Gmarlin, I just did a side by side wiggle and the Reaper is stiffer. The Helios is obviously lighter in hand as well...and nicer looking... but then there's the cost issue.
Hmmmm....Well thanks for that. That is one reason why I'm vacillating on the issue. I'm not sure i want to go to a tip flex rod, so stiffer just has me pulling back even more. That said, price is an issue as well.
---------- Post added at 10:26 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:16 AM ----------
Originally Posted by mridenour
I am curious to see his response to the post about craftsmanship being the reason for fast rods...he has a lot of intimate knowledge about the research and science of modern (and past) tapers.
Great, now you guys have me nervous.........Normally I have to pay extra for a spanking.
LOL! No worries. S&S is the rod guru on here. I don't know of anyone that has more knowledge of rod tapers and what goes into making a good one. He has fished or at least cast nearly every rod ever built. He is going to disagree with your assessment of the rod industry I suspect.
Of course, I expected him to have chimed in by now. Maybe he is passing on this one.
(Frankly I personally, right or wrong, believe that everyone moving to ultra fast tapers and multiple piece rods is really simply a result of manufacturing moving away from craftsmanship. IOW, multiple piece rods make for cheaper mfg., and making only one or two legs do the work makes it all just that much easier and cheaper.
Mid-flex rods (as vague as that is) came at a time when there was a nice balance of craftsmanship coupled with new and exciting materials as they had just begun to produce "tip-flex" versions....However, those older versions required some very clever design and manufacturing. That "feels" (doesn't mean it has been) like design effort has been chucked out the window......4 or more pieces to make cheap, and why make the effort to have a smooth transition when we can just make the end do the work....right or wrong as that may be.)
I am confident that the 10'/#6 or 7 H2 is not only lighter but has a more sophisticated taper than the same size Reaper. Rods of this configuration are typically used to hold a lot of line off the water and mend the drift of a subsurface nymph or egg fly...not be brilliant casters.
It is true that as material science has offered, via the aerospace industry, higher modulus carbon fibers, means of compressing them closer together and resin systems so efficient that less can be used to build a stronger blank; rod designers have had the tools to experiment with more complex, lower mass, faster recovering tapers. This philosophy began during the 90's with the introduction of GLX with carbon scrim and accelerated through Nti Nano, the first nano particulate resin system. Nano's were fragile slender things with remarkable touch but don't even think about tossing bead/cone heads with them (and why would one want to?). But today Sage ONE/Method, Scott Radian, Orvis H2 tip-flex, T&T Solar are light and tough. Rods like ONE have so little mass that they communicate the line's movements transparently rather than the flex of the mass of the rod itself. Tip recovery sans oscillation enables the highest line-seed, tightest loops for previously unachievable articulate and precise presentation. Now constructing the advanced technology, multi modulus blended and fiber aligned blank for such a rod is far more costly and challenging than earlier technology uniform material slower recovering blanks and the rod shops making them represent a real investment in human resources and specialized equipment. When the original Nanos were built there wasn't a rod shop in America that could work with the NASA sourced material, only a shop in New Zealand that has experience with advanced composites in Americas Cup yacht building had the technology, and it proved temperamental anyway.
Now many of my generation that came up fishing bamboo then glass are most comfortable with rods that flex deeper and with more feeling of the mass of the rod itself. Not only glass but graphite rods of this ilk continue to be built today but understand that the deeper a rod flexes the further the tip travel is hence the slower its recovery. This is fine with a relaxed intuitive stroke enjoyed by many. It eschews the technical dry fly presentation advantages of the livelier, quick recovery faster rods and possibly the extra reserves of low end power that can be dialed into a steeper taper too. There is no question though that rods like ONE do demand of the caster greater engagement and focus and are intolerant of less than fine timing or any slack introduction in the stroke.
So, as most capable casters can cast most any style of taper effectively, I enjoy fishing a diverse quiver of rods with differing flex and performance profiles tailored to the habitat and circumstances I encounter. Some of my newer rods, the T&T NS5 for example feature finish craftsmanship more typical of the boutique custom builder than a factory rod and others like NRX, S4s and ONE incorporate blank building technology impossible a decade ago...I perceive no diminution of design acumen or material craftsmanship in these remarkable rods. To the contrary they are uniformly superior to my beloved 1980's Scotts and Orvis's even though I still enjoy fishing some of them. The new ferrules are slenderer, lighter, stronger and more reliable and far better designed than my older ones...on the Orvis rods of yore they are glued on sleeve ferrules; thick and prone to splitting.
Lastly, the US makers are so deep into designing and building the most capable fly rods ever that they are experiencing difficulty keeping unit prices under $800. At such an elevated price they don't sell so many units, no matter how good they are, as to help their bottom line too much either. I don't know the origin of the Reaper my wife was gifted as there was no "Made in ____" sticker on it but I presume it is of off-shore, likely Chinese origin. I have cast and fished many fine Korean-built rods; first and foremast Hardy's SINTRIX models but some great earlier Albright EXS's too, Tim Rajeff designed ECHO3's are very good as are Steve Bechard's Rise Fly Fishing's Level Series. One of our Forum members designs "Flying Pigs" fabricated in China but still very nice albeit fast action rods.
For a reasonably priced 10'/#6, though all rods should be comparatively test cast pre-purchase, one might try to find a Hardy Zenith, old reel seat, close out stock or the ECHO3 from Rajeff Sports. I chose to steer clear of the boiler plate Chinese rods re-branded in big door stores mostly out of a sense of duty to support the US rod makers but also because they are uniformly uninspiring to fish.
I consider us to be fishing through a new Golden Era of rod design and material excellence and not only are the technical dry fly and flats sight fishing rods I love better than ever but so too are the are more moderate "traditional" action rods more intelligently designed and better built than ever before.
Well dayaumnnn, I'm not sure if i've been spanked, hit by a train or been enlightened just two steps shy of the Buddha
Seriously though, that will take me a bit to digest and insure I fully understand it all....A lot of great information there sweetandsalt, thanks for taking the time to explain things.
That said (and not arguing the point though perhaps clarifying mine), though no doubt there have been great advances in materials, applying them into designs to make the best use of them and the manufacturing processes and equipment to put it all together, I would find it difficult to fathom that all rod manufacturers have the wherewithal to do such to the degrees outlined above.
......Again, that doesn't mean it is not so......Just simply that you're discussing top flight research, material, personnel, designs and equipment, and heck a single quality designer would make more than what many companies I suspect make in six months off of rods......and granted, "some" of that information is probably shared.
To that end my point was simply this......It is a difficult and complex thing to design a rod with numerous break points from tip to butt and have that transition be smooth, precise and sensitive. However, it's easy enough to say "tip flex is the new future" and design the rod to do most of the work in the last section or two....The balance of it not more than a semi-rigid extension.
It allows for smaller envelope equipment, and frankly less effort design wise...So in the end less cost to be able to say "viola...the fly rod...tip flex no less, the new future".
I'm not saying I believe that is the why or how for all, nor that modern rods are not as good or better then those of the past......Simply that "I believe, but do not know" the current wave of "tip flex" we see with most rod companies is spurred on by less noble things.
Please give me a while to digest the above information......In the mean time lets just say;
Well,,,I've said it once before, I'll say it again. If S and S did the rod shootouts they WOULD be worth reading and paying attention to. I might not want the top rods HE would chose, but you could bet it would be the best of that style of rod.