The Chuck Kraft Signature Series Fly Rods
After more than 30 years of guiding in the Mid-Atlantic and Chile, Chuck teamed up with Reilly Rod Crafters to design a fly rod that is the perfect “fishing rod.” The rods were designed to be extremely accurate, turn over larger bugs with ease, provide good tippet protection, load as well at 10’ as it does at 70’ and, (and this is the kicker) be a rod that absolutely anyone at any skill level can handle proficiently. Three years later and more scrapped graphite than I care to think about and the old man finally says “This is the best damned rod to be on the market…period.” Hearing this come from a man whose professional life was carefully guarded with intentional understatement, means that we better start building these guys fast!
Bob Clouser calls Chuck Kraft “one of the best smallmouth bass guides in the country” and Flip Pallot says he is the “definition of a smallmouth bass expert.”
Of course Chuck is far more than just a smallmouth guru, he is equally as deadly with trout and salmon and has several great “trophy flies” to his design credits. CK Clawdad, Kreelex, CK Crittermite, CK Special, CK Baitfish, etc…
The series was first envisioned to be 6wt, 7wt, and 8wt only but along the way a 5wt popped out (from an almost abandoned 6wt taper).
All of the rods are 9’ 4pc and feature flor grade cork grips. All of Chuck’s rods have a full wells grip and the 6wt – 10wt rods have have an added fighting butt. All of the rods have aircraft grade aluminum reel seats with a light TiCh finish and dual locking rings. All of the rods also feature 3 stripping guides. The guides are all slightly oversized (including the tip) and have dark TiCh finishing. The blank is finished with a transparent high performance pigment (root beer brown) and have multiple topcoats of a gloss UV protecting clear finish. Each of the male ferrules are capped with mil-grade black silicone. The rods come with a locally crafted rod sock and a Superior Quality REC rod tube. As with all of our rods, they are warranted for the lifetime of the original owner.
|Part No||Line Weight||Length||Sections||Grip Style||Case||Warranty||Price|
|CK05||5wt||9’||4pc||Full Wells||Tube and Sock||Lifetime||$545.99|
|CK06||6wt||9’||4pc||Full Wells w/ FB||Tube and Sock||Lifetime||$545.99|
|CK07||7wt||9’||4pc||Full Wells w/FB||Tube and Sock||Lifetime||$545.99|
|CK08||8wt||9’||4pc||Full Wells w/FB||Tube and Sock||Lifetime||$545.99|
|CK10||10wt||9’||4pc||Full Wells w/FB||Tube and Sock||Lifetime||$579.99|
Mark Kendle –
I got to meet the owner and rod designer, Chris, this past weekend at an event at a local fly shop. He brought with him the line of Chuck Kraft signature rods. I’ve got to say, that getting to demo a fly rod with the rod designer standing beside you is something that I’ve never done and it was a bit nerve racking, but Chris genuinely cared about my thoughts and feedback on the rod. We had time to play with different types of lines and grain weights and at the end of the day I ended up going home with the 7wt.
I am usually not a fan of modern 7wt rods. To me they are big water sticks and only excel in throwing long casts with no feel or finesse for in close work. Necessary for when you want to fish a bigger or heavier fly, but not really enjoyable to fish. This 7 wt however, is something special! It has a whole lot of feel in close with a ton of backbone to fire long shots or keep that big brown out of the brush when he decides to eat. I throw mostly intermediate and sinking lines on my steamer rods for trout and smallmouth bass in western Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. A lot of those shots are no more than 25’ to 40’. Because of this, I tend to lean towards fast action 6wt rods, but end up wishing I had more power in the butt section if I do need to make a longer cast, switch a heavier / larger fly, or muscle a bigger fish. This is the first stick that I’ve cast that can do both!
The first thing i realized when demoing this rod, is that with no fly attached to the end, it needs to be cast with a 200 grain line. This bothered me a little in the fact that it was being designated as a 7 wt rod, as most 6 wt sinking lines are at 200 grains. The 240 grain 7 wt line seemed to heavy and to me, made the rod feel a little sloppy. However, the moment I tied a weighted streamer on the end, everything changed. The 200 grain line was fine in close but felt under powered when making longer casts. It would throw the fly but required a good bit of effort from me and my arm. If you’re used to slinging streamers all day long you know how tireing it can be when you’re struggling to get the fly where you need it to be. Going back up to a 240 grain sink line with a streamer on the end however, made this rod come back to life and settled it right into the line weight designation that Chris has given it. It is effortless to throw long shots with one back cast and still has the finesse and feel in close without being over powered. The rod is very accurate and has a great recovery speed! The tip feels springy and lively without being overly fast making it extremely forgiving and accurate for people of all skill levels. It is a rod that is just plain enjoyable to have in your hand. To cast it feels purely instinctive.
