Review- Stickman Rods P5 ‘Evil Black’ 9′ 5wt

stickman 1first off, here’s the tech specs from Stickman Rods:
5 weight, 9′ length, 4 piece
Rod weight: 91 gram (3.21 oz)
Matte natural finish, fast action blanks
Flor grade half wells grip from Portugal
REC reel seat
Anodized aluminium reel seat spacer with engraving in black or red
Fuji stripping guides in black
Recoil Black Pearl titanium guides
Hopkins&Holloway tip tops
Black wraps with fire red edging
Blanks made in Spain, rods built in Hungary
Rod sock and black leather logo-embossed Cordura tube
Retail price is 649 € including VAT
shipped worldwide for a flat rate of 30 euros.

Warranty stickman 3
click here for CCS and MOI comparative data.
more info on the CCS and MOI  systems, what they mean and how they may be of use when comparing known rods.

stickman 5note that this review is for the Evil Black model but the P5 also comes in two other versions: Stealth and Forest. apart from their different aesthetic configurations (and the fact that they’re therefore neither EVIL nor BLACK ! ) the only difference these other models have is they sport a wooden reel-seat insert making them 10 grams lighter. (yeah, i’m having a hard time understanding how thin aluminium is heavier than a much thicker wooden insert but that’s just the way it is) anyway, that extra 10 gm is in the butt end of the rod so its next to impossible to feel the difference when casting or fishing. the aluminium spacer means this particular model is not only dead sexy but also saltwater friendly and won’t get nasty if left wet in the rod tube for a few weeks.

ok, now for the more difficult part, the subjective…
outside of simply sharing the above data, there’s no other way to describe something like a fly rod without including personal views, colours and tastes.
i’ll spare you silly common marketing blurbs such as- ‘this rod tracks better than others’ or ‘throws tighter loops’ or ‘is more accurate’ or “will catch you more fish” because we all know that those aspects are dependant of the user and not the product.

ok, lets start !

fly lines used
– Barrio SLX- GT90, GT125, Small Stream in 5 & 4wt
– Scientific Anglers- XPS, Nymph, Sharkskin 5 & 4wt
– Vision- Attack clear intermediate 5wt
– Piam- DT 5wt
– various homemade shooting heads connected to monofilament shooting line

All lines performed equally well within their inherent capacities. this rod being a ‘real 5wt’ with a CCS-ERN (Effective Rod Number) of 4,9 it handled all 5wt lines perfectly with no need for over-lining. in fact i did try several 6wt lines on it but wasn’t happy with how the extra line weight affected the feeling during the casts. i’ll have to confess that i’m a chronic ‘under-liner’ and although the rod performs flawlessly with 5wt lines, the real ‘super-sweet’ feeling happened with 4wt lines. i had several very good casting instructor friends in five different countries try out the rod with both 4&5 lines and most preferred it with a 5wt. we all have different tastes and thats great !
what i particularly like about this rod’s line weight polyvalent nature is these two line choices fit in perfectly for the vast majority of my trout-type fishing without having to change rods to get that ‘spot on’ feeling. the 4wt line goes on for lighter and slimmer flies in non-windy situations and the 5wt on the extra spool takes its place when casting bigger flies or when the wind’s up. nice.

action
the AA (Action Angle – see CCS & MOI link above) of 68 places the P5 Evil Black on the lower end of fast-actioned rods. this means that it’s no stiff poker that most anglers will feel the need to over-line and it’s very easy to feel how the load/bend is distributed throughout the rod as it varies throughout the casting strokes helping to achieve great line control.
of maybe more importance to me than stiffness ratings is how smoothly yet fast the rod tip recovers (resumes its straight position) after the completion of a cast.
in short, a rod that continues to ‘boing-boing’ after a cast sends waves down the rod leg of the fly line and in this case, these waves are a form of slack and we all know that slack is the opposite of tension and that maintaining as much tension throughout the cast is ultra-important. without this tension there’s reduced line control, loops are kinda unappealing and ultimately, they’re less effective. simples.
this particularity is what in my opinion makes this blank stand up there among a very small handful of other rod models from the best companies in the world. it’s an easy rod to cast and it flatters the caster’s capabilities and that’s hard not to like.

stickman 2

build
Gampel Istvan is the man behind the craft. “He has been in the fishing industry for more than 20 years now. At first as a shop owner and later as a custom rod builder. Rod building is a passion for him, he constantly strives to reach perfection in everything he does” and this is apparent as soon as the rod is pulled from its sock. Gampi’s fine work is along the lines of “Less is More”, just what a high end build should be. thread and epoxy quantity are kept to more-than-strong-enough minimum and this fits in with the idea of matching the ultra light blank to ultra light hardware to preserve the blank’s maximum crispness and efficiency. nice.
as per the CCS/MOI page, the completed rod’s swingweight is very low meaning it feels very light whether we’re just holding it, waggling it around or actually casting. nice.

not really a part of the rod build itself but closely related, i wanted to point out that the ferrules hold extremely well throughout the day and are super-easy to take apart when going home. no slipping or twisting even after a full day of casting, (which means maybe hundreds of times more casts than when fishing) with the same non-slip result after long sessions of Spey casts, notorious for twisting rods apart. for the review i made the conscious effort of very slightly fitting the ferrules together (much less force than usual) just to see if they would come apart or twist and they simply didn’t move. nice.

conclusion

cons
i can’t find anything i would change with this rod. from the blank, component and build quality, aesthetics, super-smooth cork and grip shape and of course the way the rod feels and performs, it simply feels spot-on.
the only negative (which isn’t a negative but more of an inconvenience to the general public) is this rod company is very new and doesn’t have a wide-spread reputation yet, something that might put a few off from giving them a try.
via the Warranty page we’ll however see that there is a 14 day ‘like or refund’ option for those that might be hesitant.
pros
if you’ve read this whole article you’ve basically seen nothing but pros so, to conclude i’ll simply restate my own criteria when assessing a fly rod:

“its an easy rod to pick up but a hard one to put down… “

click either image above or the following link to access the Stickman Rods site for more info and the contact page.

