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Meiser 1173S Review

312 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  TahoeJoe
I haven't seen a tremendous amount of information about this rod, so I figured I'd post some of my thoughts in the hope that it helps somebody out.
A few months ago, I called Bob Meiser to inquire about a 3wt 2hander to use with wets and streamers in Western Montana. I was primarily after a light, fun soft hackle rod, but it also needed to handle medium sized streamers, wind, and big strong trout.

I was initially intending to get a CX, since I have a 12635 that serves as my main Missouri River stick, and it's mind blowingly good. However, Bob steered me toward the 11'7" 3wt S series, and as usual, he was right on the money. I realize I'm the millionth person to say this, but Bob Meiser is one of the true gentlemen of the sport, as well as a tremendous source of knowledge and expertise. When he makes a suggestion, it behoves you to listen carefully. The ordering process was fun and informative--just as it should be.

The short version? It's easily the best overall trout 2hander I've ever cast, and my family may end up burying me with it like a Pharaoh. For the long version, keep reading.
It won't surprise anyone, but the rod is absolutely gorgeous and built with total attention to detail. The guides are light, high quality, and nicely oversized. In the interest of weight savings (I assume), the bottom grip is conventional cork, rather than the burl composite you'd find on the bigger rods. Feels great, looks great. The cork is smooth and high quality, without excessive filler. The thread work on the entire rod is flawless. The reel seat is uplocking aluminum with a single ring, which holds with no tendency to loosen.
The blank itself is smooth sanded and steeply tapered with a larger OD at the butt end than the CX. Very cool looking. The ferrules are tight and precise. The tube and sock are big, padded, and ultra high quality. I asked for a standard build, but with olive green accents on the cork and butt section. It came out just how I wanted.

As for casting, this is a high performance, high line speed kind of rod that loves a compact, underhand stroke with a high stop. Recovery is super quick, with plenty of feedback through the cast.The entire rod is strikingly light in the hand, and feels crisp and trouty. I would describe the action as a smooth progressive flex that really lets you reach into the blank and get the power you need. I've tried a selection of lines, ranging from 240-300gr, and I haven't really found anything the rod won't cast well.
Scandi wise, I'm far from being great at this style, but I tried a few lines with good results. A 240gr rage is very light and casts off the tip, but it doesn't feel like it's too light to make the rod perform. I need to spend more time with it, but I think it'll work great for low water soft hackle applications with a long mono leader. However, for day in, day out wet fly work, Steve Godshall built me a 25' Intermediate scandi that comes out to 257gr, and it is an absolute bullet. It carries salmon/steelhead poly leaders with no issues, and I think it's going to be my go-to. It's made to be punchy in the wind, and it delivers. If there's a downside, it's that it's about as aggressive as a scandi can get, but that's what I wanted. A 3" Sunray Shadow type fly is no problem with this line. Anything in the 250gr range also casts 2hand overhead with plenty of speed and power, and no mushiness.

For skagit streamer work, it's a real mini-cannon. I've used a 200gr OPST Groove head as a multi tip driver, paired with a selection of 10' 50gr Scientific anglers Sonar Leaders as well as 80gr iMOW tips. While it's not going to get every inch of distance that you could achieve with a longer head, it's a great fishing tool. The tapered leaders work effortlessly with touch n go casts, and a swap to a straight tip gives you a 280gr skagit line for streamer chucking. This thing has plenty of tip power to lift sunken flies and sinktips, and it executes sustained anchor casts with big flies beautifully. Out of curiosity, I tried a 20' 300gr cheapo skagit head from maxcatch (I'm pretty sure it's a clone of rio's skagit max short). The rod easily launched it, although 300gr felt a touch heavy in my hands. Totally viable, but at the high end of the rod's window. I cut and re-looped the head to 18', and it works great. An overall load right around 280gr really makes this thing sing for sustained anchor casting.

The deep flex makes playing fish a real treat. A scrappy 14"er will bend it deep, but it can also handle 20" Missouri piglets with no issues. At the end of the day, I'm a big fan of rods that throw 250-300gr. I think they really hit the sweet spot between being light enough to make every nice trout fun, but throwing enough mass to have a marked advantage over a single hand rod. The 1173S does everything I need from a rod this size, with style points left over--a truly impressive piece of gear. And if anyone else has any thoughts or line recommendations, I'd love to hear 'em. Thanks!

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Great review & story, I have a S2H11724C & your rod sounds like a twin to mine, throws the same grain weights & fishes the same water. I feel the same way about it & that SGS 257 gr. Intermediate Scandi might be a good addition .
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Thanks for a well-written review of one of the very best switch rod models. I also liked the photo of the Pflueger Medalist 1495 1/2 reel, which was my faithful companion for many pre-spey years on my ten-weight winter steelhead rods.
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Nice write up!

I've got a very similar rod, S2H1193S-4 (1193S). It's a great rod for trout and summer steelhead. The only time it gives me trouble is in a strong wind. You have to time your casts carefully on a gusty day close to the ocean. I might have to talk to Steve and order an intermediate Scandi like yours for windy days.

For me, the sweet spot is a 280g Scandi. My go to line, these days, is a Loop SDS Switch Kit #5; 9 m/30 ft, 18 grams/278 grains for the head and tip combo. The multi tip system is quite useful and I do change the tips to suit the conditions. I use it mostly for soft hackles and half pounder steelhead flies. I can throw a helmet head sculpin in a pinch but it's not the optimum line for that. A 300 gr Rio Skagit Short head works better but, meh, it's not as fun as casting the Scandi line. I've used a SA Scandi Extreme 280 gr and a Rio 240 gr Scandi and both work fine. The multi tip system is versatile and gets the most use.

I bought the SDS line used/like new from a member here, just to try it. It works well. If I lost that head, I'd order a new one from Loop right away. I don't know why but the European system for lines is different. A #5 line is the same grain weight as the Rio Scandi Versitip #4. I haven't tried the Rio Versitip yet but one of these days...
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