3. Fenwick Aetos 11’1” 5/6-weight $299.95
Following suit with Fenwick’s single hand Aetos rods, the 11’1” 5/6-weight trout switch rods have a fast action and are capable of producing powerful casts with tight loops. The Aetos series has always been one of our favorites when considering high performance at a low cost, and the 11’1” 5/6-weight is no different.
The Aetos blanks are finished in a dark teal blue color with black wraps over gunsmoke stripper and snake guides. Alignment dots are used for quick and easy assembly and each section also has the model size and weight on it (should you have more than one Aetos switch rod for easy identification). The Aluminum anodized up-lock reel seat is not elaborate but functions well. The cork handle shape and quality are both excellent for an inexpensive rod. A four-way split Corudra covered rod tube is included but no cloth bag.
The Aetos is our pick for the best inexpensive trout switch rod.
We did some checking on the latest Fenwick warranty policy, and found that they have one of the best warranties we have found. This is a lifetime warranty, and if this rod breaks, they They will repair (but usually replace the rod) for $35. Turnaround time is usually two weeks.
Heavier than the Orvis H2 but similar in terms of a fast action rod with lots of power. Produces nice tight loops and is good even when fishing into the wind. One of the best rods casting single hand style, despite a little more swing weight. Plenty of backbone to bury the hook when you see the indicator go down.
sub total: $555.75
line at cost, free backing, & leader <$65.81>
Free ready to fish rigging –
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Grand Total: $489.95
It was hard to pick the best economical outfit because the St. Croix Imperial was also an excellent rod at about the same price.
The one thing we liked better about the Aetos was its lighter swing weight and feel. If you’re going to be high sticking out of the boat all day chasing a bobber, your arm is going to get fatigued. Lighter rods like the Aetos enable you to keep fishing hard all day long.
The Fenwick Aetos comes in a deep blue color that sparkles beautifully in the sun. The reel seat has nice threads that don’t collect sand or grit and get jammed. The Aetos has large snake style guides, which will assist in allowing tangles to escape through the tip when you have a fish peeling line off your reel.
We matched this rod with an Orvis battenkill V reel, which is light, durable, and proven to last the test of time. We also like the click and pawl sound you get with the Orvis Bettenkill. You’ll have this reel for a long time, even if you decide to later upgrade to a newer, lighter rod. For the largest fish caught on the Battenkill, you may want to “palm” the rim of the spool, which will add extra resistance to the reel’s drag. In this respect you can make the drag as strong as you need manually, since the drag won’t turn up very strong on it’s own. That being said, it has enough resistance to keep the reel and line from free spooling and tangling, which is all you really need. There won’t be any need to yell out “fish on!” to your buddies since the sweet, classic sound of the Battenkill will do the talking for you!
Last but not least, our own hand tied nymph leader tied with stiff butt sections for better turnover while utilizing a long knotless section of 20 pound to allow for easy indicator adjustment.