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FF856-5 Impressions
Post 30 Sep 2021, 08:35 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 55
Location: Central Georgia
Hi Guys.
An FF856-5 showed up at my house yesterday (how does this keep happening??). I havent seen much said or written about these so I thought Id share my impressions based on lawn casting it side by side with my FF70-4 and FF756-4.

All three rods are honest 6 weights, with the FF756-4 being the least flexible about line weights and preferring a Cortland DT peach 6 wt. the FF70-4 will cast the dt6 (and a large variety of 5 and 6 weight lines) well but I think its by far the best with a 6wt rio gold wf.

The FF856-5 casts the peach dt6 well, but the rio gold 6wt felt better, especially beyond 25 ft or so. as I was lawn casting the rio gold 6 I was surprised to look down and see that I was casting well into the running line with minimal effort, something that probably wouldnt happen with the shorter rods. The FF856-5 also cast very well with a rio gold 5wt. it didnt feel under lined and I wouldnt hesitate to fish this rod with the rio gold 5 if it was a good choice for the flies and the situation. I also get the feeling this rod could handle a true to weight 7wt line, though Im not sure it would be more useful for trout fishing than a 6wt line. perhaps a sink tip 7 for streamer work? who knows. all of my fenwicks will cast up or down a line size from rated, this one is the first that seems HAPPY to cast up or down a line size. I dont get the feeling that this rod will be as good of a "big fly" rod as the FF756-4, its a little more limber. it is substantially faster than the FF70-4. perhaps its about right in the middle of the two as far as this is concerned.

all three rods work well with the 67ss martin reels, or with the mid size hardy clones (cabelas cahill 1 and heddon 320).

at one point I questioned the wisdom of the 5 piece Fenwicks, especially in a time when people were Leary of multi piece rods. I now suspect that the point all along was to give the angler a full length (8'6") rod that packed down just as small as their shortest common pack rods (7' 4 piece). My FF85-5, FF70-4, and FF856-5 all break down to the same length just a tad over 21".

Im going to do a backpack in trip on a well know WNC stream this weekend and the FF856-5 is coming. I may be using if for everything from dries down to 16-18 to lightly weighted streamers up to a 6-8. With any luck I can share some fishing impressions and photos early next week.


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Re: FF856-5 Impressions
Post 30 Sep 2021, 17:39 • #2 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 07/11/14
Posts: 1449
Location: urban Colorado
I'd hoped to be done with buying rods by now, but the 856-5 is really attractive.. as you say, a good long rod that breaks down into pack rod size.. look forward to your report..


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Re: FF856-5 Impressions
Post 01 Oct 2021, 07:26 • #3 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/26/14
Posts: 3268
Location: US-MN
I have the FF856-5 and love it. It will cast a heavy 5 to 7 wt lines, but I prefer it as a 6. Great, "if I could only have one rod" rod. Delicate enough for small dries and stout enough for bass streamers/poppers. Add in the portability and it is a keeper! It is always in the backpack if any fishing is possible when camping. I am always surprised how light in hand it feels despite all the ferrules.


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Re: FF856-5 Impressions
Post 01 Oct 2021, 07:48 • #4 
Sport
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 55
Location: Central Georgia
Doug - good luck with your addiction. Im reformed now. I bought two fenwicks last week, but now Im done forever.

Driftless - Great news! interesting that we came to about the same conclusion casting/line wise.

the FF70-4, FF856-5 and my SFG2 are the rods coming along this trip. The SFG is for a really tight stretch at the top of the mountain where I found my FF70-4 a bit long last time, the FF856-5 is for where the creek opens up considerably to 25ft wide with lots of overhead space half way from the peak to the parking lot. The FF70-4... I dont have specific plans for it but its so hard to leave it behind after all Ive done with it this year. for 4oz, Ill carry it with the others.


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Re: FF856-5 Impressions
Post 01 Oct 2021, 11:35 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/26/14
Posts: 3268
Location: US-MN
Sounds like you have all your bases covered BrookieBoy. I too am looking forward to a report.


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Re: FF856-5 Impressions
Post 20 Oct 2021, 09:53 • #6 
Sport
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 55
Location: Central Georgia
Hi Guys!
Im glad I brought the FF70-4.. it did 100% of my fish catching on the trip.

as for the FF856-5, I did fish it for about an hour or two but the fish weren't having it. it casts well, though it seems to do much better once you get about a rod length of line out. its not as good for up close work as the FF70-4, then again it doesnt need to be. Ill be sure to update this thread when I do some catching with it!

Edit -
I still havent had a fish on the other end of the ff856-5 but do have some additional lawn casting notes to wrap this up. This rod casts my 6wt rio gold wf very well, but I think it needs a substantially heavier reel that the cabellas cahill 1 said line lives on. the cahill 1 balances 7-7.5' rods great but is just tool light for the ff856-5. with the cahill 1 the rod is very tip heavy, no fun to cast, and maybe actually doesnt cast as well (not just feel, but something about how the rod flexes and loads). I hung my 1495-1/2 off the rod and cast the rio 6wt and the rod felt completely different, all of a sudden it was very comfortable to cast and loads of fun. Its a keeper, seems like a great light bass rod or general purpose trout rod where the length is warranted.


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Re: FF856-5 Impressions
Post 20 Oct 2021, 23:25 • #7 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/18/09
Posts: 5109
Location: Washington DC Region
The FF856-5 isn't my favorite casting Fenwick 6wt, but it makes up for it in portability and versitility. The FF90-3 is one of the gems as a 6/7wt, but the FF856-5 wins if you want to pack it and it mends line better.

Now we need pictures of the rod with some fish.


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