Originally Posted by eightyfour
I feel though balance is crucial, I bought a TFO Lefty Kreh finesse series 2 wt and the grays gs reel was a bit too heavy, making it back heavy and I think out of balance. The balance point of the rod was right before the reel seat and the rod just didnt have the feel. I bought a battenkill from Orvis, and that pushed the balance point of the rod back up onto the cork handle about 3 inches, it casts better and I don't have to fight the offset.
Opinion: balance is conceptualized as "To each is own." I personally like things working together and not one force overpowering another.
I don't own, nor have I fished with a 2 wt rod. I can see your point though. Perhaps my comment should have read more to both extremes at the heavy AND the light side. Trying to cast a rod that feels like an upside down hammer could easily take some of the fun/feel out of casting and fishing, and would not fall under my definition of matching the rod and reel.
I guess my response was more geared toward a more common sense approach to balancing your rig where balance isn't as important as matching your equipment - buying lighter reels for today's lighter rods (that are within a reasonable weight range for reels designed to work with that weight and length rod) seems to be the more important point. In the conversation of balancing versus matching, matching may be the more important term with an emphasis on keeping things (reels) lighter being overall better. This reduces fatigue (in extreme cases with heavy reels) and gives better line feel (with likely all rods). For those who consider buying a size 3 reel to share with rods that range in size from 3 wt to 7 wt would take the balance question to an extreme, not be matching at all and make the 3 wt through 5wt rods much less fun to fish with.
When I started shopping for new rods, the sales people spent a lot of time talking about balancing the reel and rod. The conversation was really over reels that were, for the most part, within .3 to one full ounce of each other. On a shorter 2 wt rod, I could see an ounce being somewhat noticeable. On an 8 1/2 or 9 foot rod, I agree with the rest of the comments in this thread. I believe those comments are all largely intended to address this type of conversation. It is not as important as it is sometimes made out to be.
Silver Creek also makes a valid point for doing exactly the opposite on a rig purchased for one specific type of fishing rather than a more all purpose solution.
There is an exception to every rule as Silver Creek mentions. In my opinion, lighter is likely (almost) always better, but is much less important than what many salespeople make it out to be. I'm really speaking to those who don't have $500-$1,500 (more if it's a bamboo rod) to spend on a rod/reel/line combo. Those who can afford to spend this kind of money are likely buying better reels that match the quality and size of their rods. For the $500-$1,500 crowd, I am not the guy you should be taking advice from.
For newer anglers and/or those on a budget, choosing the right reel should be a compromise between fitting their budget, whether they will use the reel for a purpose other than to store the fly line, the type of drag they want, type of arbor, quality/strength of the reel (machined vs. not and weight), designed to work with the size line you will be using on the rod, matching the rod itself, and for those who care... finding a reel that looks good with the rod they are putting it on. A $50 reel can catch as many fish as a $300 reel. As the price and quality of your equipment improves (rod included), what you can do with that equipment improves. However, the person buying a $150 rod shouldn't feel like they have to buy a $300 reel to "balance" the rod. This was the only point I was trying to make.
I should also say that before I started this thread, I did not feel comfortable answering this question myself. I put all of this together in large part from information learned on this site and putting that information to the test while rod/reel shopping in a number of shops and on-line stores/reviews. (I hope I got it right ;-)) I really appreciate how helpful those in this forum have been to me. All the input is much appreciated!!