THE VISION STILLMANIAC 10FT #7... THE ANSWER TO THE UK STILLWATER ANGLER'S PRAYERS!
Vision Fly Fishing has created a rod, a magical 10ft 7-wt, which has been designed specifically to fulfil the needs of the UK Stillwater angler. This is a rod that can meet the needs of the modern angler, the fly fisher that likes to chop and change methods to suit the conditions they face at any given time. A rod that allows them to cover all eventualities!
Take it from me with the new Stillmaniac Vision have well and truly cracked it with this 10ft 7-wt!
Having been involved in stillwater fly fishing, in all its guises, for a very, very long time the Stillmaniac is an eye-opener. Finally, I have a rod which I have total faith in, no matter what fishing style I must employ.
From the intimacy of a small water venue to boat fishing our larger bodies of water, this rod comes everywhere with me.
This ‘all-round-ability’ is important to get right as the UK stillwater angler tends to fish a little bit differently from the rest of the world. We fish many different methods, and often off the same rod, dry fly, the bung, teams of nymphs, pulling large lures, and the washing line can all feature on a day ticket. We also fish with many different fly lines of varying, tapers and densities, often using them to cast large flies such as Boobies and beaded lures, long distances.
We tend to fish a little more aggressively, heavier, and more bulked up. It’s no surprise that the ten-foot, seven-weight fly rod here in the UK is far more popular than any other model. This particular rod length and line rating are the ‘go-to’ for most anglers that fish still waters and our larger lakes, lochs and reservoirs in this country.
Not all fly rods that fall under this umbrella are suitable for all styles of UK fishing. Some are too soft, some too stiff; it’s a hard task trying to strike that perfect balance. Too soft, you can’t cast and turnover the leader in strong winds, and it’s often harder to pull the hook home. Too stiff, and most anglers can’t cast the thing and add to that you risk snapping on lighter tippets, it’s a tough compromise!
We craved a rod that bridged the gap, trust me when I say this, the Stillmaniac is that rod!
When I’m out on the bank I have a few methods up my sleeve, but as most of us, I tend to favour two more than any other and with both my Stillmaniac excels.
The first line of attack, is to pull a lure this applies to most of us I’m guessing, Blob, Apps, Damsel – and nine times out of ten it’s fished on an intermediate fly line. But, I like to use a very long leader, and a long leader and a weighted fly can often end in disaster, as the turnover can be iffy. With its faster action, this rod allows me, with quick rod stop on the forward cast, to punch the line and get the crucial turnover so that my fly is fishing as soon as it hits the water.
By getting a few extra yards onto the cast, I can cover fish that some anglers cannot reach, again a crucial benefit when fishing these heavily pressured venues. The other added benefit of using the Stillmaniac is that the rod will allow me to pull the hook home even at distance, something other, softer rods just can’t do.
The other method I favour, THE BUNG! now I know many people decry it but I feel that the Bung will often take fish no matter the conditions, and so it can often be my first line of attack. When I fish this way I need a rod with a little bit of backbone, I’m trying to put out a large bung (totally air resistant) that can suspend lures with 4mm beads attached, and this is not easily done with a soft rod. However, the Stillmaniac has enough grunt allowing me to put out a good line, with excellent turnover and even with a strong wind in my face.
When playing and landing fish, the rod is also a real pleasure. Although the rod can subdue a trout quickly, it has to be said that if you allow it to, the Stillmaniac will give you the most from the fight, bending and flexing with every twist and turn of your quarry. It has enough ‘give’ so that you needn’t worry when netting fish too. Often, at this stage, a fish can make one last mad dive for freedom, if the rod is unforgiving then you and the trout are parting company, the tippet will snap, simple. The Stillmaniac has enough play that should a fish do this. The tip down to the middle section comes quickly into play, cushioning that powerful lunge so that you can quickly gain control. This gives you total confidence even with light tippets and is what makes it so special to me, a rod that has ‘feel’ and function, one that brings a smile to your face. It’s a treasure, indeed!
Bank Fishing Tips
- When fishing the Bung, use a non-stretch powerful floater
- On the Bung, start higher up in the water – two-foot – and work your way down, fish look up, not down
- A single lure often works better than a team, and there are also a lot fewer tangles
- If you get takes don’t strike, keep retrieving in the same way until the line locks up, then lift the rod
- If you stop catching on a particular lure, just change colour, as an example, swap an Orange Blob for a Black one
Is this the ultimate boat rod? I think so! Each time I have been in a boat, whether this is pleasure fishing or competition fishing, I’ve been using the rod. I used it in conjunction with a medium-sink line with two large, Humungus lures on a day where the wind gusted to 25 miles an hour. It helped me and my boat partner win that particular competition on Draycote Water.
I used it again on the same venue at the largest, single man competition at the end of last year, this time with a super-fast sinking line and a team of three flies to fish deep over 40 feet of water. This rod allowed me to cast at least 10 yards further than my boat partner, allowing me to achieve the depths I needed to target the resident rainbows. Although I never won this competition, I missed out on 3rd place by only two ounces, so I was right up there, I’d managed to outfish my boat partner 11 – 0. Testament indeed to how important it is to cast that little bit further and how the Stillmaniac helped me do it.
I’ve used this rod for everything when I say everything, I mean everything. I fished small dries on Rutland at the top of the South Arm, teams of nymphs drifting onto the bank at Grafham Water, and thrown large, floating fry for the monster brown trout that frequent the weed beds at Pitsford Water. The Stillmaniac 10ft 7-wt has done the lot!
Not only can it do the lot, but it’s just a real pleasure to use! I know that in all the blurb the rod is described as having a fast action, but it isn’t.To me, a fast action rod is stiff, heavy and at times a nightmare to control. Too fast and it becomes solid, so more line needs to be out the tip ring. This means more false casts, and it’s genuinely not much fun trying to overload this kind of blank so it can respond!
They can’t help but create tighter loops, and with teams of flies, this can be a real pain as it causes tangles, but the Stillmaniac just doesn’t do that. It can be used like a fast actioned rod, tighter loops and pinpoint accuracy but also, by lengthening the casting stroke more of the blank comes into play, creating a more open loop, easy peasy!
The same can be said when using our vast armoury of sinking fly lines. The Stillmaniac comes into its own. The heavier densities of these lines allow the rod to flex, loading quickly to deliver your flies with the minimum of fuss, and indeed false casting.
Boat Fishing Tips
- Make sure that you have lines that can cover most of the water column
- During the colder months work from the lakebed up and the warmer months from the surface down
- When fishing lures try using contrasting colours, white on the point, black on the dropper etc
- Try drifting with a drogue, you’ll cover more water and indeed fish
- If an area switches off simply move and try elsewhere, you have terrific mobility with a boat
- In calmer conditions try nymphs, you’ll be able to control your flies a whole lot better
- Always ‘hang’ your flies this is a deadly method from a boat
To sum up I would say that most fast action rods are pretty much out-and-out casting tools. The biggest compliment I can pay to the Stillmaniac is to say that that this particular rod is an out-and-out fishing tool.
It does the lot and it does it with ease. With the 10ft 7-wt Stillmaniac Vision has created a fly rod which covers all the bases!