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Old 04-11-2013, 01:44 PM
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Default Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

This is an invitation for forum members to discuss their notion of "balance" for their rods and reels. Having just purchased a Ross F1 #3, and also owning a Hatch Finatic 3 Plus, I'm acutely aware of the endless opinions that both reels are too heavy to balance modern, light-weight rods. This leaves me wondering whether anyone has actually fitted a rod with these heavier reels and found the outfit imbalanced, or whether the mere concept of the objectively greater weight scares people without even trying them. Consider the following.

My Ross F1 is loaded with Rio Grande WF6 and @150 yrds. backing. The reel alone weighs 6.5oz (which is the same weight as the similarly sized Hatch Finatic 5 Plus). When placed on my Scott S4 9' 6wt., which weighs 3.0oz, the outfit is perfectly balanced over my index finger within a half inch behind the front of the cork grip (and this without line through the guides), which is the natural position for my index finger when casting. Clearly the leverage created by the length of the rod demands a significantly heavier reel, yet I constantly read about 3-4oz. reels on similarly weighted rods as being "balanced." What does "balanced" mean to you?
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

The latest rod I obtained is a Sage 379 LL GII. I have a Redington Drift 3/4 reel that I got for it. They are machined alum., and are light for the money etc.

I spooled up some RIO WF3F Trout LT on it, strung the line thru the guides and it still felt butt heavy. I'm not sure how much backing I have on the spool, but I always leave enough room for when I reel in the line, if it stacks a bit it won't rub on the frame.

I have a Redington Drift 2/3 for my Sage SPL 282. So I got an extra spool for it, put the 3wt line on it, put it on the LL , strung the line and it feels so much better. It balances as your rod does for you, about an inch or so behind the front of the grip.

When casting I can feel the rod more, instead of feeling like I have a counter weight behind my hand. The difference in the listed reel weight is only.2 oz, but it sure feels like more. But then I'm not able to get nearly the backing on the 2/3, compared to the 3/4.

So to answer your question; balance to me is being able to feel the rod flexing, loading etc., not feeling like I have a counter weight behind my hand.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

Balance to me means that if after a long day of fishing I don't feel like I am worn out the combo is balanced. Usually if I can balance the rod on my finger, somewhere along the handle, I consider a rod/reel well balanced. Weight? I don't care, I fish mainly Bamboo and if I can't fish it all day long I better find another hobby.

All that being said, I don't usually fish more than a 5 weight. That opinion might change later this year when I target Steelhead with a switch rod.


Just my $.02,
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

I think that the bigger and heavier the rod is the more that it makes a difference.
Three of my rods come immediately to mind where the reel that I use is not as heavy as it should be, but those rods aren't really typical of what most people would use "everyday"
A 10' IM6 8wt, a 9' fiberglass 8wt (7.5oz), and a 8.5 bamboo 6wt.
Those 3 rods are very noticeably tip heavy without the proper reel.

I can't see it happening the other way around...... you just use a smaller reel
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

Simply put, the lighter the better. I guess that makes it a personal preference.
I tend towards rods that are lightweight for their line weights so in the same token seek lightweight reels to work with them as a tuned unit. When you get both to work in harmony they are forgotten and become an extension of your arm.

On the topic of balance, I was told some of the old Pflueger reels had a compartment in which you could put splitshot to help balance the rig. If that is true I liken it to taping coins to a record player tone arm to make the music sound better. Just as adding weight to the tone arm was hard on the stylis and record grooves I imagine swinging extra weight around over thousands upon thousands of cast might just take a toll on elbows and shoulders.
Even if someone says casting heavy rigs builds character and muscles I'll say that the lighter the more pleasant the experience.
Consider that even going back to the 1930's weight was considered a challenge to be tackled which caused Winston to come up with a device that allowed them to make hollow-fluted bamboo rods to reduce weight.
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Last edited by Jackster; 04-12-2013 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

I just balance my loaded reels to rods for where I want the fulcrum point to be when not in casting use and don't try to convince others that my way is the correct way. Balance is in the hand of the holder.

However, every set of tackle I own will sit atop the point of my index finger with the line strung and a fly on the keeper. They balance right at the top of the cork just below the winding check

And that my friends is a beautiful thing
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

However, every set of tackle I own will sit atop the point of my index finger with the line strung and a fly on the keeper. They balance right at the top of the cork just below the winding check.

If I add, the longer a rod, the extra "lightness" in a reel may create the rod to feel tip heavy. That's my observation anyway.

So yeah, I set my rigs up as Ard mentioned.
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

My Sage RPL Graphite III 5 wt. 7'6" balances great with my Allen Trout II #1. This balance point is right at the palm swell of the cork grip. I can sit the setup on my index finger at the palm swell. Very comfortable.
I have an old Bronson Royal reel from the 60's (made in USA) Basically a Pflueger knockoff , that balances perfectly with my Allen Myth 6'6" 3wt. Not sure where the sweet spot or fulcrum point is supposed to be. Feels right at the center of the cork grip where it swells. But I'm no expert. Probably would only make a difference when fishing all day or for long periods. The better it balances, the easier it is to accomplishes the work it is required to do with the least ill effect on the caster.
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Last edited by noreaster; 04-12-2013 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

From what I'm reading, it seems that several of you also prefer to have the rod balance when placed over your index finger near the tip of the group (give or take an inch in location I assume). This again leaves me wondering why people seeking a balanced outfit are so concerned about the weight of a Hatch or Ross reel. As discussed, a loaded 6.5oz reel balances a 9' 3oz rod. How would a Lamson Velocity 2 possibly balance that rod, or any similar rod, when the reel weighs in at 3.7oz (I only pick on that reel because it seems very popular on these boards and seems to be a popular choice for the S4)? The difference in weight is essentially the weight of the rod! Anyone with a similarly light reel set-up care to weigh in?

BTW, this is not an attempt to disparage light reels or defend heavy reels, if such designations can even be ascribed. I tend to agree that an overall lighter outfit is more pleasant to fish (though I imagine some would disagree). It just makes me wonder if reels generally have outpaced rods in weight reduction without considering how they balance a rod.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: Reel Balance - An Objective Truth or Personal Prefernce?

Is it "better" to check the rod/reel balance using just your index finger OR holding the rod/reel in a natural grip position, for me that is about 1-2" behind the hook keeper. As I mentioned in another thread, one rod felt "more balanced" than another rod, and I was holding each rod in a natural casting grip for me. Or is all a personal preference thing as well.
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