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Gear Review: Moonshine “Drifter” Fly Rod

No storied history quite yet, but Moonshine fly rods are clearly out to make their mark.

Starting with the rod tube that features a raised, stitched logo – not a common sight on rod tubes these days. Zip open the top and you’ll find 5 rod sections. That isn’t a miscount, but rather an extra rod tip. Considering the price category that the Drifter occupies, the extra tip is an eyebrow raiser.

We tested the 9’ 5-weight configuration and the first thought right out of the tube was “outstanding cosmetics.” The paint sports a stealthy, anti-reflective finish – something that ought to be common to all fishing rods, and an extra secure, two ring reel seat that’s worthy of design magazine consideration.

Rod performance supports those exceptional looks.

Moonshine designates the Drifter as a ‘trout rod,’ but testing revealed that it’s more of a workhorse model. It rates high for strike detection but will also allow for very athletic mending and roll casting. If you happen to be forward casting, expect to throw a 60-footer with ease, even when using small streamers.

As trout rods go, this model doesn’t sacrifice a little mass at the top end, which is what makes it so streamer-friendly (that same characteristic is also a great benefit for those learning to cast). At the other end of the spectrum, with a little casting restraint, dry fly delivery is easy and efficient, even when exacting maneuvers such as aerial mends are required.

Factor in price point and the Drifter becomes a very difficult fly rod to ignore. Available in configurations to address a broad range of fishing needs.

This is a rod maker well worth keeping your eyes on.

Highly recommended.