Fenwick

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Fenwick

For a great history of the Fenwick rod company, see Vic Johnson's book of the same title (General Reference 2).  If you collect Fenwick rods, you gotta have Vic's book. It covers not only Fenwick history and company ownership, but materials development, fly rods, bass rods, spin rods, and the rest of the product lines. This Wiki page is not intended as a replacement for the book. Instead, this page is more of a supplement. The Fenwick book doesn't contain a comprehensive list of model numbers, nor does it discuss the casting qualities of the fly rods.

Because of their technical innovations, Fenwick was the dominant fly rod maker through the late '60s, '70s, and early '80s. Fenwick sold vast numbers of glass fly rods, many of which are still available on the secondary market. As a result, used Fenwicks are usually a bargain, and you can fish them without fear.

The Early Fenwick Flyrods (1955-1962)

The blanks were made by Grizzly with Sizematic aluminum ferrules (the ones with O-rings). Vic Johnson's Fenwick (General Reference 2) lists at least 15 different early model Fenwick rods. These rods had the broader weave fiberglass, nice ferrules, and have surprisingly nice actions.

Model No.LengthSectionsRod WeightLine WeightNotes
3056 foot2 piece2½ oz.? weight 
3157 foot2 piece2¾ oz5 weight

This rod feels like the later FF70; sweet caster. Early ones had mylar underwraps, cigar-type grip, and trademark Fenwick butt wrap. (pave)

Casts like a dream. WOW! So light and effortless. (DPM182)
315-47 foot4 piece? oz.? weight 
3207½ foot2 piece3¼ or 3¾ oz."light" 6 weightThis rod casts like the later FF756—faster action than most glass rods. (pave)
3258 foot2 piece4 oz.7 weight 
3268 foot2 piece3? oz.6 weight 
3308½ foot2 piece4¼ oz.8 weight 
330-38½ foot3 piece4½ oz.? weight 
3328½ foot2 piece4? oz.? weight 
3359 foot2 piece5? oz9 weightShown in 1956 catalog. (Mike)
3407 foot2 piece4 oz.? weight 

The First Generation Feralite Flyrods (1963-1971)

The blanks were initially made by Grizzly, but eventually blank production was brought in house (along with Grizzly). These rods had the patented Feralite ferrule, a tip-over-butt fiberglass arrangement that has since been copied by almost every other rod maker. These rods were generally full-flexing and slow (to a modern graphite-trained fisherman). Vic Johnson lists at least 30 fly rods. Even then, Fenwick apparently made non-catalog fly rods and gave them model numbers. For instance, I have an FF83 that was designed for the Golden Gate casting club. It is lighter version of the FF84 but is not seen in the reference books or catalogs.

Model No.LengthSectionsRod WeightLine WeightNotes
FF606 foot2 piece2 or 2? oz.5 or 5-6 weightSurprising casting ability for its length. (corlay)
FF707 foot2 piece3 oz.5-6 or 6 weight

Rated for a #6, but I like it with a 5. (Tom)

Seems to cast everything from a four weight to a six weight with no worries. (CreationBear)

Early serial numbered versions—prefix C and above—with semi-translucent amber blanks were marketed by Fenwick as 5 weight rods, but they handle a 4 weight line quite nicely, indeed. (Richard)

Use mine with a DT3F which it casts just fine. (lonefisherman)

Excellent dry-fly rod for delicate presentations but with enough muscle to handle larger fish. (Doug)

Light as a feather. A perfect medium-slow dry fly rod for small streams. A really excellent, nimble rod. (corlay)
FF70-47 foot4 piece3? oz.5 weight

Remarkably different than the FF70—much fuller flexing. (pave)

Great travel rod with a lot of flex for great fun with the small ones. (kitefly)

Very versatile, sweet seven footer. (Upstream)

A 4-5 in my hands. The two piece is progressive; the four piece semi-parabolic. (Giogio)
FF757½ foot2 piece3¼ oz.5-6 weight Marked 3¼ oz. for 5 or 6—true 5wt (WF5F) for me. Excellent, sweet-casting rod . . . pure pleasure to fish. (Doug)
FF75-47½ foot4 piece3½ oz.6 weightMarked 3½ oz. for 6 weight—WF5F for me. Fishes identical to the 2 piece model but more portable. (Doug)
FF77-77'10"7 piece3½ or 3? oz5 weight 
FF798 foot2 piece3½ oz.5-6 weight

A great overall rod with a DT5. (Tom)

Six weight. The best dry-fly taper Fenwick ever made. (pave)

I like it with a 5 weight. (kitefly)
FF808 foot2 piece3½ or 4 oz.7-8 weight

Deep-flexing, slow for big stuff and bass but not distance. (pave)

Great with a DT7. (Doug)

