Teton Tenkara: Swing weights

kingf000

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I've just been reading the Teton Tenkara article on swing weights, which shows that the swing weight of Tenkara rods is much larger than that of most conventional rods. Using the balance method, ie placing the grip point of the rod on scales and measuring how much weight you need to apply to the butt of the rod to get balance, Tenkara comes out much worse because the grip point is much closer to the butt, thus needing extra weight to balance it. This implies that you would need more effort to cast with a Tenkara rod than with a rod/reel. This just doesn't fit with my experience, where with even my 13ft Tenkara rod I can cast effortlessly all day. So I believe that swing weight grossly underestimates the effort needed to cast with a rod/reel. Firstly, except for very light rods and reels, casting is from the elbow or shoulder. So the grip point is no longer the fulcrum, but it is the elbow adding an extra ~30cm in length or the shoulder adding an extra 50cm. The weight of the rod, line and reel are all now in front of the fulcrum, needing extra effort to lift it. Tenkara, however, casts with a flick of the wrist so the grip point is still the fulcrum. Secondly, it ignores the weight of the line out of the rod tip. With Tenkara, very light lines are used so the effect is negligible. However, a conventional fly line weighs a few grams, which multiplied by the length from the rod tip to the elbow adds considerable weight (torque). Hence swing weight is a reasonable estimate of the effort required to cast with a Tenkara rod, whereas for a conventional rod it is not.
 

pcolapaddler

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While not scientific, my experience with Tenkara is that it takes less effort.

In my situation, I am using a Tenkara USA Sato. I usually fish warm water for Bass and Bream with some form of foam or cork bug. I use a short length of old floating fly line as it is easier for me to cast with the wind resistant flies and there is usually some wind to deal with.

I don't feel that I get as tired as quickly as with a conventional rod.

To be fair, with a conventional rod, I will invariably try to cast farther. This involves some false casting, so one could say that I am doing more work per cast.

Then again, my Sato weighs a fraction of what my 6wt rod does.

Sent from my SM-G935U using Tapatalk
 

gpwhitejr

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I have a Nissin Pro-Square 10 foot tenkara rod that is light as a feather, can cast all day without effort. I also have a 13 foot Daiwa keiryu rod that does take a bit of effort. Maybe this year I will alternate and compare rods, e.g. maybe the 10 foot against my 6 foot 3-wt, the 13 foot against a 7 ft 5-wt, etc. It would be just subjective but possibly interesting.
 

patrick62

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Most of my fixed-line rods are very light and I can cast them all day without fatigue.

The exceptions are the big carp rods I bought for the hell of it. Brand name Goture. One is 15 feet, the other 21 (I think). Those things are heavy and I definitely feel it.

But a Dragontail zoom rod? No sweat at all.
 

silver creek

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I've just been reading the Teton Tenkara article on swing weights, which shows that the swing weight of Tenkara rods is much larger than that of most conventional rods. Using the balance method, ie placing the grip point of the rod on scales and measuring how much weight you need to apply to the butt of the rod to get balance, Tenkara comes out much worse because the grip point is much closer to the butt, thus needing extra weight to balance it. This implies that you would need more effort to cast with a Tenkara rod than with a rod/reel. This just doesn't fit with my experience, where with even my 13ft Tenkara rod I can cast effortlessly all day. So I believe that swing weight grossly underestimates the effort needed to cast with a rod/reel. Firstly, except for very light rods and reels, casting is from the elbow or shoulder. So the grip point is no longer the fulcrum, but it is the elbow adding an extra ~30cm in length or the shoulder adding an extra 50cm. The weight of the rod, line and reel are all now in front of the fulcrum, needing extra effort to lift it. Tenkara, however, casts with a flick of the wrist so the grip point is still the fulcrum. Secondly, it ignores the weight of the line out of the rod tip. With Tenkara, very light lines are used so the effect is negligible. However, a conventional fly line weighs a few grams, which multiplied by the length from the rod tip to the elbow adds considerable weight (torque). Hence swing weight is a reasonable estimate of the effort required to cast with a Tenkara rod, whereas for a conventional rod it is not.
Your concept of the dynamics and physics of fly casting, specifically this statement, "This implies that you would need more effort to cast with a Tenkara rod than with a rod/reel" is mistaken. Therefore, your conclusion, "Hence swing weight is a reasonable estimate of the effort required to cast with a Tenkara rod, whereas for a conventional rod it is not" is also wrong.

Your thoughts about the fly fly casting is a common misconception and it is shared by many if not most fly fishers. So this misconception comes up every so often on this fly fishing forum.

When you cast a rod WITH a reel, the fly caster must use energy to both move and stop the REEL and the line STORED on the reel as well as the fly rod. When you cast a tenkara rod or a standard fly rod without the reel on the rod, less effort (energy) is required because the fly caster does NOT have to move the "useless" mass of the reel and the stored fly line.

So the ease of casting with tenkara vs a standard rod and reel has little to do with swing weight. It is easier because you are casting without a reel and the line it holds. If a fly fisher carried his reel in his pocket and just used his rod and line, he would also cast with less effort. In fact, one inventor (Crompton) did fashion a method of affixing the reel to his belt rather than on the rod. The invention never took hold.

Since this subject does seem to re-occur most often under rod/reel balance, I have posted about this many times on this BB. Here is one of them.

Rod/Reel Balance

My friend Gary Borger has also covered this in his blog as well.

Gary Borger >> Blog Archive >> Rod Balance

This concept of casting without a reel has been known for a very long time, at least since 1889!

Vincent C. Marinaro wrote the following about CASTING WITHOUT a FLY REEL, "In the Ring of the Rise," Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, copyright 1976, pp. 39-41.

"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."

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."
 
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