Rod/Reel Balance

ts47

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Again, this has been an educational thread for me. I feel like I'm still new to this sport, though this forum has taught me a lot.. One of the (many) things that was still somewhat a mystery to me was the balance question and why it mattered.

There have been a few opinions shared here and in (many) similar threads. Below are the opinions that I am going to 100% buy into.
1. Lighter is better for casting.
2. A slightly heavier butt is better for holding the rod with the tip up for extended periods of time while fishing.
3. A slightly heavier butt is better for keeping the tip up when walking. It keeps the tip from accidentally drifting toward the ground and jamming.

None of these are THAT important in a day on the water (unless you are careless when walking with your rod :eek: ) and really come down to what makes YOU happy, like the action of your rod.

The other three things I take from this thread are:
4. Balance is no mystery or hidden secret. It is basically something that has nothing to do with the quality of your fishing beyond a personal preference you may have for how you like your rod to act at a certain time.
5. As has also been heavily discussed on this forum, there is no such thing as a reel that is too light when it comes to casting.
6. The heavier your rod and/or the heavier your reel, the harder it will be to control your casts. I get that this statement should not be taken to excess. There is no good reason for all of us to sell our reels in exchange for 1/2 ounce lighter versions.

Again, this is MY personal takeaway from this discussion. It does clear up a few things for me, still being a somewhat new guy.

Like mtbusman said... Thanks to the OP, Silver, Sweet and everyone else who shared. This has been educational and changed my thoughts on the matter of balance. :thumbsupu
 

sweetandsalt

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wolfglen, I too was a regular at the TGF luncheons at the Williams Club starting in 1975. Also I was co-chair of the Arts of Angling mid-week evening programs that brought Mr. Marinaro...and so may others...to TGF. I am still a member but not as active post Walter. Having been (and sort of still am) an in season fish bum in Idaho/Montana since 1969, I thought I knew something about fly fishing until I move to NYC and joined that group. Observing Lou and Larry go toe to toe over how many terigites were on a particular nymph, or the specific lengths relative to diameter and suppleness of leader sections, I turned to anther young man at the kids table, perhaps you, and said, "Man have I come to the right place!" I am a far more aware and informed angler today due to the influences of wisdom and experience of members and guests of that esteemed group...a number of whom remain among my closest friends to this day.
 

wolfglen

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Again, this has been an educational thread for me. I feel like I'm still new to this sport, though this forum has taught me a lot.. One of the (many) things that was still somewhat a mystery to me was the balance question and why it mattered.

There have been a few opinions shared here and in (many) similar threads. Below are the opinions that I am going to 100% buy into.
1. Lighter is better for casting.
2. A slightly heavier butt is better for holding the rod with the tip up for extended periods of time while fishing.
3. A slightly heavier butt is better for keeping the tip up when walking. It keeps the tip from accidentally drifting toward the ground and jamming.

None of these are THAT important in a day on the water (unless you are careless when walking with your rod :eek: ) and really come down to what makes YOU happy, like the action of your rod.

The other three things I take from this thread are:
4. Balance is no mystery or hidden secret. It is basically something that has nothing to do with the quality of your fishing beyond a personal preference you may have for how you like your rod to act at a certain time.
5. As has also been heavily discussed on this forum, there is no such thing as a reel that is too light when it comes to casting.
6. The heavier your rod and/or the heavier your reel, the harder it will be to control your casts. I get that this statement should not be taken to excess. There is no good reason for all of us to sell our reels in exchange for 1/2 ounce lighter versions.

Again, this is MY personal takeaway from this discussion. It does clear up a few things for me, still being a somewhat new guy.

Like mtbusman said... Thanks to the OP, Silver, Sweet and everyone else who shared. This has been educational and changed my thoughts on the matter of balance. :thumbsupu
Lighter is better for casting; UNLESS it comes at the expense of stiffness, especially in the butt section. A softer butt section will result in wider loops
a heavier butt section won't keep your tip up, a heavier reel will, but (pardon the pun) while you might want your tip up for dry fly fishing, you might want it down for wets streamers and imparting action to the fly
instead of worrying about the tip when walking, try carrying the rod in the hand with the butt forward safes rod tips.