Just plain fun to cast matched with a Royal Wulff Ambush 7wt, the older, fatter FF80 does everything the FF807 does, only better. (fishwater)

My perfect streamer rod. The FF80 will launch some big, ugly flies with ease and shoots line (T-200 and Rio 250 gr. sink-tip). The rod is short enough to make lively retrieves and still long enough for roll-casting and single-handed spey casts. Even short fish put a bend in the rod. It is everything I wanted my FF806 to be. (Mike)
FF80-48 foot "Voyageur"4 piece3¾ oz.6 weightI fish this with a Cortland Peach DT6F. Great casting rod. (PflighFission)
FF838½ foot2 piece 4-5 weightLighter, but not as sweet as the FF84. (Tom)
FF848½ foot2 piece3?, 4, or 4? oz.5-6 weight

marked WF7F. I like a DT5. Lovely to cast. (Tom)

A sweet casting rod (with a DT6F) with extra reach, lots of power in the butt section, while still having the finesse for smaller flies in the tip. Great medium-to-large-water rod. (Doug)
FF858½ foot2 piece3¾ or 4? oz.6-7 or 7-8-9 weightExcellent bass rod; light-in-hand, yet has backbone to spare. Easy caster—will shoot line with the best of them—however, can work close loaded with WF8. Stout as a bay mule. (Dane)
FF85-38½ foot3 piece3¾ or 4 oz.7 weight

Casts like a dream with a DT6. (rodblank) It's a 6 weight for me. (jeva)

Full-flexing, slow-action rod that is very easy to cast as long as you don't try and overpower the cast. (lonefisherman)
FF868½ foot2 piece 6 weight(Tom)
FF86-58½ foot "Voyageur"5 piece3? oz.6 weight 
FF888½ foot 4? oz.? weight 
FF909 foot2 piece4? or 4¾ oz.7-8 weightIt's my best wet-fly, night-fishing rod. (Troutguy)
FF90-39 foot3 piece4¼ oz.6-7 weightSmooth, easy-casting rod that flexes all the way to the butt. Capable of distance with accuracy. (lonefisherman)
FF929 foot2 piece5½ oz.9 weight 
FF989 foot2 piece4¾ or 4? oz.10-11 weight

FF98s were pretty popular rods for fall chinook and winter steelhead through the late-1970s. They handled 11 weight shooting heads very nicely, if I remember correctly. I'd think a 10 would work just fine, or a 9 if the rod had softened up a bit from use. (L Kenney)

IMHO, FF98s are dogs with more than a 9 weight line. (majicwrench)
FF1068'10"2 piece5 oz.10 weight 
FF1079 foot2 piece4¾ oz.8-9 weight 
FF1089 foot2 piece5? oz.10 weight

Came with a 10 inch fighting butt. (Chuck)

Best casting rod in my collection. Rebuilt it to a four-piece. I can cast all of an SA Sharkskin 9wt. Awesome rod! (ultraman1)
FF1129'3"2 piece 9-10 weight 
FF112S9'3"2 piece 4¾ oz.9-10 weight

Removable fighting butt. It won't even load well with a 10 weight. I've tried it with an 11 weight, and it starts working and getting some flex when loaded. I'm guessing its an 11-12 weight. (Richard)

Using a 380 grain Scandi line, I can shoot backing out of the rod with ease, and the line measures 90' long. (Bob)
FF1149'3"2 piece5¾ oz.10-11 weightFitted with short, stout fighting butt. (Chuck)
FF1169'1"2 piece5? or 5¾ oz.11 weightAt least one New Zealand fisherman likes the 116 with 10 weight line. (Mataura Mayfly)

The Second Generation Feralite Flyrods (1972-1988)

These blanks were made from E-glass with the Feralite ferrule. The second generation rods were a bit crisper/faster than the first generation Feralites. From a combination of eBay watching (and buying) and General Reference 2, 3, and 4, we've come up with this list of second generation Fenwicks. There may be others out there.

Model No.LengthSectionsRod WeightLine WeightNotes
FF5355'3"2 piece1¾ oz5 weight 
FF6056 foot2 piece2 or 2? oz.5 weight(A K-serialized rod is marked 2 oz.)
FF7057 foot2 piece2? or 3 oz.5 weight

Nice rod. Some had uplocking reel seats/cork inserts. Continues to impress with its blend of performance and delicacy. (kinzua)

An early three-ounce blank looks much like an FF70; a later P-series 2? oz. version seems very different. (Jeff)
FF7067 foot2 piece2? oz.6 weight

Great kayak rod with a DT6. (Doug)

I have one marked 3½ oz. (coastalcutt)
FF7557½ foot2 piece3 oz.5 weightA very sweet rod with DT5; great for dries. Mine is labeled 3? oz. (I have seen them with other weights listed on them.) (Russell)
FF7567½ foot2 piece3 oz.6 weight

