stainless steel and appeared very convincing. On the production models the seat is black anodized. It is uplocking with a slider and two screw rings that can be tightened against each other for extra strength. I could fit my largest reel into it (a Bringsen anti reverse reel), and tried it with several different reels including the huge Lamson Waterworks salt water reel seen on some of the pictures here.
Everything is built to endure the strain of fish in the 50 to 100 lbs. range and the rod can probably handle even more than that.
A fair fight
There are few fishing situations that can honour such a rod. It is built for tarpon and other heavy salt water fish, and I have few fish in my home waters that can give it a just fight. Large pike might be it, but more on that later.
Luckily I was going to Belize to try out some of these challenges, but unfortunately I was not lucky enough to get the rod loaded with anything else than a line. I hooked no tarpon.
A fellow fisherman borrowed the rod for shark fishing and reported back, that he found it perfect for the purpose both with regards to casting and fighting.
The first line I put on it was supposedly a 12 weight, and I was initially very disappointed. The rod did not load at all and felt limp in my hands. My guess is that it was underlined.
Later I have tried other lines, and have found combinations that work perfectly. My heavy pike shooting head setup is particularly efficient. That consists of half an 11 wt. DT line and a thin shooting part. My salmon setup - also a shooting head - made to fit an 12 weight two hand rod is also suitable for this rod.
Fishing for pike with a 12 weight equipped with an extra fighting handle must be considered a bit of an overstatement. The 9 weight in the same series would probably be more appropriate.
The rod is of course stiff. Any blank this heavy will be. But it is responsive and not as heavy as I could have feared. The tip is fairly light and when I close my eyes I still feel closer to a 9 weight than to 12.
The action is probably more to the tip, but as you might expect the rod bends into the lower part too when properly loaded in a fight. The forces used to deeply bend a rod this heavy are just not obtainable in a cast.
An amazing price
Apart from the surprise of a rod this heavy, I was surprised by one more factor: the price. Ken Whiting has just lowered his prices, and this "little charmer" wound up (or is that down?) on 225 US$, which can be considered nothing but a bargain.
The rod comes with a aluminium tube and a sock. With the lifetime-for-first-owner-warranty that Sirrus offers and the finish and capacities of this rod, we are a far cry from the usual rods in this price class, and it easily rivals rods several hundred dollars more expensive.
The rod earns a score of 5 on the GFF scale - Excellent - Highly recommended!
The Sirrus rods also won a prize at the ICAST 2002 show, which is not surprising. If you want to go lighter that 12, there is the 9 weight rod in the same series, which can be bought for only 190.- US$.