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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2012, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Interesting but all this defining and explaining leaves my head swimming so how would you explain this then:

First some credentials: Macauley
Then an article by the writer: Fly Casting Tips | MidCurrent and lastly note his assessment of overlining about half way down page one.

"Over-Lining a Rod You can make a rod’s action “slower” by overlining the rod with a fly line rated one size higher. "

Also isn't power often used to describe the casting quality of a fly rod and for that matter the fighting power of a particular rod and in both of those cases it isn't just about the lifting power of the rod is it? The general definition that most rod makers use for power is - the force needed to flex the rod or the rod's resistance to flex. Some rod makers go on to define lifting power, casting power and fighting power.

About the simplest explanation that I've seen that seemingly incorporates all of the above is the Common Cents System and they use another power term, intrinsic power!

The Common Cents System
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

I see no mention here of anything but a progressive taper. Before the advent of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) rods - glass, graphite, and boron - the split cane rods were created with many different casting tapers.

One of the favorite tapers among cane rodmakers today is what is known as a "parabolic taper" or "semi-parabolic taper". Many rodmakers of "the Golden Age" designed with a gentle version of the parabolic taper. The original parabolic was probably the Castleconnell Kick rod; which acted as described - the butt would start the cast, a more limber mid-section would cause delay, and then throw the relatively stiff tip section over quickly. Inelegant, but very good for heaving out lots of line for salmon.

With a cane rod you have a significant amount of mass that is lacking in an FRP rod. This allows for more varied casting strokes. For example, with a 10' "wet fly action" (straight taper) the tip has appreciable mass. [ many wet fly rods were lighter on the scales than a dry fly rod of the same length, but they felt tip-heavy.] So, it is possible to simply bend the wrist - no arm movement required - and watch the tip load to the mid. On the forward cast the tip will - depending on the rod - actually stay in line with the line as it shoots, before straightening. This allowed for fewer false casts (false casts dried the fly you wanted to sink). To perform an upstream mend when the line was already on the water, you could just roll your hand and the mass of the tip would flip the line over.

Just some thoughts. YMMV
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Fly Fisherman magazine has recently published a portion of Simon Gawesworth's book Single-Handed Spey Casting.

The Fly Cast - Fly Fisherman

I wanted to add a quote from his book because it illustrates another important difference between rod actions for identical line weight fly rods.

Before I can explain the difference, I need to explain that when a fly rod bends, the "effective rod length" or what Simon would call the "lever length" of the rod shortens. In the illustration #5 And #6 below, it is the dotted line. In geometry this line is called the chord. A chord is the line that joins any two points on circle or an arc. Since the rod bends in an arc as we cast, we can define the effective rod length as the length of the chord from the rod tip to our casting hand.

It is obvious that if we are to cast so that the rod tip moves in a straight line for a tight loop, we must compensate with our casting stroke for the rod shortening.

Given the facts above, we can see that substituting a heavier fly line to slow the timing of the cast, does not make a fast rod into a slow rod. The timing might slow but the degree of rod shortening of the fast rod over time (graphed during the rod stroke) will not duplicate the shortening of the slow rod over time. So the caster still must modify his casting stroke if there is to be tight loop formation. Going up in line weight does not make a fast action rod into a slow action rod.

For rods of identical length and identical line rating but different rod actions, the faster action rod shortens less for a given casting stroke. Because it shortens less, the faster action rod is a longer lever and can accelerate the line faster for a given rod stroke.

Simon writes:

"An aside note is that two rods of the same length don’t necessarily have the same leverage. If you took a nine-foot rod that was very fast and a nine-foot rod that was very soft and slow and you loaded them up with identical line weight and length, the fast rod would actually be a longer lever. My dad, who was a teacher of math and physics before he became a fly-fishing instructor, showed me this one day while trying to give me an understanding of fly casting. The easiest way to see this is through illustrations #5 and #6."

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Another good addition to an outstanding topic Silver. Thanks for the update. BTW, that's a very good book that you referenced.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Another thing to consider is that the number on the rod is only a guideline. It's that guy who put the number on the rod opinion. You may feel it need a heavier or lighter line. The number is there for beginners that has no idea were to start so they have a clue what to choose.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

I found this high speed (500 frames/sec) video with a "virtual broomstick" that tracks the bending of the fly rod during the cast. I like it to demonstrate how the shortening of the fly rod tip to casting hand distance (chord). The casting stroke must compensate of this rod shortening or a tailing loop will form.

m1_2p_broom_zps47ed9361.mp4 Video by streamdance | Photobucket

Watch this video carefully several times. There is much more going on than you think. Pay attention and you can learn what actually happens during a cast.

First watch how the rod shortens compared to the virtual broomstick. Then watch the casting stroke.

Notice that the caster has 3 body joints that are potential points of rod rotation = the shoulder, the elbow, and the wrist. Rod rotation is important because rotation of the fly rod result in a CONVEX arc that cancels the shortening of the rod. You need a convex stroke and rod rotation to counter the concave path that results from fly rod shortening. Otherwise you will get a tailing loop.

