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Category: Product Reviews | Author: Samuel Piekar

Insights from fly fishing with premium Hanák Competition Superb RS fly rods and recommendations for using individual rods from this range.

Fly Rod Hanák Competition Superb RS Graphene Stillwater

Superb RS Graphene fly rods are currently the flagship of the Hanák Competition brand. These premium rods have been on the market since 2022 and as I have been the proud owner of two Superb RS models for quite some time now, I would like to share my experience with them.

Technical specifications of the rod:

  • This is a series of four-piece fly rods made of the new Graphene material, which is much more durable and lighter in tension than conventional rod blanks.
  • The rod guides are made of titanium. You can meet titanium guide mainly on custom-built rods. The biggest advantage of titanium guides is their strength and at the same time lightness, thanks to which they minimally affect the action of the blank. End guide eyes with a ceramic insert are positioned so that the line does not get tangled in the eye during long casts during stillwater fly fishing and streamer fishing.
  • There are red markings tied on the blank of the rod, thanks to which we can roughly measure the distances of the flies or the length of the fish caught.
  • Top grade AAAA cork was used for the rod handle.
  • The rods are supplied in a solid tube.
  • The Supern RS is produced in three categories according to use: River, Trophy and Stillwater.

The technical specifications are certainly interesting, but they don't tell us much about the rod itself, so I would like to share my personal impressions now.

The first thing that caught my eye about the Superb RS rods are the slightly unconventional rod lengths. Rods are manufactured in 9.3, 9.8 and 10.3 foot lengths. The Hanák company responds to the trend of foreign competitors, who generally use longer rods for dry fly (rods with a length of 9.3 - 9.6 feet compared to the classic 9 feet) and for nymphing, where rods longer than 10 feet are used. The reason for using longer rods is mainly the advantage in casting over a greater distance and more accurate guiding of the fly line or French leader.

When I pick up a new rod, the most important thing is its action. Personally, I prefer rods that have a medium fast action that allows me to cast far and accurately. At the same time, the rod is still very sensitive and I can afford to use finer rigs. Although slow action rods do not lost fish much, casting over long distances is often quite difficult. I still like to use rods with a slow action on a wet fly, when the slow action of the rod gives me a springy strike. With fast rods, on the other hand, it casts excellently even at longer distances, but the problem is when using fine leaders and when fighting mostly smaller or medium-sized fish, when a fast rod cannot spring the fish's lunges as well and the fish can simply "cut out".

So the golden mean is medium fast rods. RS rods have the same action. The finer tip of the rod also helps to better fight with the fish! If I had to compare the difference between the previous Superb XP series and the new Superb RS, the Superb RS is a bit more delicate in the tip and also more sensitive, which can be felt especially when nymphing, where you feel a lot of action in the tip of the rod without seeing the action on the indicator.

Before I get to introducing the individual models, I have to explain the designation of the HANÁK COMPETITION fly rods. I will take the following rod model as an example: Superb RS River 398

First of all, we have written the model of the rod, you can also meet the code, here for example HRRS_398

  • The first of the series of numbers indicates the AFTMA of the rod. In this case #3
  • The second two digits tell us the length of the rod in feet, so 9.8 feet, which is 298 cm

Superb RS River 293

The thinnest and shortest version of this range is the 282 cm #2 rod. Due to its length, it is primarily intended for dry and wet flies. Of course, it could also be used on a French nymph on small overgrown waters. This rod will find its best use on smaller streams, when fishing for trout and mainly grayling, where you will have to gently present the flies using fine leaders and small flies.

Superb RS River 298

A shorter nymphing rod with a length of 292 cm for a double line, which, thanks to its length, is still versatile enough for other techniques. So if you don't want to go to the water with two rods (a dry fly rod and another nymph rod), this is the ideal rod for you. Thanks to the length of the rod, it is easy to handle when nymphing even in overgrown areas of the river, and the shorter rod is also faster at the strike. However, when fishing on dry land with a longer rod, you must be careful of the surrounding trees in overgrown sections of the river. I would take this rod on medium size trout rivers or on smaller non-trout rivers.

