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Old 01-29-2013, 01:55 PM
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Default Rod weights and Common Cents

Recently there has been a ton of posts asking if they should overline a rod, or what line for this rod. I almost always reply that it depends on the rod. Not all makers mark their rods as what they really are. In fact it is a rare rod that is what it is claimed to be. Given that fact, I generally tell them to test the rod and see what it really is. It is not hard to do and there are a lot of rods that have already been tested and the results published on the web.

Here is the Common Cents System method of telling what weight your rod really is: The Common Cents System

A chart that makes more sense than the one they provide and does larger rods: Full ERN chart

OK, now I am going to give you the fast easy directions to finding out what weight your rod really is.

1. Trap your rod by the handle parallel to the floor with the tip of the rod more than 1/3 the rod's length, higher than the floor. For example, you need to have the rod parallel to the floor and more than 3' off the floor for a 9' rod. I'd give it a foot to spare.

2. Take a small paper clip and unbend one end so it makes an 'S' shape. Find a small plastic bag.

3. Hang the plastic bag from the rod tip using the 'S' shaped clip, and then measure the distance from the tip to the floor and be precise.

4. Put pennies that are shiney and newer than 1996 into the bag till you have bent the rod tip to 1/3 the length of the rod from the measurement you got in step 3.

5. So for an easy example, lets say in step 3 you had a 9' rod and got a measurement of exactly 4.0 feet from the tip of the rod to the floor. Then in step 4 you got enough pennies in the bag to get a measurement of precisely 1.0 feet from the rod tip to the floor. Take the pennies and count them. For this example lets say you are testing an Orvis 'Zero Gravity Midflex' 5 wt., 9' rod. The number of pennies you count will be 53. This gives you an ERN, or actual rod weight of 6.5.

I would avoid the new nonstandard pennies, as I am not sure they are using the same slug to stamp them as the old style pennies. If they do any penny newer than 1996 is good as long as it is still shiney. This works because there is a known weight for these pennies.

There is a second way that is even easier, but does not work for all rods. Look it up for previously tested results. Here is a chart with a lot of results. If you look at our example rod you see a guy named Magnus has already done the work and calls it a 6.5 wt. rod. Sexyloops Rod Database

There was another site that had a great number of rods listed but they must not have paid to keep the site up and it has vanished.

Now in the case of the rod we used as an example, if you 'overline' it with a 6 wt. line, you are in reallity still underlined by a half wieght, provided the line maker didn't fib about that also.



Hopefully this helps with some of the questions.

Addition; If you use 1982-1996 CN pennies with no corrosion, it is a 1:1 swap. Both have the same weight.
mcnerney, jpbfly, jaybo41 and 4 others like this.

Last edited by Guest1; 04-27-2013 at 09:10 PM. Reason: add a bit of clarity
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

It seems a little late to concern ourselves with the "line weight" of a rod, since apparently the line makers no longer conform to the AFTMA line weight standards anymore.

Also, we had charts like the Common Cents before the imposition of line weights (1962, IIRC). They were usually acknowledged, after a time, as of no value, because if it registered the rod as an HDH, the next question was "Which line maker's HDH?" So, we have come full circle, we test to find out a line weight, then we need to find a line maker that actually produces that line weight.

Why don't we simply cut out the interim "testing" and try the rod with a variety of lines? That way, the user gets a line that brings out the best qualities of the rod, at the distance the user will fish it, and with his unique casting style.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

Excellent post DD! I'm sending some rep your way and would love to see this post become a sticky. This is beneficial reading for folks who are inquiring about which lines to use with what rods. Good stuff, thank you.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

Quote:
Originally Posted by overmywaders View Post
Why don't we simply cut out the interim "testing" and try the rod with a variety of lines? That way, the user gets a line that brings out the best qualities of the rod, at the distance the user will fish it, and with his unique casting style.
Because decent fly lines aren't cheap enough to just buy 'em and try 'em. Testing might not be perfect, but it's a better start than what the rod makers often give. Lines might be off a bit, but I doubt they're often off more than some of the rods that even my meager experience his shown (i.e. nearly 2 "rod weights")
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

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Originally Posted by overmywaders View Post
Why don't we simply cut out the interim "testing" and try the rod with a variety of lines? That way, the user gets a line that brings out the best qualities of the rod, at the distance the user will fish it, and with his unique casting style.
For people who live 5 hours from the nearest fly shop like I do that is not an option unfortunately. It really has become a problem with lines as well. I just saw an ad a while back where they brag about being a full line weight heavier than the industry standard. Then you have the problem of the industry standard only covers the first 30' of the line anyway.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

Add to that folks who are getting rods that say Xwt rod by a manufacturer and the line needed to load the rod is not true to the stamp.

