Fly Fishing Rod

by Fly Fisherman

With the long rod it is possible to manipulate the line and hold it high while the fly floats very nicely over the fish. And of course, with the long rod it is also possible to cast much farther with the very heavy flies also required by that heavy water.
So there is no doubt as to the efficiency of the extra big rods in such specialized cases. But on smooth stretches of salmon water, the 8 1/2 to 9 foot rods undoubtedly allow for more delicate casting and have plenty of backbone to fight any
Atlantic salmon you are likely to encounter. The 8/ footer equipped with a GAG or GBF line and a 14-foot leader serves for dry fly work and the g- or 9 1/2-footer equipped with a GAF, for streamers and wet flies.

At the other end of the rod gamut are what I call “trick rods” or “stunt rods,” sticks that are less than 7 feet in length, which are amusing in the hands of an expert but are not practical tools for the average fly man. The 7 1/2-foot rod, even, is very limited. Expertly handled, it works well on very small water, in tight places where dense underbrush and trees make trouble for the caster. But it must be lined accordingly, with an HEH line, to bring out the action of the rod. (See LINES)

But fly fishing is for pleasure and underpowered fly rods just do not fit into the picture. Its tough enough to get out far even with an 8-toot, 4-ounce rod and an HDH line, so why make it more difficult by trying to do the same thing with a fancy stick? No matter what he may read about two- and three-ounce rods, when he goes out to try to fish one, the angler soon discovers that it’s not in the books.

While bamboo is the traditional material of fly rods and to my mind still produces the only satisfactory true dry fly stick, nevertheless glass & composite has taken over the market. There is still considerable variance in the construction of glass rods, to the extent that one 8-foot stick may need a GAF line to bring out its action while another of the same make would call for an HDH. But manufacturers of glass rods are coming fast with improvements, especially in the longer sticks, so that in the 8 1/2- and 9-foot rods the feel of the action is very close to that of bamboo. And it is reasonably safe to say that if you bought an 8 1/2-foot glass rod in any tackle store in the country, you could match it properly with a GBF line, while with the g-footer, a GAF would bring out the proper action. Most of the shorter sticks, however, still leave much to be desired. Generally they are too powerful and therefore require a too-heavy line for small stream or otherwise delicate fly work. And until this factor is conquered, bamboo will continue to be the choice of those who want a good dry fly action or otherwise small rod.

While there are many excellent three piece rods on the market, the two piece stick has certain advantages which count
enough in the long run that experienced fishermen are turning ever more to the two piecer.
The three piece rod utilizes more ferrules than the two piece rod, which makes it heavier, and that is a point where weight is measured in ounces. And each ferrule contributes just a little toward a jerkier action than that which is obtained by the uninterrupted length of cane or glass, as the case may be. To carry this theory to its ultimate, a one piece rod would be best—and
it would—but even the small rod, say a seven footer, would require such a long carrying case as to make it unwieldy for traveling. Therefore the two piece rod that offers as many of the advantages of a single piece stick as possible, and breaks down into convenient length for packing, is the ideal solution.

Aside from a good strong case to protect them in transit or when stored in cupboards, fly rods, whether bamboo or glass, require very little care. It is best to wash them off with fresh water after use in the salt and it always pays to dry them before storing after use. The guides should be cleaned out after fishing, too, as grease adheres to them from the line, gathers dirt and then moves back onto the line, making it heavy and causing it to sink. Guides should also be checked regularly for wear as they become damaged from the line shooting through, and a worn guide can ruin the finish on a line in a hurry.
Experienced fishermen are turning ever more to the two-piece fly rod because of its lightness and control.

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