Eagle Claw Rods
Eagle Claw Rods
If you want to get a taste of fiberglass on the cheap - look no further than the Eagle Claw Featherlight. In the late 80’s, I bought an Eagle Claw Featherlight 6’6” fly rod. I paid about $15. Nearly 20 years later, the rod still sells for about the same price. While these are not highly refined rods, they are suitable for beginners, youngsters, and some specialty use. There are some of us that even admit we own Eagle Claws. Most will agree that it has it’s uses and it is hard to beat the price.
There are only two rods in the line: the FL300-6'6, a 6'6", 2 piece, for 5 weight line and the FL300-7, a 7', 2 piece for 5/6 weight. Both rods are yellow painted glass equipped with single foot "dynaglide" guides. For 2007, Eagle Claw “upgraded” to a Fuji style reelseat. [If you want a Featherlight with a metal reelseat, they are still available on eBay.]
Deep in the Eagle Claw catalog is the spartan description of the Featherlight rods:
- Traditional glass with ultra light actions make this rod perfect for Rainbows to Panfish
- Featherlight rods have been a family favorite for years
- Cork handle for maximum comfort
Photo courtesy of Cameron Mortenson.
The following comments and reviews are taken from the Fiberglass Flyrodders archives. As usual, I’ve edited for brevity.
Gents...simply put...this rod is what it is...a $20 stick. I've got a soft spot for this rod since it was my first fly rod...and my first taste of fiberglass as well. I'll say this about the Eagle Claw Feather Light...this rod won't change your life or anything...but it's still is a lot of fun to put a fish on. I am still impressed that Eagle Claw puts a metal reel seat on this rod instead of a plastic seat like most low end rods.
I started fly fishing with an seven foot five weight Eagle Claw Feather Light...used it for a summer on a lake learning to cast...caught a lot of bluegills on spiders. And "caught" a few northern pike that ate the bluegill that I was fighting. The following summer I came up with the idea that the yellow rod just wouldn't do as a trout rod and … felt the natural transition was to graphite, since everybody was doing it. It wasn't until this spring did I dig into the back of the gear closet to find the bright yellow rod and decided to take it out to the pond. I am so glad that I did...
I bought one in the 80's and I still have it. This is not a rod that casts 100+ feet into the wind. It's a rod for working in tight spots and casting up close. I find mine has a lot of "tip in hand" feel. When my casting stroke has gone sour, this is a good rod to work out the bugs.
Buy one from a big box store. Pick through the rods on the rack to find one that fits well. If you buy one, put a light weight reel on it. They are cheap enough and light enough - buy and carry two, in case one breaks.
I own one and don't really care for it. The ferrule is not very tight and comes loose often. I keep it around for my older brother to use whenever he comes with me. He has a tendency to break my stuff so he gets the cheap rod. [I love that part!]
It is a very good deal though. I would highly recommend it for someone who is just getting into the sport and wants to try it out for cheap. It's better than plunking down over a hundred bucks for an Orvis clearwater or other starter rod.
I agree, but for less than 20 bucks, it's the kind of rod I would use to fish a narrow, heavily wooded creek where I would not be so upset if I broke it. I would hate to crack/break one of my good glass or bamboo rods in a super tight situation. That's the only real reason I bought the thing in the first place. If you keep your casts to 25 feet or so, it's manageable.
It's a very tippy rod with a stiff butt and a floppy upper section, but casts pretty well. What I did not like are the guides. They are using some single foot spinning rod type guides and a spinning rod type tip top. I replaced the heavy tip top with a more conventional fly rod guide that is much lighter. If it had conventional snake guides on the entire rod, I would be happier. I guess it is cheaper and takes less labor to make one wrap per guide than two. But for less than $20, it's a pretty decent rod.
if you want an evaluation of the taper - the tip is relatively soft and butt is relatively too fast. It just quits loading if you try to speed up to handle longer line lengths.
Bought my $20 7-footer last summer for close-in work, casting while fishing under trees, etc. Love the way it casts with either 5 or 6 wt. line. Very few rods around today that short which are rated for 5 or 6 wt. line. Good canoe and john boat rod where the rod is going in harm's way. You're not out much if accidents happen.
I once owned the 7' for 5 wt. Eagle Claw. I bought it for the same reason you mentioned and fished it a few days. Somewhere along the way I had the chance to cast it against a number of excellent glass and graphite rods including a couple of Diamondglass rods, a few Fenwick glass rods, several Orvis Superfines, and a few others. While it was tough to pick a favorite it was easy to pick our least favorite - you guessed it - the Eagle Claw. Frankly, in comparison it felt clubby, stiff, heavy, and insensitive. Now, all that being said, it will still do what it sounds like you want it to and the price is unbeatable. I also enjoyed the two days I fished the rod which tells me it is an adequate performer, particularly if you don't make the mistake of comparing it to anything else.
A buddy has one. We cast it on the lawn, and it's a fairly nice rod, we're talking about a 7' 6wt here -- something I don't have a lot of use for.
Might be fun to play with and a good choice for a kid learning to cast. Or, if you have specific need for a strong, short rod, then let 'er rip....
I have a 7ft and a 6.5ft cheapy Eagle Claw. A neighbor kid I take fishing a couple times a year has had the 6.5 for a couple years now. Both are nice functional rods, and for the money can't be beat, however, I always grab something else to go fishing with.
I have the 7' 5 wt that I bought for my kids. It was cheap and fairly indestructible. With a simple click pawl reel and a half worn out 444 peach line, it does really well on small streams. My 10 year old uses it all the time now and is getting pretty good with it. I picked it up and used it a couple of seasons ago and had such fun I bought an old Bristol and refinished it and built a 7' 3 wt Lami. I also have on order, a Diamondglass 81/2' 4 wt 3pc. The Eagle Claw is not as refined as either the Lami or Diamondglass but is completely functional and a lot of fun.
That's a pretty nice little rod. I have one I bought new about 25 years ago or thereabouts. Don't remember what I paid for it but $25 would be a good guess.
I've got one of those Feather Lights, a 6'6" 5 wt., about 15-16 years ago. If I remember correctly, I paid $25.00 for it back then, and I have seen it for less than $17.00 recently. As mentioned previously, it is definitely a rather tippy rod, but once I learned to slow my casting stroke down a little, it really wasn't a bad casting rod. And getting a big bluegill or a 1-2 lb. bass on the end of the line put a really nice bend in the rod. A cheaply built rod, yes, but a fun cheap rod, YES !!! Definitely worth the prices being asked for these rods, would probably be worth it at twice the price, considering the prices on other new rods.