Rod/Reel Balance

sheepdog

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First off, I'll say that I searched and searched for the answer to this fairly common question and only came up with different opinions and vague answers except for one article. Link below:
Match a Fly Rod and Fly Reel - A Question of Balance

So I understand that some people will want their setup balanced where there index finger lands on the grip, others like it on the middle finger, others like it under where the thumb lands...etc. Let's just say for the purpose of this thread, that I want my rod to be balanced when it's in my hand.

If we refer to the link above, the "proper" way to match a rod and a reel to have it balanced is to use the formula the author has. Which is 1.5 times the weight of the rod PLUS roughly half the weight of the head of the line the rod is rated for. Example: 7wt rod;(.42oz)/2=.21oz... This give's you the "swung weight of the rod. So for the particular rod in question, a 7wt TFO Mangrove, the rods adjusted swung weight is 4.45oz. If we use the formula, the rod will pair up with a reel that is 6.68 oz. Well today I put the rod together and just for s**ts and giggles, I mounted a reel that was 7.9oz just to see what the balance would be like and the thing was STILL tip heavy...

So long story/question short... How would I find a reel that, mathematically, would pair up with my rod? I understand that I could go to the fly shop and try a bunch of reels but the reel I'm looking at intently (Allen Kraken) according to the formula, will be too heavy once loaded up with a line and 200yds of backing....:mad:


Update:

Since there has been an agreement that the rod performs better without the added weight of a reel, I figured I would insert a link for a cool little gadget that allows you to quickly attach/detach the reel from the rod and it mounts on your chest. The product is called the RexFly and is made by a Former Marine. The product has been used a lot by wounded warriors who only have one arm and can't fight a fish with 2 hands. So they mount the rod to their chest during the fight and reel with their one good arm!

http://rexfly.com/rexfly-casting-system/
 
Last edited:

silver creek

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You right in being confused. There is so much BS about "rod balance" that it continues to this day.

But first let me address "swing weight" because it partially addresses what is actually being discussed in the article below that supposedly addressed rod balance:

Match a Fly Rod and Fly Reel - A Question of Balance

The Yellowstone Angler defines "swing weight" in the quote below:

"Swing Weight" 20 points available.

You have heard this term if you are a golfer. Every pro shop has a simple scale that measures swing weight the weight of the head of the club in relation to the shaft when you waggle the club. Since a scale like this won't work with a fly rod, we had to come up with a better way to measure swing weight that weight you feel out ahead of your hand when you hold the rod in a horizontal position. The best way that we have found to measure this is by placing a foam fulcrum in the middle of our scale, position the handle of the rod so that the fulcrum sits slightly forward of the middle of the handle, then position the rod horizontally, put some finger pressure on the very butt of the rod to hold it level and read off the weight in ounces.

Rods with a low swing weight are a joy to use and fish all day. False casting while fishing dry flies all day becomes effortless. Rods with lower swing weights help protect light tippets too, as there is less inertia to overcome as the rod tip gets jerked around while you try to set the hook. Rods with a high swing weight are not nearly as pleasant to fish, and will extract their payment in arm pump and fatigue by the end of the day.

This year we gave swing weight 20 points rather than 10 as this is really a performance category and has a huge bearing on how well the rod feels in your hand and how it performs.


Page not found >> Yellowstone Angler

Swing weight is actually a dynamic measurement. Swing Weight = moment of Inertia.

A larger moment of inertia around a given axis requires more torque to increase the rotation, or to stop the rotation, of a body about that axis. Moment of inertia depends on the amount and distribution of its mass, and can be found through the sum of moments of inertia of the masses making up the whole object, under the same conditions. When a body is rotating around an axis, a torque must be applied to change its angular momentum. The amount of torque needed for any given change in angular momentum is proportional to the size of that change.

Moment of inertia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In very simple terms, it is the momentum of the rod as it moves through the casting arc. When we cast a rod, we move it through a casting arc, and we apply torque which is the rotational force we use to move that fly rod through the casting arc. So swing weight is the simple way of expressing the amount of force or energy that we need to use to cast the fly rod. The greater the swing weight, the harder the rod is to cast. It is both the energy (torque) we use to both MOVE the rod and to STOP the rod for each back cast and forward cast.

The Yellowstone Angler uses a static measurement, the static mass distribution along the rod shaft - "that weight you feel out ahead of your hand when you hold the rod in a horizontal position as a proxy for swing weight (moment of inertia). Realize that this is done WITHOUT the reel and is ONLY the contribution of the the ROD to the Moment of Inertia. However, moment of inertia during casting includes the reel and line. The greater the combined mass of the rod/reel/line that is being rotated through the casting stroke, the greater the Swing Weight = Moment of Inertia.


