Originally Posted by sweetandsalt
fly casting is NOT a natural motion
Which is exactly why my personal preference is to find the rod/action that makes it feel as natural as possible. Take sweetandsalt's Rail Road Ranch analogy and scale it down to 4 back from the bank hiding on Falling Springs Branch at the Quarry Rd access during a Trico spinner fall, I don't want a tight fast action rod because it doesn't feel organic and natural to me I want the rod flexing into the mid section where it meets enough reserve power to turn the 18" brown away from the cress and elodea, why because its my personal preference. Now put me on a jetty with a blitz of bass and blues frothing a good 60 to 70' out with some NE wind and a 2/0 Deceiver, what feels natural is a fast tight rod because I want that punch along with the line speed to cut the wind and put a big wind resistant fly out there. Personal preference has to play a role at some point in time otherwise fly rod makers/builders would have only one taper available. Glass rods would not becoming back into popularity at the rate they are and cane rods would be long gone. Does a carpenter who works with old fashioned hand tools have any less skill than one who works with the "best" new tools? What makes them different? Personal preference.
As far as what makes one rod outperform another is all in the materials used, the stress curves of the taper, and the ability of the user.