Douglas Outdoors: SKY



George's First Impressions of the Sky 


Last year Douglas Introduced their new SKY Rods, we were anxious to get them into the shop and give them a try.  The DXF from Douglas had been our favorite Mid Priced 5wt in the last few Shootouts that we've done so the SKY had a lot to live up to.  To be honest, that first SKY that we got to test wasn't anything special.  The action just wasnt good, I think my exact words were, "Crap" haha.  When we sent it back to the Douglas guys they really took it upon themselves to improve the rod in every way and make it a solid contender in today's super competitive market place. 


After Some Revisions


Their head rod designer worked with me and a few other anglers around the country to really dial in the action, put power where it needed to be, and develop a perfect tip.  A few months later they sent me the new version of the rod and I just couldnt belive that what I was holding had evolved from that first design.  They sent me the 7, 8, and 9 weights to try out, I was simply blown away by the difference that I felt.  The action of the SKY had transformed from overly stiff to a perfect blend of power and finesse.  The butt section of these rods have a ton of power, you can rely on these rods to send flies to the farthest targets and tame the largest fish but I'll cover that a little more later on in the article.  That powerful butt section is blended perfectly into a nice firm mid section that allows the rod to load but still gives plenty of power and eventually gives way to a nice soft tip.  This combo of power graduated to a soft tip is really a winning combo when it comes to rod design.  The smooth transitions between the sections makes for a really smooth feeling rod and because of the taper you get a really versatile package that can cast in close as well as it can reach out and hit those far out targets.  The high quality high modulous graphite ensures a light rod and helps it track exceptionally well which will help any angler out with accuracy.  It's lightness really helps with accuracy and feel as well, when you hold this rod you really feel a connection with the fly line and fly, accuracy and finesse are automatic with the SKY.  



Components and Aesthetics


I really have come to love everything about these new SKY rods.  They are a very handsome flat gray finish that is pleasing to the eye and wont spook fish.  It also looks good with just about any color reel out there so it really leaves a lot of options open when chosing a reel.  The guides are great as well, no corners were cut when chosing the components for the SKY.  The Douglas guys ended up going with some great single foot guides that are impossible to break and have a big opening and fine wire frame.  These guides are light and unbreakable and when it comes right down to it the best option out there for a high end rod.  The stripping guides are an industry first.  They chose the Fuji Torzite guides and what a great decision that was.  The Torzites, although rediculously expensive are canted forward just a tad to ovalize the opening of the guide a small amount which increases the area of the opening allowing lined to pass through more easily.  This may sound surperfluous but when that world class bonefish makes a screaming run and a knot meets the guides it can make a world of difference.  Having a little bit of extra area for that knot to slip through might be the difference between getting that fish to hand and ruining your afternoon.  The grip is a great Western style grip for the "Trout weights" and a nice full wells for the "Salt".  Either way you are going to get the highest quality cork that really finishes the rod off well.  


Fishing the SKY


I spend my winters down in Florida chasing Snook, Redfish, and Tarpon along Florida's great coastline.  Just before heading back to Montana for the season Douglas sent a 9' 10wt sky to me to try out on some larger fish.  I wondered why they didn't send an 11 wt. which would be a more appropriate Tarpon class rod but gladly rigged the 10 and took it out with me the next day.  I planned on cruising around looking for some lively but still juvenile Tarpon that were hanging around.  I thought the 10 would be a perfect match for the jumpy fish and figured I'd let the big guys rest for a day.  The durability and power of the SKY was soon put to the test when I saw a BIG fish cruising about 100 feet off the bow.  He was headed right for me! all I had to do was wait for him to get a little closer and make a cast, I simply couldn't resist myself.  I laid out a great cast at probably 80ft, landing the fly perfectly about 6 ft in front of the Tarpon, thanks to the superb accracy of the SKY.  As soon as the black and purple peanut butter hit the water the fish was on it, in a fantastic swirl of white water and chaos my fly was engulfed and the fight was on.  The rod bent into the cork grip and the drag screamed against the fish that had to be over 100lbs. In a blink I was was 100 yds. away from the fish and I thought to myself that I really had my work cut out for me with such a big fish and a 10 wt in my hands.  The SKY proved itself to me that day like few rods can.  Within 5 minutes I had the fly line back on the reel and within 10 I had the 110 lb. Tarpon alongside the boat and released.  Thanks to the great power and strength I got the fish to the boat quickly and was able to release the fish with plenty of life left in it. A tall order for a rod that most people would take permit fishing.  


 Our Friend Dave McKenna with a few nice ones...





Final thoughts


The SKY is a rod that should be considered by anyone looking for a premium level rod.  Whether you're fishing salt or freshwater the tapers and actions of the SKY have been expertly developed to deliver the best in each weight.  The SKY competes with all the top offerings from Sage, Loomis, Scott or any other top of the line manufacturer and in many cases surpasses what has historically been our go to rods both in perfomance and overall quality. And with a price of $695.00 its a bargain in the premium category of rods. 


Take a look at the SKY, you wont be disappointed...  










Check out the Sky and 15 other rods that we reviewed extensively in our Ultimate 6wt. Shootout.

Goerge's words by J.G.