PhoenixGLASS Rod Review by Odom Wu
When Brandon Moon at Moonlit Fly Fishing asked me if I wanted to beta test out one of his newly developed fiberglass, the Nirvana PhoenixGLASS. “Absolutely!”, I said. “I’m a sucker for glass”. Brandon asked me to “provide an honest opinion on it and let me know what you think”. He knows if he asks me that, I will tell him the truth (good or bad), and I have. I have at least a dozen glass rods from various companies in my collection. Some I like more than others.
When you scroll through my Instagram gallery, you’ll instantly notice that I enjoy fishing with a fiberglass rod, particularly for carp and bass. Living near the Texas Hill Country, I am blessed to wade and float on my kayak to fish in many local rivers. Whether my feet are submerged on the river bottom or balancing on a kayak, you’ll always find me with a glass rod in hand.
Why do I like glass rods? I love the slower cast, buttery feel and conversely, the tough fight you can have on a glass rod. When you cast to a carp, that soft presentation helps to delicately present the fly to prevent spooking them. It’s delicate, soft but it’s tough! It generates a more visceral connection with the fish during hookset and definitely more during the fight. That’s why I love modern glass rods.
A week later, the rod was delivered. After opening the protective box, I held in my hand a translucent fiberglass tube and in it was a 6-weight, 8-foot, 3-inch glass rod, unassembled in a four-piece beautiful cyan colored rod with sea green and black accent.
After coupling it with my dependable LOOP reel lined with some of my favorite carp and bass flies, I took the Phoenix Glass out on about a dozen field test trips. To date, I have caught dozens of carp and some bass on it. That rod is a workhorse and a load of fun.
The color on the rod is stunningly beautiful, especially something at its price point. The wrap on the ferrules are expertly finished with high quality and no gaps between threads. The tip and the 2nd section bent softly and recovered quickly, unlike old glass with the “noodle” effect. That’s the benefit of most modern glass. The bottom half is where the rod generates much of its power. As you properly cast the rod, you can feel the energy produced in that latter half with the tip accelerating your line and your fly. As a result, you can feel that energy…that visceral connection with the rod and fly line.
The tip section provides excellent tippet protection for the hookset on carp. About 70% of my hookset on carp is the “trout-set” method, so tippet protection is critical to my success. I’ve been accused of applying rough hooksets. If you watch some of my Instagram Reels, I stand guilty of that. I like to sink that hook deep into them, so I’m accustomed to glass rods absorbing that roughness for me. The Phoenix Glass tip is durable, soft, and provides exceptional tippet protection.
The butt section handles the fights with some of the bigger carp with ease. I have had it bent to a U-shape with the utmost confidence. Of course, my ability to fight the fish with power relies on the strength test of my line, but when I had high strength line on, I horsed those large fish without any worries or problems.
Another new feature on the Phoenix rod is the aggressive contour grip, which I don’t have on any of my other glass rods, but I like it! The contour provides a better grip when I want to be aggressive with my cast and with my fight with the large fish.
Another benefit of glass is durability. The Phoenix Glass is nothing but durable. It will take more punishment than my graphite rods. If you carp fish as much as I do, walking through and getting caught in thick bushes, sliding down ledges, maneuvering your rod through structures with fish on line, setting hooks in thick bushes and tall grass, and fighting large carp, this rod did not fail me.
One area I would like to see improvement on is a higher grade on the cork handle. To be fair, in comparison to other glass rods in the same or slightly higher price point, it’s just as competitive. It’s something I would be willing to pay a little extra for if it were an option.
Overall, I am impressed with the Nirvana Phoenix Glass rod. At its price point, it’s the best one I have played with so far. It’s a fun and very capable rod, which will serve as my daily workhorse. It’s one of those rods when you go fishing with it, it makes the experience a little more fun. I can’t wait to hookset it again on another large fish.