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Stickman Evil Black 9ft #5 4pce

By Magnus Angus

A first-class modern fly rod.
A first-class modern fly rod.

Stickman Rods is a new, small company, working with a Spanish blank maker, and their rods are built in Hungary. The Stickman Rods website lists standard builds, so for example this is one of three builds available on this blank. At the moment Stickman build on three blanks, #5 #6 and #8, I'm certain there are plans for more blanks and more rods.

Great cork, smooth, firm, no filling. The handle shape is reverse half-wells with a fractionally longer, finer taper at the front, suits a finger-on-top grip. For thumb-on-top I pull my hand back from the thin handle end. That evocative name comes from the red aluminium spacer on the reel seat which adds about 10g to the build. The Evil Black is light, rods built on the same blank, using wood spacers in the reel-seat, are even lighter.

This has single leg 'Black Pearl' Recoil guides, H&H tip-rings, the ring set tapers to fine small guides on the top section, thread work and varnish is excellent.

Looking at the way this is specified and built, the builders have really got to grips with the problems of swing-weight and mass distribution. This is designed to have a light, fast-recovering tip. The overall weight means this is light and pretty nimble, with a very nimble tip – very easy to flick the tip about for quick accurate mends, etc. When casting, I believe I felt those few extra grams in the butt making casting smoother.

With a line threaded through the titanium alloy rings, my first impression was that these guides don't half squeak! Dry line on dry guides is not quiet, but get them wet and the sound goes completely. The quality of the handle is remarkable on a production rod – really excellent cork. I can appreciate the shape, but I cast thumb-on-top, so a simple half wells would do me fine. I tried a few 5-weight lines, a #4 and a couple of #6s. The #4 line felt light, but this can handle both #5 and #6 lines, with the #6 beginning to feel a little 'clunky'. I favoured a #5. I have in mind that this is a rod which can exaggerate differences in line-profile…I doubt it really does. A couple of heavier #5 lines suited me, which slightly defies what I know about the stiffness of this blank.

The action feels light and crisp. Loop control is excellent. This rod can throw a long line, but is not a distance brute, the design allows flex in the butt, the tip is exceptionally light. As I carry a longer line I can feel the rod loading into the butt. Casting short, the light firm tip flicks a tight, neat loop. Stickman's own measurements say this is a medium to low stiffness 5-weight and the action is just a hint deeper than 'fast'. My measurements agree with the stiffness, I'd say a fraction more tippy, but really nothing to argue about.

The cosmetics, or lack thereof, mean this looks like a rod for serious fishers: simple matt finish, small light rings, tiny whippings, top-class cork and solid, classy seat. No decoration or extras, no gloss coat, no alignment dots, no hook-holder. This is looks and casts like a rod for a type of purist – a first-class modern fly-rod!


Stickman Evil Black P5 9ft #5
Sections: 4
Action angle: 70 degrees
Stiffness: 99.6g
Weight: 91.1g
Rings: One lined butt-ring, single-leg snakes.
Handle: Modified half-wells.
Fighting butt: No.
Cork quality: Excellent.
Reel seat: Red aluminium spacer, black fittings.
Blank: Matt black.
Thread: Black.
Build quality: Very high.
Rod Bag: Canvas.
Rod tube: Nylon covered.
Price: 649 Euros (approx £512)
From: Stickman Rods.

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