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Old 09-25-2013, 05:57 PM
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Default How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

I only have experience with two set ups so I want to ask before I buy a new reel for no reason. My St Croix Reign 5WT 9FT with Okuma SLV 4/5 feels noticeably tip heavy. I didn't really know any better until I recently bought a Redington CT 3WT 7-6 with a Drift 2/3 reel. The Redington combo is incredibly light, comfortable to use like it isn't even there. The St Croix, not so much. I know this isn't such a fair weight compare- short 3WT vs 9ft 5WT. Would it help if I by a heavier reel for the St Croix? Don't have a clue what the Okuma SLV weighs but that would be easy to research. I'm a big St Croix fan from my spin fishing days so I'd like to optimize it, rather than dump it.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

I get kind of anal about matching reels to rods. I lay the cork rod handle across the rod tube at about 1-1/2" from the top of the cork. This is where my index finger wraps around the handle. I then put a very lightweight reel on the rod and begin hanging weights off the reel, until the rod balances like a see-saw on the rod tube. I then weigh the reel with the weights on a postal scale.

That is the target weight of the reel loaded with line & backing. I figure a 100 yards of 20 lb. Dacron weighs 0.6 oz. and I add 0.2 to the fly line number for it's weight ( 5 wt. line plus 0.2 = 0.7 oz.).

I've used this method on a dozen reels from 2wt to 8wt and the final weight always is within two tenths of an ounce of my calculation.


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Old 09-25-2013, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

You can always add some lead core line to the reel to balance the setup. Going super light is over rated anyway Once the setup is balanced to your preferences the setup will feel lighter in your hand. Just remember that being balanced with all the line on the reel isn't the same balanced feel as with 30-40' of line in the air or on the water
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

Mad

Thanks. Your method doesn't sound anal to me. Sounds more than accurate enough with minimal effort. I already have a loaded reel that is too light so this shouldn't be too hard to try. I suspect it will take more reel weight than I can actually buy, but at least I can determine this without spending a dime. The reel looks under spooled, so there's 1/10 oz already.

---------- Post added at 07:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:52 PM ----------

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Originally Posted by petee View Post
You can always add some lead core line to the reel to balance the setup. Going super light is over rated anyway Once the setup is balanced to your preferences the setup will feel lighter in your hand. Just remember that being balanced with all the line on the reel isn't the same balanced feel as with 30-40' of line in the air or on the water
Petee

Understand, but I think it would be acceptable if it were close to right with the line on the reel. I am usually fishing mud puddles in Iowa. At least when I chase trout. The leadcore line sounds like a great idea if I want to delay switching reels. The Okuma is not my dream reel, but it sure has an incredible drag for an inexpensive reel.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

MAD has the right concept. It may be more relevant that your rod and reel be in balance than the specific model reel you have. If, when you hold your outfit and place your fore finger beneath the cork grip at the point where you would grip it, the outfit should balance horizontally to the ground (water). If the reel end tips down slightly, butt heavy, that is better than the tip dipping down as that will mean you are fighting gravity not only during casting but when just hanging waiting for a fish to rise. There is no formula that I am aware of to determine reel to rod empirical weight. I like to try several loaded reels (regardless of line weight on them), find one that balances optimally, look up its empty weight on the internet and acquire a reel of that weight in a performance category commensurate to the rod's capabilities and intended use. I have reels of many different designs and brands based on their balancing to performance traits. A reel says it is for #5 and 6 line but balances with a 4-weight, that is fine with me...and common.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

I have a 6'6" 3wt Xa rod with a Trout II #1 with 265 yards of spectra and Rio Trout on it. The guy at the shop said it was going to be real unbalanced. I practiced on the lawn and didn't notice too much but I'm very inexperienced. Maybe since I'm bigger than the average bear it won't other me too much.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

Sounds like MAD77 has a good system figured out, so much so that I may re-exam some of my setups this weekend.

I'm a big St Croix fan too so I hate to be the bearer of bad news but...some of the "felt" balance issue may be in the rod itself. Many of the entry to mid level St Croix's tend to be tip heavy when comparing 9 ft to 8'6" versions of the same model in the same weight. A perfect example of this is the Avid 5wt. The 9ft version is rather tip heavy by all accounts, but the 8'6" is a whole different rod and a pleasure to cast. Same with the 4wt model. My father-in-law has the 5wt and I currently own the 4. Point being is that even after you get a good balanced real/line the rod may still feel tip heavy. I ran into the same thing with my Premier, which was the early version of the Reign.

I would use the opportunity to treat yourself to an upgrade, either a 9ft or 8'6" St Croix Imperial, and keep the Reighn as a backup . If the Imperial is out of the budget the Rio Santo is the updated version (taper and action wise) of the Reign and comes in 8'6" for around $120.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:39 AM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

True enough, tip-heavy rods are a drag to fish, avoid them. There is a combination of bad design or even OK design counterpointed by the tech staff in the rod shop trying to prevent rod failure that has produced some awful feeling rods by several well-respected brands. An acquaintance of mine was hired by a popular rod company a decade + ago. He designed a rod he wanted me to field test...I loved this prototype! It had fine low end power (it was a 4-weight) and a delightfully light, crisp tip. By the time the rod shop built a production version; including taper modification to reduce potential tip breakage, this supple, smooth rod was transformed into dull and tip heavy. The creative gentleman quietly (publicly) departed and moved to a different sate.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:09 AM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

I used to have a Reign, its just a heavy rod all together. I had a slightly larger reel on mine and that helped balance it out alittle bit. I am a big fan of St Croix rods as well, especially their light action rods, however the Reign is not one of thier best. If you really want to stick with a St Croix rod, look at an imperial or avid. The avid is a amazingly great rod at the price.
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: How to tell if your rod and reel are balanced?

The Reign is definitely tip heavy, though overall weight seemed reasonable in comparison to most other reels I read about that were near the price. Perhaps I will upgrade it next year? I'd like to catch a few bass on the 5WT first, so I don't upgrade, and then immediately wish it was a 6WT. The 3WT is getting all the work this fall while I chase trout so I don't have an emergency. Thank for all the help here guys.
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