I've read of a few folks on the forum who've purchased rods, got line for the rod based on the designated markings and it's not true to the marked weight. Certain manufacturers are better than others with this of course.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

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Originally Posted by jaybo41 View Post
got line for the rod based on the designated markings and it's not true to the marked weight. Certain manufacturers are better than others with this of course.
I tried my Winston and it's pretty close. I have some rods I made from top end AM. Tac. Blanks made before they went to cheaper blanks. Those are all pretty close to what they should be. My 5 is a dead on 5. Then you have rods like Sage who is notoriously under marked. Their 5 preformance rod is almost an 8. I wish the old rod data sheet was still on the web. It had a lot of rods like Cabelas and White River you don't have on the SexyLoops Data Base. If I had known it was going to be lost I would have copied the whole thing.

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Old 01-30-2013, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

Question for you DAn - I have a three-forks 7'6" 3 weight rod that I always suspected was closer to a 4 weight based upon how it casted with different fly lines.

I did your penny test and, provided I measure accurately enough, it comes in at 4.7 weight.

Also, I didn't measure the action but I can tell just by using it that it's among the slower of my rods. The bend goes nearly back to the grip.

For a "slower" rod at 4.7 weight, would you shoot for a 4 or 5 weight line?

BTW - this is an excellent thread -- thanks for sharing it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

Quote:
For people who live 5 hours from the nearest fly shop like I do that is not an option unfortunately. It really has become a problem with lines as well. I just saw an ad a while back where they brag about being a full line weight heavier than the industry standard. Then you have the problem of the industry standard only covers the first 30' of the line anyway.
And brick-and-mortar fly shops are not as common as they once were.

However, there are several other factors that testing like Common Cents can't address - line diameter, suppleness, lubricants, surface finish, hydrophobic additives, and taper, to name a few. The difference in diameter of a WF6F and a WF6S can be considerable, and the greater the diameter, the greater the air resistance. Suppleness can markedly contribute to the casting characteristics of a line. Lubricants, designed to leach from the line over time, vary from line maker to line maker. The smoothness of the surface finish - pebbly, ridged, sharkskin, etc. is also important. Some line makers incorporate hydrophobic compounds in their lines, this alters the depth of immersion of a floating line and the resistance to pickup. And, of course, line taper - is the front taper six feet or ten feet, is the belly fifteen feet or thirty feet.

With all of those variables, it would seem to me impossible to get an optimum line for a particular rod without trial and error. So, even if you determine by Common Cents testing that you require a 5wt, you are still going to kiss a lot of frogs before you get a handsome prince.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Rod weights and Common Cents

I'll go along with it.

As a system of expression that aids in quantifying some of a rods characteristics from one angler to the next or simply to chronicle the weights and actions of ones own rods, the CCS serves a purpose. Determining a rods weight via the ERN gets us part of the way there. But if you will, it relates only what it takes to deflect its tip a specific distance. In the larger discussion of a rod. The Action Angle relates it's personality, it’s flex profile. To me, using one without the other is like having finely ground coffee beans, but no water. You can smell the aroma of the ground beans, but without water, you’ll never know exactly how they’d brew up.

Reading over the these threads, I see nearly as many questions asking about the actions of this rod or that, for many of the same reasons. For instance, someone wants to buy a new rod but has no shop nearby, or is interested in a used rod listed in the classified section or an auction and sometimes, as recently was the case with the Redington CT series rod, a lot of anglers were just Jones’n for a new toy, but wanted to know a little more about their actions. Not to mention it's usefulness in conveying from one rod builder to the next, what they might expect from an unknown blank. What’s a medium fast rod to one, might be plow mule slow to another, the CCS systems AA would’ve helped dispel some of the lofty verbiage used to describe those rods, offering some unit of measure to the discussion.

It’s not a perfect system by any means and by no means tells the whole story about a rod, but it’s better than trying to wade through volumes of colorful descriptions of a rods characteristics, including those used by the rod companies themselves.
One last thought, this system of measure is only as good as the users implementing it. As with any testing system, read and follow the originators instructions on how to conduct the test, so that we may all have accurate notes to compare.

Best, TT

Last edited by trout trekker; 01-30-2013 at 12:32 PM.
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