So with those points in mind, notice the position of the caster's shoulder (elevated and straight out), his elbow (flexed) and his wrist (cocked back) at the beginning of the forward cast. Then look at the position with the shoulder (angled down), elbow (extended), and wrist (cocked forward).

All these joint movements counter the rod shortening. Note that the wrist is NOT lock throughout the cast but flicks forward at the end of the cast. This rapid wrist movement just before the stop is what controls the size of the fly line loop. Small flick = a small or tight loop, and a larger flick = a larger loop.

This illustration from Jason Borger's book demonstrates this principle.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by silver creek; 08-23-2013 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck S.
Also isn't power often used to describe the casting quality of a fly rod and for that matter the fighting power of a particular rod and in both of those cases it isn't just about the lifting power of the rod is it? The general definition that most rod makers use for power is - the force needed to flex the rod or the rod's resistance to flex. Some rod makers go on to define lifting power, casting power and fighting power.

About the simplest explanation that I've seen that seemingly incorporates all of the above is the Common Cents System and they use another power term, intrinsic power
Good points, and good catch, Chuck. Once again we have a problem with definitions. Bill Hannemin, who came up with the CCS (Common Cents System) for rating fly rods defines " intrinsic rod power" and simply "power" as resistance to bending (or stiffness) - nothing else. Tim Rajeff (Echo rod designer and owner) uses the terms "power" and "stiffness" interchangeably in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHlJQUOm7wM

However, that definition of "power"does not comply with common usage meaning of the more commonly used adjective "powerfull" (ie. powerful bulldozer, car, crane etc. or power weight lifter.).

So to the general public, or the uninitiated, they would logically assume that a powerful rod would be needed for tuna, say. Not so. A "strong" rod is needed for tuna, a powerful rod is needed by Steve Rajeff for distance competitions. The is no correlation between "stiffness" and "strength". There may be no correlation between "power' and "strength" either for all I know - not being well- educated in physics.

Anyhow, if the word "power" is to be used to denote "stiffness", then I believe it should always be used in conjunction with "casting" (ie. "casting power"). And "strength" should probably likewise be used in conjunction with "lifting".

I am sure that rod blank builders, when discussing a rod design with a customer, use those adjectives (and probably many others) to find out exactly what the customer wants. Not everyone immerses himself in the minutia that we do.

As for the Macauley passage, I think it depends on one's perspective. Certainly from a manufacturer's perspective, or an "intrinsic" perspective, the rod action simply cannot be changed. It is what it is. If you go beyond the loading anticipated by the manufacturer, the bending curve will change, HOWEVER, I think that before an individual casting stroke ends, shortly into the unloading stage, the bending curve will revert to the curve defined as "fast action". But that is just how I envision it happening.

What do the rest of you think?
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Jim,

I think that we place too much emphasis on casting "power" without tying it to practical applications. For example, if you have a very stiff progressive taper rod and wish to fish streamers, you will find that you need to bring most of the line to the surface before you can make the backcast. However, with a slower action rod, you can use the long flex of the rod to draw line out of the water and into the backcast. This means less time in getting the next cast out.

Charles Ritz illustrates this issue in "The Flyfisher's Life" with the initials LF/LL (Long Flex/Long Lift). In the image below, from that book, you see the difference in flex available through different tapers.

Click the image to open in full size.

Notice the Ritz-Garcia (with a glass butt and a long cane tip) has the last 11" of the tip thicker than normal. Usually, a rod would have a drop for the last 11", for delicacy. Also, the mid is fairly stiff, but the butt flexes more.

I don't think I would enjoy that rod, as it would be like one of the early parabolics - line would kick out, with little user control. However, for streamer fishing it would probably be ideal.

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Old 09-07-2013, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

I agree with you there, Reed. I have an FE Thomas billed as a "streamer rod", which was probably the most popular fishing method in Maine when he was was making them, for Atlantic and landlock salmon as well as large brookies.

I like casting power for most inshore saltwater fishing, but once you get into big fish inshore or off, fighting strength takes precidence over casting power for me. That could be why the TCX was cut off at 10 wt. and I'd guess the most popular for the salt in that line are probably the 8 and 9s. I have them in 7 and 8 wts. Or I suppose it could be that if they changed the butt strength then it would no longer be a TCX.

As with casting techniques/styles following conditions , I think rod selection criteria should also follow expected conditions of use. I think getting locked into one rod "action" and one "style" of casting to match that action to the exclusion of all others is a self-imposed limitation. It is not that big a deal to make some casting changes and take advantage of the plethora of available rods. Used rods at reasonable prices are always available.

PS: I have always wanted to cast a Young parabolic just to see what they are like.
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Last edited by wjc; 09-07-2013 at 01:27 PM. Reason: afterthought
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

F.E. Thomas was among the greatest designers/makers of cane rods. He made styles for every type of fishing and (almost) every pocketbook. His rods are still undervalued, IMO.
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