Although swing weight is Moment of Inertia, what the Yellowstone Angler described is a "Static" moment which is inertia, which is due to mass, which is felt as weight due to gravity. The rotational velocity component is missing in static momentum, but since the value of rotational momentum varies with the speed and axis of rotation; if two rods have the same rotational speed and axis of rotation, the rod with the higher static inertia distribution along the rod shaft will have the higher rotational momentum. So with an apples to apples comparison, we can compare the "that weight" you feel out ahead of your hand when you hold the rod in a horizontal position between two rods of the same length to get an idea of swing weight as we cast those rods.

There is a precedent for this type of comparison. Consider the Common Cents System that uses a static metric to estimate the line rating of a fly rod. The more "cents" it takes, the higher the line rating.

The Yellowstone Angler's definition is an attempt to use a static measurement to estimate what the comparative moments of inertia would be between two rods of the same length at the same rotation velocity.

Now let's move on to rod/reel balance. I quote the Match a Fly Rod and Fly Reel - A Question of Balance

"Bad balance made casting this stick a chore and limited my best distance to something under 60 feet. Changing the physical balance turned my sow's ear into something much closer to the silk purse I'd hoped for."

This is a fallacy that keeps getting repeated. That you need the reel to balance the rod during fly casting. He goes on to write, "Now let's assume the St. Croix rod and a premium line roasted your budget so you opted for a Pflueger Medalist 1494 instead. This is a great choice. That reel weighs 5.4 ounces. Now your loaded rig is just a bit lighter than the swing weight of the rod. Such a small discrepancy isn't the end of the world, but it can make the Avid feel just a bit clunky in the hand. If you add one or two tenths of an ounce to the reel you can return it to that quick, responsive feel. This is easy to do simply remove the line and backing and wind on 30 feet of 28 pound test lead core trolling line around the spool and then put the backing and line back on."

First of all swing weight is NOT the overall weight of the fly rod so adding the mass of a reel CANNOT decrease swing weight. Any reel has mass and any mass added to the the rod as it rotates through the cast INCREASES the swing weight. You CANNOT DECREASE the Moment of Inertia by ADDING a mass which INCREASES INERTIA.

Rod balance is important in fishing and not in casting.

That is why the French nymphing DVD says to balance the outfit with a heavy reel. This results in an outfit that is tip-light/butt-heavy when the line/leader system is out. You don't need to force a tip heavy rod/reel into a tip up position for fishing.

The outfit may be heavier over all, but you are not fighting the natural balance of the rod/reel to keep it tip up during fishing.

The rod/reel/line should be balanced for the type of fishing you do with the amount of line you would normally have out. If you mainly fish streamers from a boat as musky fly fishers do in the USA, you want a tip heavy set up.

If you keep your rod level most of the time or do all kinds of fishing so the rod angle varies, you want a neutral balance point with the nominal amount of line out of the rod tip.

One can also adjust the balance point by holding the rod higher or lower on the rod grip once the cast has been made to account for the amount of fly line out.

Whenever the question of rod and reel "balance" is raised, there are those who will maintain that the reel balances the rod during the cast. This is a carry over from spin and casting rods and reels where the line weighs virtually nothing AND the cast is always made when the line has been wound all the way in. So in spin and casting rods a reels the amount of line and the weight of the combined line and reel is fixed. Regardless of the length of the cast, the rod and reel has a fixed balance point.

This is not so with fly casting. The amount of line varies during the cast and the length of line that is cast will vary from cast to cast. In addition, when we pick up line and recast, we do not start with all the line back on the reel. Indeed, it is advantageous to begin with some line out of the rod tip. So the balance point is not fixed but varies throughout the cast.

Secondly, there is the mistaken belief that a "balanced" fly casting outfit will somehow allow us to cast further and more effectively. This is not true. In reality, a rod without a reel with the line lying loosely on the ground is the most efficient way to cast. The reason is that the reel and line held on the reel contribute nothing to the cast. They actually hinder the cast by adding mass to the casting system that has to be accelerated and decelerated during the cast. Remember that the laws of physics state that any extra mass added to the rod/reel/line system INCREASES the Moment of Inertia and increases the amount of energy (torque) that is required to cast the line a given distance.

If the cast were made like a teeter totter with a pivoting of rod at the balance point, I can see the need for the counter weight of the reel. But that is not how a cast is made. The power stroke of the cast is made with the wrist locked and not with the rod pivoting like a windshield wiper.

Charles Ritz was a champion fly caster. He invented the parabolic fly rod; and the high line, high speed casting style that is the basis for modern fly casting. He is in the IGFA Fishing Hall of fame.

