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Thread: New gear vs old

  1. Default Re: New gear vs old

    Buying used fly rods requires a pretty steep learning curve. You need to know about the history of the rod fads before buying, IMO. For example, there was a trend in the mid-to-late 1960's to create "tip-action" rods. Basically, all the action was in the tip. This action was eventually acknowledged to be a poor performer in most situations.

    About the same time, short fly rods were in vogue. Lee Wulff was catching Atlantic salmon on a six foot cane rod and anything longer was passe. Gingrich loved his four foot rod. Leonard Wright was the voice of reason, using simple physics to prove that a longer fly rod was superior in most particulars, but few listened.

    Then, with the advent of graphite, the emphasis was on light weight and fast action; with the result that sometimes makers went too thin with the wall thickness and rods cracked and splintered. The editorial emphasis of the new batch of fly fishing magazines was on Western rivers and casting for distance. Rods were designed for large flies and long casts, even though in the Eastern US, the rivers typically don't require any more than twenty feet of line beyond the rod tip. As fly shops proliferated across the country in the 70s through the 1990s, rods were often sold by taking them out into the street or casting pool and subjecting them to some shirt-ripping double hauls.

    Anyway, you can see that care must be taken in choosing an old rod. That rod is an expression of the perceived needs of a locale - a NH fisherman on the Sugar doesn't need a hollow-built made for the rivers of the Northwest - the latest fads - as above, and the latest marketing ploy - "Hey, if we impregnate this cane with a dark resin, it will cover up all the flaws in the bamboo and we can use inferior bamboo with less waste".

    But, though there is much to learn about fly rods, it is quite enjoyable to learn about the rods, rodmakers, materials, and actions. As you do that, there is also the thrill of the chase - stalking the "perfect" fly rod.

    Good luck.
    Best regards,

  2. Likes moucheur2003, db cooper liked this post
  3. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Parts Unknown

    Default Re: New gear vs old

    The plain truth is that the rods being made right now are the best that have ever been made from a measurable technological standpoint (weight, swing-weight, dampening performance etc). A $200 today is better than a $500 rod five years ago. Before anyone gets up in arms there are exceptions and everyone has their attachments to a favorite rod. The true high end rods are still made in the states with the exception of Hardy which are far east imports. Lets not forget that there are a lot of American made rods that simply suck. Its fine to buy American made tackle because you want to support America (lord knows all of mine is American) but to say imported rods aren't as good...just not true any more. The taper makes the rod...its all in the design. Fly rods are not hard to make...its not rocket science. If a company gives a mandrel with a great taper to a rod factory in Korea or China...the rod will cast great. I look to the Winston passport and Mystic Reaper series. Both of these rods are nicer than anything coming out of a lot of American factories imho, and they are both Koren made.

  4. Default Re: New gear vs old

    It is also true that many of the cane fly rods being made today in the US are as good or better than any of the best of the rods made during the "Golden Age" of cane. The majority of the cane rodmakers in the US depend upon other incomes for sustenance. Even at $1200-$1800 dollars per rod, they are not making a living wage. They are, however, often crafting functional works of art that are cheap at the price.
    Best regards,

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