Monday, October 8, 2012

Fly Product: Review of the Imago Fly Fishing IPT Rods

I'd like to start this review out with a thank you to Imago Fly Fishing. They were super great to us during what we are thinking was one of our best reviews yet. Imago provided us with two great rods for over a month to try out, giving us the opportunity to try out a brand not often fished in US waters. 

Click below for the full review...

Imago Fly Fishing is based out of Sweden, one of the top fly fishing hot spots in the world. Although I've never fished there, it just seems right for a fly fishing company to be developed in this amazing fishing country. Imago was started for the modern fisherman. Orvis has been developing, designing and making fly fishing gear for decades. But in only a short period of years, Imago has propelled themselves into the market with amazing products and a great soul. The company was started by John Zerihoun with the goal to bring a brand into the sport that "responds to the new generation of fly fisherman", such as myself and a lot of younger fly fisherman around the world. We are finally breaking the mold of tweet and creels and bringing a deeper meaning to the sport. John and Imago doing just that, and making all of the right moves to do so. Here's a little video put together by Gin Clear Media and Imago to give you a little insight as to what they are doing as well as looking to do...

The coolest part about Imago (other than their amazingly built gear, which you will read about soon), is their slogan and logo. The slogan, "The Brand of a Generation", fits perfectly, I mean, perfectly. The logo, seen above, is the Circle of Life, with the Tree of Life, and a fish, so gnarly. I've been putting stickers all over for them.

In talking to Imago, I was super surprised to get such a great response from them. Other than Balzer, I had never dealt with a foreign company before. Looking back, I have to say, of all the companies I've talked to, they were among the top few that actually asked me "what do you want?" rather than, "here you go, try this". Within a week of talking to them, I had two rods at my front door, ready to go (in an amazing rod tube, might I add). In the package was a bunch of stickers and their film "Breathe".

I was sent two awesome rods from their line of IPT rods (Imago Performance Tool). Imago does things a little different with the sizing of their rods, which kind of threw me off at first, I had to go onto the site a spend a few minutes checking into which sizes I had actually received since its not really on the rod like standard practice. The two rods I received were the IPT IM 864-M62 (equivalent of a 4wt) and the IPT IM 803-S58 (equivalent of a 3 wt). Its like a WEP key, I know, like I said, threw me off. Here's a neat little video with the IPT rods before I get into the nitty gritty of them...

So, initial impression...WOW. I've reviewed over a dozen rods now and thought I had cast and bent the best of the best now in Orvis, St. Croix, ECHO, etc. But no. Those Swedes, holy smokes. These rods are absolutely beautiful. I can compare them to the look of an ECHO Shadow PE, with the exposed graphite, just sleek and almost a flat look. They are simple rods, going back to the basics but with the character of a true piece of work. The rods are "precision rods built exclusively on performance factors, with no exceptions", they just get the job done, extremely well. As I said before, they are simple, here's the specs:
  • No coating, no glued information on the rods
  • Titanium guides
  • CCS definition
  • Feather light
  • Best Portugese cork available
  • 100% USA made
  • 100% performance
Thats right, USA made. Awesome.

The rods have an amazing look, from the reel seat that has the companies name laser etched into it to the highest quality cork I've ever felt. They also have an amazing feel. Although I didn't have any water around right away, I put the rods together and began casting them around the yard with 3 and 4wt reels/lines respective to the rod sizes. I was blown away. What was initially supposed to be a few minute check out session turned into a 2 hour casting session, I couldn't put the rods down. They just feel right, the backbone and action present the line with a PERFECT loop, seriously, looks like its from an instructional video. I was casting how I always do, not changing a thing, I'm convinced it was the rod. The cork felt great, helped me keep a non-exhaustive grip and was comfortable. The flex, like a charm.

Both of the rods felt identical. The weight was slightly different but casted the same. The smaller 3wt has a softer action which makes its casts feel a little more flimsy but gets the job done just as well as the 4wt mid action.

The first trip I took the rods on was to the Pautuxent River with Zach were we casted at smallmouth, brim, fallfish, and small trout. I had never used a rod under a 5wt before so I didn't know what to expect if or when I got a fish on. The only way I can describe fight of my life. I was using the 4wt and the first fish I caught on it was a smallmouth, amazing. After putting away a few more fish, I couldn't believe it. I love bending a rod on a fish, as does every fisherman, but I just wanted every cast to get me a fish just to feel the fight on these rods.

The second time I had the privilege of fishing these rods was on the Gunpowder River, where I slung some bugs at more trout. I paired the rods with my new Allen Fly Fishing reels, giving great overall balance to the rod. The Imago rods are lighter than air, completely fit for casting all day, not wearing you out. This time was even more fun as the fish bit more and I was on a river I felt even more comfortable with. I was able to do everything from nymph to cast buggers with these rods, the casting felt the same and I didn't have to change my technique, both methods of fishing required one simple cast. I got into some tight corners and had to throw roll casts and both rods kept that same tight loop and amazing presentation. Its like these rods are engrained with unicorn dust.

Now I know it sounds like I'm building this up to be some miracle stick, but honestly, I have never casted a rod this good. Sending these rods back was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I wanted to do two things:

1. Pick up a bunch of OT a work.
2. Call the guys at Imago and simply say "how much do I owe you, these rods aren't coming back."

The only down side to these rods is the price tag. The IPT IM 803-S58 comes in at $650 and the IPT IM 864-M62 is $665. Both a little steep, and honestly, I probably could never buy a rod this much, no matter how perfect it is, I'm a budgeted frugal guy (and my wife would kill me). Thats the hardest part, I am in love with something I may never have... I do however, hope that I can work further with Imago in the future to test out some their other amazing products such as their waders, boots, lines, packs, or more. Basically, only their rods are being sold in the US right now and I would love to work with them to get more of their products on anglers here in the states since there are a good bit of us in the "generation" of anglers they are trying to impact here stateside.

Overall, these Imago rods get 5 out of 5 stars, no doubt, almost pushing all of our previous reviewed rods down half of a star.

Thank you again Imago for everything and I hope you guys, as readers, found this helpful. Head on over to Imago and see if you have a dealer near you, if not, ask your local fly shop to try and pick up some of their gear, bring Imago to the US!

You can find Imago on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Instagram (@imagoflyfishing) as well.

Let me also assure you I was in no way paid by Imago for this review, I did it out of my own curiosity and as I continued my search for what I believe is the "perfect rod".


*This review was completely unbiased and this/these product(s) were lent to me for review purposes only. This review, as with all of our reviews was, completely fair with no intentions coming into it of giving it a "good" or "bad" rating. We do our best to keep all reviews as fair as possible with biases being thrown out the door.


  1. Thanks for the review. Been curious about these guys. I agree about the logo. LOVE it.

    1. No problem, we loved doing it! The logo just works, so legit.