Livingston Rod Co. YS Fast  9’ 5-weight    $745.00 

Livingston Rod Company

Livingston Rod Company

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George's Notes:

Here is a rod from one of our local rod makers in Livingston Montana.  The blanks are rolled in New Zealand and the rod is built here.  The thing that really impressed us with Dusty Smith’s rods is the craftsmanship - so good that we gave the YS a perfect 10.   But the performance is very good too.  This rod has a medium fast action that felt just about perfect.  The swing weight is a little heavier than the best rods but it is still a very pleasant rod to cast and gave us good accuracy and feel at short to medium distances.  It was not as good at long range as the best rods.   

This rod has a beautiful metallic burnt sienna color, with slightly darker burnt sienna wraps that are trimmed in gold on the butt section. This is a sharp looking rod!  The cork handle is a half wells with the swell more forward of center with a short taper at the front and a flare at the back.  A nickel/silver single uplocking skeleton seat is used with a gorgeous piece of walnut burl for a spacer.  The guides are one SiC stripper followed up with silver hard chrome snake guides that are quite small and light on the tip.  Unlike most other 5-weight rods, this rod has no hook keeper.   


The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  19.0 points out of 20

I could cast well off the tip and got good accuracy but the LP and the best rods had better feel.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.0 points out of 20

Nice loops and tracked nicely. Head to head, the Legend Elite and the Beulah rods were slightly better.

Performance at 70 feet: 8.4 points out of 10

Not enough power to get it done as easily as the Sky or Zephrus.  Comparable to the DXF.  




 Livingston Rod Company

Livingston Rod Company

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James' Notes:

The Livingston Rod Company YS Fast is a very powerful rod, designed along the banks of the Yellowstone to cast a chub/rub fly combination, even in Livingston’s perpetual wind.   To that, I’d say mission accomplished – and in style…

We have known Dusty Smith for a long time, mostly as a fiberglass rod builder and designer since that is his specialty.  One thing that has impressed me about all of Dusty’s rods is the flawless craftsmanship.

He imports his own high-grade cork rings, and chooses only the best rings for his uniquely modified grips.  His impeccable epoxy work on the rod wraps is much like what we see from Tom Morgan Rodsmiths and Thomas and Thomas.  We wish other rod companies would take a little more time to get their epoxy coatings as perfect as what we see from the Livingston Rod Company.

We were so impressed with Dusty’s work that we asked him to build our Sage 389 LL 2pc banks that we bought from Sage years ago.  Thankfully he agreed, and we now are able to offer up to 5 rods a year to anglers who want to purchase one of the greatest 3-weight rods of all time.

Getting back to the YS Fast, it is a great rod, especially at longer distances.  It is just not a great all around 5-weight rod.  Dusty plans to tweak the taper for next year and come up with a rod that will cast better in close with more feel, yet still have the same butt power to throw long into that Livingston wind. 


Performance at 25 feet: 18 points out of 20

This rod is deadly accurate but I just wasn’t getting much feel out of it.  I felt like I was trying to force an accurate cast to the plate rather than letting it land delicately on the plate.  If you fish small tippet on spring creeks quite often, this isn’t the rod for you.

Performance at 45 feet:  19 points out of 20 

Again super accurate, just feeling a little stiffer and heavier than the Douglas Sky, G. Loomis Asquith, or the Scott Radian.

Performance at 70 feet:  9.7 points out of 10

One of the better rods at long distance in our Shootout.  Awesome loop control and lots of power made it easy to cast 70 feet and beyond.  The only thing holding it back from a near perfect score is that best rods felt a little smoother.  Still, this rod means business and will deliver, even when punching into a stiff headwind.



Livingston Rod Company

Livingston Rod Company

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Logan's Notes:

The Livingston Rod Company is a new, local rod company.  It’s a one-man operation that has specialized in fiberglass rods in the past, but their new graphite rods have fine performance, and their craftsmanship is second to none. We don’t have many rods on the rack that are built this well and with as much care. 


Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  16.5 out of 20

The faster action and stiffness of this rod hurt its performance scores in close.  It was a very light rod and I did enjoy its overall action.

Performance at 45 feet:  18 out of 20
45 feet is where I really enjoyed this rod.  It would be great hopper rod fishing out of a drift boat.  I think the medium distances are this rod’s bread and butter. 

Performance at 70 feet:  7 out of 10

I was able to go long with it, but it was not as accurate as other rods like the Thomas & Thomas or the Scott Radian.


Livingston Rod Company

Livingston Rod Company

  Buy Now

JG's Notes:

Dusty Smith, a rod designer here in Paradise Valley is following in the footsteps of predecessors like Tom Morgan and doing a great job at it.  Dusty designs his own blanks, which are made in New Zealand, and then builds the rods himself here in Livingston, MT.  His finished rods showcase some of the finest craftsmanship we’ve seen from a modern rod builder.  He designed the YS Fast to perform here on the Yellowstone where we often use multi fly rigs that are heavy and tough to cast.  When it comes to fishing big bugs from a drift boat the YS Fast is a solid performer.

25 Feet – 18.4 points out of 20
Because of the rod’s stout action in close, casts can be a little aggressive.  I was able to get good accuracy but the delivery was not as delicate as I’d like.

45 Feet – 19.1 points out of 20
Longer shots are easy for this rod. The tip, a little on the stiffer side, makes it easy to lift and control heavier rigs.

70 Feet - 19.1 points out of 20
The YS Fast has a lot of butt section power making it easy to deliver the goods to fish at longer distances.  I got good line speed and accuracy even at 70 feet.