Something I learned about fly fishing over the years. This may ruffle a few feathers. Sour a few grapes, but it happens to be true for me.
Fly Rods: Single
I find no real difference in fly casting a 30$ rod as apposed to a 1000$ rod of the same blank flex. Granted eyelets are placed in the right positions.
The few exceptions are at far distances ( and I mean long) Recovery during a back cast is so minimal between blanks of the same flex. Now there are some materials that aid in a faster/ slower recovery out of the flex, but to me they're not really useful except in EXTREME situations. If you're shooting the salt on a beach over breakers would be one. ect...
To me it's all about 3 major factors.
1. Operators ability to mold his cast to the rod.
2. Correct building of components to the blank.
3. Correct line weight for the flex, and outcome you desire.
If you can somewhat master the 3 steps above ,mostly any rod will perform like silk in your hand. That feeling you get when you're on the water and the perfect cast feels like perfection. Every caster still has those moments no matter how advanced they are.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's more important to learn how to mold your cast. That is where the enjoyment factor comes in.
Don't get me wrong, I like my expensive stuff, but it took me years and over 20,000$ to learn this lesson.
Just thought I would share that with you.
Please excuse the typos and grammar, I'm posting from my phone from the beach.
---------- Post added at 07:49 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:37 AM ----------
I live in an area with no fly shops, few fly fishing practitioners (I know only one other person who uses a fly rod), and no place to get help in solving casting problems other then the www.
When I decided to try fly fishing I bought an inexpensive outfit, watched online videos for hours, and self-diagnosed most of my problems. I soon gained enough ability to get a fly on the water near where I wanted it to land and began catching fish. I was hooked!
I decided a different weight rod would be good, and bought a slightly more expensive model in a lighter weight (started w/6wt and picked up a 4wt).
Few problems and I was having more fun than I had ever experienced with a spinning rod in 40 years of using them.
Working for a customer one day (I'm a plumber) and he asked me if I still fished. I said yes, and he asked if I ever fly fished. I told him I used a fly rod more than anything else. He had a brief conference with his wife and asked me if I would like to have a fly rod. It had been her late husband's rod and had been setting in the closet for years. They would give it to me if I would use it since they hated to see it just setting there when it was meant to fish with. I told them I'd be honored to take it and promised I would use it to fish with. They pulled it out of the closet and presented it to me. The reel and line were pretty much trashed (cheap reel that had corroded over the years and very old line), but the rod looked good beneath the dust & dirt. A Sage Graphite II 896 RP (9'6" 8wt). I brought it home and ordered a new reel & wf line for it. When I had the new reel & line on it I took it to a local fishing hole (private pond) and gave it a try.
I was amazed!!!!!!!! I didn't have to watch the line on the back cast, I could actually FEEL the rod load and knew from that feel when to make my forward cast. I instantly gained distance and accuracy with my cast.
I decided the cheap rods I had were certainly not the quality of this Sage rod and the more expensive big brand rods were indeed the way to go.
I saved my pennies and soon ordered a new Sage 4wt rod. I got it in my hands and set out to catch fish with it. I had installed a wf4f line, and quickly discovered it had all the feel and sensitivity of a broom handle in my hands. I could see it flex, I could watch the line and cast, but I couldn't feel the cast like I could with that old 8wt rod?????
I ordered a new 4wt line made for beginners (I believe it's actually a 4.5wt) and I was back in business. I could feel the rod load and cast with it. I tried a 5wt line, and that worked great, too, but the rod said 4wt, so was I just a failure at casting or was the rod mis-rated?
Since then I've tried dozens of rods, sold most to finance new purchases in the hunt for perfection, but kept a few I'll never part with.
I've found for me the less expensive rods of fairly good quality (Ross is becoming my favorite) are much more forgiving of my limited casting ability.
Changing my "stroke" isn't easy, and I frequently overline a rod to allow me to cast more naturally.
I'm experimenting with fiberglass rods now. I've had good luck so far, but my experience is limited to cheap (yes - cheap! as in $25 dollar rods made in China with junk for hardware) rods. I recently bought an Eagle Claw FL300-6'6 that is rated 3/4 on Eagle Claw's web site, but labeled 4/5 on the rod? I tried a wf3f, wf3.5f, wf4f, and wf5f lines on it and I can cast ALL of them with acceptable accuracy! The wf3.5f or wf4f seem best matched, but any of those line sizes will work for me.
Am I a failure because with an expensive rod in my hands I must usually overline a line weight to get a cast out, or am I an expert because I can cast that cheap rod with a range of 3 line weights?
I like to think I'm a fairly good fly caster, but in the case of those expensive rods they are built to do ONE job and do it with excellence. Since I'm not trying to cast a 3wt fly 60 feet into a 20mph wind on a trout stream in open country, which that rod would probably shine at, but I'm trying to cast a fly 30 feet and hit a spot the size of a dinner plate between 2 overhanging bushes to fool a bluegill, I'm probably better off with a rod designed to be a "one size fits all" compromise. (or overload the expensive rod and make it work for my limited ability and the conditions I encounter)
I can/have cast the better rods with the rated line sizes, but I'm just not happy when I have to drastically alter my preferred casting stroke to match the rod. I'm still experimenting and trying to figure out the descriptions (fast, med fast, med' slow), but it seems like a med or slow action "full flex" rod matches my casting "stroke" best.
Bamboo is good, but fiberglass seems to be better, and a few of the med - med/fast graphite rods work for me, too.
