My friend and recently-turned-neighbor, Evan Burck, works for Allen Fly Fishing. Allen has been around for a few years, but they’re not perhaps a household name in the fly fishing industry just yet. Here’s a bit about the company:
Allen Fly Fishing was founded in 2008 just as the American economy was taking a turn for the worse. Our founder branched away from his family’s plastics molding company using his contacts and expertise to found a new business specializing in fly fishing reels and hooks.
After more than a year of unforeseen popularity and growth, Evan Burck, a life-long angling enthusiast, joined the team and brought a fresh set of ideas to the company. As with any new business experiencing exponential growth and success, Allen has faced and overcome numerous trials and growing pains. The result is a company that truly values its customers, its products, and the experiences that we all enjoy on and off the water.
Read more HERE.
As I mentioned, Evan recently became my neighbor. He doesn’t live next door, or even just down the street, but he does live in the same small town and therefore is my neighbor. While recently enjoying a bit of lunch at the local Armadillo Barbeque, Even gave me a new product to take for a spin: The Allen Compass fly rod. This one happens to be an 8’6″ 4 wt. The 4 weight is my go-to trout rod for most of my trout chasing; I only dig out my 6 weight when the wind is really howling and/or I need to throw big streamers. Other than that I fish my 4 weight. I find the 4 to be small enough to be enjoyable on sub-ten inch fish, but with enough backbone to fight any trout I am likely to encounter up to 20+ inches. The latter happens very, very seldom unfortunately.
I will say that the first thing I noticed about the new Compass rod by Allen is the color. It’s a shade of steel-ish blue that’s not typically what you’d expect to find on a fly rod blank. If you were to pick a color from a Hexidecimal Color Chart, the color would be very, very close to #6688AA, and that’s because that is exactly how Evan selected the color for this rod. Personally, I rather like it. Your opinion may or may not vary.
The second thing I noticed is that the 4 weight Compass is very light in the hand. Specs reveal that it weighs a mere 3.17 ounces, meaning you’ll be able to cast this rod all day long with nary an acknowledgement of fatigue.
I wasn’t able to fish the rod all day long, but in my defense it had nothing to do with fatigue. You see, winter in the Pacific NW simply isn’t the troutiest time of the year. I did, however, spend some time lawn casting the Compass and while not a single Lawn Trout was caught, the rod did reveal itself to be a nice-casting stick. The Allen website describes the Compass as a medium-fast action rod that is capable of a wide variety of line types and fishing conditions. I had the rod matched with my first generation Ross Evolution 1.5 reel and Airflo Ridge Supple Tactical Trout WF 4F line. I was able to easily lay out casts as far as I would need to cast a 4 weight rod. The action of the Compass felt good to me; I tend toward fast action graphite rods but didn’t need to make any adjustments to my casting stroke when waving the Compass back and forth. I liked it.
I’m certainly no expert, but as for fit and finish the wraps appear to be perfectly done; the guides and reel seat nicely finished. The cork grip has a fair amount of filler, but I reckon that’s to be expected on any rod costing less than many hundreds of dollars. Unless I’m missing out on something, the Compass could easily be priced much higher than the $99 price tag that it carries. Then again, maybe the cost has nothing to do with the quality of the rod, but the philosophy of the company that wants to offer quality fly fishing gear without breaking the bank.
My personal conclusion: The Allen Compass is a cool-looking blank. It feels nimble and svelt in the hand. I can’t imagine it it gives up much in comparison to rods costing several times as much, and I think we’re going to be hearing more about Allen Fly Fishing in the years to come. I know I probably will be, because Evan is my neighbor.
Disclaimer: I was provided the rod to test and return to Allen Fly Fishing upon completion. If I did not like the rod I would have either said as much or opted not to review the product.