---------- Post added at 06:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:38 AM ----------

wolfglen, I too was a regular at the TGF luncheons at the Williams Club starting in 1975. Also I was co-chair of the Arts of Angling mid-week evening programs that brought Mr. Marinaro...and so may others...to TGF. I am still a member but not as active post Walter. Having been (and sort of still am) an in season fish bum in Idaho/Montana since 1969, I thought I knew something about fly fishing until I move to NYC and joined that group. Observing Lou and Larry go toe to toe over how many terigites were on a particular nymph, or the specific lengths relative to diameter and suppleness of leader sections, I turned to anther young man at the kids table, perhaps you, and said, "Man have I come to the right place!" I am a far more aware and informed angler today due to the influences of wisdom and experience of members and guests of that esteemed group...a number of whom remain among my closest friends to this day.
Then we probably know each other:
Remember Bill Herrick? he was the one who really got me interested in fish carving.
My name is Jack Montague, yours?
I'm guessing that you are speaking of Larry Solomon? What ever happened to him?
Lou is living over near wpb now, he lost his wife a couple of years ago, just got remarried and took a trip to Italy. Oh, are speaking of Lou Tabory or Lou Rossi?
It was funny being the youngest Charter Member of TGF, there were only two of us there under 21. that was in 64 or 65. Actually it was when TGF was still a chapter of TU and was breaking away because of TU's insistence on allowing bait fishing in catch and release waters.
 

ts47

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Lighter is better for casting; UNLESS it comes at the expense of stiffness, especially in the butt section. A softer butt section will result in wider loops
a heavier butt section won't keep your tip up, a heavier reel will, but (pardon the pun) while you might want your tip up for dry fly fishing, you might want it down for wets streamers and imparting action to the fly
instead of worrying about the tip when walking, try carrying the rod in the hand with the butt forward safes rod tips.

---------- Post added at 06:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:38 AM ----------

Thanks Jack!

I usually do this, unless... I'm walking with a group of guys. Sometimes it's easier to point your rod in the opposite direction of everyone else. Or... if I'm in a situation where it is better to steer your rod through a tight spot rather than pull it through.
 

wolfglen

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Thanks Jack!

I usually do this, unless... I'm walking with a group of guys. Sometimes it's easier to point your rod in the opposite direction of everyone else. Or... if I'm in a situation where it is better to steer your rod through a tight spot rather than pull it through.
That's easy to solve: equip your favorite rod with a bayonet lug~!!

For places where you do extensive getting out of the stream and walking through a lot of brush and back in during the day, consider a rod sock with one compartment which goes over the rod taken apart mid section, rolls up and into a pocket, slip it over the rod taken into two pieces, nothing to snag or catch on branches, the butt section protects the tip.
 

ts47

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That's easy to solve: equip your favorite rod with a bayonet lug~!!

For places where you do extensive getting out of the stream and walking through a lot of brush and back in during the day, consider a rod sock with one compartment which goes over the rod taken apart mid section, rolls up and into a pocket, slip it over the rod taken into two pieces, nothing to snag or catch on branches, the butt section protects the tip.
That could certainly reduce my competition on the water!! It could help with bears too! :D

On the rod sock, there's only so much stuff I am willing to take with me to the water. I'm trying to carry less whenever possible. :)
 

golfnfish

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I often test cast rods I'm considering buying with the line alone. I simply strip line off the reel, string it up and place the reel in my pocket.

I originally started doing this to so I wouldn't inadvertently scratch the reel seat of a rod that I hadn't yet purchased. I found I really liked trying a rod out that way.

I've also found that the length of a rod can greatly affect the amount of reel weight necessary to reach the "balance point". I recently bought a 10' 4wt Scott Radian that weighs a little less than 2.75 oz. Even my Hatch Finatic 4+ reel that weighs 5.2 oz without line or backing doesn't balance the rod inside the cork. I decided I much prefer the rod with my much lighter Galvan T4 reel even though the balance point is about at the hook keeper. I don't find it tiresome at all to fish the rod in this "unbalanced" tip heavy condition as the rod is incredibly light anyway. No way was I going to put a 6.5 oz + reel on this rod just to achieve a balance point on the cork.
 

silver creek

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Again, this has been an educational thread for me. I feel like I'm still new to this sport, though this forum has taught me a lot.. One of the (many) things that was still somewhat a mystery to me was the balance question and why it mattered.