YouTube

He wrote in A Fly Fisher's Life (1959) about the false concept of rod balance:

Fly Angler's OnLine "Bamboo Rods Part 29"

"Before describing my methods of examining rods, here are a few considerations I believe to be of importance.

Let us first rid ourselves of a widespread idea, which I have often had occasion to point out as false or, at least, much exaggerated: the reel does not balance the rod; though in the past when rods were ten feet or more, very long and heavy, a reel as a counterweight did produce the illusion of balancing the rod in the hand; but it is the line which plays the principal role owing to its weight and the shape of its taper. It is, indeed, on the line that the rod depends above all for giving its maximum, and yet retaining its balance. The ideal would be to be able to fish with the reel in your pocket."





Vincent C. Marinaro wrote the following about rod balance, "In the Ring of the Rise," Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, copyright 1976, pp. 39-41.

"BALANCING A FLY ROD

In 1889 R. C. Leonard, a tournament caster, stepped to the platform without a reel on his rod and simply coiled the line at his feet. With that abbreviated rig he proceeded to smash all existing distance records, including his own, by a wide margin. It was a shocking thing to competitors and spectators alike. It was a momentous discovery from which not only tournament casters but fishermen as well should have profited. That early-day pioneer discovered an extremely important principle in rod dynamics. It amounts to this: That the caster must move the useless weight below the hand as well as the useful weight above the hand; that the removal of dead weight below the hand helped to overcome inertia more quickly, increasing the tip speed, thus imparting a greater velocity to the projectile or fly line. It should have been a valuable lesson to everyone, but it wasn't. It remained only among the tournament casters for many years.

If you examine the books and catalogs of those early days you will discover that manufacturers and fishermen-writers discussed very learnedly and extensively such things as "fulcrum point, "counterpoise,""balancing the fly rod," and "letting the rod do the work," none of which has any merit whatsoever. Not until very recently has there been an awareness of this valid principle. It is evidenced by the availability of numerous fine, very lightweight reels on the market today. In view of this trend I should not be discussing this subject at all, except for the fact that I am frequently surprised by the comments of writers and the recommendations of suppliers or manufacturers prescribing a specific size and weight of reel to balance a particular rod. There can be no such thing as balance in a fly rod. There can never be a fixed "fulcrum point." Every inch that the cast is lengthened or shortened changes the alleged balance and every unnecessary ounce in an unnecessarily heavy reel dampens and degrades the cast. If you wish to explore this a little further, you can try an experiment as I did some years ago. If you have or can borrow enough reels, let us say in two-ounce increments, all the way from the lightest, about two ounces, to something about eight or nine ounces, you will have enough to make the experiment. Use the same weight of line on the same rod for all trials. With the lightest reels the casts are sharply and cleanly delivered flat out with enough velocity to turn over the leaders. You also get a tighter front bow if you want it. As the reels get heavier there is a noticeable lagging in the forward loop until finally with the heaviest reel there is decided dropping of the loop, and probably a failure to turn over the leader properly. This effect is most pronounced on long casts. And consider how much worse it could be with those reels that were manufactured with a hollow arbor into which the purchaser was urged to pour lead pellets through a little trapdoor in order to correct the balance of his fly rod!

You can suit yourself about these matters but for me there is only one sound system and that is: Use the lightest possible reel of good quality and adequate capacity no matter how long or heavy the rod may be . . . ."


The Crompton Casting Machine proved what Charles Ritz and Vincent Marinaro knew through their own experience - that removing the reel allows the rod to cast further than with a reel because there is less mass and therefore greater line velocity can be achieved.

"Then one day I had another thought that clinched the deal. If my rod were perfectly balanced at exactly the correct point when all the line was on the reel, wouldn't that point change if I pulled line off to cast. If only took a couple of seconds to determine, that yes, in fact, it did change. Toss that adage out! Then, one day I was ran across a story on R.W. Crompton's "casting machine." It literally would fly cast. When the machine held the rod at the teeter-totter balancing point with reel attached, the machine could cast further when the reel was subsequently removed than when the reel was left attached. No reel equals a longer cast regardless of where the rod is held. Crompton even developed a reel that attached to his belt so he could fish without the reel on the rod. A bit bizarre, but it made him happy."

Gary Borger Blog Archive Rod Balance

As Ritz, Marinaro, and Gary Borger state, if you remove the reel and place it on the ground and cast just with the rod and line, it is much easier to cast. I have done that and I agree with Ritz and Marinaro and Borger, the reel is not needed to balance the rod for casting. The feel of the cast is actually the line causing the rod to bend. It is the moving line outside the rod that "balances" or provides the dynamic resistance that causes the rod to bend.

I realize that there will be those that will not believe what I have written. You owe it to yourself to try casting with the reel on the ground as I did.

