Tried & Tested
Trout & Salmon|December 2017

SCOTT MACKENZIE’S MUCH-HYPED GRAPHENE ROD HAS BEEN PUT THROUGH ITS PACES ALL SEASON. IS IT WORTH BUYING?

Andrew Flitcroft

MACKENZIE FX1, 14FT 9WT £975

IN THE APRIL 2017 issue, we revealed Scott MacKenzie’s much anticipated new FX1 salmon rods, the first to be made with the Nobel Prize-winning wonder material, graphene.

The FX1 promised much and created a justifiable buzz within salmon-fishing circles. Scott, a former world spey casting champion and record holder, began rod-making 13 years ago. His double-handers have since gained a big following. Anglers love their robust practicality. There is something about a Mackenzie that gives you confidence. They feel rugged and considered. They are “fishing rods” not airy-fairy casting wands.

Does the top-of-the-range FX1 follow suit? My first outing with the 14ft 9wt model was on the lower Tay in March. I was on a boat at Taymount with larger than-life gillie Cohn O’Dea. I was far from confident. The river was high (the anchor was useless and Cohn had to use a 56lb weight to hold the bottom) and we were facing a strong upstream gale, which had earlier closed the Forth Bridge. There I was, standing in the stern of Cohn’s boat with him grinning expectantly at “the man from T&S”.

Given the conditions, we agreed that a Rio Skagit iFlight (600 grain/38.9gm) with a 15ft type 8 (8-9ips) tip and 6ft of 23lb Seaguar were needed to turn over and sink the huge 5in Willie Gun tube that Cohn had wrestled from my box.

The skagit and huge Willie Gunn flew across the river with ease. Cohn and I were staggered. I know that standing and casting from a boat – with its height and D-loop forming advantages – is different to casting when wading, but it was still very impressive.

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