I'm not going to go for detail with this comment but both of you guys make points I can agree with. While some rods are by far better than others there is the ability factor. Last fall I tied an 11 weight DT line to the tip of an 8 foot long, 3.5 inch wide by one half inch thick piece of base board I had just finished making and gave it a whirl. I could cast the line at the length I had tied on and turn it right over. Would I consider going fishing with that piece of base.................... I agree with both of you
Interesting post! Jack, I'm in agreement with you, casting is more so the person than the rod. I own several rods of different weight ratings, within a range of prices, and frankly don't see a lot of difference as far as the use I give them. I cast to catch fish, and rarely do any extreme casting. The majority of my casts are less than 50 ft. I have no problems with casting any of them, as I fit my casting to the rod, as you've indicated.
I've had the pleasure a couple of times to watch Lefty Kreh casting, and have witnessed him casting almost the full length of line with just the tip section. That pretty much proves it's the person, not the rod. However, I'm sure a better designed & constructed rod will help some folks cast better. Professional mechanics buy better quality tools for a reason, and a fly rod is a tool, but a good mechanic can still do his job well with tools of any quality. It's the person, not the tool.
But, for myself, I've not found my higher priced rods to cast any better than the lesser priced rods. I will however agree that the rod has to be properly matched to the correct line. I have a kit rod that was purchased for one of my son's, and came matched with a 7 wt line. That rod was impossible to cast with that line, unless most of the line was being cast. I put a 9 wt line on it & it casts beautifully, at least my type of casts, less than 50 ft.
Wabi, I think you've gone thru what most of us who are self taught go thru. I started with a glass rod. I found that graphite was easier for me to cast, but still like the glass for some of my fishing. But, again it's about the fishing, not the casting. I own several rods because one size does not fit all. Heck, I own over 20 baitcasters & almost that many spinning rods, again, because one size does not fit all. (Did you guys know that Lefty is as good with a baitcaster as he is with a fly rod? He used to design baitcasting rods!)
As I indicated above, not all rods are sized properly, at least not for everyone casting them & how they're being used. So, it's not surprising to me that you've had such experience with rods. People are all different, our physical builds are different, what we "feel" when casting is different, so it only makes sense that we're not all going to cast the same rod in the same manner. Mechanics of casting are one thing, but each person's style is another.
I also consider myself a fairly good caster, but I'm certainly no expert. I'm comfortable with the rods I own, and can catch fish with them, so for me that's all I need out of any rod.
Ard, that kinda gives the term, "casting with a broom stick", a whole new meaning!
Don't get me wrong, I like to show up at my reunion in a Mercedes. Personal satisfaction is a emotion we feed on everyday. Nothing wrong with that. Envy is something I feed off as well. Everyone does to a point.
If you blindfold 3 guys ..handed them 5 different nameless rods , all with the same cork handle, told them to cast. (you're going home with one)
Guy #1 is trying to feel which one feels most like his diamond encrusted rod he has at home.
Guy #2 is is trying to feel what rod suits his same cast he has been using for years in every situation. (Don't you dare bend that wrist even a bit).
Guy #3 is floating out casts to 50 ft. on his first rod he is given.
Not sure where I fit the description, but probably #2.
I'm an "old dog" and I resist new tricks, so I like a rod I can cast without changing my style.
I can usually tell the difference in a $30 dollar and a $400 dollar rod, too.
Many (actually most) $30 dollar rods I've used worked fine for me with no adjustments to my casting style, and all the $400 dollar rods I've tried so far require me to adapt to use them. (this example is assuming setting the new rod up with the line specifications printed on the rod - a 6wt line on a 6wt rod)
If I found a $400 rod I could pick up and cast with no adjustments to my cast I'd buy it just to be able to puff my chest out and impress people, but for now I have to try to impress them by catching fish.
Ive said before, and will again, I don't own a rod I have paid more then $100 for. and only one reel I have paid more than 100 for. I fish for trout, generally in the less then 30 inch range, and these rods and reels work for me. I have never casted a rod that cost more than what I own, though my redington 3wt was originally priced at $300 and change, I got it on triple closeout for under $100. I do like the way the 3wt casts, but, the majority of my fishing is done with a 5 wt and the 3 wt is for smaller stream fishing.
I catch my share of fish, given ideal conditions, I can cast most of the flyline on a reel if I need to, and I routinely cast with accuracy out to 60 or 70 feet, 40 or 50ft while sitting in a float tube.
I have a $30 rod I bought for my 10 year old, it is reated for 5wt, but, I like it better with a 4wt line on it as it is fiberglass and very slow action. But, he has caught a lot of fish on it (mostly with a spinning reel), and he loves it.
I think the bottom line is you can fish with anything, and can get used to casting with anything. I am sure there is a reason (R&D, materials, longevity, warrenty, etc) for the more expensive rods, and I would not turn one down if someone gave me one, however, I fish ok with the rods I have and can not bring myself to spend the money on a high end rod. Maybe someday when the kids are gone and the bills are all paid off, but, not for me, not today.
This is not really a about rod cost, but casting style . Learning to cast anything put into your hands.
The difference between a 30 dollar rod (built right) and a high dollar rod should be no different if you master the art of casting ..other then the art of rod buying.
I agree with Sinner. Once you master the cast, you can cast anything. I'm no expert, but casting a variety of rods in different situations can really help your abilities as a caster. Casting in high Pacific wind and surf increased my abilities ten fold.