A rod should balance in the hand so that it assumes the relative rod tip position that you want when you are fishing WITH the average amount of line that you would normally have out of the guides.

Therefore, there is no set formula for balance with the line would up on the reel.

This subject has been discussed several times before.


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...g-weight-verse-dynamic-weight.html#post632114


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...-important-rod-reel-balance-2.html#post561275
 
Last edited:

wolfglen

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First off, I'll say that I searched and searched for the answer to this fairly common question and only came up with different opinions and vague answers except for one article. Link below:
Match a Fly Rod and Fly Reel - A Question of Balance

So I understand that some people will want their setup balanced where there index finger lands on the grip, others like it on the middle finger, others like it under where the thumb lands...etc. Let's just say for the purpose of this thread, that I want my rod to be balanced when it's in my hand.

If we refer to the link above, the "proper" way to match a rod and a reel to have it balanced is to use the formula the author has. Which is 1.5 times the weight of the rod PLUS roughly half the weight of the head of the line the rod is rated for. Example: 7wt rod;(.42oz)/2=.21oz... This give's you the "swung weight of the rod. So for the particular rod in question, a 7wt TFO Mangrove, the rods adjusted swung weight is 4.45oz. If we use the formula, the rod will pair up with a reel that is 6.68 oz. Well today I put the rod together and just for s**ts and giggles, I mounted a reel that was 7.9oz just to see what the balance would be like and the thing was STILL tip heavy...

So long story/question short... How would I find a reel that, mathematically, would pair up with my rod? I understand that I could go to the fly shop and try a bunch of reels but the reel I'm looking at intently (Allen Kraken) according to the formula, will be too heavy once loaded up with a line and 200yds of backing....:mad:
You can't really compare anything by talking about the total weight of the rod, rod weight at the tip is totally different than rod weight at the butt when you talk about line speed you will achieve with the little final flick of the wrist.
That'w where balance comes in.

Total rod and reel weight affects the lift of the rod with the forearm.
Actually, if you are casting correctly , you'll be able to cast more efficiently with no reel at all. As far as balance of the rod and reel in the hand, that's eliminating fatigue from just holding the rod while fishing, nothing else.

---------- Post added at 06:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:24 PM ----------

You right in being confused. There is so much BS about “rod balance” that it continues to this day.

But first let me address “swing weight” because it partially addresses what is actually being discussed in the article below that supposedly addressed rod balance:

Match a Fly Rod and Fly Reel - A Question of Balance

The Yellowstone Angler defines “swing weight” in the quote below:

“Swing Weight – 20 points available

You have heard this term if you are a golfer. Every pro shop has a simple scale that measures swing weight – the weight of the head of the club in relation to the shaft when you waggle the club. Since a scale like this won’t work with a fly rod, we had to come up with a better way to measure swing weight – that weight you feel out ahead of your hand when you hold the rod in a horizontal position.* The best way that we have found to measure this is by placing a foam fulcrum in the middle of our scale, position the handle of the rod so that the fulcrum sits slightly forward of the middle of the handle, then position the rod horizontally, put some finger pressure on the very butt of the rod to hold it level and read off the weight in ounces.* *

Rods with a low swing weight are a joy to use and fish all day. False casting while fishing dry flies all day becomes effortless. Rods with lower swing weights help protect light tippets too, as there is less inertia to overcome as the rod tip gets jerked around while you try to set the hook. Rods with a high swing weight are not nearly as pleasant to fish, and will extract their payment in arm pump and fatigue by the end of the day.

This year we gave swing weight 20 points rather than 10 as this is really a performance category and has a huge bearing on how well the rod feels in your hand and how it performs.”


2013 5 weight shootout - Yellowstone Angler

Swing weight is actually a dynamic measurement. Swing Weight = moment of Inertia.

”A larger moment of inertia around a given axis requires more torque to increase the rotation, or to stop the rotation, of a body about that axis. Moment of inertia depends on the amount and distribution of its mass, and can be found through the sum of moments of inertia of the masses making up the whole object, under the same conditions…… …. When a body is rotating around an axis, a torque must be applied to change its angular momentum. The amount of torque needed for any given change in angular momentum is proportional to the size of that change.”

Moment of inertia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In very simple terms it is the momentum of the rod as it moves through the casting arc. When we cast a rod, we move it through a casting arc, and we apply torque which is the rotational force we use to move that fly rod through the casting arc. So swing weight is the simple way of expressing the amount of force or energy that we need to use to cast the fly rod. The greater the swing weight, the harder the rod is to cast. It is both the energy (torque) we use to both MOVE the rod and to STOP the rod for each back cast and forward cast.

