Most of the casting/fishing with these rods has been done with a variety of Airflo lines such as the following as well as a smattering of other manufacturers lines:
6wt – Exceed, Elite and Cold Saltwater
8wt – Bruce Chard, Bonefish
10wt – Bruce Chard, Permit
12wt – Bruce Chard, Tarpon
I have spent a lot of time, in many different locations and fishing scenarios from here in Seattle to all corners of the earth in cold, lukewarm and tropical water. During these times, every chance I have to take a swing with a different rod I do so. As a guide, casting instructor and store owner I feel strongly that is behooves me to know each rod on the market whether we carry it or not. I own the B3+ rod in the 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weights so I can attest to most of the line up…these rods are absolute money from top of the line to the bottom.
Think about all the different situations you find yourself in while fishing. From a super short dollop cast to permit that quickly appear out of nowhere to a long light presentation cast across a windless lake to sipping trout. Then there is the bread and butter, those casts whether on a trout stream or anywhere else where you are casting and using the rod/line in THE ZONE, that sweet spot most rods are built for, 30-50 feet.
The industry is readjusting after a period of building rods way too fast for most anglers to be able to handle. Forcing those who fell victim to the marketing machine to literally throw their rod…not cast it. It wasn’t an obvious change but now we are seeing all or most of the manufacturers step back to a place where “FAST” or “TIP FLEX” is something the average angler can still feel when making casts in the zone. All in all this a great thing and it has pitted most of the major rod builders more against each other as now there are a number of great rods in this same class. That being said, the B3+ marries the most important qualities together perfectly.
I want to see a rod without being over lined be able to make a precise cast at 15-20 feet and still be able to feel the tip load and unload without having to over exert the stroke. The B3+ excels at this at all the line weights…check!
The bread and butter casts are those all important ones, the ones where your fish of a lifetime come from when you least expect it. Anglers should feel as though they are not having to think about these casts, 25-45 feet should be as easy as walking. Obviously anglers have varying casting strokes and enjoy a different feel to their rod. I look for a rod that can accommodate a variety of different lines. Not just for various applications such as bass versus spring creeks but also to manipulate the rod to fit what the angler is looking to feel from it. Classic taper to aggressive shooting head lines, these rods handle them quite well making this a versatile stick. Check!
Now to the fun aspects of choosing a rod. Can these sticks carry a lot of line, long leader and a fly well, delivering tight loops into wind then immediately hook up and be tested into the deep backbone? Yes and yes. I am not saying these rods do this and others don’t. What I am saying is as a complete package of a rod that can perform all these tasks well, I have found few that match them side by side in each category. Think of this like a competition where you would have to perform short accurate casts as well as distance, these rods kick rump.
Add a double haul to these rods with any line and they come alive. Being able to feel the line speed accelerate allows the angler to back off the power infusion and allow the rod to do the work for you. At a distance of 30-40 feet, across the board these rods will pick line up off the water well enough to be in the right position for most anglers to easily end up in their normal casting stroke even with heavier flies.
I always tell people it is akin to corporation. You as the angler are the board of directors, your rod is your CEO and the line is your company. As a board, you do your due diligence to hire a CEO you think is good for your company, give them specific goals or directions you want the company to move in and then step back and allow them to do so. I watch too many anglers micromanage their CEO and end up with a poorly run company.
At the end of the day, you can change the outcome of your cast with the line you match on your rod but by doing so for a particular fishing situation does that negatively effect how it performs in other situations when needed with that same line. If so, find yourself a place where you can legitimately cast side by side as many of the rods you are thinking of and see which one you come away with.