Review of the MoonShine Vesper 9′ 10 wt. 4-piece Fly Rod

Vesper is defined as an evening prayer, and I find it fitting that the MoonShine Rod Company named one of their newer (2020) rod offerings the Vesper Series. How many times have I whispered a prayer in the fading light, asking for a strike as I make just one more cast?

I ordered the 9 foot 10 wt. “High Modulus, Nano Matrix Carbon Fiber” graphite Vesper because until now, my arsenal of fly rods topped out at 9 wt. I live on a land-locked lake where striped bass swim. Most folks don’t stalk these stripers with fly rods, but now I believe I have the gear for the challenge.

One of the first things you notice about this rod is the extra tip. Often rod damage occurs on the tip section, and MoonShine includes a second tip with new rods at no additional charge, in the five-slot rod sock. MoonShine’s Lifetime Warranty involves a fee, which is $55 for the Vesper. This compares favorably with rod repair fees across the industry.

Aesthetically, the Vesper gives off a formidable vibe with a matte finish of deep dark blue-gray, bright copper-colored accents on the wraps, and small orange alignment dots. Vesper rods 6 wt. and below have a tiger wood reel seat insert, while the 7-10 wt. rods have a “salt ready” aluminum reel seat. My reel remained securely in place, tightened with two up-locking rings.

The 10 wt. Vesper has a white lightning bolt opposite the reel seat, appropriate for a company named MoonShine. (I also appreciate their tagline, “Small Batch Fly Rods”.) The AAAA grade cork is two-toned, darker at each end of the grip and on the end of the fighting butt. Imprinted on the bottom of the butt is a lightning bolt between an M and an R.

No guides are on the butt section, but in what may be an anomaly among saltwater rods, the 10 wt. Vesper has a hook-keeper. The stripping guides are titanium frames with what appear to be ceramic inserts. The snake guides are wire with a single foot.

As you might expect, the 10 wt. Vesper is a fast action rod. That means it is stiff, and can potentially develop a higher line speed. This is helpful when you need to cast farther, punch through the wind, and throw bigger flies.

So how does it perform? The rod feels lightweight and powerful. I paired it with a 9 wt. front-tapered line and laid down a 50-foot cast with ease. I’m quite pleased to find a rod of this caliber at the $450 price point.

I was a little disappointed to learn the Vesper is made in Korea. I was under the mistaken impression that MoonShine’s high-end rods are assembled in the US (right in my home state of Virginia) using mostly outsourced materials. MoonShine’s website makes the case that regardless of where the rod is assembled they keep a close eye on quality control, and their motivating factor is offering a quality rod at an affordable price.

I don’t think you can go wrong with the Vesper if you are looking for a fly rod that performs like a more expensive rod from the long-established rod companies, has a lifetime no-fault warranty, and comes in under $500.

As for my striper hunt, I’ll use my Vesper and whisper a little prayer.

@moonshinerods @moonshineUSA

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