There have been a few opinions shared here and in (many) similar threads. Below are the opinions that I am going to 100% buy into.

3. A slightly heavier butt is better for keeping the tip up when walking. It keeps the tip from accidentally drifting toward the ground and jamming.
A while ago I wrote about how to carry a fly rod when walking.

What I do when walking through woods to the stream is to thread the rod, add the fly and wrap the tippet back down and spiral around the rod a couple of times. Then hook the fly to a guide. Carry the rod with the butt facing forward.

When you carry the rod butt forward, the rod tip cannot stab the ground breaking the tip. With the tippet spiral wound around the rod, there is no space between the tippet and rod to hook a branch. You can work you way through thick branches this way.

Note that the "balance" of rod and reel has nothing to do with whether the tip is up or down when you carry the rod. Even with a very light reel, if you hold the rod higher on the handle or even on the blank, the rod/reel will balance tip up as much as you like.

When you walk along the river bank, carry the rod butt forward on the side that is AWAY from the river. This prevents the rod from swinging across the river in front of you and spooking fish next to the river bank. Never allow the rod to swing over the river in the direction you are walking, and the rod will never spook fish.
 

sheepdog

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Thanks everyone for the input!

I'm going to the fly shop today to try an array of different reels with different weights to see what weight would give me the balance/angle I'm happy with. Hopefully something will satisfy me. I'll also be casting the rod with a Rio Outbound Short to see how it behaves with some "Ardheads" attached to it.

Wish me luck!!!
 

ts47

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A while ago I wrote about how to carry a fly rod when walking.

What I do when walking through woods to the stream is to thread the rod, add the fly and wrap the tippet back down and spiral around the rod a couple of times. Then hook the fly to a guide. Carry the rod with the butt facing forward.

When you carry the rod butt forward, the rod tip cannot stab the ground breaking the tip. With the tippet spiral wound around the rod, there is no space between the tippet and rod to hook a branch. You can work you way through thick branches this way.

Note that the "balance" of rod and reel has nothing to do with whether the tip is up or down when you carry the rod. Even with a very light reel, if you hold the rod higher on the handle or even on the blank, the rod/reel will balance tip up as much as you like.

When you walk along the river bank, carry the rod butt forward on the side that is AWAY from the river. This prevents the rod from swinging across the river in front of you and spooking fish next to the river bank. Never allow the rod to swing over the river in the direction you are walking, and the rod will never spook fish.
Sounds like good advice Silver.

I do sometimes carry my rod tip forward just because of the heavy underbrush. In the past, I've hooked tippet and even broken off flies because the loop created by the leader got caught on a branch. In those cases, I have tended toward steering the rod though the brush. I never thought about using the leader/tippet to wrap around the rod thus eliminating that extra extra loop of line, well, perhaps any extra loops as you can wrap the fly line to the rod as well.

My preferred methods for carrying a rod are with the butt facing forward and the tip behind me either facing back or straight up in the air.

I do try to keep everything, including my shadow away from the water's edge whenever possible.

On balance, I get that we are splitting hairs here. These conversations happen repeatedly on this forum. It's a good thing really that we all discuss as much as we do. :thumbsup: I'm learning that some of what we do when fly fishing is because it is the RIGHT way and sometimes because it is OUR way. I'm not sure that I care if my reel is heavy enough to keep my rod tip pointed up or not. I know some people do though and respect their thoughts on this matter. I do care that my rods with really light reels may cast better - because they were purchased before I got all mixed up on balance. I also care that I now have more options and less to consider when buying my next reel. You taught me these things today. :) I had actually read it before (in more than one place I think). The thought had just never quite clearly formed until I read this thread.

Someone called your first post in this thread an essay (It was a compliment). I also want to compliment you for sharing so much and such detailed information as what was contained in your reply to the OP's question. It was very informative and helped helped me think about things in a different way. :thumbsup:

Todd
 
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