The Yellowstone Angler uses a static measurement, the static mass distribution along the rod shaft - "that weight you feel out ahead of your hand when you hold the rod in a horizontal position” as a proxy for swing weight (moment of inertia). Realize that this is done WITHOUT the reel and is ONLY the contribution of the the ROD to the Moment of Inertia. However, moment of inertia during casting includes the reel and line. The greater the combined mass of the rod/reel//line that is being rotated through the casting stroke, the greater the Swing Weight = Moment of Inertia.


Although swing weight is Moment of Inertial , what the Yellowstone Angler described is a ”Static" moment which is inertia, which is due to mass, which is felt as weight due to gravity. The rotational velocity component is missing in static momentum, but since the value of rotational momentum varies with the speed and axis of rotation; if two rods have the same rotational speed and axis of rotation, the rod with the higher static inertia distribution along the rod shaft will have the higher rotational momentum. So with an apples to apples comparison, we can compare the "that weight you feel out ahead of your hand when you hold the rod in a horizontal position” between two rods of the same length to get an idea of swing weight as we cast those rods.

There is a precedent for this type of comparison. Consider the Common Cents System that uses a static metric to estimate the line rating of a fly rod. The more "cents" it takes, the higher the line rating.

The Yellowstone Angler's definition is an attempt to use a static measurement to estimate what the comparative moments of inertia would be between two rods of the same length at the same rotation velocity.

Now lets move on to rod/reel balance. I quote the Match a Fly Rod and Fly Reel - A Question of Balance

“Bad balance made casting this stick a chore and limited my best distance to something under 60 feet.* Changing the physical balance turned my sow’s ear into something much closer to the silk purse I’d hoped for.”

This is a fallacy that keeps getting repeated. That you need the reel to balance the rod during fly casting. He goes on to write, “Now let’s assume the St. Croix rod and a premium line roasted your budget so you opted for a Pflueger Medalist 1494 instead.* This is a great choice.* That reel weighs 5.4 ounces.* Now your loaded rig is just a bit lighter than the swing weight of the rod.* Such a small discrepancy isn’t the end of the world, but it can make the Avid feel just a bit clunky in the hand.* If you add one or two tenths of an ounce to the reel you can return it to that quick, responsive feel.* This is easy to do – simply remove the line and backing and wind on 30 feet of 28 pound test lead core trolling line around the spool and then put the backing and line back on.”

First of all swing weight is NOT the overall weight of the fly rod so adding the mass of a reel CANNOT decrease swing weight. Any reel has mass and any mass added to the the rod as it rotates through the cast INCREASES the swing weight. You CANNOT DECREASE the Moment of Inertia by ADDING a mass which INCREASES INERTIA.

Rod balance is important in fishing and not in casting.

That is why the French nymphing DVD says to balance the outfit with a heavy reel. This results in an outfit that is tip-light/butt-heavy when the line/leader system is out. You don't need to force a tip heavy rod/reel into a tip up position for fishing.

The outfit may be heavier over all, but you are not fighting the natural balance of the rod/reel to keep it tip up during fishing.

The rod/reel/line should be balanced for the type of fishing you do with the amount of line you would normally have out. If you mainly fish streamers from a boat as musky fly fishers do in the USA, you want a tip heavy set up.

If you keep your rod level most of the time or do all kinds of fishing so the rod angle varies, you want a neutral balance point withe the nominal amount of line out of the rod tip.

One can also adjust the balance point by holding the rod higher or lower on the rod grip once the cast has been made to account for the amount of fly line out.

Whenever the question of rod and reel "balance" is raised, there are those who will maintain that the reel balances the rod during the cast. This is a carry over from spin and casting rods and reels where the line weighs virtually nothing AND the cast is always made when the line has been wound all the way in. So in spin and casting rods a reels the amount of line and the weight of the combined line and reel is fixed. Regardless of the length of the cast, the rod and reel has a fixed balance point.

This is not so with fly casting. The amount of line varies during the cast and the length of line that is cast will vary from cast to cast. In addition, when we pick up line and recast , we do not start with all the line back on the reel. Indeed, it is advantageous to begin with some line out of the rod tip. So the balance point is not fixed but varies throughout the cast.

Secondly, there is the mistaken belief that a "balanced" fly casting outfit will somehow allow us to cast further and more effectively. This is not true. In reality, a rod without a reel with the line lying loosely on the ground is the most efficient way to cast. The reason is that the reel and line held on the reel contribute nothing to the cast. They actually hinder the cast by adding mass to the casting system that has to be accelerated and decelerated during the cast. Remember that the laws of physics state that any extra mass added to the rod/reel/line system INCREASES the Moment of Inertia and increases the amount of energy (torque) that is required to cast the line a given distance.

If the cast were made like a teeter totter with a pivoting of rod at the balance point, I can see the need for the counter weight of the reel. But that is not how a cast is made. The power stroke of the cast is made with the wrist locked and not with the rod pivoting like a windshield wiper.

