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Thread: Overlining?

  1. Default Re: Overlining?

    I did go to activeangler and read your articles on lines, rods and putting it all together. They are excellent. I did not see any information on matching lines to rods without an indication of correct line size.
    Many of my bamboo rods have no markings on them at all (the product of some previous owners lack of skill in refinishing) so I do not have any H or I markings to go by. What I am left with is putting varying line sizes on them and casting them to see which line size appears to load the rod correctly.
    Your articles on line weight and taper gave me some good ideas about the mathematics involved in this (adding 5 feet of aerialized line equals one line size up etc) and your descriptions of badly formed loops from overloaded rods also helps. Your description of "exploding graphite shards" makes me little bit more than nervous (exploding bamboo slivers would be worse I think).
    If you have any specific suggestions on picking a line size to start out with for any given rod, that would be helpful, otherwise I will just feel my way through it based on your general information.
    thanks again

  2. Default Re: Overlining?


    Perhaps these remarks will also help. As a general rule, fly fishers in the heyday of bamboo were very much like we are: big rods for big fish and big lines; little rods for little fish and little lines. If you've got a 6, 6.5, or 7-footer, the odds are they are built for 4-weight lines although the 7 could be a 5-weight. Rods 7.5 to 8-feet were usually 5's ... in fact, the standard for the day was an 8-foot, 5-weight.

    Longer bamboos, to me, usually feel a bit clumsy if they are made for the heavier weights -- say 7's or 8's. Keep in mind that the difference between a 5 and 6-weight line wasn't easy to measure since standards, as such, really didn't exist.

    Another point -- Inspect the tip-top very carefully. When bamboo breaks, it usually is within 3-inches of the tip. The rod is still fully fishable but the wwight line it will cast usually goes up a notch. I have one -- originally 6.3-feet, it was a 6-foot when I got it. It was still of value so I had it professionally restored. With a 4-weight line, it is a delight to fish.

    Bamboo can be tricky ... You might also try this ... on a carpet place the tip of rod against the carpet and cause the rod to bend. The more symmetric the parabola, the more likely the rod is designed to throw a lighter line.

    Finally, a war story ... I had wanted nice bamboor in 5 or 6-weight. Finally found a Orvis Madison, 7.5-footer rated for HDG lines although there was no way to tell whether the rating was for nylon or silk -- since it had a "6" behind HDG, I made a very bad assumption I assumed silk. When the rod arrived I "rushed" to cast it. I rigged a new Bonefish 6-weight and hurried out to my casting grass. Moments later, I damned near broke the rod. It couldn't handle a 6-weight line for long casting. Had I not stopped the rod as I went into the forward cast, there isn't a doubt in my military mind that wouldn't have broken. To this day, I either use a Cortland Sylk 5-weight or anyone else's 4-weight.

    If I can help in any way, I will...


  3. Default Re: Overlining?

    This was a tremendous help.
    I do not have any really short rods. They are all between 8 feet and 9.5 feet. I have one Abbie and Imbry that I put a 3 wt Cortland Sylk on just recently (based on your review of said line a month or so ago) and find that it casts quite nicely. Based on your suggestions, I may measure out 35 feet or so of this 3 wt line and see how it loads the rod.
    The other rods are likely to be 5 wts to 8 wts based on your descriptions. One of the longest rods appears quite heavy and I have fished it very briefly with an 8 wt line on it. As I recall, I was struck by the slow action but that may be simply because I was used to only graphite rods at the time and not because the rod was overloaded.
    One rod I am most interested to try is a Goodwin Granger Denver Special (8'). It has the original markings on it and the tube but appears to have a weight in ounces rather than a line marking like HDG. My plan is to start with a 3 wt and move up to 4 and perhaps 5 wt line until the loading looks correct. I will do the "parabola test" you suggested before I do anything else.
    Thanks again for your help with this.

  4. Default Re: Overlining?

    The Granger sounds very interesting ... assuming it is tight and straight with the original markings, it may have excellent value. However, I defer to Len Codella who I regard as a true expert on bamboo rods, their makers, and, of course, their value. He's busy but try him at or call 1-352-637-5454.

    I'll bet it is a 5-weight. There was a time when makers gave the length and weight and left matching line to the fly fisher. A.J. McClane did a piece years ago and classified rod in groups: 7.5 to 8-feet, 3.5 to 4.5 ounces; 8.5 to 9-feet, 4.5 to 5.25 ounces; 9-feet, 5.5 to 6.5 ounces; an 9 to 9.5-feet, 6.5 to 7.5 ounces. If your Granger falls into the first category a 5-weight should work.

    Best of Luck,


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