Reviewed by Bob
was able to control my loops, perform arial mends, and shoot line
It was not
love at first cast.
year, Sharon Johnson at All Star sent me one of their premier fly
rod blanks to review, a 9 foot 2-piece 4 weight Austin. I was
pretty psyched, since these rods have garnered a sparkling reputation
among rod builders. It seems like every time someone comes along
as asks for a recommendation for a top-of-the-line blank for any
application, All Star Austin is one of the first blanks recommended.
I was genuinely
curious to see if the actual rod lived up to the buzz.
wiggle, the rod felt a bit bouncy. I've had a couple other bouncy
rods where it seems you spend most of your casting efforts trying
to keep nasty waves out of your line, so I wasn't impressed at
first. The first few casts on the lawn left me cold. The tip of
the rod was much softer than my other favorites, so I wasn't sure
if I was going to enjoy it or not.
As you know,
lawn casting is not fishing, so I held off judgment until I could
take it fishing a couple times.
I did, because if I had tossed it back into the corner after lawn
casting, I would have been missing out on one heck of a fine fishing
past weekend, I treated it to a day on the Beaverkill, where the
norm for me is to constantly be adjusting my casting, from close
in to relatively far out, because Lord knows where the next fish
might rise. It's a good river to test fish a rod, because you
can try all the classic fishing techniques - dries, nymphs, wets,
and streamers - and try them all I did.
I can easily
say - the All Star Austin passed each fishing test with flying
colors. I'll give you a couple anecdotes to describe how the rod
helped my fishing that day.
I was fishing
a big flat area downstream from a riffle and a trout rose in front
of me, maybe 25 feet away. I covered the rise, but didn't get
a take. There was another rise about 10 feet upstream, which I
covered as well with the same result. Then another rise further
upstream yet. Guessing this was a cruiser, I put the next cast
well upstream of the last rise and was rewarded with a beautiful
take from a wild fish. What was nice about fishing with the All Star
is that not only did I feel the rod load at the short casts, but
I didn't sense any loss of control with each increasingly longer
cast. Some rods are great casting machines, but you sort of gotta
fiddle with your casting for up close work. Not so with the Austin.
I was able to control my loops, perform arial mends, and shoot
line with ease. It was a great rod for fishing dry flies.
day brought some clouds and a mild breeze, but no rising fish.
I only had a little while to fish, so I thought I'd work a pool
with some streamers. This time I got to work the butt section
of the rod a bit, as I was casting as far across stream as I could.
Man, this rod is powerful. My timing was good that day, so the
line was just rocketing through the guides on the forward shoot
and my trusty tailing loop was nowhere to be seen. I could pick
a spot between a couple rocks on the far shore and fire a cast
through the breeze right to that spot. Every time. Man, it was
rightly be proud of these fine blanks. All Star no longer offers
the Austin as a finished rod, only as a blank to custom rod builders.
The blanks are lightweight and laser beam straight. Give one a
try. You won't be disappointed.