Superb RS River 2103

The longest version of RS rods with a length of 312 cm, which is a nymphing special and allows longer casts and casting of flies over a greater distance. Using longer rods for nymphing is a big trend, especially abroad. But rods that are too long change their action, they are too soft and you will hook fish with them late. Therefore, I take the 312 cm rod as a reasonable compromise between rod length and action. I can cast this rod much farther than a regular 10 foot rod, but the rod still maintains its speed and accuracy. In short, this rod is designed for lovers of fine nymphing.

Superb RS River 393

Ideal 3wt rod, for dry and wet fly. An absolutely indispensable version of the rod for river fishing for trout, grayling and chub, on trout and non-trout waters, which can handle even larger fish.

Superb RS River 398

A versatile fly rod that I would go with both on a small stream and medium size river. If I had to choose one versatile rod from this range, it would be this one.

Superb RS River 3103

At the moment, this is my favorite nymphing rod, which I can therefore give a good rating. Before that my favorite rod was the Superb XP 299 which I can't say a bad word about. Compared to this rod, however, it is considerably shorter. Since I like to present flies at a longer distance, a longer rod suits me better. I'll keep casting with it, I don't scare the fish as much and the flies go through the water a little differently too. Due to the fact that the rod has a finer tip, you can feel a lot of shots in it. Compared to the Superb XP 3100 rod, the rod is slightly softer and more sensitive.

Superb RS Trophy 493

The Trophy versions are AFTMA 4 and 5 rods, designed for hunting trophy fish in our or foreign premium waters, therefore they also have a short cork fighting butt at the end of the rod. This version is again specially made for dry and wet flies. I would buy this rod for fishing on larger rivers where I need to cast flies at longer distances. However, the 4wt rod is still sensitive enough even when tackling medium-sized fish.

Superb RS Trophy 498

A universal 4wt rod that you can use on bigger trout rivers. At the same time, it is suitable for fishing in coarse waters, where it can be tested by some of the current-loving fish, such as barbel or nase. This rod is an all-rounder for anyone who primarily wants to catch bigger fish but also requires a sensitive rod.

Superb RS Trophy 4103

A longer nymphing rod that is made for fast currents and deep pools. Thanks to its length, you will be able to fish really long distances with it using a long French leader. With this rod, I would go nymphing on big trout or coarse rivers.

Superb RS Trophy 593

The heaviest version for dry and wet fly, which you can use with us for the biggest fish. At the same time, it is a rod that you can take on your fishing expedition on the other side of the world to destinations such as New Zealand or Australia. In our country, it is also excellent for lake fly fishing from a belly boat, or light streamer on the river, where a shorter rod is an advantage.

Superb RS Trophy 598

The most versatile rod for catching really big fish. With this rod you can nymph in deep currents, dry and wet fly, streamer or stillwater fishing. In stillwater fly fishing, such long rods are also excellent for the fly-float technique, when you have better control with the line and are able to continue casting.

Superb RS Stillwater 698

The Superb RS Stillwater lines are designed for stillwater fly fishing or streamer fishing. Again, the rod has a slightly unconventional length of 298 cm, because lake rods are most often made in lengths of 9'6 and 10 feet. 10-foot rods can be cast far, but casting is often quite challenging. Therefore, the 9'8 length is a compromise that allows you to cast farther than a shorter rod while not tiring your hands as much as a 10-foot long rod. I would recommend this model of lake rod to those fly anglers who like finer gear. It is therefore perfectly suited for catching with light intermediate lines or with floating lines, for example for the dry-dropper technique.

Superb RS Stillwater 798

My favorite rod for stillwater fly fishing. The rod has a stiffer spine, so you can cast it far, but at the same time it has a very sensitive tip that prevents losting of smaller fish. I most often use the rod in combination with a slow or fast intermediate line, which this rod is made for. Thanks to the stiffer spine, you don't have to worry about loading a slightly heavier line on the rod, I like the #7 Guideline COASTAL, for example, which is considerably heavier than classic lines and has a short, heavier head, so this combo works well even in strong winds.

If you have read this far, thank you for your attention and I hope it helps you choose the right rod for you!

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