02-17-2014, 07:37 AM
Re: Proper Fly Rod balance
Sorry to resurrect this old thread but I think this is an interesting discussion and one that will never be resolved because everybody's cast is different and different situations call for different casting styles.
Casting involves some combination of wrist, elbow, shoulder and body rotations. The distribution of mass and loading varies depending how you are casting. Additionally, how you experience the loading depends on your own strength and mobility as well as your body structure, e.g. length of your forearm, upper arm, etc.
For example, if you use a lot of wrist, then a balance point near the fulcrum (your wrist) would support that rotation and reduce the stress on surrounding tissue.
If you are more of a locked wrist shoulder caster, the dynamics change. The fulcrum point moves closer to your elbow. So now you are accelerating and decelerating the entire mass of rod, reel, and line through space. One could then argue that the least massive (lightest) overall combination would be best because it would present the least inertia, least stress on the elbow and shoulder, and greatest rod tip speed.
However, you are still connected to the rod at the handle. Your wrist wants to rotate as the rod loads and unloads, so you compensate by using your wrist muscles to counter that rotation. If your combo is tip heavy, there is more inertia and pressure on your wrist. This may not be an issue when using shorter, lighter rods but can be problematic for longer, heavier rods.
To take pressure off the wrist, the solution is to add more weight to the butt end of the rod to counterbalance that rotation. But that increases overall mass and inertia and puts more stress on the elbow and shoulder.
So where does that leave us? I think at light weights, some people will prefer a "balanced" setup (whatever that means for them) but it probably doesn't make a whole lot difference for most people. As rod weights and lengths increase, balance becomes potentially more important, but where that balance point is will be different for everyone.
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