Personally, I like this rod with a WF7. (Tom)

Agree: six weight line makes for faster action. A good first rod for former graphite users. (pave)
FF756-47½ foot4 piece3¼ oz.5-6 or 6 weightI like this with a DT5. (Tom)
FF7867'8"2 piece3 oz.5-6 weightLater sold as the FL-6 by Fenwick Woodstream. Nice rod. I like it with a WF6. Great dry-fly rod. (Doug)
FF8058 foot2 piece3, 3?, or 3? oz.5 weight

A really nice DT5 fly rod. (Tom)

I have always thought this was a relabeled FF806, and I like a 6 weight line on it. (pave)

Agreed. Best with a WF6 for me. Fishes size 10-20 dries, nymphs, and streamers very well. (Doug)

I agree. Very light-in-hand; easy caster. Perfect farm pond rod—great for bluegill and can handle the occasional bass. (Dane)

I heartily disagree with the assessment that the FF805 is a rebadged FF806. The FF805 has a much slower, deep-bending action, and I would classify it as a finesse rod that doesn't like to be pushed and requires a smooth stroke to perform well. It is suited more for small dries and nymphs with a delicate presentation. Two totally different rods, IMHO. (Doug)

The commentators may well be evaluating totally different blanks—all labeled FF805—across the years of production, so everyone may be correct. (Jeff)
FF8068 foot2 piece3?, 3?, or 3½ oz.6 weight

My favorite fiberglass rod, hands-down. Flexes great, even with a 12" fish on it. (nativetrout)

Powerful rod, especially in the butt section, and a true all-around rod that can do most anything well. You can stand on this rod in the wind or with heavy flies and it responds to the task admirably. (Doug)

With a 7, it feels better to me. (David)

The all-purpose Fenwick rod; can do it all. It's not a sweety, it's an all-purpose thug! (Tom)
FF806-48 foot4 piece  Does fine with a WF6. (Paul)
FF8078 foot2 piece3? oz.7 weightGreat 7 weight: there is no reason NOT to have one. (Tom)
FF8378'3"2 piece3½ oz7 weight

A stretched FF807. (Tom)

Later sold as an FL-7 by Fenwick-Woodstream. (pave)
FF8558½ foot2 piece3? oz.5 weightA wonderful all-around trout fishing rod for small-to-medium-sized dries and nymphs.
FF8568½ foot2 piece3? or 3¾ oz.6 weight 
FF856-58½ foot5 piece3½ oz.6 weight 
FF8578½ foot2 piece3¾ or 3? oz.7 weightWill work fine with a 7 or 8 weight line. (Tom)
FF8588½ foot2 piece3? oz.8 weightYou can cast into the backing, bust high desert winds, pound the reeds with giant weighted bunny strip flies, and land 10 pound bucketmouths with this rod all day. It also makes a good indicator steelhead rod. (rodblank)
FF858-58½ foot5 piece? oz.8 weight 
FF9089 foot2 piece4½ or 4¾ oz.8 weight 
FF9099 foot2 piece4¼ oz.9 weight 
FF90109 foot2 piece5 oz.10 weight 
FF90129 foot2 piece6¾ oz.12 weightPossibly made from S-glass. (Ref. B, 1988. Tom)
FF93109'3"2 piece5? to 5½ oz.10 weight 
FF93119'3"2 piece5? oz.11 weight 
FF1200-312 foot3 piece8½ oz11-12 weight 

The Fenglass Flyrods (Around 2000)

In about 2000(?), Fenwick (now owned by Pure Fishing, Inc.) revived the fiberglass fly rod with their Fenglass line. These blanks were made from E-glass. However, the rods were made in China with Western style grips. The Fenglass rods had a bargain list price of $100, but somehow did not sell well. If you know of additional models, please contact the Wiki editors.

Model No.LengthSectionsRod WeightLine WeightNotes
FF535-25'3"2 piece 4-5 weight 
FF605-26 foot2 piece 5 weightGood up-close rod with a 5 weight line. (Tom)
FF765-27½ foot2 piece 5 weight 
FF766-47½ foot4 piece3¾ oz.6 weight3¾ oz. listed on the rod. (Just saw this on eBay. - Tom)
FF866-28½ foot2 piece4 oz.6 weightConsidered the "dog" of this line.
FF868-28½ foot2 piece4¼ oz8 weightProduced only in the first production year. (Very scarce?) Displays the same smooth casting stroke Fenglass is known for. (Flytackle)

The three 5 weights have a devoted following.

The Asian Fenwicks (Current Production)

There is currently a line of Fenwick rods for sale in Asia. These rods are covered on the Japanese Fiberglass Flyrods page.