Scottish rivers champion & International Alan Hill puts our new Snowbee Prestige G-XS Graphene rod to the test in New Zealand…

After kicking off the jet lag and spending our first night in Christchurch we headed south to one of my favourite areas, the Waikia river in Southland. After the 9 hour drive south we got our tents set up and had very little sleep looking forward to our first day out. 

Photo of Comparadun fly courtesy of Barry Rod Clarke

First day fishing was the 11th January and the river was in perfect condition with pale olive mayfly coming off and getting the fish rising. Peter was using the 9ft 5wt Prestige with a WF5 XS Snowbee floater which had a 15ft tapered leader attached and then a further 5ft of tippet to a size 14 olive comparadun. *Photo Courtesy of Barry Ord Clarke

Peter with his first on dries and his smile says it all

Simon at Snowbee had sent me the casting sample of the new Prestige 9ft 5wt which is soon to be launched, with instructions to put it through its paces and my set up was a 15ft tapered leader attached and the a further 5ft of tippet to a size 14 olive comparadun was exactly the same as Peter except that I was using the Thistledown2 floater.

It wasn’t long before we both got into fish on dries and they were typical of this great wee river, fast powerful and using every trick in the book to tangle us up in the sunken willows. 

Both rods performed brilliantly in very tight conditions and the biggest noticeable difference between them is the weight and the crisper action of the New Prestige G-XS. I have used this rod all the first week & had a lot of fish on it with my best day being in double figures all on dries from all sorts of water. 

This was an exceptional day though with the smallest fish being 3.5lbs & the biggest over 7lbs. All on size 14 and 16 dries on a 4lb tippet. The Prestige G-XS generates very fast line speeds but belies this by protecting your tippets when lifting into fish of this size. 


So far we are very impressed with the rod but even more so after a wee trip to the Upper Oreti today (sat 19th Jan) where we fished upstream against downstream winds of 40mph &  torrential rain, I managed to handle the conditions due to the line speeds I could generate to catch two 5lb fish in the horrendous conditions. 

We are fishing some local streams around Gore tomorrow before heading into Fjordland and a real backcountry adventure… Hope you’re all well back in the UK and I’ll be in touch next week with part 2 of 3. Cheers Alan.

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