Choice pike fishing tool
The Sirrus COMATRIX 9 wt. is in many ways the perfect pike fishing tool - able to lift and cast large and heavy flies, and with one serious butt section. Dutch Henk Verhaar test fished it in his favorite pike waters and was very pleased.
GFF Rating: 5
'Wow, beefy' was the first thing that came to mind when I unpacked the Sirrus Co-MATRIX 9 weight rod that Ken Whiting of Sirrus sent me to test as a pike fly rod.
A whole line
Perfect pike fishing tool
This is a rod with one serious butt. Ken is the person that pioneered titanium-tube-reinforced rods for Lamiglass, among others, and he now has a line of rods, both casting rods and fly rods, of his own that use the same concept of a reinforced lower butt half to increase fighting and lifting power as well as quicken the action of the rod.
Instead of using titanium tubes, however, the Co-MATRIX blanks have a butt reinforcement of spiral-wrapped carbon fibre.
The Sirrus Co-MATRIX rods (there are 6 models in total, in 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 12 weight) are all two-piece rods, equipped with single leg snake guides, one or two (depending on the model) SiC stripping guides and oversized tiptops. The rod that I tested has basic but perfectly functional hardware. The workmanship and finish on this rod, however, is perfect. Cosmetically therefore, this is a very pleasing rod, although I would vote against that hook-keeper...
Therefore I put this exceptional 9-weight to the test. Testing was done in two ways, dry-casting on a lawn, and actual pike fishing. The dry-casting was done by a small group of excellent casters that I happened to round up during the 2002 Dutch Fly Fair. Casting an 8-weight pike taper line, without fly, their rather unanimous evaluation of this rod was that it is a rather stiff rod, that needs a fair amount of line out to load properly, but that due to its design is capable of aerializing, and delivering, a full line without breaking down. Not a rod for absolute novices, but a definite casting machine. Even I, not being an excellent caster, not by a long shot, was able to cast and shoot most of the pike taper line. I do not own many rods that I can do that with...
Now, if this is a capable, albeit somewhat demanding casting rod, how does it perform while fishing? I've taken this rod out as my only pike rod for the last three months. Originally, this was a decision based on the fact that I had to evaluate this rod. Very soon though, I would reach for this rod when going after pike with a fly rod out of pure preference. While the somewhat stiff nature of this rod makes for slightly demanding dry-casting, once you tie a typical Dutch pike fly on the end of your tippet, it becomes a totally different animal. The extreme wind resistance, and added weight when these flies become water-logged, add enough loading to the rod to make it a perfect pike fishing tool. My effective range with this rod increased a good 30 feet as compared to my previous favourite pike rod (no brands named....). What's even better, the fast action and backbone of this rod makes hooking pike on even a nibble very certain, and the beefy butt does indeed make for improved fighting and lifting power.
Catching pike with this rod is a totally new experience. The only quip I have with this rod while fishing is that it could do with a slightly more sensitive tip to improve its handling close in, i.e. picking up a fly and casting with only 3-4 feet of line out. Where I fish for pike, most fish are actually caught close to shore, many times right underneath your feet.
Summarizing, the Sirrus Co-MATRIX 9-weight is a well-built and well-finished rod, with a slightly odd look due to its beefy butt. Due to this butt and its action it makes a perfect fly rod for pike. And at a recommended retail price of ca $210, it is great value for money. A definite addition to any pike fly rodders arsenal.
A whole line
Perfect pike fishing tool