Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the Snowbee Classic 7ft, 3/4 weight – a rod made by a company I’ve never heard of, who can’t decide which line they want to throw, and is the most affordable offer in the Snowbee range. Nonetheless, I made plans to baptize him in the Appalachian streams. The Classic arrived in a stiff tube, complete with a sock, just weeks before a trip to the Smoky Mountains, where I had heard and read that brook trout’s most exquisite fin slipped through pools of moonlight. shaded by balms and tangles of rhododendrons. .
But then, a few days before the trip, I discovered this discolored little stream cluttered with sweet gums and hickory trees literally five minutes from my home in Arkansas. Its waters were teeming with fiery long-eared sunfish, gluttonous green sunfish and small speckled sea bass. And all of those fish were suckers for a size 10 popper, which the Classic delivered to them superbly. The Snowbee did very well a few weeks later as well, delicately dropping the terrestrials in likely-looking races and whirlwinds, helping to tease the brookies up for a peek.
In fact, the Snowbee Classic rod has pleasantly surprised us by handling just about anything we throw at it.
Snowbee gear and gear based in Plymouth, England entered the UK fly fishing scene in 1984 with a pair of waders and since then has grown into an outfit featuring rods, reels, lines and tippets, clothing and accessories. Distributed throughout most of Europe, Canada, Russia and Australia for years, Snowbee equipment is finally making its appearance here in the United States.
Arts and crafts
The Classic is Snowbee’s entry level rod, but it doesn’t look like it or act like it. This is a lightweight, four-piece graphite number equipped with components typically reserved for high-end rods, like its ceramic-coated stripping guide. It also features a high quality cork grip and black aluminum reel seat which, while somewhat drab and contrasting with the rod aesthetic, is cleanly threaded and works well thanks in large part to with double locking rings. Tight tolerances indicate attention to detail on the part of the manufacturer.
The finish of the upper is a luxurious and elegant brown which Snowbee calls nutty, but I would call umber. Accented with brown and silver piping, the upper is lovely and, worn by a dude wearing cuts, an old T-shirt and a tattered camouflage cap, looks utterly out of place until you consider the Classic’s affordability. But we’ll get to that later.
The Classic weighs 3.21 ounces and paired with the Snowbee Specter reel (a fully sealed CNC machined aluminum gem) it balances out and feels great too. Yes, “feeling good” is the pinnacle of subjective views, but when engineers do their part with all that is quantifiable, their efforts become art and the Classic / Specter combo is art.
Snowbee says the Classic has “easy to mid-fast action,” and I agree. I would also add that it is particularly versatile, which could be the reason for its ambiguous weight class.
Launch Snowbee’s Thistledown line (itself a confusing, unique, but delicious creation that I’ll cover in a future review), classic poppers up to size 8, pearl-headed buggers up to size 8, and even a huge foam hopper that measured almost three inches lashed to a size 6 long rod hook. And he handled them with relative ease. Yes, I had to beef up the hopper a bit, but the dainty, dapper Classic could pull them all out while gently dropping a black ant into peaceful pools with barely a ripple.
While the Classic charges and launches with some authority, it also has excellent targeting abilities within reasonable limits. From 60 feet and above, I could put a small terrestrial anywhere I wanted. Bigger flies were a bit heavier as they tend to be when asking too much flexibility from the rod for a given weight, but still okay for my efforts in hot water.
Detailing action and precision is actually a deconstruction of what is perhaps the Classic’s best attribute, and the one I mentioned earlier: versatility. I like a cane that does everything well. The Classic does, and it really does excel at certain tasks without ever delving into territory unacceptable to anyone.
The Snowbee Classic rod sells for $ 149. It’s a fucking theft. I would say the rod is worth at least double that amount… but let’s not tell Snowbee that. .
It might seem odd that you can’t complain about something important when reviewing a $ 149 fly rod, but it all works.
Although it bowed to a few salmonids, the Snowbee Classic’s maiden voyage was probably not the trout experience its British builders might have envisioned. But this is an American review, and there is nothing more red, white and blue in the fishing world than bass and bream.
I would fish anything with a Classic in hand, however. The 7-3 / 4-foot weight was a sporty and capable choice in my scrubby domestic waters (the 14-inch spotted bass ‘monster’ was an absolute blast), and an impeccable tool for Appalachian trout. I love the Classic. To like. And I’ll spend the rest of my summer looking for tiny little steep coves with hungry little fish and throwing that sleek little rod.
American anglers are a little bit used to varying weight classifications these days, but after handling the Classic on several trips, I accepted that the numbers are just that – numbers. It’s our way of categorizing, sure, but maybe it’s best if we’re not too wrapped up in labels. Is the Classic a 3? Yes. Is it a 4? Yes. Aren’t these rod weights interchangeable enough based on the fisherman’s personal preference for what (here’s that subjective sentence again) feels good? Yes. Does the Classic need to make up its mind? No.
The Classic can be called whatever it wants. Do not judge. Simply enjoy.