Well Cabela's decided to throw a kink into my plans. They originally said limited quantities, then when I order they said it is back ordered and I get an e-mail saying they would have it on June the 5th. So I call today to check the status (have a trip planned in two weeks) and they said that at best it would now be around either the 10th or 12th and that I would not see it until at least June 20th. Ended up cancelling my order after a supervisor there told me I would be best off cancelling my order (I was very nice considering being yanked around).
So now the hunt was on to find a replacement. Called North Platte River Fly Shop (NPRFS) and after talking to Jeri I now am the proud owner of a Greys GR30 7'6" 3wt rod and an Echo Ion 23 reel. Jeri said both were in stock and I would have them next week. Lesson learned big stores are not interested in small (sub 250.00) orders. However NPRFS was so helpful even offering me a GR30 of $95.00 for a Demo with full warranty). Now just wait for the rod and reel to get here and then off to the NC mountains for some native brookies.
1st the Reel.
For the Money absolutely the best sub $100 dollar fly reel out there. The only thing that might bother some is the positive click when stripping line from the reel. The clicking to me is pleasant and not very loud or obnoxious. The only change that I would make is to offer other colors other than black. I found the drag was perfect for small waters and fish (which is what this rod was bought for in the first place). Very smooth when either stripping line or reeling it back in. FYI this reel is made in Korea.
2nd the Rod.
Greys rods are very nice for the money. When I got the rod (thanks to North Platte Fly Shop), first thing I noticed beside looking nice, is that it was made in China. I was kind of worried about it but after fishing with it, it has proven that rods made over there can match US, Japanese, and European rods when there is quality control establish (which Greys has). The rods came with a matching tube with 4 sections. The blank acts very much like a Med-Fast which is what they described (however this is a personal opinion especially when dealing with fly rods since by nature they are extremely flexible). Blank seems pretty sensitive for a sub 100 dollar rod (can find for less than MSRP if you shop around) and I had no issue detecting nymph bites (more on that latter). The rod has double up locking nuts plus the reel seat piece for a very secure fit. The cork is nice and "velvety". Now the negatives. I noticed the rod has a very very slight bend in the blank towards the tip. It did not hurt the fishability of it as the guides were straight. The other thing I noticed is that the alignment dots were off just about a hair which means you have to eyeball the rod to ensure the guides line up.
On the trout fishing, nothing was biting unless you were live baiting or power baiting it (which we never did but saw many doing it). I did take the rod to a small stream and spillway at a local lake to see how it performs. The rod is a perfect one for a small stream rod and handled small LM bass, yellow perch, red things bream, bluegill, black crappie and even a 2lb flathead very well. The reel handled all of these fish with ease and never even acted like it was being strained either. I fished nymphs on both the "river" and also the spillway. In no way is this a nymphing rod, but when asked to perform it did well. I am thinking of getting another GR30 or GR50 for finesse nymphing since this rod did pretty good with it minus the short length.
I would recommend this rod/reel to anyone who wants a sub $200.00 (not counting line, backing, leader or tippet) small creek rod or a person looking to get into fly fishing and want a quality set up versus a Wal-Mart packaged Martin or Shakespeare combo. I like the rod and reel enough to look into getting me a GR50 "ditch/gully rod (6' 3wt.) and pairing it with another Echo Ion 2/3 reel. (will post pics of the rod and reel later).
I find myself using it more than my Hardy Zenith, since the smaller carbon is great for our small drought infected streams of SoCal. Sucks that Cabelas didn't have any in stock.