Yes, we live in an age of aluminum reels and graphite rods. I believe we can produce lighter gear...except we are happy with what's available.
Wood is heavy. How many flyrods, even the high dollar ones, are still assembled with a wooden reelseat for a reel to ride on? Sage has the TXL rods...very light, but replacing the wooden seat would lighten the rod even more. Cork reelseats and sliding bands will decrease the weight even further, for example. Instead of scrapping the wooden reel seat, they work at reducing the weight of the graphite blank to reduce the weight.
Reels. The larger the flyreel, the heavier it weighs...generally speaking. Large arbor reels are generally heavier than mid and standard reels. We have composite materials that are far lighter and far stronger than aluminum.
Ross's F1 reel is cutting edge, but still uses aluminum. Sage's newest and greatest offering has a wooden reel seat.
Yes, we have made huge steps in producing lighter gear in the last 25 yrs...but we have the materials and technology to produce much lighter equipment.
Some folks may say "modern gear is very light compared to metal fuerled fiberglass rods of yesterday." I'm thinking about older anglers that once enjoyed casting an 8wt for bass, but cannot due to heavy gear. Sometimes older people are not in a position to afford the lighter, more expensive gear.
I could imagine a 9' 4wt rod/reel weighing 2 oz, or a 8' 10wt rod/reel weighing 4 oz.
Orvis has a rod called a "1 oz." How old is that rod anyways? What's the lenght?
I do believe the technology/materials are available. The kicker is that, like computers, the manufacturers release a product just a little better than the last product to keep us wanting more and happily spending the money to get it.
Wood, graphite, and aluminum are archaic in terms of materials. If the demand called for lighter products, I believe the manufacturers would produce them.
I suppose some people would rather have a pretty rod and reel instead of a truly light rod and reel...if the manufacturers would produce it.
Here is an excerpt from an interview of Joan Wulff by Ally Gowans that is fairly recent:
Tackle has changed a lot in recent times what changes do you think have had the greatest impact or improvement on your sport?
I started as I said in 1937 and bamboo rods were heavy and this is the reason why so few women of my generation got involved, the rods were too heavy, the grips were too big. Then we went to glass which they said would be lighter but it wasnít then we come to graphite which was initially lighter, now you still have heavy graphite rods that are being developed as I speak but we now have women coming into the sport in large, large numbers so they need to know and we need to convince men to tell them that we need lighter rods because we donít have the same strength.......
My 9 wt Sage RPLX of late 1980's or early '90's vintage is slightly lighter than my 7 wt Sage TCX.
However, I think much of the difference is in the manufacturers' "rod weight" ratings. I think there is ample evidence of this by just looking at how many people "overline" their rods.
I use vintage rods a lot of the time. The extra weight is not usually a big deal. Not that it isn't noticeable, it's all what you're used to. My "regular" trout rod has to be twice as heavy as it's modern back-up and one glass 8wt that I fish weighs in at 7 1/2 oz. That rod can cast big hair bugs like a rocker launcher however. It may be too heavy for all day use, but often it's the right tool for the job.
When I build rods for myself I use the graphite spinning reel seats. They're around 5 bucks and light weight. Granted, they don't look "cool" but that's not my objective. If I needed my rod to look like everyone else's, I'd buy a sage
!992 Sage RPL 790 3 1/8th ounces- that's 3/16th of an ounce lighter than the 780 dollar TCX- granted my RPL is a two piece but like the OP is saying- in the past 20 some odd years we have not moved the weight bar much.
In my former world of cycling I frequently exceeded 45-50 mph on a 15 pound carbon fiber road race bicycle that remained as steady as if I was out for an afternoon leisure ride. Further- if a Formula One car can handle the extremes of it's sport on a carbon fiber frame then certainly rod makers can make a modern 4 piece rod that is at least the same weight as a 20 year old 2 piece rod.
One thing though- reel manufactures would certainly have to up their game as it seems that with few exceptions the weights are fairly constant. As an example look at reels for 3 or 4 weight rods, from shopping around the common weight for these is in the 3.85 to 4.2 ounce range. Sure there are some exceptions such as the Sage Click series or some of the Lamsons but if you want a more traditional looking reel it's going to be closer to the 4 ounces with some being very heavy especially for a shorter rod such as a 7' 6. The Allen Trout 3/4 is a perfect example at 4.8 ounces-
I'd think that a typo error would be easier to make than an error by a guy meticulously writing 15/16ths instead of 5/16ths. Epecially since it would take longer to write the former.
PS: I also certainly hope that quality control of Sage's actual rods exceeds that of their website.
Excellent! I did not know if perhaps the TCX rods had changed since they were introduced, but certainly 15/16 is worse and makes even more a point than the 5/16. Three quarters of an ounce more than than the old timer, pardon me while I pat myself on the back for picking up my 790 RPL when I saw it on the "gently used" rack earlier this spring!
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As far as quality control- maybe they outsourced their website overseas like they did their reels.... Hello, my name is Peggy