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Old 01-03-2012, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Here is an additional 2 cents added to Silver Cr.'s excelent posting on rod load dynamics: A properly desiganted #5 line rod (of faster action) when overlined to compensate for a specific angler's slower stroke preference, diminishes the tracking and accuaracy of the rod by overlaoding the tip. Perhaps not on a short, lower line-speed cast but as greater acceleration of the line is called upon for more distance the effective "tip" is actually lowered into the upper section by the increased mass/velocity of the airealized line. Essentialy the tip is collapsing under load, increasing wobbling fibrilation in the tip section inducing bumps in the loop formation and decreased communication with the line.

There is, in my view, a common missconception that fuller flexing rods produce more delicate dry fly presentations than faster tapered rods of the same length and line weight. The sense is that the more deliberate timing feels gentler than the quicker, tight-loop geneating faster rod. Lets take a look at this: The slower rod, gentler stroke produces a more open, lower line-speed loop that delcatly unfurles upon the water delivering, with diminishing energy, a not fully straigtened curvey leader to get some extra drift out of the dry fly. It is also sending line impact, as it lands on the water, shook waves to the fish before the fly actually drops onto the surface as the line hit the water first. Conversly, the properly loaded quicker rod generates a higher line-speed, tighter loop that can be directed with improved accuracy, has the power to turn the leader over in mid air allowing extra time to execute a reach cast, in-air mend and, perhaps, give a little wiggle to the rod tip to generate the desired amplitude of curves in the line/leader assembly and directing the unfurled fly to the feeding lane as the line decends to the water's surface in a controled, precise manor.

Therefore, even on the smooth but complex, braided currents of a spring creek like Silver Creek, where the ultimate in accuarcy and delicacy of presentation is a perequisit for success, a faster (not stiff but well designed steeper tapered) rod, fished with the appropriate degree of casting acceleration will (in the hands of a capable angler) be the superior fishing instrument to a mid flexing rod requiring a slowly timed stroke. And, to stir your imagination further, a #4 or 5 rod will present a dry fly more delicatly than a #1 or 2 weight because the greater line mass permits superior in-air line control for precisly controled fly placement.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

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Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post
There is, in my view, a common missconception that fuller flexing rods produce more delicate dry fly presentations than faster tapered rods of the same length and line weight. The sense is that the more deliberate timing feels gentler than the quicker, tight-loop geneating faster rod. Lets take a look at this: The slower rod, gentler stroke produces a more open, lower line-speed loop that delcatly unfurles upon the water delivering, with diminishing energy, a not fully straigtened curvey leader to get some extra drift out of the dry fly. It is also sending line impact, as it lands on the water, shook waves to the fish before the fly actually drops onto the surface as the line hit the water first. Conversly, the properly loaded quicker rod generates a higher line-speed, tighter loop that can be directed with improved accuracy, has the power to turn the leader over in mid air allowing extra time to execute a reach cast, in-air mend and, perhaps, give a little wiggle to the rod tip to generate the desired amplitude of curves in the line/leader assembly and directing the unfurled fly to the feeding lane as the line decends to the water's surface in a controled, precise manor.
I agree but also disagree. What it biols down to is learning to cast either rod in a correct manner. Both can achieve distance, grace, and line control when in the hands of someone who can cast them propperly.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

No dissagreement here. Rather, I was refering to someone striving to "slow down" a quicker rod via over-lining. The over-lined rod will suffer loss of comunication with the line. Never-the-less, the high line-speed method I was describing is asssited by rod designs with suitable mid and butt reserves of power often at odds with the design of more full flexing models. It is the ability to access available power from different portions of the taper that make faster actioned rods advantagous to thoes, like yourself, who can adjust your stroke and timing to different rods characteristics.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

If these interpretive writings are to start towards likes, preferences and what can be expected from a personal performance standpoint.
Then one more element, dampening should be included into the " Fly rod line rating, power and action " equation.

Is anyone saying that there are not medium fast flex profile rods that don't dampen as fast or faster than some of their fast flex profile counterparts?

