Dan Craft Five Rivers Rod
Sometime after I attended a show in Montana this summer the UPS truck
delivered a new rod to me. I have a bamboo rod that I had made that is a pack
rod but wanted to try out the new blanks Dan Craft and his partner are laying up.
So here it was and I could not wait to get it out of the package. Now this was not
a new experience for me as Dan has built four other rods for me over the years.
The first thing as I opened it that impressed me was the absolute perfection of
the workmanship Dan does on all of his rods, matte finish dark gray. He had
done the wraps with a royal blue and accented with a lighter metallic blue
thread. Even looking at it with my 5-power optivisor, I could not see that it
was even thread, so perfect.
I had just finished doing chores and the light was fading but there was plenty
of time to attach my reel and see how it cast. Now many of you that know me
also know I am not what I would call a good caster but this little rod cast so
beautifully that I could not believe it.
This rod was built using one of his new Five Rivers Signature IV Blanks,
(which he produces.) These blanks are 57 million modules with medium
The first rod Dan made for me is one with 80 million modules and is very
fast. I have always enjoyed fishing my old rod so it was hard for me to
take only the new rod on my recent trip to fish the White River in Arkansas.
The tube being about 24 inches in length and fit nicely into my suitcase gave
it the nod to go on this trip.
I rode the bus for 2 days, 7 hours and 40 minutes to arrive in Flippin, AR about
11 AM. Tony Spezio and his wife Dot were waiting for me. Off we went to
the Wildcat Resort where I was to stay and got checked in. Over to the
Spezio home (right on the White River) and had a sandwich. By 1:30 we
were in his drift boat and motored up a couple miles to a shoals we both
like. Both of us were wading in knee-deep fast water. Now I normally do
not fish large waters like the White but fish the small streams here in Washington.
I had attached a small fly that is a local there, a Chili Pepper. My first fish was in
the 16-inch range and a nice rainbow. I long line released it and was
skunked the rest of the afternoon. I had a few bumps but I was still learning
how my new rod worked. Actually when I quit trying and let the rod do
what is was built to do it was almost too easy.
The next morning as Tony had a doctors appointment, I made my early morning
coffee, slipped into my waders and ambled down to the White in front of my
cabin. There is a nice shoal there that has always been very productive. One
can wade all the way across when the water is low. Within 30 minutes I had caught
and released 4 nice bows in the 12 to 16 inch size. One of them was very fat
and of the most beautiful color.
That afternoon Tony and I made a couple float drifts and both of us were into
fish constantly. Casting from the boat was very easy with this rod. I could reach
out to almost any place I wanted and place my fly where I wanted to. It casts
When we got home Tony asked if he could cast it. He did and the smile on his
face was testimony enough.
The next morning we fished up just under the Dam. Very fast water and within
the first three casts I had on a very large brown. The rod made it very easy to
bring the fish to hand. I seldom use the reel for anything other than line storage,
so the rod gets a workout. OK, a lot of you do not do it my way but I am an
old guy and that's the way I learned over 50 years ago. I use a rod very hard
but do take good care of it.
In conclusion: I am fascinated with what Dan and his partner is doing in laying
up these blanks. Not only does it look good; it casts like a dream and handles
fish the way I like.
Would I recommend anyone to use one of these blanks? You bet, the price is
very affordable and the product is tops in my book. Or better yet, let him do
the entire rod for you. The end result is worth it.
I have been a customer of Dan's for about 3 years and not only is his craftsmanship
excellent but when you talk to him on the phone, he listens. He has always filled
my order on time and I have always felt I got the better end of things.
All disclaimers, no interests other than a very satisfied customer.
Two nights ago I ordered another one just like this for a Christmas gift.
Dan Craft Enterprises
48354 W. Oak Road
West Fir, Oregon
You can also check out their Sponsor page
here on Fly Anglers OnLine. ~ Dennis Conrad
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