Robbie Winram reviews the latest tackle including rods, lines and clothing
DAIWA’s new Lexa rod range consists of 10 models, seven of which are targeted purely at stillwaters, while the other three are aimed at rivers. The stillwater range includes three 9ft 6in rods, with a dedicated 6wt, 7wt and an 8wt that I had on test. An 8wt is what I would term as a ‘heavyweight’ line class, and would use when tackling the bank in early season when conditions aren’t always favourable or when lures are the order of the day. It would also be a good choice at the back end of the season when fish are chasing fry and you need to cast a substantial fly pattern in their path. In essence, I’m looking for something that’s got a bit of casting prowess and some extra backbone for punching out those shooting head-style lines. I set the rod up with an 8wt floater and a 12-foot leader with two sizeable lures. The rod certainly didn’t feel overly stiff and it lifted and loaded confidently and I was able to aerialise the two lures with relative ease. The subsequent single haul and line shoot on the forward cast put the line right where I wanted it and it even had a decent turnover. Gradually working with longer head lengths outside the rod tip gave me a good understanding of what this rod could achieve. It certainly punches well above its weight with floating and intermediate lines, propelling big, air-resistant lures (especially the large deer hair and foam buoyant fry patterns), really well. I found I could call on the rod’s hidden reserves of power, especially in the bottom section of the rod, when I needed to really lean into a cast to cut through the wind. Just because this rod is an 8wt, and a powerhouse at that, doesn’t mean it will defeat someone with less proficient casting skills as it can handle lines with both short and long head lengths equally well. It did seem to match really well with those front-loaded, shooting headstyle lines as I could just wind them up and let them go. This was particularly true when it came to medium and fast sinking lines, as the rod had plenty of lifting power and was able to aerialise a good length so I could put some long casts out. For the best turnover I did sometimes have to feather the thin diameter running line just so I could get the flies turning over at the end.
Perfect for the autumn fry-feeding sport when you want to launch 40-plus and shooting head-style lines which are bread and butter to this rod. Although I would class this as a ‘heavyweight’ rod that’s not to say you can’t match it up with Blobs, Boobies and nymphs, but it certainly lends itself to the heavier end. The very generous-sized rod tube will easily house two rods.
The Lexa is fitted with quality guides and rings.