 

© Marc Fauvet/The Limp Cobra 2014

22 thoughts on “Review- Stickman Rods P5 ‘Evil Black’ 9′ 5wt

  1. Hi Marc, cool review!
    I was under the impression you were into super fast (tcr/x) rods. Is this an evolution of your taste, or I had it all wrong as usual?
    Or is it that it doesn’t really matter because it’s all about tip recovery?

    • hi Laurent and thanks !
      interesting question, i’ll try to make it clear. yes, i generally prefer the faster actioned rods. to me they just feel better and are usually easier to cast (in the sense of regularity between casts, consistency of loop shape control and maybe mostly because of the ‘direct-drive’ that i get out of a rod that reacts quicker to my movements: specially (very !) important when doing squiggly presentation cast types of casts and speys. i simply can’t be waiting (because it necessarily happens very quickly, specially with a short line) for a rod to recover when i have to move it in a different direction than the previous rod movement. (i hope this makes sense !)
      so, with the requirements mentioned above, (and i’m sure i forgot to mention others… ) a fast tip recovery is essential.

        • anyhow, a fast actioned rod usually means it’ll recover quickly but that’s not a given. this also applies the other way around. as an example, i have a Piam SERT Concept GS HMW 30 8′ 4wt 3 piece that although it is anything but fast, recovers very quickly. it’s a gem.

          • so, to get back to your questions. i wouldn’t consider it an evolution of tastes, rather a refinement or acquisition of what makes a better rod that suits my needs.
            in this particular case (the Evil Black), its more like a total of sums that position it on the positive side as opposed to being somewhere in the middle when i compare it to other high-end rods i know well.

            i’ll have another review of it’s bigger sister, the Evil Black 9′ 8wt coming out soon. as noted on the Stickman site, its a completely different model with different characteristics. (and it recovers even faster than the 5wt, this is another gem)
            cheers,
            marc

  2. wow, thanks for the in-depth answer!
    I feel too what you describe about the control fast rods provide. I built myself a broomstick of a rod for pike. I know now it was kind of a mistake, the rod is demanding on the arm, but I was amazed by the control you get on the line for air mends and such. Almost like you’re writing the line in the air with a pencil.
    As for the relative independence between rod’s curve under load and tip recovery, I’ve experienced various combinations too. One I’d really like to try would be a real Ritz style parabolic, with a fast recovering tip, stiff middle and relatively soft butt. I wonder how it feels and casts.

    • it feels like shit… honestly the worst rod i’ve ever cast.
      sorry….

      “Almost like you’re writing the line in the air with a pencil.”
      in that statement you’ve summed up everything there is to know about fly casting. congrats !
      extrapolate that thought and i hope you’ll see what i mean.
      cheers,
      marc

      • I think I’m getting a grip on the notion that the tip path determines most of what happens to the line. here, but you may also want to see the difference between tip-flex ws. full flex rods as a difference between a pencil and a brush. I like the metaphor because it’s not saying one is better, nor than one can do it all. But it’s certainly easier for me to control a pencil!

        I can’t wait to read the review of the 8wt.
        And I seem to remember you promised pics of Borneo ffing involving the Evil 8 and masheers…

        • regardless of what the rod’s action is, it’s the tip and exclusively the tip that determines line path. (because that’s where the two connect. simples !)
          all the rest we do and how the rod behaves below the rod tip is in a way secondary: its just something we have to deal with. a means to an end.

          there’s already pics of the Evil 8 https://thelimpcobra.com/2014/06/07/a-nice-hot-shower/
          and the Evil 5 with a Masheer. https://thelimpcobra.com/2014/06/08/the-big-lion/
          there where several other similar-sized Masheers.
          i had condensation problems with my main camera (the fishing/waterproof cam)(the seals are ok, so i guess the condensation happened when taking out the SD card or to charge the battery) so i unfortunately lost a LOT of photo opportunities… 😦

            • camera’s fine now, lesson learned.
              however there’s still a whole bunch of images i haven’t shared yet. its strange, but looking at them makes me wish i wasn’t here… i’ll just have to get over it and maybe writing this will have conjured the spell 😉

              to sum up the rod action thing, i’ve personally adopted the necessary correlation between how and where it bends under load and how and where it unbends later. both are equally important.
              this also shows yet another limitation to Hanneman’s static CCS system. rods are dynamic beings when used.

              • agreed. that’s where the frequency (CCF) is useful, but then, as all things dynamic, it’s a pita to measure…
                AA plus MOI gives an idea, though.

                    • what would you do with it if you did ?
                      anyhow, all these measuring systems are:
                      a) done differently with what seems to be the main issue being how the rod is supported.
                      b) are only applicable for that exact rod. (somebody else’s rod, not the one we’ll buy at the store)
                      its impossible to consistently make the exact same rod even within a same class model.
                      simply put, there are too many production inconsistencies and this even with the ‘big-name’ brands.

                      see ?

                    • of course I do. even static measures vary a lot between rods of the same model, I’m a regular of SL’s CCS data sheet. But then, it’s all we have when we cannot cast/fish the rod we’ll buy. we make do…
                      anyway, I still hope I’ll drop by at yours someday, I can’t wait to try a stickman.

  3. btw, its funny how the replies get stretched out more and more as we continue posting. on my iPad its reduced the replies to one word per line. 😎

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