In this section i’ll be focusing on fly rod construction, it’s use and how to select the right one for your fishing style. Fly rods are designed to help you cast, control the fly line and help you set the hook and land the fish.
It is important to understand the rod construction and this will make your fly rod selection that much easier. This day and age technology advancement made rods lighter and stronger. Rods come in one piece to four pieces. Most common is four piece rod as its easier to pack when traveling, or hiking into remote streams. One piece rods tend to be better for casting and more sturdy. All rods start as hollow tubes called blanks made out of graphite wrapped in carbon fiber tape. Rods come in fifteen different sizes and each is specific for the fishing you’ll be doing. Sizes range from 1 weight up to 15 weight rod. We will discuss this more on the next tab section.
Fly Rod Handles
Choosing a handle is typically individual preference based on comfort. Most rods have “A grade “cork handle in 3 shapes: Full wells, half wells and cigar shape. Full wells handles are predominantly on rods over 7 weight for saltwater. Half wells is found on less than 7 weight rods. Cigar shaped handles are usually on light weight rods 1wt up to 6 weight rods.
For example reading this rod label: NRX is a model number for the particular brand, for this instance it’s G- Loomis rod. # or weightt means what weight is this rod and this is 12 weight rod. 4pc means this is four piece rod. Number 9′ means this rod is nine feet long
What Are Fighting Butt And Reel Seat
A fighting butt is made for heavier rods ( usually 6 – 14 weight rods) such as used to fight larger species in salt water or freshwater. The butt part is made out of the cork and is located below reel seat. Some butts are made of composite or robber, but most rods have cork. The reel seat is located above the fighting butt and serves the purpose of attaching the reel to the rod.
When shopping for the rod you will need to know four things: rod length, rod weight, rod action and how many sections does it come in. Rods are sized by weight scale ranging from 1 weight up to 15 weight rods. 1 weight (1wt) rod is lighter and more flexible than 15 wt rod which is heavier and stiffer. 1 -4 weight fly rods will be fished for small trout and 10 -15 weight rods are meant for large ocean species such as Tarpon over 100 lb . Rod Weight indicates what size fly line should be used to properly flex and load the rod for casting.
Large Lakes 7- 8 weight
Large rivers 4- 6 weight
Small Ponds/Lakes 5-6 weight
Steelhead/Light salmon 7-9 weight
Small rivers/streams 2-5 weight
Flats Bonefish 6 – 9 weight
Flats Permit/Baby tarpon 9-10 weight
Big Tarpon 11-12 weight
Sailfish/Big Sharks/Tuna 12-15 weight
When it comes to selecting the length of the rod you have a choice between 6 feet and up to 10 feet. Standard all around fishing rod length is 9 feet. Shorter rods will perform much better on a narrow tree covered mountain streams. Most shorter rods are meant for lightweight rods 1-5 weight. Longer rods have benefits as ease of casting, ease and quick fly line mend.
Choosing right rod flex/action is important. Rods that are described as fast action rods are stiffer and flex at the tip section. Fast action rods are primarily better for longer distance casting and not as gentle presentation as needed when fishing with dry flies. Fast action rods are mainly favored amongst anglers on the saltwater fishing. Medium action rods are desired amongst freshwater trout fly fisherman because of delicate presentation. Mid Flex rod starts to bend in the middle section of the rod and thi translates into delicate presentation for dry flies. Mid flex rods are used primarily freshwater where long distance casting is not required. Anything over 6 weight rod tip flex is recommended to help you cast and load the rod quicker. My recommendation for 5 weight and smaller rods to get mid flex action rod.
Choosing one to four piece rods is very simple. One piece rod is sturdier and casts just a little better, but not very practical for travel or shipping. Most practical and beneficial rod is four piece rod. It’s very easy to travel or hike into the wilderness.
Graphite rods range from $80 and up to $1100. When starting out and learning to fly fish i would recommend buying inexpensive rod between $100 and $400 to start. First and all around fishing rod is typically 5 wt rod.
Lastly, before making rod purchase make sure they have warranty for the breakage. Few companies guarantee up to 25 years of rod damage coverage. Some brands like Orris, Sage and G Loomis will replace your broken rod within warranty period for a cost of shipping.
In the next section i’ll be covering Reels to match the rod.