For over 10 years I used a Greys GRXi fly rod and I really loved it. On a trip to Rutland a few years ago it got trashed in a boat and I had to buy a new rod from the tackle shop so I could carry on fishing. I bought another Greys rod, the GR30, which did ok for the rest of the day but it felt very soft. I don’t get on with soft rods because my casting style is quite heavy (too many years of bad habits!) and so I was on the lookout for something else. Greys couldn’t do me a tip replacement on the old GRXi so they offered me a GR50 at half price. The GR50 is a great all round rod with a stiffer action which suited me very well and has been my go to rod up till now.
A few months ago I got the chance to get my hands on a custom built Atomsix Elemental fly rod. I spoke to Steve at Atomsix about my casting style and how I fish and we decided the 10″ Elemental would be a good match. And it was!
The rod in the picture is my rod and also features on the Atomsix website and it’s an absolute beauty! I’ve never owned an expensive rod before, let alone one hand built to me own specs, so it was a big change. The build quality is fantastic and the attention to detail makes the rod a thing of beauty. It comes in a very robust metal tube and an old fashioned cloth bag. I’m not a fan of these big tubes with padded inners because you’re left carrying it around when you’re fishing and if you’re on the move a lot they just get in the way. Having a rod bag means its easy to carry to the lake and the bag can be put away easily. Sometimes its the little things that make a difference!
On my first try with the rod it felt very different to what I was used to with the Greys. It’s got a very tight action but can also be used delicately but it takes a bit of practice. The 10″ was a bit longer than the normal 9″6′ rods I’n used to and even that extra bit of length makes a difference. It felt a bit heavier that the Greys which I was worried about on full day sessions but actually the opposite turned out to be true. Now I’ve got used to the rod (and had some casting lessons!) it so easy to get a good line out that you actually end up doing far less to cast and so fatigue isn’t really an issue.
These rods are used by some of the top distance casters in the UK and its a true competition fly rod, and it feels like one when you use it. I learnt to haul properly a few months ago and ironed out some bad casting habits and using the Atomsix now feels very different. It’s not a very forgiving rod but once you’ve mastered it it is a joy to use. If you work it hard you can get a huge amount of line out on the water but its just as happy peeling dry flies off the surface at close range and quickly covering fish and a good distance. With a quick haul and only 1 or 2 false cats you can easily get a lot of line out accurately.
It’s not a rod for everyone, it takes some work, but once you’ve become at one with it it’s hard to go back.I took out the GR50 the other week as a bit of a test but it didn’t take long before I was back on the AtomSix. It’s a fantastic rod and every time I cast it feels like I’m using something special, something that I’ll be using for many many years to come.
If you’re in the market for a top end custom built fly rod then get in touch with Steve at AtomSix. He’s a great bloke and will help guide you on whats best. He’ll even send you a rod in the post to have a go with!