Rod Review – by Terry Wiest
Fetha Styx – Homewater SM-904-2
9’ 10-30lb 1 – 6oz Moderate/Fast – Heavy
Fetha Styx is now breaking out the big boyz – the Salmon Series Homewater Rods. Not yet in production I was given a proto-type to test and evaluate recently – a SM-904-2 rated for 10-30lbs.
In order to truly test a rod you can’t do it with catching one or two fish – it takes many fish, many hits and many fish to determine how the rod handles under different situations. I couldn’t think of a better place than the Nushagak River in Alaska being the last few years we averaged 40 and 20 kings per day respectively.
When I first received the rod I thought “Sweet!”. What a nice looking and well balance rod, and incredibly light for being rated to 30lbs. Great wrap job and super nice eyes. Some fancy Korean cork and I’m telling you this just feels good in the hand. But looking sweet and taking care of business are two different things, so up to the Nush we go.
We were trolling inline spinners – #7 blade – downriver. Probably the most impressive thing about this rod was the sensitivity. I was wondering with the moderate/fast action if it would let me feel the blade, did it ever. It was as if I could watch the blade rotating completely through feel. I swear the rod was so sensitive I could feel mosquitos as they’d run into the rod (they are a little bigger in Alaska you know). First major priority (sensitivity) and it’s a winner – no question about it.
Next would be how it handled a hit – no problem there either. Below is a video of the rod sitting between my legs as I’m getting ready for a WWII Goose to fly over – watch the rod as it gets hit!
Now if you watch the video you would have noticed it wasn’t a large Chinook. The rod however wasn’t too stiff for it, in fact it played really nice. The moderate action wore the fish out without much strain at all – and more importantly I could feel every headshake and run the entire time. But small Chinook weren’t the only ones we caught. Although not huge, I did catch and release a few in the 25lb class. Those that have fished the Nushagak know that translates into a 30lb plus fight anywhere else as these fish are super hot! The rod – perfect! Again the moderate action controlled the fish but the heavy butt section never once strained to the point I was ever worried about it not handling the fish – it let me have fun without any concern at all – the way it should be.
So I caught several Chinook between 6 and 26lbs and also a few chum. We were there for 6 days and between three of us we brought several hundred Chinook to the boat, 105 one day and 124 the next were released. We burned up 3 camp reels and broke 1 camp rod. There were several other rods in camp that broke. I never once worried or had any problems with my gear. When you buy the best gear this is the way it should be.
I’m telling you this is one sweet rod – it’s not as pretty as it was when I first got it – but after all, I really put it to the test.
Fetha Styx SM-904-2 – Steelhead University Approved!