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dougm 04-01-2005 06:18 PM

My Favorite Light Rod
 
Now 70+ years old, with a bad back and other ailments, it seems appropriate I tell you about my favorite fly rod...

Did you ever follow the works of a gentleman named Wulff - Lee Wulff - to be specific. Of course you have ... Master Angler, Master Fly Caster, Master of the Atlantic Salmon, and, perhaps more germane to this discussion, Master of Little Rods. Lee's choice was little in length but not necessarily weight. By the way, it's said he could fly cast bare handed about 40-feet.

I've always thought there was Magic in little rods ... There are also disadvantages I suppose, but the Magic is more important. Somehow or other, the modern fly fisher has become ingrained with the notion that a rod has to be 9-feet in length (or there abouts) to be worth a damn. The truth is that Lee Wulff threw a 6 to 6.5-foot rod 80-feet in his pursuit of his favorite fish, the Atlantic Salmon.

In the Spring of 1963, I returned from my first tour in Paradise, better known to you as Vietnam. In 1963 no one in this Country knew where the hell it was or, for that matter, what was going on in Paradise. I would suppose that I close to being a basket case in those days.

I did some solitude in and about the Tampa area and one day stumbled into a small fishing shop called Betts. Seems the then owner was into fly fishing, and there, on a rack, stood this itty-bitty fly rod. It was made of fiberglass and was exactly 6-feet in length.

I did just exactly what you would do: I performed the ritual "wiggle test." The rod wasn't fancy -- an amber blank, a slender cork grip wrapped very much like the old Orvis bamboos, and an aluminum downlocking reel seat. It felt like a feather...

After lot of palaver, the then owner and I ventured outside and proceeded to cast the little rod. Suffice it to say that I bought the little 2-piece jewel for about 30 bucks ... Of course, $30.00 in 1963 wasn't what we could call cheap.

After all these years, the little rod still casts like it did those many years ago. Many of my clients have had the opportunity of throwing it and each of the lucky have praised it, most offering money far beyond its original cost.

My hope is that each of you can find a favorite rod that you are attached to as I am to mine.

Doug

Gordon Bryson 04-06-2005 08:59 PM

Re: My Favorite Light Rod
 
Hey Doug, that wasn't the short rod you brought up to our fly club meeting in Tyler was it? I seem to recall it was about 5 feet, but may be wrong.
I've been wanting to build up a shorter rod, probably about 6 feet. In your opinion, should the action be fast, or is there that much difference in the shorter rod blanks?

dougm 04-07-2005 02:07 PM

Re: My Favorite Light Rod
 
Hi Gordon,

Right on -- It's the same rod. It's a 2-piece, 6-footer with a delightful action.

By all means build one ... I have little doubt that you will come to love it. In the shorter rods, I favor either bamboo or fiberglass. It seems to me that both flavors typically offer actions better suited for shorter rods. My little Betts has an action I would describe as Medium and, as you recall, threw a mean line w/ tight loops with ease. Here's how I see the short rod in comparison with its brethern:

(QUOTE)
The Long and Short of it

Short Rods

Advantages

Ease of transport: A more expensive travel version is not required
Maneuverable: Easy to cast in confined areas - trees, brush, small streams.
Lighter in Weight: Short rods weigh less than long rods of the same weight.
Fun--A Challenge: Not forgiving of casting errors. Requires best effort.
Fast: Develops high line speed easily; throws a tight loop.

Disadvantages

Mending Line: Comparatively speaking - difficult.
Hard Work: It takes more effort to be efficient.
Short Lever: Increases the difficulty of lifting the line into the backcast.

Long Rods

Advantages

High Backcast: Enables a higher backcast with comparative ease.
Long Lever: Comparative ease in lifting line from the water.
Mending Made Easy: When mendng line is critical, do it with ease.
Casting Error: Long rods are much more forgiving of mistakes.

Disadvantages

Weight: Length adds weight.
Awkward and Clumsy: Easy to tangle in close quarters.
Casts a Wider Loop: Don't kid yourself, the short rod has advantages
Advantage Fish: In the landing zone, it's advantage fish. (END QUOTE)

I happen to have a fast custom graphite that's also a 6-footer. Note that it is not the rod I elected to bring along when I visited with you in Tyler.

Wishing you all my best,

Doug

Gordon Bryson 04-09-2005 06:37 PM

Re: My Favorite Light Rod
 
Thanks Doug. I really think a six footer is what I'll try next. Your comments are appreciated. Hope you're going to get back up here again some time.

Ken43 01-24-2006 09:14 PM

Re: My Favorite Light Rod
 
Doug:
What weight is you little 6' rod??? I have a short rod that is a 3-4 weight. I sure like it for small streams.

dougm 01-25-2006 01:38 PM

Re: My Favorite Light Rod
 
Hi Ken,

It's a 4-weight. Ordinarily, I fish it with a DT-4-F since the DT roll casts so much better than a WF. However, the little rod will also throw a 3-weight without any difficulty... What a delight on small waters.

Doug

BigCliff 01-25-2006 02:54 PM

Re: My Favorite Light Rod
 
I found a 6' glass blank online I may want to build into a short fly rod. Its supposed to be a ultra light spinning blank, so I'll have to figure out what line it wants to cast, but that doesn't bother me, the blank is only $5. Planning on shaping a grip from cork rings, sliding ring seat, and about the cheapest guides I can find. Shoud be able to build the thing for under $40. Found it on rod-blanks.com. They have a 3pc 8' 5wt I may tackle after getting warmed up on the shorty.

Ken43 01-25-2006 04:35 PM

Re: My Favorite Light Rod
 
I didn't and don't have the ability to build a rod, never tried, however, my shorty is a St. Croix 3-4 weight. Like you said they are great on small streams. I have a good friend who has a cattle ranch in Wyo. I fish on his 40 acre pond for large rainbows and on the stream with my shorty stuff up to
20". He has some real big fish on his pond. I have been fishing there for about 25 years. Go every year as soon as they are out of ice on the pond.


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