Charles Ritz was a champion fly caster. He invented the parabolic fly rod; and the high line, high speed casting style that is the basis for modern fly casting. He is in the IGFA Fishing Hall of fame.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8n5Yh2djnw

He wrote in A Fly Fisher's Life (1959) about the false concept of rod balance:

Fly Angler's OnLine "Bamboo Rods Part 29"

"Before describing my methods of examining rods, here are a few considerations I believe to be of importance.

Let us first rid ourselves of a widespread idea, which I have often had occasion to point out as false or, at least, much exaggerated: the reel does not balance the rod; though in the past when rods were ten feet or more, very long and heavy, a reel as a counterweight did produce the illusion of balancing the rod in the hand; but it is the line which plays the principal role owing to its weight and the shape of its taper. It is, indeed, on the line that the rod depends above all for giving its maximum, and yet retaining its balance. The ideal would be to be able to fish with the reel in your pocket."





Vincent C. Marinaro wrote the following about rod balance, "In the Ring of the Rise," Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, copyright 1976, pp. 39-41.

"BALANCING A FLY ROD

In 1889 R. C. Leonard, a tournament caster, stepped to the platform without a reel on his rod and simply coiled the line at his feet. With that abbreviated rig he proceeded to smash all existing distance records, including his own, by a wide margin. It was a shocking thing to competitors and spectators alike. It was a momentous discovery from which not only tournament casters but fishermen as well should have profited. That early-day pioneer discovered an extremely important principle in rod dynamics. It amounts to this: That the caster must move the useless weight below the hand as well as the useful weight above the hand; that the removal of dead weight below the hand helped to overcome inertia more quickly, increasing the tip speed, thus imparting a greater velocity to the projectile or fly line. It should have been a valuable lesson to everyone, but it wasn’t. It remained only among the tournament casters for many years.

If you examine the books and catalogs of those early days you will discover that manufacturers and fishermen-writers discussed very learnedly and extensively such things as “fulcrum point,” “counterpoise,” “balancing the fly rod,” and “letting the rod do the work,” none of which has any merit whatsoever. Not until very recently has there been an awareness of this valid principle. It is evidenced by the availability of numerous fine, very lightweight reels on the market today. In view of this trend I should not be discussing this subject at all, except for the fact that I am frequently surprised by the comments of writers and the recommendations of suppliers or manufacturers prescribing a specific size and weight of reel to balance a particular rod. There can be no such thing as balance in a fly rod. There can never be a fixed “fulcrum point.” Every inch that the cast is lengthened or shortened changes the alleged balance and every unnecessary ounce in an unnecessarily heavy reel dampens and degrades the cast. If you wish to explore this a little further, you can try an experiment as I did some years ago. If you have or can borrow enough reels, let us say in two-ounce increments, all the way from the lightest, about two ounces, to something about eight or nine ounces, you will have enough to make the experiment. Use the same weight of line on the same rod for all trials. With the lightest reels the casts are sharply and cleanly delivered flat out with enough velocity to turn over the leaders. You also get a tighter front bow if you want it. As the reels get heavier there is a noticeable lagging in the forward loop until finally with the heaviest reel there is decided dropping of the loop, and probably a failure to turn over the leader properly. This effect is most pronounced on long casts. And consider how much worse it could be with those reels that were manufactured with a hollow arbor into which the purchaser was urged to pour lead pellets through a little trapdoor in order to correct the balance of his fly rod!

You can suit yourself about these matters but for me there is only one sound system and that is: Use the lightest possible reel of good quality and adequate capacity no matter how long or heavy the rod may be . . . ."




As both Ritz and Marinaro state, if you remove the reel and place it on the ground and cast just with the rod and line, it is much easier to cast. I have done that and I agree with Ritz and Marinaro, the reel is not needed to balance the rod for casting. The feel of the cast is actually the line causing the rod to bend. It is the moving line outside the rod that "balances" or provides the dynamic resistance that causes the rod to bend.

I realize that there will be those that will not believe Charles Ritz or what I have written. You owe it to yourself to try casting with the reel on the ground as I did.

A rod should balance in the hand so that it assumes the relative rod tip postion that you want when you are fishing WITH the average amount of line that you would normally have out of the guides.

Therefore, there is no set formula for balance with the line would up on the reel.

This subject has been discussed several times before.


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...g-weight-verse-dynamic-weight.html#post632114

The Crompton Casting Machine proved what Charles Ritz and Vincent Marianaro knew through their own experience - that removing the reel allows the rod to cast further than with a reel because there is less mass and therefore greater line velocity can be achieved.

