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  • 6 Post By williamhj
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:39 AM
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Default General tackle questions

Hello,

I feel like these are not intelligent questions but I am confused about these things since I am really new at this. I also tend to over think things.

1. How heavy is too heavy for a fly? By that, I mean how heavy is too heavy for, say, a 3wt vs a 5wt vs a 7wt? I have no way of knowing but it would seem to me that a 7wt will certainly be able to cast a fly that is too heavy for a 3wt. At least it seems it would be able to cast it better: more accurate and farther.

2. On the flip side, how light is too light, for the same reasons? Or is this, too, a moot point? Can a 3wt cast a lighter fly better than a 5wt? Than an 8wt?


3. I see reels that say they can be used for, say, 4-5-6wt or 6-7-8wt. I would assume this is only because of the weight of the reel? So it balances with the corresponding rod correctly? I would assume the weight of the line has nothing to do with a reel and everything to do with the rod--or am I completely wrong?

4. Speaking of rods, is it "possible" to use different weight lines on a single fly rod efficiently and effectively? In other words, can you use a 5wt line on a 4wt rod and make it work okay? I would think trying to use a 5wt line on a 6wt rod would not work well but maybe I am wrong. I guess I am asking if you can overlap line weights and, if you can, do you use the same line on lower weight rods or higher weight rods?

5. Finally, does the length of a rod only limit the casting difference? For example, if you had an 7-foot 5wt, you may not be able to cast as far as the same rod that is 9-feet long, right? Or are there different reasons other than simple distance as to why you would use a longer or shorter rod? (Well, you use a shorter rod whenever you fish in constricted areas--are there other reasons?)


Thanks,
ray
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: General tackle questions

I'll try to answer some of your questions, see below.

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Originally Posted by busbus View Post
Hello,

I feel like these are not intelligent questions but I am confused about these things since I am really new at this. I also tend to over think things.

Nothing wrong with being new and asking questions

1. How heavy is too heavy for a fly? By that, I mean how heavy is too heavy for, say, a 3wt vs a 5wt vs a 7wt? I have no way of knowing but it would seem to me that a 7wt will certainly be able to cast a fly that is too heavy for a 3wt. At least it seems it would be able to cast it better: more accurate and farther.

A 7wt will cast heavier flies better than a 3wt. In terms of weight limits, that will vary from rod to rod and depends on who is casting the rod. Perhaps someone will chime in with a great formula.

2. On the flip side, how light is too light, for the same reasons? Or is this, too, a moot point? Can a 3wt cast a lighter fly better than a 5wt? Than an 8wt?

Tippet size can effect this. If you have a 5wt I wouldn't feel the need to get a 3wt just because you'll be fishing small flies. Rods don't only vary by weight but also action can impact how a fly is presented. However, if you learn to cast your rod well you can do a lot of fishing with a 5wt rod.


3. I see reels that say they can be used for, say, 4-5-6wt or 6-7-8wt. I would assume this is only because of the weight of the reel? So it balances with the corresponding rod correctly? I would assume the weight of the line has nothing to do with a reel and everything to do with the rod--or am I completely wrong?

It also has to do with how much room there is for the line and backing to be spooled on the reel. A 7wt line takes up more room on a spool than a 3wt does so you get a bigger reel for a 7wt than a 3wt. However if a reel is rated for a 3 or 4 wt rod you can likely use it for a 5wt. Just have to see how much backing you can fit on the reel with that line.

4. Speaking of rods, is it "possible" to use different weight lines on a single fly rod efficiently and effectively? In other words, can you use a 5wt line on a 4wt rod and make it work okay? I would think trying to use a 5wt line on a 6wt rod would not work well but maybe I am wrong. I guess I am asking if you can overlap line weights and, if you can, do you use the same line on lower weight rods or higher weight rods?

Yes it definitely is possible to use different lines on the same rod. There are threads on the forum discussing rods that are rated for one weight by the manufacturer but perhaps should be rated a different weight. That aside, I have a rod that I like with a 5wt line, but if I know I'm going to be fishing very close in I sometimes put on a 6wt line because it loads the rod better with less line out of the guides. It might be made to cast 30 ft of 5wt line well, but if I'm only fishing 10 or 20 feet of line I might enjoy fishing it better with a 6wt line.

