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  1. #1
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    I was looking over a CCS data chart, and noticed that the Sage Z-Axis 5wt measured closer to a 6wt. I also noticed that the Winston BIIX 590 was very close to a 4wt when measured according to the CCS system. I came across someone's opinion that the manufacturers aren't lying, they're just rating the rods for their intended use. The Z-Axis is marketed as an all-purpose rod, suitable for fishing in close and out far; with streamers and sink tip lines, etc. The BIIX was (I have to get used to speaking about these rods in the past tense) a dry fly purist's delight, able to make delicate casts at all ranges. If you accept the principles of the CCS system, it would seem that Winston took a 4wt rod, and labeled it a 5wt, and that Sage labeled a 6wt rod as a 5wt. But were they lying? I don't think so. Nobody ever suggested that if you were heading for a small bushy stream, that a Z-Axis should the only rod to take. The BIIX was praised for its ability to load in close, yet reach trout at "fishing" distances (i.e. not blast line across a wide river).

    Bigfly (famous Truckee guide Jim Landis) told me to try my 590 Z-Axis with a 6wt line, and said "Trust me." A few days ago, the wind was blowing 15-20mph, and I wanted to fish one of my favorite pools. The pool measures about 30 feet across, and I was planning on using a heavily weighted bugger. I decided after several years of fishing this rod to overline it. The 6wt line did more than handle the wind: accuracy in close became incredible. With a 5wt line, casting in close was absolutely possible, but required a different touch. I've used this rod on small bushy streams, but only when that stream led to a large lake. As I cast the rod into the wind, I thought, "if you can't trust a guide, who can you trust?" I went back to that same CCS chart, and noticed that the Winston IM6 rods also measured nearly a line lighter than the weight stamped on the rod. Would that account for the famous Winston action, or did the folks at Winston decide that the line designation most closely matched what their customers had come to expect from a Winston? Sage's TCR rod was rated about 2 line weights heavier than labeled, but that's a rod that is supposed to cast long distances.

    Was George Anderson misleading the public with his shootouts? Probably not. He took the rods at face value, and tested them accordingly. Some people said he should have used different line tapers for each rod, particularly Winston owners. That group should know best how their rods perform, and are undoubtedly correct. A 5wt Winston BIIX is going to become overloaded past 45 feet with a 5.5wt line. Likewise, the Z-Axis would have scored better at 25 feet with a 6wt line. I did cast my Z-Axis with a 4wt GPX line in October, and it worked. I even fished it with a 4wt line one day, and it worked. So are the manufacturers "Lying" about the rods' line ratings? If you look at each rod's intended use, I would say they aren't lying. Based on what I've read about George Anderson, he is quite a nymph fisherman, and fishes larger rivers. He stated quite clearly in his report the criteria used to score the rods tested, and the one that seemed most important to him was carrying a nymph rig at a distance. If one "5wt" could do it well, why shouldn't the other? Honestly, that probably wasn't the manufacturer's intention. That doesn't discredit Anderson's report IMO, and Anderson has stated more than once each angler has to decide for themselves which rod suits their purposes best.

    I fish a large lake quite a bit this time of year, and the 590 Z-Axis is my rod of choice for that application. While a 6wt line worked very well for the pool I fished last week on a windy day, the same line would become tiring after a day of long casts on the lake (the rod's forte). I will carry a spare spool with a 6wt line the next time out, however.
    Last edited by FrankB2; 12-18-2011 at 10:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    I don't think the rating system is really very standardized at all. Seems to me like most manufacturers rate the rods for what is popular.
    Instead of rating a rod for a range of line sizes (4/5/6 wt for example) they will say 5wt - medium fast action. A 6wt line will usually turn it into a 6wt medium action for me, or a 4wt line will turn it into a fast action.
    Some miss that range by a bit, too.

    It also seems to me like most cane or fiberglass rods are closer to the stated line size for me than graphite rods. Could be I'm just closer to slow action in my casting stroke.
    Mike

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    Hi Mike,
    I just came across this: AFTM Table
    That should explain why a BIIX would "collapse" at 70 feet, while a Z-Axis does well at that distance. The author once again mentions "intended purpose" in his last paragraph. This isn't the same author I referred to in my first post, however.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    Interesting post Frank; I guess the line designations are more like "suggestions" than "written in stone". I don't think that is a bad thing, even though it might be a bit confusing at times, it leaves room for the various fishing conditions, personal preferences, and different casting strokes of individual fishermen/women.
    "I cast my hook into a single stream; but my pleasure is as if I owned a kingdom." - Chi K'ang (223-262)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
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    10,830

    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    Quote Originally Posted by wannafish View Post
    Interesting post Frank; I guess the line designations are more like "suggestions" than "written in stone". I don't think that is a bad thing, even though it might be a bit confusing at times, it leaves room for the various fishing conditions, personal preferences, and different casting strokes of individual fishermen/women.
    +1 WF, +1

    95% of my fishing is with a two hander and I've long since (to the best degree possible) moved away from the 'manufacturer's (rod OR line grain weight) recommendations.' Good thing is we have a custom line maker here in Medford (Steve Godshall) who has damned near every rod 'dialed in' for what it really is .. which can have darned little to do with the sticker pasted on the blank.

