The Mystic Reaper is a great fly rod, hands down, at any price point. At the $229 price point, it’s a seriously fantastic fly rod. I fished a 9-foot 5-weight Mystic Reaper over a three-day weekend going after brown trout on the Owyhee River. I liked the crisp consistency I got out of the Mystic Reaper while casting everything from tiny dries to big hoppers.
What’s better than the cast? Fighting fish. Whenever I had a nice trout on the other end of my line, the Mystric Reaper had a sweet blend of tip flex with a strong mid and butt section that gave me plenty of control. The tip flex was soft enough that I didn’t break off any heavy 17-to-20-inch fish on small flies and light tippets, and I generally felt as if I could handle even the rowdiest fish.
The Mystic Reaper inspires confidence.
Mystic Reaper Fly Rod Review
The Mystic Reaper is a “tip-flex” fast-action fly rod, which means it’s a stiff rod that bends mostly near the tip. A good fast-action rod tends to feel more specific in your hand while you cast than your typical medium or slow action fly rods, which tend to load and bend more throughout the whole rod.
Of course, all of this is a bit subjective to different people. Casting is part experience and personal temperament, along with the type of fly line, leader, tippet, and flies. Change the leader and size of fly and you’ll get a different turnover on your cast. Different brands and models of fly lines can have an effect, too.
As for fly line, I chose the Orvis Clearwater, which is a slightly oversized weight forward fly line available for a screamingly good price of $39 or so. If you’re fishing a fast-action rod, most beginning to intermediate fly fishers cast a bit better with a slightly heavier fly line, especially at short-to-mid ranges. However, the Mystic Reaper is sized appropriately for the line weight, so you shouldn’t have to use a slightly heavy line for good results.
Don’t worry so much about all of this. The base characteristics of a good rod will shine through most fishing conditions well enough for most people.
What you really need to know is that the 9-foot 5-weight is crisp and capable close-in, crisp and capable at midrange, and pretty solid overall at long range for a guy who is a decent — but not a pro — caster.
Admittedly, most casting errors from most fly fishers are actually user errors, and most of the time, most people are better off maneuvering themselves into better positions to make a decent cast with most any rod. That said, sometimes it’s nice to have a good fly rod that you know you can count on for most everything you want to do — even when you’re amped up as you’re casting to a monster trout at the limits of your comfort range.
The Mystic Reaper is such a rod. While my buddy took a nap one day on the Owyhee, I spotted a nice brown feeding inches from the bank, right along a path of sticks, underneath some overhanging brush. I waded into position, but it was still a dicey cast that had to be made from an almost horizontal angle. My first cast landed two feet out and was ignored. But I liked the nice tight turnover of the cast and decided to risk snagging brush and scaring the fish off for good. So I tried again, dropped the fly a few inches off the line of sticks, and boom, caught a 19-inch brown trout. Thank you Mystic Reaper.
Mystic Reaper Fly Rod Review: Fit and Finish
The cork is good quality. The walnut reel seat looks great and the uplocking seat remains secure all day long. The overall balance of the rod is excellent, especially when it’s paired with the affordable Ross Eddy fly reel.
The hard chrome snake guides are large and open, which lets your line shoot through easier.
The rod blank color is a deep dark green, finished with brown trim. I like it a lot.
The four-piece Reaper comes with a hard case, which is expected for any rod at this price range.
If you’re wondering, Mystic is a family-run organization in Michigan, where a small team assembles each rod. These craftsmen and women care about their products, stand behind them with a great warranty, and they turn out some very nice rods.
All-in-all, the Mystic Reaper is a great rod with a fantastic price-to-value ratio. The overall fast-action feel is akin to using a crisp and predictable tool — not luxurious, but you know you’re going to get the right results when you start stalking fish. It’s kind of like a race car suspension that feels stiff but softens perfectly to keep you on the road when you charge hard into a corner. Because of this firm consistency, I think the Mystic Reaper is capable of boosting the confidence of intermediate fly fishers, but it’s still a rod that I wouldn’t hesitate to put in the hands of a beginner. Highly recommended.
Get the Gear:
The Mystic Reaper is available in a wide range of lengths and weights, from delicate 3-weight rods to big-fish 10-weight rods.