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Old 06-02-2012, 09:35 PM
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Default Stiffness - Flexibility

New to fly fishing I am exploring different rods. The old Shakespeare rod my grandfather owned seems too flexible is this a viable issue or just my lack of experience? The St Croix 5-6 that is used more often seems stiffer and easier to cast.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Stiffness - Flexibility

I'm going to make an educated guess and say that the Shakespeare is a fiberglass rod and the St. Croix you have is a graphite. The graphite rod will be stiffer for sure. What you'll need to do is adjust your stroke when you cast each rod. Without going into great detail, the slower rod will require a slower and generally longer stroke to load it, whereas the St. Croix will load with a more abrupt stroke.

You might want to stick with the St. Croix to get you going into fly fishing, but by all means hang onto that rod of your grandfather's. Once you get your casting down and are comfortable with it, that will be something fun and special to use on the water.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Stiffness - Flexibility

Jay, Certainly have no plans to get rid of this rod. However, as skill progresses do the stiffer rods become more or less desirable? Bamboo rods tend to be a holy grail to some and they must be very flexible. Resilience of the fiberglass rod seems to be very slow.
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: Stiffness - Flexibility

my two cents: I've been flyfishing for four years now, so I'm no expert by any means. However, I will say that in the beginning I was always looking for a faster action rod, which culminated in my acquiring a redington CPX 5 wt. which si an ultra fast rod. Think broom stick. And when you're casting big wind resistant streamers, it excels.

Nowadays, I find myself looking for slower rods for general purposes, especially casting dries. Once I understood that the rod is supposed to do all the work, slower rods became more desirable. My suggestion is to find a med fast action rod to start. As time goes by, you'll find your own personal rhythm and will buy rods accordingly.

peace.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:26 AM
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Default Re: Stiffness - Flexibility

I have rods from with actions from very slow to very fast and the ones at the far ends of the spectrum can take some getting use to, even if you know what to expect.
As for the Shakespeare rods in particular, some were excellent casting tools, others not so much. They were hugely popular and there were hundreds of different models with a variety of tapers over the years. Hopefully you got a good one
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:09 AM
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Default Re: Stiffness - Flexibility

Depends on how and where you're using them, and on the design of the particular model of rod. I've got an old Shakespeare Wonderod I inherited from my father-in-law that flexes deep into the butt, but can also throw a big bass popper on an 8 weight line up to about 50 feet more easily and accurately than any of the latest graphite equivalents. On the other hand I've also got a stiff new graphite rod that doesn't have as much feel as the Wonderod and isn't very accurate in close, but it can drop a size 8 wet fly on top of a bonefish's or salmon's nose in the wind at 70 feet.

Fiberglass tends to be heavier, more flexible, and less brittle than graphite, but because graphite is lighter, the same weight of graphite can produce a stiffer, stronger rod. Bamboo is similar to fiberglass, but even better at the things glass is good at. However, bamboo is more expensive (all bamboo rods are handcrafted by artisans these days) and eventually loses its elasticity and wears out with heavy use.

Ultimately the taper (design) of the rod and quality of manufacture matters at least as much as the material, if not more. Lots of bad rods are built with decent materials. My first rod as a kid was a cheap fiberglass broomstick that was stiffer than most graphites, but my nephew's first rod was a cheap graphite noodle that was limper than a lot of glass rods. Even with bamboo, back when lower-cost bamboo rods were mass-produced in factories, quality control was pretty iffy and there was a lot of variability even among different specimens of the exact same model.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Stiffness - Flexibility

Thanks everyone for your input! Finding new rods and using them is very enjoyable. They each seem to have a personality unique.
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