"Then one day I had another thought that clinched the deal. If my rod were perfectly balanced at exactly the correct point when all the line was on the reel, wouldn’t that point change if I pulled line off to cast. If only took a couple of seconds to determine, that yes, in fact, it did change. Toss that adage out! Then, one day I was ran across a story on R.W. Crompton’s “casting machine.” It literally would fly cast. When the machine held the rod at the teeter-totter balancing point with reel attached, the machine could cast further when the reel was subsequently removed than when the reel was left attached. No reel equals a longer cast regardless of where the rod is held. Crompton even developed a reel that attached to his belt so he could fish without the reel on the rod. A bit bizarre, but it made him happy."


Gary Borger » Blog Archive » Rod Balance

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...-important-rod-reel-balance-2.html#post561275
Having known both Vince and Charlie Ritz through TGF when I was a boy, I totally concur. The laws of physics have not changed although the toys we have to employ them have. Understanding this will help you understand the old theory of 10-2 to today's 10"30 t0 1.
 

guest65

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This is a great question and has been addressed a number of times in the Forum already, I think, but I'd love to hear what Ard has to say on the subject, if he's available- And, S&S is very particular about balance as well.

Personally, I agree that what really matters in terms of balance is when you have line through the guides and in the air. I think that there are some rod/reel/line combinations that feel more effortless and perhaps more "balanced" at shorter range, some other combinations may feel better at mid-range, and others at greater distance yet. And I certainly think it is possible to be un-balanced, if the reel is extremely light or extremely heavy for the rod weight/length to which it is applied. But there is a lot of leeway for me in this regard, plus or minus an ounce or ounce and a half (for the reel), depending on the particular rod, line, and type of fishing/casting I'll be doing.
 

Unknownflyman

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I think the bigger the rod the more critical it is, but yes all my rods a balenced. Works better and more comfortable.

My 12' 9" Spey rod is balenced with my speyco reel, I fished that big heavy rod sun up to sun down without injury or that much fatigue Out of the ordinary I been standing on a river all day.

I like
Is that a technical enough answer?
 

wolfglen

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I think the bigger the rod the more critical it is, but yes all my rods a balenced. Works better and more comfortable.

My 12' 9" Spey rod is balenced with my speyco reel, I fished that big heavy rod sun up to sun down without injury or that much fatigue Out of the ordinary I been standing on a river all day.

I like
Is that a technical enough answer?
Taking a guess, I would assume that it's relieving fatigue in that little muscle on the right side of your forearm close to the elbow? Kind of in the place where a tennis player would complain of tennis elbow?
 

Unknownflyman

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Taking a guess, I would assume that it's relieving fatigue in that little muscle on the right side of your forearm close to the elbow? Kind of in the place where a tennis player would complain of tennis elbow?

Yes and it's easier on my shoulder, more effiective casts, longer casts and easier casts equal less casts and more time my fly is fishing.


More fishing- less fatigue.
 

sweetandsalt

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To be clear, a reel as a counter balance to a rod is less relevant during the cast than when standing there waiting for a fish to rise or perched on the bow of a skiff, hunting. I spend more time doing those things than actually presenting a fly hence I like a gravity neutral horizontal balance in my rigged rod. I know of no mathematical formula to achieve this and if one existed Silver Creek would know it. The fulcrum point is where your forefinger naturally encircles the grip. Rods and even more so reels have gotten very light which is good but those few fractions of ounces can create a bit of annoyance when fighting the tip back up from dipping downward subjecting your slack line to entanglement to boot.
 

spm

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I asked this question last year and grtlksmarlin gave me a DIY exercise to pair a rod and reel. Assemble the rod and place it on a fulcrum where you would hold it. I just held it in my hand and balanced it on my finger. Now hang a little plastic baggy where the reel would be and start dropping quarters into the baggy. When the rod tip goes up, stop. Count the quarters. Each quarter weighs .20 ounces, so multiply the number of quarters by .20, and you have the approximate weight of the reel and line that will balance the rod. I have used this several times already and it worked every time ...slicker than snot.

Good luck,
steve
 

Unknownflyman

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For me it's relevant to the cast and the fishing. Maybe not on the 3 weight but that is balenced out too. Tip up or flat as a resting spot is a good place to be.

The transition in the cast is where I notice it and how the rod responds, seems like it works with me way better.

But yeah one of those things, I like, I notice it.
 

wolfglen

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Yes and it's easier on my shoulder, more effiective casts, longer casts and easier casts equal less casts and more time my fly is fishing.


More fishing- less fatigue.[/

Okay, that's what I figured. That's the point where the balance between the rod tip and reel comes in. Now, when you fish, take a look at your hand, is the thumb upward, the V or the back of your hand?
 

ts47

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There is good information here. I've learned a few things I didn't previously understand by reading the comments in this thread. My thanks to those that have shared!!
 

