Choosing Fly Rods Page Two
Tests for Choosing a Fly Rod
Summary from Page One:
- Budget -- Your fly rod budget
- Guaranty -- should be lifetime or at least 25 years.
- Fish Species -- The fish species you are normally going to fish for.
- Fishing Distance -- most fish are caught within 20 feet of where you stand.
- Gender -- Gender may make a difference in choosing a rod because of the difference in upper body strength between men and women.
- Casting Ability -- Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced caster. Rod Actions defined and a recommendation for a mid-flex for beginner to intermediate caster. A fast, tip, or tip-flex action for advanced casters.
- Fly Lines -- Descriptions of Double Taper or Weight Forward lines. Advantages of each.
- Brands -- Stay with a major brand such as St. Croix
Legend Elite or Legend
Sage, Scott, Wright& McGill - Fly Girl for women,
Temple Fork Fly Rods designed by Lefty Kreh
- Guides and Reel Seat -- Examine the guides and reel seat for
superior components. The guides should be a high quality chrome finish
or better yet is nickel alloy for the guides and reel seats. Anodized
aluminum is also good for reel seats. If a wood insert is used in the
reel seat, is it firmly glued in place. The Cork Grip should be the finest
Portuguese cork. Probably the finest maker of rod components today is
- Spine Test -- Each section of a fly fishing rod has a spine.
The spine is where the rod flexes least. You want all the guides to be
lined up along the spine or on the side of the blank opposite the spine.
Some say guides aligned on the spine increase the distance and some say
opposite the spine increases accuracy. In either case you want the
guides on the spine or opposite.
Test for guide alignment. Assemble the rod with all the guides aligned. Rest the reel seat end on the floor. Place the tip in the palm of one hand. With the other hand gently put some pressure on the middle of the rod to bow it slightly. With your thumb and index fingers, carefully roll the rod until it jumps slightly. This is the spine. Roll the fly rod back and forth over the spine a couple of times until you know where the it is at. Then sight down the rod to see if the guides are lined up on the spine or opposite it.
- Choosing a balanced fly rod outfit -- Balance has two meanings
- The Rod, Reel and Line Weight are all matched to each other. For example a 5 wt rod would use a reel designed for a 5 wt line and a 5 wt double taper or weight forward line.
- The assembled unit of rod, reel and line achieve a reasonable physical balance.
Test for Physical Balance -- Assemble the rod with a reel and line to match the rod weight. Either bring your own rod and line or borrow one from the fly shop. String the rod and allow about 3 feet of line to hang down from the tip.
Extend the rod and allow the reel to hang down. Put your thumb on the cork grip where you normally would when casting.
Then place the rod on the edge of your index finger under the reel seat at the place where you put your thumb on top. The assembled rod, reel and fly line should balance level or close to it.
When you are making over 100 casts a day in a full days fishing, an unbalanced outfit can totally tire you out.
- The Casting Test -- The only true way to tell about a rod is to
put a matched reel and fly line and cast the assembled unit. Most fly
shops have a casting area where you can try out the outfit.
Try some 25 roll casts. You should be able to easily roll cast out to 30 feet on dry ground with your test rod. Try some 25 to 30 overhand casts. Again, you should be able to get out at least 40 feet without much effort.
How does the rod feel when casting? Is it too stiff or too fast an action? Is it mushy meaning too slow an action? When you load a rod into your back cast, how fast does the rod recover for the forward cast?
If the rod just does not feel ok, don't buy it. Go to the shop owner, tell him of your concerns and ask for help.
Remember a beginner to advanced caster will usually be happier with a Medium or Mid-Flex rod action. An advanced caster will appreciate the Fast or Tip action.
- Recommendations: I personally have used St Croix, Orvis and
G. Loomis rods for years in lengths from 6.5 feet to 9 feet. From
the Editor: I like the
St. Croix 9 foot 4 piece Legend Elite in a WF5 or DT5 line weight for a
power fly rod that can deliver a two nymph weighted rig or a delicate dry
Your most bang for the buck comes from the St. Croix Legend Ultra in a 9 foot 4 piece 5WF or 5DT line weight. The Legend Ultra is about $200 less than the legend elite and still has the same great St. Croix power and feel.
If you are a beginner or just want to get started for less money, the new St Croix Triumph fly fishing combo or Triumph fly rod is a great value. Fly fishing combos starting at $140 and flyrods at $90. Read fly fishing colorado's review of the Triumph Fly rod by clicking on the link.
Choosing Fly Rods -- Pg1
Learning what makes a premium fly rod