5. Finally, does the length of a rod only limit the casting difference? For example, if you had an 7-foot 5wt, you may not be able to cast as far as the same rod that is 9-feet long, right? Or are there different reasons other than simple distance as to why you would use a longer or shorter rod? (Well, you use a shorter rod whenever you fish in constricted areas--are there other reasons?)

Yes, confined spaces are a good reason for a shorter rod. I also like them because they can be very compact. A longer rod can also help you hold your line above multiple current lanes to get a dead drift, this can be effective on open streams and also on confined streams where there isn't much room to cast even a short rod. The extra foot or 2 of reach can sometimes be the difference between drag and dead drift.


Thanks,
ray
I'd add that learning to cast well is important. You can get different rods for different situations, which is fun and useful, but learning to cast the rod you have can allow you to use it in a variety of fishing situations. Also remember, rods of the same length and weight rating can vary in terms of how they cast. The best thing to do is try different lines if you can. I know this can be expensive, but if you have a 4wt rod and want to try a 5wt line on it, keep your eyes open for sales and pick one up. You might be surprised.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:08 PM
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Default Re: General tackle questions

hats off for this reply William...think Ray will be satisfied
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:58 PM
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Default Re: General tackle questions

Great answers.

I know I need to work on every aspect of fly fishing, especially casting.

Work is turning into a bear and I do not have the luxury of just jumping in the car and going fishing on the spur of the moment because not too much is real close.

I know I need my cast looked at but I don't have the freaking time to do that, either. I am high on the questions and low on all the answers.

Thanks. This forum is the most helpful place I have ever seen.


ray
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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Default Re: General tackle questions

Well done williamhj.

I can add a few things that were not addressed.

"1. it would seem to me that a 7wt will certainly be able to cast a fly that is too heavy for a 3wt. At least it seems it would be able to cast it better: more accurate and farther."

A 7 weight will be able to cast farther but not more accurately. Accuracy is not a function of the line rating but is affected by fly rod length as described below.

'5. Finally, does the length of a rod only limit the casting difference? For example, if you had an 7-foot 5wt, you may not be able to cast as far as the same rod that is 9-feet long, right? Or are there different reasons other than simple distance as to why you would use a longer or shorter rod? (Well, you use a shorter rod whenever you fish in constricted areas--are there other reasons?)'

A longer rod is a longer lever, and longer levers magnify the motions of the caster's rod stroke. So a longer fly rod is able to move the rod tip over a greater distance for a given rod stroke. A longer rod stroke translates to a longer cast, when all other factors remain equal.

See #4 in the illustration below:

Click the image to open in full size.

This lever effect also means that the caster cannot control the rod tip motion as easily as in a shorter fly rod. It is like trying to write your name with a paint brush that is 4" long vs 8" long while holding the end of the brush. So longer rods move the rod tip over greater distances but with less precision, again if all other factors are equal.

That means that the shorter fly rod is better for accuracy within the nominal range of that rod but will not be able to cast as far as the longer fly rod.
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Last edited by silver creek; 02-15-2013 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: General tackle questions

the above diagram does show the differing effects of a short vrs. long rods. The one thing that it does not tell is the amount of effort that the castor has to provide to gain the extra rod tip speed. The rod being a lever requires more effort to gain the added tip speed so there is a trade off. Another detail that is not taken into account is friction or wind resistance. A longer rod has more wind resistance which also increases effort required. I believe that a shorter rod requires less effort to attain a given line speed. Yes, I use long rods up to 9' and they will cast farther but I love my short rods. I would really like to try a 6 to 7' 7wt rod. I think I would like it.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: General tackle questions

There is also the fact that fly casting from a sitting position (from a canoe or float tube) can dictate the length of the rod. From a sitting position, I prefer a longer rod. Most of my fly fishing is on lakes from a canoe where standing up is out of the question and I have no need to watch out for trees. Yes....mending the line is not necessary when lake fishing but the longer rod does allow me to keep the line higher off the water. The longer rod also allows me to use longer leaders that are necessary for calm water situations.

I use a 7 weight rod that is 9 feet long and I usually fish with size 20 to size 12 dry flies. My leaders are from 9 to 14 feet long. However, with smaller flies (22 to 26) in very calm situations, I do use 15 to 18 foot long leaders and the flies fall on the water very delicately.

I don't like to make many false casts. Usually 1 false cast is enough for me to have enough fly line above the water to get decent casting distance. A shorter rod would force me to add 1 or 2 extra false casts to get the same distance.
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