Unknownflyman

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Yes and it's easier on my shoulder, more effiective casts, longer casts and easier casts equal less casts and more time my fly is fishing.


More fishing- less fatigue.[/

Okay, that's what I figured. That's the point where the balance between the rod tip and reel comes in. Now, when you fish, take a look at your hand, is the thumb upward, the V or the back of your hand?

Hmmmm thumb slightly off TDC but it's not much.
 

sheepdog

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You right in being confused. There is so much BS about “rod balance” that it continues to this day.
I realize that there will be those that will not believe what I have written. You owe it to yourself to try casting with the reel on the ground as I did.

A rod should balance in the hand so that it assumes the relative rod tip postion that you want when you are fishing WITH the average amount of line that you would normally have out of the guides.

Therefore, there is no set formula for balance with the line would up on the reel.

This subject has been discussed several times before.


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...g-weight-verse-dynamic-weight.html#post632114


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...-important-rod-reel-balance-2.html#post561275
I have to admit, when I saw how long your post was, I was reluctant to read it... There were a lot of big words in there, rules of physics involved and most of it didn't make sense first time around. But then I realized, if you took all that time to write that down for me, it would only seem reasonable to read it. So I did! I will definitely go out tomorrow and try casting the rod with no reel and see how it goes. Basically it seems like the balance issue is more important, as you stated, to have the rod rest at the angle it would most often be fished in. Which in my case with this being a streamer rod, will be tip low. I guess I'll just have to go see what reels will make the rod sit with a bit of a tip low angle.

I asked this question last year and grtlksmarlin gave me a DIY exercise to pair a rod and reel. Assemble the rod and place it on a fulcrum where you would hold it. I just held it in my hand and balanced it on my finger. Now hang a little plastic baggy where the reel would be and start dropping quarters into the baggy. When the rod tip goes up, stop. Count the quarters. Each quarter weighs .20 ounces, so multiply the number of quarters by .20, and you have the approximate weight of the reel and line that will balance the rod. I have used this several times already and it worked every time ...slicker than snot.

Good luck,
steve
I'll give that a shot too so I can find out just what the right weight will be. Thanks for that tip!

Thank you everyone for your input!!!
 

mtbusman

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I have to agree with ts47.
We've had discussions on this topic before and I have done the baggie with the quarters on the reel seat, I have put my new reel complete with fly line on the rod and then felt slightly dismayed when the tip of the rod still dipped a little.

As I read down through Silver's essay two experiences came to mind -- back when I was a kid and I was fishing my 7 1/2 foot four piece Trailmaster with a 1495 Medalist (that, with line installed weighed almost 8 ounces), and it felt so hard to cast. In contrast to that early experience, earlier this Spring I was trying out a line I didn't have on a reel yet, so I was casting without a reel. I surprised how nice it felt to cast without a reel on the rod.

It makes perfect sense that the total weight of what we are pushing through the air is what actually counts.

On the subject of fatigue from holding the rod while fishing -- I could see this on heavier rods, bigger outfits -- but it's no wonder that I hardly feel a thing when holding my four weights. The entire rod, reel and line weigh so little.

Thank you, Mr. Silver Creek, for taking the time to explain this so well. And thank you, Sheepdog, for asking the question.
 

oldskewl808

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I'm in the same camp as S&S on this topic. If one were just Fly Casting maybe the balance issue is of less importance than if one were Fly Fishing. A balanced outfit has a much better "feel" during times of Fishing. It can't be figured out with math equations or by searching the Internet. You have to Fish with a rod reel combo. By Fish, I mean present a fly, entice a bite, and play the fish. How did the outfit feel? Good? Balanced? Great! That's how to balance a fly rod and reel.
 

bloomagoo

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Count me in the camp of "lighter is better", regardless of balance point. I will agree that a balanced outfit feels better when in a static position, but for casting I prefer the lightest outfit possible possible.
 

troutnut4

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A related question: how many angels can dance on the head of a needle?
That depends, Boy angels or Girl angels. Of course, I have never seem Boy angels! :rolleyes:
IMHO balance in a trout rod is overdone. When did we all become that weak that a couple of ounces made a big difference. :wow: I rig my rods according to feel when I have 30 feet of line out, not some mathematical formula. Everyone's opinion is a little different but I know what I like. :D
 

wolfglen

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Hmmmm thumb slightly off TDC but it's not much.
That should be just about right for eliminating fatigue. The rod is being cradled rather than gripped and when you go to cast, the resistance of the line locks the rod in your hand much like the old chinese thumbcuffs.

V on top, thumb more or less blocking your view of the cork. Much like a hand shake.
 
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