Review: Stickman N0 fly rod | Outbreak Magazine



Speaking of their own rods, Stickman claims there are “no game changers here.” Are the people of Stickman intentionally modest? Or are they just bad traders? Maybe neither, as Stickman claims “like[s] the game as it is ”, and wants to build only the best performing (and prettiest) rods possible using the best materials and constructions available. Sounds like an admirable goal, right? Either way, it’s possible that the rods produced by Stickman, originally from Spain and Hungary, are one of the best-kept secrets in the fly fishing world these days.

High grip / Czech / Euro-nymph rods could very well be the fastest growing segment of the fly rod industry. Every rod company suddenly seems to be producing 10 to 11 foot lightweight rods designed specifically for the tight line and / or long line nymph. With the popularity of the competitive circuit, manufacturers have scrambled to produce longer sticks capable of casting tiny flies over thirty feet, while still providing the feel and sensitivity essential to this style of fishing. Some of the offerings available are well-designed technical fishing tools, while others simply fail to stand up to their competition.

Whether intentional or not, Stickman’s foray into the specialized nymph world, his N0 rod series, seems to take all the best attributes of offerings from top rodmakers and roll them into one slick package. I’ve been fishing the N0 for about two months now here in the heavily pressurized waters of central Pennsylvania and this has quickly become my favorite rod when I want to use the long stick (which, admittedly, is 95% of the fishing we practice here).

What works

Appearance / Craft

The N0 comes in four styles: Forest, Evil Black, Amber and Stealth. These same styles predominate in all Stickman rod designs and each one looks equally stunning. The Forest N0 is a rod with a particularly smooth look. Brown wraps with a burnt orange border and a natural, flat matte finish complete a Lemke wood grain reel seat. The premium cork handle doesn’t have all of the filler marks you might see in handles from other manufacturers. Fuji stripping guides and matte black single foot recoil guides overlap the white and guide spacing is perfect.

action
The N0 is a real rod with strong grip. With a diameter of 10’2 “and a weight of 0, the rod is designed to cast small weighted flies and work with long leaders (think French and Czech nymphs). The N0 series has an ultra-soft tip which allows you to load it with minimal weight and effort. I fished this rod with a Cortland .017 Mono Core line and it is a perfect combo. The 20-30 ‘daggerboards with small nymphs are a breeze and with a fine leader, the soft tip will allow you to navigate your way while drifting small nymphs or bouncing along the bottom. The rod is a ‘noodle’, but I’m saying that from in the most loving way possible.

The Stickman N0 nymph cane from Forest.

Power
It was my biggest reservations about this rod when I first received it, but I have to tell you that turning a big trout in the current was a lot easier than I expected. Yes, it’s true. A 0 weight rod can have power. Although rated as ‘0’, when fighting a fish the rod behaves much more like a 3-4 weight rod and its length gives you the leverage to turn and land the fish with minimal effort. ‘effort. The biggest fish I caught with the N0 was a big 18 inch chestnut which had all the perks, but the Stickman had no trouble taming it.

Which is not

Versatility
This is a small fly nymph cane, make no mistake about it. You’re not going to throw 30 ‘with dry flies or articulated streamers, it’s pretty much a one-ride pony. But hey, that’s what the rod is designed for. I’ve been lucky to throw smaller jig style streamers or bigger pierrad nymphs, but when you load too much weight on the N0 you can feel the rod reach the limit of its tapered design. Windy days sometimes proved to be a challenge for the N0 as well. Its ultra-soft tip combined with small flies and a long leader can give you a headache when the wind picks up.

Availability and prices
Stickman hasn’t really established a presence in the United States yet, so throwing and smelling the cane in a store before investing the 700 euros (around $ 740 US) could be a problem for some people. But it’s a premium rod for sure. If you are in the market for a high grip / euro nymph rod and have money to spare, you will have to take my word for it and forgo the wiggle test.

The last word

Not only does the Stickman N0 meet the benchmark for dedicated nymph rods, but it fixes it. I love this cane. If you are looking to buy a premium rod designed for high grip and a European nymph then the Stickman N0 series of rods will not disappoint. Competitive anglers should consider getting their hands on these poles and let it be known that Stickman produces some of the best-designed (and prettiest) rods on the market. The warranty on the Stickman is on par with the rest of the industry (around $ 60-90 depending on which section breaks), so if you throw pennies on a rod, you’ll be happy to fish, and fish for them. The coming years should be a no brainer with the N0 / Stickman series.

Learn more about the Stickman N0 on stickmanrods.com


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