Vision Onki Fly Rods.

Vision Onki 3 weight fly rod review on a small stream

Vision Onki 7’6 #3

A Finnish friend asked me if I would like to try a Vision Onki. Unsure if it was an unspeakable late-night behaviour, powerful drink, or a donkey with a speech impediment, I said yes, but with guarded enthusiasm.

Turns out that onki is Finnish for a fishing pole and line in its most basic form—think stick, bobber and string—but in truth the three-weight Vision Onki is anything but basic, and it was only a couple casts before I was considering forgetting my total lack of foreign language skills and moving to Finland.

Over grass, both the three- and five-weight rods are very accurate, sharp-handling and perfectly balanced with the supplied Vision “Tane” lines and Vision reels. I would call the actions medium-fast, with the five-weight leaning closer to fast and the three-weight closer to medium. In short or long casts the rods offered a lot of feedback and feel while retaining enough punch to make a long cast, and both are immediately user-friendly.

Vision Onki fly rod review on Twigwater

Cameron doing the big reach on small water.

Of course, casting in the park can only tell you so much about a fly rod, so I organised a day out with Victorian guide Cameron McGregor to test them over trout water large and small.

To properly test the #3, we headed to a fast, bouldery Northeast Victorian creek that requires a lot of short, accurate casts with odd mends to cover the very rapid tail-outs and short, deep pools. It’s fast, tough water for a small stream with challenging currents and lots of botanical matter hanging in all directions; up, down and sideways. Thankfully, there’s the odd trout to stop the tears.

In this environment, the rod punched well above its ~$400 price point and changed my view of what can be expected from a Korean-made blank of any price. In close, it’s very sweet and loads up very quickly while never feeling overlined on medium or longer casts. It is, at any realistic fishing distance, very competent.

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Fly fishing the Ovens River on Twigwater

Cameron on Ovens River near Bright Vic.

Towards evening, when we were both a little tired from climbing the cliff-like small stream, we headed to the Ovens River near Bright to swing the 9’ five-weight in larger, more open water. Like the three-weight, it’s crisp and accurate, but with even faster action that’s more suited to a five-weight and bigger water. Loop control is exceptional with lots of feedback through the blank. Finesse and feel are, of course, very nice, but most of the time, what I need out of a five-weight is enough grunt to send a pair of big flies sevently feet upstream without them landing like the Hindenburg. In this respect, the five-weight was right at home.

Vision Onki and brown trout on Twigwater

A perky little Ovens River brown trout.

While I haven’t had enough time with these rods to try my regular lines, or used them in high winds, I will say again that the supplied Vision lines were both spot-on for the line weight and actions, and clearly there’s a lot of good design going on, not just marketing.

The rods are as well made with green wraps over olive-green blanks and xxxx guides. The cork grips have composite sections for added strength and smoke-grey reel seats with green woodgrain inserts. The overall look is modern and busy without being over-the-top.

There are eleven models in the line-up, all four-piece, which come in Cordura tubes with internal dividers.

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Vision Onki 9' 5 weight fly rod on Twigwater

Vision Onki 9′ 5-weight.

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3 Comments

  • J-A says:

    Great to see a review of the Onki and Kalu combo. Did you feel that the Kalu was heavy on the #5 or was it just right? What size did you have? Leaning towards a Rulla reel to have a little bit lighter feel myself.

    • David says:

      Hi J-A,
      No, I didn’t feel they were heavy, but most of my own reels are Abel’s so that might sway my thinking.
      I like the look and feel of the Vision reels we had and think, like the rods they stack up pretty well for the money. (~$160 I think)
      I haven’t tried any other Vision reels (yet) so I can’t comment on the Rulla vs. the
      I thought both rods, with the Kalu reels, were very well balanced.

      • J-A says:

        Thank you David,

        Really enjoyed your review (great images btw). I already own a Kalu Black 5/6 and have nothing but positive to say about it. Feeling a bit envious reading your review and then looking out the window at a light snowfall… would rather be fishing in a small water lit by golden autumn light.

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