The fit and finish of the CK Series rods are top notch as well. No corners are cut and they are constructed with only top grade components and flor grade cork grips. The attention to detail that Chris and the other builders for Reilly Rod Crafters put into each and every rod is something special even right down to the high quality tube the rod comes in. Chris also took the time to explain the process he uses to spine his rods prior to wrapping in the guides in order to achieve the most accuracy out of each blank. To find a rod of this quality that is 100% made in the USA, at the price point in which Chris sells them, is a real treat. I can’t thank Chris enough for taking the time to let me pick apart his creation. I look forward to demoing some of the other rods in his catalog as well.
If you are in the market for a new streamer stick you owe it to yourself to look at the Chuck Kraft series of fly rods by Reilly Rod Crafters.
Vernon Wilson –
Got to spend some time with Chris & Chuck today, and throw some of the CK rods. I can say a lot of great things about these rods. As a surf fly rodder I can say that the 8wt is a laser pointer that will pick apart rip currents. The 7wt is a Dream Stick, and will definitely be my next 7wt. The 5wt was incredibly smooth to throw with pin point accuracy. You just can not beat these rods.
Jim Head –
While fishing with a friend, he suggested that I try his new rod. It was a CK 7wt. When he said I would be impressed, that was an understatement. It was by far the easiest rod to load and cast I had ever tried. He suggested to my wife that it would be the ideal Christmas gift.I have numerous rods from multiple manufacturers and this is my favorite by far. I met Chuck at a fly fishing show and told him he should be proud of the job Reilly Rods has done. Congratulations to you both. You have made fly fishing more enjoyable.
Daniel Fowley (verified owner) –
I recently Picked up one of the Chuck Kraft signature series rods from RRC in a 7wt. I wanted to wait to write this review until I truly had time to fish the rod. The rod is everything I wanted it to be and more. I can deliver my bugs with unmatched accuracy on the open waters of the James as well as the tight tributaries, that often do not offer plentiful casting room. What I really found I liked about this rod after fishing it for a few days was how the rod flexes. This rod brings something more to the table over comparable rods in the market in the way that the blank seems to flex in a uniform manner throughout rather than having an overly aggressive tip flex. Hook into a nice smallmouth with one of these great rods and you’ll see why numerous Guides in the region and plenty of others love these rods so much. I can only speak positive things about these rods! Thanks, Chris, you killed it with this one!
Rick Piccolo –
I stopped by the Reilly Rod Crafters booth at the 2018 Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival, and went away with the Chuck Kraft 8wt. Both Chris and Chuck were at the booth and I learned how this rod came to be. I made a few casts on the casting pond and struggled quite a bit as both Chuck and Chris were 25 feet away and it was January and I had not cast a fly in few months. Chuck came over and said I should let the rod do the work and the next cast was perfect and has been that way since. The cork and finish are top notch and the rod feels great in hand. I look forward to having this rod with me on many days out and many fish.
Chris and Chuck got it right and I am certain I will have another CK rod before too long…they are just that nice.
Skip C. –
Distance not an issue. In tight not an issue – an advantage. Control in-tight paramount to success and caster confidence. Fit and finish upper end. Weight, a little heavier than several $900 rods, but the weight difference is too minor to get mention in the important column. No, you’re not going to notice, it’s minuscule at the end of the day or season.
RRC CK 5wt is way, way tougher than all the highest cost rods. Durability is a huge factor for pro guides for obvious reasons and destination fly fishers know that a “guaranteed” fly rod that is broken in the Seychelles stays broken.
The CK5’s action is probably the best feature. An angler that wants max control wants a fly rod that maxes out “management” at 30-feet or 80-feet has found his or her “cleanup” batter in the lineup.
Any conventional fly line in 5-weight, 4-weight (added distance with no wind issues), or 6-weight for added line load feel (new to fly fishing) works as one would expect.
BTW that’s not common to most of today’s or yesterday’s fly rods.
An investment in a Kraft designed fly rod as built by RRC is a wise choice.
Cons: None, unless you’re convinced that a mid-range fly rod should cost less. But what is mid-range and how does mid-range perform?