Dampening has a great deal to do with sensory response and how casters perceive, interpret and react to what a rod is doing during the cast. In a practical sense, dampening is every bit as important to ones connection with a rod as flex profile. What appeals to one caster and eludes another about the same rod, is the mixture of all the elements, more so than any single element or characteristic. This helps explain why some people find rods of greatly different make up, appealing to use for essentially the same application.

Another function of quicker dampening rods can be improved distance. A rod whose tip will not stop oscillating during the shoot will often have tell tale waves traveling down it's running line, which rob energy from the downrange flight. The quicker that tip comes to rest, the less likely those waves are to form. However, drift or bobble, the inability to stop the tip travel at the end of the stroke can also result in waves.

As hard as it would be to quantify on a person by person basis, along with all the above issues already presented, the physicality of the caster has a great deal to do with the outcome. While this can be a contentious topic, stature, muscle response and yes strength all play a role and often reflect themselves in line load preferences, rod length and action.

It's been interesting getting to know you through your thoughts on this subject, I'll tune in as time permits.

Thanks all, TT


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Last edited by trout trekker; 01-03-2012 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Fantastic read and discussion, very informative and thought provoking.
How about posting this thread up as a "sticky"?
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Allow me add one other proposition as more food for discussion.

I am of the opinion that it is easier to learn to cast a tight loop over a range of distances with a faster action fly rod than a slower action fly rod. I arrive at this conclusion because casting over at wide range of conditions, requires that the fly rod flex over the range of energy that is required to cast over those distances.

A faster fly rod bends less and shortens less over that range of casts than a slower rod. That means it requires a greater range of adjustments of the stroke path to cast a slow rod than a fast rod. It would seem to me to be more difficult to perform a greater range of adjustments than a smaller range.

Said another way, the same degree of convexity of stroke will cast a tight loop over a greater range of distances with a fast rod than a slow rod.

I understand that an accomplished caster can cast tight loops with slow or fast rods, and I also understand that there is a limit to the validity this proposition. A stiff rod that does not bend at all cannot provide the feel of a rod that does bend. But within the parameters of commercially fly rods, I think moderately fast fly rods are best as teaching tools for beginners.

What say you all? What rod action is the sweet spot for learning to cast.

---------- Post added at 02:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:34 PM ----------

Lest we have a physicist that notes in my post about rod bending and load that KE refers to the energy of the moving fly line and PE (potential energy) is the energy stored in the flexed fly rod, I do realize that. I used KE to illustrate that the energy of a cast relies more on velocity than mass.

Casting Physics


Master the Cast: Fly Casting in ... - George V. Roberts - Google Books
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

I'll agree with that 100%! My first fly rod was a "fast action" 9wt and once I figured out how the rod loads properly lined it was easier to figure out other rods. I think a rod right in the middle would be the best teaching tool from there one can figure out weather they want to move ahead to the fast tapers or move down to the slower tapers.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Excellent post Silver, very well thought out and put together. Thanks for the education. I agree with your notion that medium-medium fast action rods are generally easier for beginning casters. With that said, and after some thought, I also think that depending on the caster's style sometimes it may be easier to learn on a faster action rod. Maybe even on a slower rod, again, dependent on style.

Also agree with your opinion that fast action rods make it easier to learn to cast a tight loop over a range of distances with a faster action fly rod than a slower action fly rod. I'm backing this up with personal experience. I had a Sage Launch rod that I was very proficient with in closer range, but I got sloppy going for distance. When I retired the rod and upgraded to a Z Axis, my distance improved significantly once I was able to adjust my stroke to suit the rod.

Again, thanks for the well written informative post and comments supporting the discussion.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

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Originally Posted by jaybo41 View Post
I had a Sage Launch rod that I was very proficient with in closer range, but I got sloppy going for distance. When I retired the rod and upgraded to a Z Axis, my distance improved significantly once I was able to adjust my stroke to suit the rod
I can attest to this, it was ugly with that Launch!
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

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I can attest to this, it was ugly with that Launch!
What took you so long?!?
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