First Impressions

Mike Buriak is a fly fishing enthusiast, guide and part-time rod builder based near the Pine Creek Valley area of Pennsylvania. He makes a diverse collection of both fiberglass and bamboo rods, and carries a series of reels designed to complement his designs. The fiberglass blanks are sourced from a manufacturer in the Far East that builds them essentially to Buriak’s specifications. In other words, these aren’t off-the-shelf blanks.


The Mountain Brook Spring Creek Series comes in two lengths and line weights. We opted for the seven foot, six inch five weight which seemed right in the sweet spot of both personal preference and actual requirements for the Northern California small stream fishing we planned for this late summer, early autumn time frame.

The Spring Creek blank comes in one color, a rich honey yellow. And this spring we began working with Mike on spec’ing out all the various components for the final build. Buriak employs agate stripping guides, silk wrappings, nickel silver ferrules, wooden and engraved reel seats, and the high-quality cork handles as part of the standard kit.

Fiberglass: Mountain Brook Spec’d Fiberglass
Length: 7 ft, 6 in
Weight: 5 Wt

We chose an orange and black color scheme for the guide wraps, an uplocking reel seat and a seven inch wells grip. Over a several month period, we went back and forth with Buriak multiple times to get the color combination and construction details just right. There were times when weeks would go by without a project report, but ultimately Mountain Brook hit our late July delivery deadline.

The rod arrived decked out in an aluminum tube (Buriak will also custom make a bamboo tube should you so choose) and exactly as spec’d. It has that hand-crafted look with several coats of varnish, a nicely carved reel seat, filigreed keeper, and tight wraps. Buriak included one of his reels, Vom Hoffe-style product, which we matched with a Scientific Angler Mastery VPT line for our tests.


The Mountain Brook Spring Creek definitely has that old-school fiberglass rod feel to it. It’s heavier than today’s graphite and tends to be much more tip heavy than those more modern stream-side tools. The three-piece rod goes together via spigot ferrules that lack alignment dots on each section. I must admit, I do miss that nice, almost no cost feature, and prefer tip-over-butt construction as well. No matter, the Mountain Brook Spring Creek assembles easily.

One thing’s for sure, Buriak’s rods are no mere noodles in the hand. The Mountain Brook Spring Creek does have some backbone to it, more so than our comparable off-the-shelf offering, the Redington Butter Stick. It cast easily in that 15 to 25 foot range with small dry flies, exactly what we needed on the Yuba.

Final Verdict

Although we’ve been fly fishing for three decades or more, this was our first custom build. We really enjoyed the process of selecting all the elements and really like the way the finished rod fished. For us, the Mountain Brook Spring Creek is an instant classic. You can order yours at Mountain Brook Fly Rods.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And a big thanks to Mike Buriak at Mountain Brook Fly Rods for working with us on the custom build.