Capt Jason Shepard (verified owner) –
Had the pleasure of taking the CK 7wt. On my season to Alaska. All I can say is that it handled everything we put it through. Whether I was
throwing an indicator rig, added sink tip
with a streamer or full sinking line with a Lama. The CK took a beating and performed flawlessly.
Jan Forszpaniak MD –
I have enjoyed casting and catching world records using Chris Reilly fly rods in the past three years. Finally I was fortunate to meet Chris at the ICAST EXPO in Orlando last year. Chris is perhaps the nicest guy you can meet… extremely knowledgeable about crafting fly rods, in other words, a true engineer-perfectionist. I love his Stu Apte series for tarpon and permit fishing but when it comes to fishing windy conditions Chuck Kraft 10 weight rod which was built to my specifications exceeded my expectations. Smooth, powerful, light and accurate – what else do we expect from the fly rod? Thank you Chris for building one of the best fly fishing rods and so reasonably priced considering the top quality.
Jan Forszpaniak MD
IGFA Ambassador,International Representative
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust member
Chris Reilly –
Thanks for your kind words, Jan. We’re hoping to release this 10wt in the very near future!
WIlliam Grabowski (verified owner) –
After I was given the opportunity to try a RRC rod, I immediately decided I wanted to replace every rod I own. Jason Sheppard (Pro Guide) recommended that I go with the Chuck Kraft to replace my 8 wt. Long story short I was not disappointed. I can honestly say I have a better feel of my back cast, while making longer and more accurate shots. In the three months to follow, I have ordered a Debbie Hanson True 7 wt for my daughter (who now refuses to pick up a spinning rod) and she and my 8 year old son are both making 50 ft shots (not from my teaching). I have also purchased the Stu Apte 12 wt (which feels like I am casting a 10 wt) and awaiting a Stu Apte 11 wt, that Chris has been more than gracious to customize for me.
On top of the amazing performance of these Rods, the costumer service of RRC is far above the industry standard. Chris Riley throughout every purchase; remains in constant contact, keeping me updated on rod availability, when they ship and always follows up to insure my rods have arrived in good condition. Chris Riley doesn’t make you feel like a costumer, but a friend that is diligently working to insure your complete satisfaction.
Do yourself a favor a try one of these Rods. No matter what you are looking for, RRC has a rod that will meet your needs, with complete satisfaction and at a cost that is well under the leading industry standards.
Bryan Rosensteel –
I was fortunate enough to be gifted the CK 7 for Christmas in 2017 (love my wife). Since then, I have fished it in salt and freshwater, with sinking and intermediate lines, in creeks and rivers, in ponds and lakes, and cast into and with a variety of winds.
The action of the CK 7 is interesting. To me, it feels like a medium or medium fast action, but has characteristics of slower and faster action rods.
The CK 7 can load with very little line out, allowing for accuracy in close, which is typical of slower action rods. Typically, having this accuracy results in a sacrifice in accuracy and power in longer casts…RRC must have forgotten to include this, as the rod is a rocket at distance. Casting a clouser minnow, I have routinely hit a frisbee at 60′ (I measured the distance). The rod is fully capable of casting a full fly line if needed. This rod is simply a dream to cast at all distances.
I have cast several G Loomis NRXs, Various Sage models, several Orvis Rods, and TFO rods, and I can say, without hesitation, this rod is my favorite to cast.
Chris Reilly –
We are so happy that you love this rod as much as we do! Chuck put a lot of himself into this series and, I think, it shows! We hope that you have a great 2019 season! And send us a picture from time to time. Welcome to the family!
Michael Crawford (verified owner) –
Chuck was kind enough to let me try his 5 weight rod for a few days at some of my trout fishing holes and after catching some nice brookies with it I had to have one ! No problem with casting big or small fly’s. Best rod out there! Thanks Chuck and Riley Rod Crafters for getting it right !!! Did I mention all the Brookies were caught on Chucks fly patterns, of course 🎣 Thanks
I own a couple of Joe Mahler’s 8wt Editions and always used them when chasing larger saltwater fish. My next lesson with Joe, he had me cast Chuck’s 7wt and I absolutely loved it and bought one that week. If I could, I would use it 100% of the time because of the actions sensitivity, using it to throw to spookier fish and smaller saltwater species like redfish in Florida. Both rods are a staple in my boat and you won’t be disappointed!
Jacob W –
Bought this rod and haven’t been able to put it down. Smallmouth of all sizes are a blast. Even used this for dries in a pinch when I went streamer fishing for browns. Definitely foresee another Reilly being added to my arsenal in the near future