Shakespeare Agility Rise fly rod review

The Shakespeare Agility Rise fly rod is a range of smaller fly rods in lower line weight ratings, making them ideal for small rivers.

Shakespeare Agility Rise fly rod review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Shakespeare Agility Rise fly rod review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Shakespeare Agility Rise fly rod review
Estimated reading time 5 - 8 minutes

What are the Agility Rise fly rods?

The Agility Rise is a sub-series of Shakespeare's popular Agility range of budget fly rods. They're smaller and only cover lower line ratings, and they have a more traditional feel and appearance than the regular Agility. They range from a tiny 6' #3 up to a 9' #5.

The 30 ton carbon blank is painted dark olive green.

Are they well made?

They're very well made for the money. They're the usual carbon fibre blank and are very slim (in the case of the 3#) and have a sort of matt greenish-brown coloured finish with darker whippings. All of the models in the range are four piece rods, so they're compact and don't take up much room.

The guides are single legged stainless steel jobbies, and the reel seat a sort of wood effect insert and a very light weight aluminium fitting. Cork quality is typical for a cheaper fly rod, but isn't that bad to be fair. There's a bit of filler, but the finish is smooth and the half wells handle is slim and comfortable.

The reel seat is lightweight and uses a wood effect insert.

Is a rod tube provided?

Yes, like the Agility, the Agility Rise comes with a cordura tube. This is sturdy and protects the rod from damage in transit and keeps everything safe and sound inside.

The Agility rise comes with a strong Cordura tube.

What sizes are in the Agility Rise range?

There are seven models in the range, which span most uses on small rivers and streams. The larger ones would also been fine for use on small stillwaters, and are ideal for use when fly fishing for coarse fish too.

Length Line rating Rod weight
6' 3# 66g
7' 4# 72g
7'6" 4# 78g
8' 4# 80g
8'6" 4# 83g
9' 5# 93g

What action does the Agility Rise have?

The Agility Rise is described as a mid action rod. This is a very slow action and it flexes quite a long way down the rod and suits a slower gentler cast, which is also how you'd likely be using it on a small river or stream. 

Finishing is not bad at all for a cheap fly rod.

What are they like to use?

George (aged 9) got the smallest 6' 3# model for fishing on small rivers and streams and going after coarse fish on the fly. He loves it.

He says it feels impossibly light and it does have an incredibly low swing weight. My Orvis Superfine Touch is light and delicate to cast, but the Agility 3# feels considerably lighter in action.

It works best at short distances of 25-30 feet tops. Any more and it begins to become a bit floppy and noodly. Tiny dry flies are no problem, but anything weighted or larger will mean you need to slow down your cast even more. 

Given that it's a budget rod, it's very nice to use, especially with a fish on. It's hard not to grin as it bends all the way down to the butt! I'm not that fussed by the regular Agility - it's OK for a budget rod, but nothing to write home about - but the Agility Rise is a different kettle of fish. 

George uses a 3# John Norris P3 line.

What line suits the Agility Rise?

George uses a John Norris P3 Stealth fly line with his Agility Rise. It's a matching #3 line and seems to suit the rod OK. It's not an expensive line at all - just £12.99 - so it won't break the bank. If anything, it might actually feel better with a #2 line, I think. 

It is, for a 3#, ridiculously long at 90 feet. I've cut off the rear 30' of the line to help it fit on the tiny fly reel George is using with it. He's never going to cast it 60' and it's unlikely that tiny trout or grayling will have him on the backing, so there's no major loss from doing this.

How much are they?

At full price the Agility Rise started at £49.99 for the smallest 6' 3# model, up to £63.99 for the largest model, a 9' #5. However, they were released in 2012 and have recently been discontinued. They can now be picked up for half price. At half price, they represent incredible value for money. George's little #3 was just £25 - an absolute bargain! You're unlikely to regret buying one.

About the author

matt

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