    Steve runs a rod through some formula he's concocted and 'it' may be a 6.9 or a 7.5 or a what-ever. The lines he builds are based on that. Have several and they all 'work a treat' when it comes to casting same.

    Money well spent and it won't cost you a penny more than a 'off the shelf' line.

    fae
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    The problem I have with the "They rate them for the intended use" thing is, how do we know what the rod maker thinks is the intended use? I use all kinds of things in ways that were never intended. In my opinion they are lying. Sage being one of the biggest offenders. The biggest area of lying is when you get to the 5 wt. competition rods.

    In my opinion people would be better off if makers would call the rods what they really are, and lets us decide what we intend to use them for.
    Last edited by Guest1; 12-18-2011 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Missing letters

  7. #7

    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    CCS in my opinion only tells a fraction of the story. Yes....its a fair starting point. But consider things like material response, general weight of a rod, as well as swing weight. All three of these things have as much bearing on when a rod feels loaded as just the CCS numbers. For instance, a rod that is very heavy will be much harder to feel loading than a rod that weights next to nothing. The grain weight of a line against a heavy rod will be harder to feel than with a lighter rod. Response also has a great affect on line speed and when a rod feels loaded. In my opinion a super light, super fast action rod can be felt easier than an ultra heavy, super slow action rod. Both rods could have the exact same CCS numbers but at the same time feel completely different in hand. As you can all probably tell by other posts I've made, I think rod weight and swing weight have as much to do with rating a rod as CCS does. Maybe more.
    FP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Western Montana
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    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    Good post and conversation.

    I don't know if lying is right word. I feel close to the way Mike does. Dan, it is hard to know what the manufacturer means, particularly now when they all pretty much try to make the "perfect" rod for every use, i.e. the Sage One. I believe this is partly to entice new comers who do not really know what they want or will need, so all the marketing can sell $800 rods that "can do it all, perfectly". Also, in the age of fast action - selling them as "easier" to cast, I do think that Sage for example under weights their rods, and Winston conversely over-weights them, because they are intended to be "classic" dry fly rods. So on the same point, Dan, I think that seasoned anglers actually do know what certain rods are better suited to. And knowledgeable shop guys can help find the right rod for the style.

    It is unfortunate, too, I think. Because I do not want one rod that supposedly does it all. And I really do not like the fast action of today, for a number of reason. For a dry fly rod you need a rod that loads for short casts, 20-35 feet. A dry fly trout fisherman will do much better focusing close rather than shooting line 45 feet across current to a rising fish.

    I have three Sage rods, an SPL in 2wt, this is the LL replacement and an honest to goodness med-slow rod. It is a dream to cast in 25 foot range. I have an SLT 4 wt, the replacement of the SPL, I believe and again, loads well close but also shoot line well. The third is a 6 wt VPS, this is one of the older fast rods - "a cannon" I am told. I put it together a dozen years ago for fun, it was cheap and I wanted a "big" rod after moving to Montana. I actually hate this rod. I have found that I cannot cast the "cannon" worth a darn because my casting stroke is too slow.

    After this discussion, I am going to take my 4 and 6 wts to the shop and try 5 and 7 weight lines, respectively. I love the SLT with the recommended 4 wt, but I imagine it will be a better streamer/nymph rod with a 5 wt line. As for that 6 wt, well see. I don't really want a 7 wt, so we'll see about that one.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    Quote Originally Posted by pegboy1 View Post
    CCS in my opinion only tells a fraction of the story. Yes....its a fair starting point. But consider things like material response, general weight of a rod, as well as swing weight...... I think rod weight and swing weight have as much to do with rating a rod as CCS does. Maybe more.
    I agree. But they either don't tell you those things or lie about them to. I think if they stopped lying about what the rod is rated at, give a true standardized (Hah, like this is ever going to happen!) description of the action, weight and modulus of the blank, we would be better off when we go rod shopping. The main problem I see with this ever happening is like the abuse of the term modulus. As it is used in rod terminology today it is nothing more than a sales gimmick having no real relationship to the end product. Then there is the whole one makers description of fast is less fast than the next guys mod-fast thing. As far as I'm concerned there is a real lack of standardized information, which allows for a great deal of lying.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Are Rod Manufacturers REALLY Lying About Line Ratings?

    My preference has always been towards touch and precision. My feeling on line weight suggestions has always been use the standard weight as a guideline and make any adjustments as necessary. I can't say that any one line weight is the go to line for every rod. The older Yellowstone Angler shootouts overpowered the Winston BIIX with a +.5 line, while the Z-Axis would have excelled with this advantage. I have always said, I love my Biix rods with Rio Gold and not Rio Grande. I can achieve distance, but still have the up close touch that is required in most fishing situations.

    The line up / line down problem becomes more difficult with sink tips where rod action becomes increasingly important in selecting grain weight. A medium fast 8 weight does better with a 250 grain, rather than a 300 grain, even though both are recommended for 8 weights.

    I'd love to buy a spey rod. I have had enough poor line recommendations on standard rods, that I won't touch a spey rod until I can make the long drive to a spey clave where I can test multiple rods with multiple different lines on a river, especially with the way manufacturers skew the tapor versus line rating systems.

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