Re: Has Your Favorite Trout Rod Gotten Faster or Slower
I started with cane and then Scott Pow-R-Ply glass. I did not know how fast or slow those rods were compared to what was in existence because choices and availability were nowhere like they became latter. Also my casting skills were in (to be kind) the developmental stages. I taught myself to double haul with that glass rod standing on a rock promontory on a sub-alpine Montana lake as cutthroat rose to a sparse hatch...mostly out of my range. I met Harry Wilson in person for the first time at a FF Show and he convinced me that the then new graphite rods were the way to go and I got what has become the progenitor of the "G" series. Though moderate in action, at the time it felt, comparatively, fast. I grew into that rod quickly and its expanded performance was a revelation. I fished the Henry's Fork a lot during the 70's and 80's (well, though it is different now, I still visit it annually) and honed my presentation techniques on those bank and weed bed edge sippers. Many a great angler frequented that river back in the day and it was there that I was first exposed to the quartering downstream, reach and areal mend dry fly presentation technique to get a fly first, tippet upstream long, drag-free drift. You need not have been concerned about "feeling" your fish if your were fortunate enough to feed it regardless of your fly rod action because the small headed, slab flanked rainbows of those days would put a bend in any rod as they ripped and leaped their way down river...your reel screaming.
As rods got better, AND THEY HAVE, and as my casting skills and presentation repertoire have evolved, my thoughts on fly, rod, reel and line design and how they enhance my trout fishing experience have clarified for me as well. There has been a direct evolutionary line starting with the second generation of classic cane rod makers that went with Tonkin over their fathers' Calcutta cane up to today's high modulus carbon fiber rod designers to build a rod that is lighter, more communicative, better tracking, with less oscillation in the tip and more reserve available in the lower taper. The intent is to craft a fly rod that generates tighter loops with higher line speed to further articulate line control thus presentation, while simultaneously enhancing the elegant sensation of "feel"; what I call communicate. We went from feeling the mass of subtly tapered bamboo to hollow glass to the point where our most technically advance graphite rods of today eschew the sense of fly rod mass in preference for the feeling of the fly line mass taking articulate presentation to a revolutionary level.
OK, I am refereeing to technical dry fly presentation on the Fork, upper Delaware or Missouri head waters not swimming a caddis pupa on a Hemlock canopied mountain brook, where, like Jackster said earlier in this thread, I would select a rather different rod from among the varied personality choices I posses in my quiver. So, to put a cap on my morning diatribe and answer the question of the thread; I have methodically embraced new design trends in rods that have gotten lighter via smaller diameter and thinner walls, more precise in their taper transitions that allow power to be applied by varying your stroke length and speed to cast off the tip or reach into the lower taper with authority to crate a tight loop with feeling and accuracy at as wide a spectrum of distances as possible. Faster, yes, more control and communication, that too.