Rod review: Mystic M-Series (Part 1)

Mystic logoOnce in a while you actually fool someone into thinking you can actually fly fish. If you fish enough, can spin a healthy supply of ridiculously far-fetched tales on your blog, and are extremely photogenic have mastered Photoshop you might find a handful of people who take you fairly seriously. In my case that scenario happens in perpetuity, a fact realized when a representative from Mystic Outdoors showed up on my doorstep and handed me a couple of rods to play with over the next month.

The two rods from newcomer Mystic are the M-Series 593-4 and 693-4. That would be five and six weights, each running 9′ 3″ in four pieces. I would generally split this review into the requisite two parts, looks and operation on the water, but since I received two rods built for different purposes, I’m doing this review in three parts. Aren’t you lucky?!

Attention to detail

Mystic left no stone unturned, and started their quest with the rod tube. It’s built of carbon fiber, colored in a steel blue, with the Mystic logo and a few coats of gloss over it. It is almost as light as a plastic/cordura tube, but probably too pretty for packing if you are at all concerned about looks down the road. I won’t be packing it in anywhere, but only because none of the gear is mine and I’m prone to running into moose.

Deep blue carbon fiber tube
Mystic Rod Tube

The tube caps are aluminum, and I believe they’re forged. The screw cap has a little piece of dense foam glued to the inside for rod protection. The nicest touch on the tube…a functional o-ring to keep dampness out. A tube full o’ rod would probably float bravely downstream after I scuttled your boat.

Caps
Mystic tube caps

I like the o-ring
Mystic tube o-ring

Details, details, detail. Mystic decided to imprint the rod model onto their socks, which are built of sturdy cotton cloth and colored in a kind of grey/green. And the anal retentiveness doesn’t end there.

Labeled rod sock
Mystic Rod Sock

I was told the retail price of these rods before they came out of the bag, and I am still scratching my head. They are beautiful. The blanks are a deep gray-blue (we’ll call it steel) color, and the wraps are black. Everything from the logo to the specifications to the wraps is accented in silver, all of which matches the matte aluminum rod seat to a “t”.

The six weight
Mystic 693-4

The rod seat is unique in its own right – some might call it artsy. While aluminum on the outside, the seat has been drilled out on the top and bottom, and cutaway on the sides. Underneath those drills and cuts…a solid maple burl inlay. Further, for securing your reel you get not one but two nuts, complete with o-rings and scored edges for firm grip when you’re putting the screws to it. The setup is a staple on premium saltwater rigs, but I’ve never seen it done on a five weight. I’ve never seen two stripping guides on a five weight either, but Mystic did that too.

The cork on the six weight was tight and blemish free – they’d slipped the plastic on it right after sanding, which I know since I’m still sneezing sawdust. Should I feign allergy and call my lawyer? Naw. The five had been demo-ed a few times, and the cork was a little dirty. But it cleaned up just fine (i.e. looked close to brand new when I was done with it).

The five weight
Mystic 593-4

The Mystic 593-4
Mystic 593-4

Another first: a rod manufacturer adding the rod spec next to the alignment dots, and I have to tell you that when I saw it I couldn’t help but grin. These Mystic guys were covertly saying “You are going to wind up owning a whole bunch of our rods, and we don’t want you getting the parts mixed up.” They may well be right. I love that attitude.

Ferrule markers with the rod spec
Mystic ferrule marks

As I noted earlier, I’m going to be fishing these rods for the next month or so. And doing so exclusively to boot. I’ve fitted the 593-4 with the Lamson Litespeed 2.0, casting a WF5-F Rio Gold. The Litespeed is a feather, and while I don’t know the exact weight of the rod (Mystic just doesn’t say) the setup feels good in the hand. The 693-4 is getting paired with the slightly older Lamson Velocity 2.0, a heavier reel. We’re not messing around with this rig either – the reel is stocked with a 200 grain Streamer Express and won’t feel a fly less than four inches long.

Mystic Five + Litespeed
Mystic plus Litespeed

Mystic Six + Velocity
Mystic plus Velocity

These rods retail for $399. Huh? They get a 9 out of 10 in the “Look Good Doing It” Department. I don’t know about you, but that’s all I really care about, catching pigs looking good.

First casts

I’ve already fished the 593-4 once, last weekend. I started off the morning slow, and kind of felt like the rod was built for my mushy brain. Being inclined to throw broomsticks I exercised some patience, and by days end I was rolling casts smooth as silk. The 593-4 is semi-buttery, but still seems to have some backbone to it. Tossing big flies in potentially high wind is the next course. The 693-4 still has the plastic on it, but with a fighting butt it is going to have to handle large chunks of meat (in similar conditions) on the end of a sinker. We’ll see if it can pass the test.

MG signing off (to pack for a trip to the moon – you’ll understand what I mean by that soon enough)

Comments

The real winner in their lineup is their gear bag. I’ve had mine for about 6 months now, and love it.