It’s not accurate to say that Greys is no longer a household name in the U.S. For those of us over 40, or perhaps even 30, Greys is every bit of a household name. But Greys, which was founded in the 1960s in the U.K., dramatically reduced its American footprint for a decade or longer, leaving some younger anglers unfamiliar with the brand’s longtime reputation for providing well-designed, quality fly fishing gear at affordable prices — a niche brands like Redington and ECHO have become best known for in the U.S. market.
In the last several years, however, Greys has reignited its stateside presence and has gained a loyal following through the release of products like its GR80 line of rods, its Tital reels, and its Fin combo setups. Now, Greys is adding another combo to its list of offerings, the brand-new Greys Cruise fly rod and reel combo kit, perhaps its greatest value proposition yet.
“Performance fly gear at an exceptional price is the Greys promise, and we’re sticking to it,” Greys quips in its marketing materials, and the $189 price tag on the Cruise combo will certainly pique anglers’ interest. Whether for those new to the sport, those looking for a speciality rod that won’t get used as a daily driver, or guides looking for a backup boat rod — the combo’s sub $200 price tag will no doubt turn heads.
The new, 4-piece Cruise rod, which is available only as a part of the rod and reel combo package, is available in a limited number of models. Anglers can choose from a 9’ 5-weight, a 10’ 7-weight, or a 9’ 8-weight. Greys describes the Cruise’s action as medium-fast, which is welcomed, as inexpensive fast-action or ultra-fast action rods almost always disappoint.
The paired Cruise reel, unsurprisingly, is die cast, but features a Rulon disk drag system. The large arbor reel is available in two sizes — 5/7 and 7/8 — and unlike the Cruise rod, the reel can be purchased independently for $69.95.
Rulon drag systems are generally very dependable, making the Cruise a candidate for both freshwater and saltwater duty. The Cruise should be up to handling fish that like to go on long runs and heat up reels — think carp and bonefish — but don’t expect to notch any IGFA tippet-class records with it, as Rulon systems tend to lack the silky-smooth (or at least, silkier) startup inertia more commonly found on carbon and cork disc-drag reels. For most anglers, that won’t be a concern, however.