Just before Thanksgiving, I received a package in the mail from C.F. Burkheimer--I love these packages. Inside, I found the newly redesigned 7127, a rod Kerry (C.F. Burkie himself) promised offers finger-tip sensitivity coupled with winter-worthy backbone. I was hesitant to fish a seven-weight on my burly winter rivers, but that hesitation dissipated within an hour of fishing, as the rod easily cast weighted rabbit leeches and made short-work of a lice-wearing hen over ten pounds--one of those fish that runs under a heavy current and requires some serious cork to extract.
Since then, the 7127 has risen to the number one position in my quiver. The majority of its flex comes in the middle of the rod, leaving it plenty easy to time and--of special concern on heavily wooded winter rivers--able to load and cast when space is limited.
The rod offers a tip section stiff enough to lift heavy sink-tips and flies from the surface, both when placing the initial anchor and on the forward stroke. But what makes this rod my new number one is its feel: it has instantaneous recovery after the cast that results in a seamless transition from casting stroke to flying line. The rod delivers its power to the line with a crisp stop.
Any new rod worth its graphite should improve your fishing, and that's what the 7127 has done for me. That finger-tip sensitivity--which makes the cast feel like its being directed by my pointer-finger not a 12' rod--has allowed me to position my casts with unparalleled accuracy. No more overcasting the seam or under-casting the slack pocket. That mid-section and stiff tip help with accuracy too; the rod offers supreme directional control on the forward stroke, limiting wayward curves in the landing line that come from small glitches in the angle of the D-loop. The easy timing,too, allows me to adjust my casting stroke to compensate for shoreside limbs and grass and rocks as I work down a run without thought, increasing the pleasure and efficiency of my fishing.
This winter, I've been loading the rod with an Airflo 480 grain Compact Skagit for low-water and light flies, then beefing up to a 510 grain version for normal water and heavier flies. The 480 handles Rio's MOW t-11 tips, and the 510 has the mass to lift and turn T-14.
Given the 7127's length, it is most at home on medium-sized rivers and those large rivers with tough wades and wooded banks--in other words about 90% of the rivers I fish. (If you spend most of your winter fishing on wide water with lots of casting room, you might prefer Burkheimer's 8139--a powerhouse of a winter stick.)
C.F. Burkheimer rods have a cult following among the nation's steelhead guides. These rods are hand-crafted in Washington state, and each one is designed from the ground up by Kerry himself, (rather than designing a taper, then building it in sizes for each line-weght as many rod companies do). The resulting performance and feel have made "Burkies" the rod of choice for those steelheaders who are on the water day-in and day-out.
The 7127 has my highest recommendation.
For more information, visit: http://cfbflyrods.com