When I first took the Cabela’s Stowaway 6 fly rod fishing on the Lochsa River I was blown away by how well it fished. Why? The Stowaway 6 is a travel rod with six sections — instead of the more common four — so I was expecting a cobbled together experience.
I was so wrong.
With the Cabela’s Stowaway 6 fly rod, the casting and fishability are far better than I expected — very close to some of the best 4-piece fly rods in this price range. The Stowaway 6 isn’t perfect, but for a 6-piece travel fly rod priced at just over $150, it’s fantastic.
Cabela’s Stowaway 6 Fly Rod Review: Casting
Let’s get to the heart of this Cabela’s Stowaway 6 review: How well does the Stowaway 6 cast?
When I first started casting this rod, which has a common medium-fast action, I was fishing with a buddy who was a newbie fly fisher. My buddy had been having a tough time catching fish. Consequently, I was watching him fish as I started casting — watching his cast and where he was putting his fly, seeing if he was having trouble reading the water.
So I was on autopilot as I was false casting. Then I threw out my line in a medium distance cast that fell limp and vague into the river. I lifted my line and, still watching my buddy, repeated my first cast — and got the same results.
That snapped my attention back to my own hand and cast. Here’s what I learned: If you use a vague fly casting motion, you’ll get mediocre results. If you cast with a bit more intent — more crisply in your motion — you’ll get good results. If you cast with authority, you’ll get great results.
Sure, this advice works on most any rod, but it’s especially true with the Stowaway 6.
Once I started casting with intent, I found that the Stowaway 6 delivered for me. After about 20 minutes, I turned the rod into a tool I didn’t even have to think about — I could focus on where I wanted my fly and I just put it there.
In fact, it gets better. Most fly fishers should attempt to reduce the number of false casts they make and instead just shoot their line back out into the water where they want it. The false cast helps newbies find the right distance, so they overuse it. Even experienced fly fishers tend to overuse false casts, especially when they’re trying to eek out a little more distance. Forget that technique with the Stowaway 6. Why? When I had a lot of line out behind me, I had more trouble getting a crisp, far cast on target. But when I took a medium-distance backcast and launched it forward to shoot the line out in front of me, I got plenty of distance and decent accuracy.
In fact, in some ways the Stowaway 6 reminded me to false cast less and get my fly back on the water more.
The bottom line here is, if you’re willing to cast with intent — with a little extra dose of authority — the Stowaway 6 will deliver.
Stowaway 6 Review: Specifications
The Stowaway 6 fly rod has a medium-fast action.
The 9-foot, 5-weight version weighs about 3.5 ounces, which is near average for this price range.
All the 9-foot versions of the Stowaway 6 have sections that are 18″ long. The 8’6″ models have 17″ sections while the 7’6″ 4-weght is down to 15″ sections.
Most models price out at about $154.99 while the 9-foot 8-weight and 10-weight options go for about $164.99.
Stowaway 6 Review: Fit and Finish
I was pleasantly surprised by the fit and finish. I particularly like the bright green alignment dots and accent threading on the chrome snake guide and ferrule end wraps.
The cork is great and the woven graphite reel seat looks fantastic in the sun.
The Stowaway 6 is a surprisingly good looking rod — especially for a rod at this price point. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at the overall fit and finish.
Stowaway 6 Review: Easy to Recommend
All-in-all, the Cabela’s Stowaway 6 travel fly rod packs down small but packs a punch well beyond its 6-piece form. It responds particularly well to a firm casting style and it is competitive against many other 4-piece fly rods in this price range.
If you like the idea of an easy to pack travel fly rod, the price-to-value ratio of the Cabela’s Stowaway 6 is through the roof. Personally, I used to roll my eyes at the idea of needing anything shorter than your typical 4-piece 9-foot fly rod — which have pieces nearly 29″ — but now I’m a believer in the easy packability of the travel rod size.
I’ve made some mistakes in the past by not taking along a fly rod out and about. Case in point? I once attended a conference in Vail, Colorado. One afternoon I had about 3 hours off between events, so I walked to Gore Creek, which runs right through town. I could see nice trout feeding all over the clear little stream. I already had a Colorado fishing license, so if I had the Stowaway 6 with me, I would have taken a few casts. I missed out.
Similarly, I almost always take a fly rod backpacking each summer. My 4-piece rods aren’t exactly a hassle, but I immediately appreciate the 18″ sections of the Stowaway 6. Everywhere else, I have a huge go bag with most of the my fly fishing gear inside, but I can’t always take the big bag everywhere I go. The Stowaway 6 is the kind of gear that should influence a guy to create a much smaller go bag, even if it’s one that you always leave in your vehicle.
The Cabela’s Stowaway 6 travel fly rod will make a great gift, too. It has the power to be a first fly rod, but it truly excels for situations where packability is important — for frequent travelers, backpacking, motorcycle touring, or taking it to places where you doubt there will be fish . . . but there might be.
And what about the Cabela’s WLX II fly reel? It’s seriously good. Very good. It uses a high-end Waterworks-Lamson conical drag system, which is fully sealed and super smooth. It is a Cabela’s-brand reel, and I believe that means Cabela’s licensed the conical drag to build into its own reel. This lets Cabela’s offer fully-branded combo packages that take advantage of sweet technology and design.* One last point about the WLX II reel . . . the burnt-orange drag knob and drag canister add a much appreciated splash of bright color.
All-in-all, in every configuration below, the Cabela’s Stowaway 6 is a great deal. Highly recommended.
Get the Gear:
- Cabela’s Stowaway 6
- Cabela’s Stowaway 6 – Prestige Plus Fly Combo — includes basic reel, fly line, and backing
- Cabela’s Stowaway 6 – Prestige Premier Fly Combo — includes a nicer reel, fly line, and backing
- Cabela’s Stowaway 6 – Lamson Liquid Fly Combo — includes the Lamson Liquid fly reel, which is 50% manufactured in the U.S.
- Cabela’s Stowaway 6 – WLX Fly Combo — includes the sweet WLX II fly reel, fly line, and backing
- Cabela’s Fly Rod and Reel Case — the Stowaway 6 comes with a rod tube, but get the 20″ version of this rod and reel case for ultimate packability
* In case you’re wondering, the Cabela’s WLX II is manufactured in Korea while nearly all Waterworks-Lamson reels are manufactured in America in Idaho. If you want to spend a little more on a reel to reward U.S.-based manufacturing, check out the Guru Series II.