We find extremely varied fly rods on the market today and that's great! However, to make an informed choice, it is essential to know the different basic characteristics of a rod and their importance for casting and for fishing.
The major points of a fly rod
A few points are absolutely major and will directly guide your choice. Some are clearly visible like the length and others more hidden like the speed or the action.
- The length of the rod: generally between 6 feet (1.80m) and 11 feet (3.30m): short rods are more manageable and lighter. On the other hand, they are less effective in casting and do not allow you to control drifts at short distance (fishing under the rod). 9 feet east. an average standard but it all depends on the type of fishing practiced.
Line weight or power : the rod has a certain power that allows it to cast a more or less heavy line. The line number corresponding to the rod is always written on the rod. A variation of 1 number more or less is often possible and also depends on the type of silk used (natural/synthetic and profile). See our blog on the choice of silk on this subject.
- The action of the rod: subjected to a tension on its tip (action of the fly fisher who casts or of the fish at the end of the line), a rod will more or less bend. A full bend to the heel denotes a parabolic action rod. If on the other hand only the tip flexes under the same pull, it is a tip action rod. Everyone may prefer a type of action. While parabolic action is out of fashion (except for wet fishing ), a moderate action will often be more comfortable and effective than an overly pronounced tip action, as it offers better sensitivity, protecting the leader breakage during a violent touch and tiring the fish naturally by the flex of the rod. Some also find fast action rods more accurate in casting. The action is linked to the speed, although these two parameters are not always strictly equivalent and depend on the construction of the rod.
- The speed of the rod: a rod loaded by prior tension on the tip and then released will oscillate freely more or less quickly, releasing the accumulated energy. This speed is the speed of the rod. A fast rod allows for more effective casting at long distance when you perfectly master the synchronization of the casting gesture. She is often of peak action. A moderate speed rod provides better casting control for many of us, performs well at short to medium range and generally offers the benefits of a moderate action.
The details not to be overlooked
Once the main characteristics of your rod have been chosen, it is worth paying attention to a few other details to make your choice between two "equivalent" rods:
- The rings: the number and placement of the rings contributes to the action of the rod by modifying the flex of the carbon blank, the weight and the glide of the line when casting. The weight can be measured and the action tried (or described objectively by a serious seller who has tried his rods). Modifying the flex is not a bad thing in itself; it all depends on the result obtained. The weight is always a disadvantage. In this area, a rod equipped with quality rings is a plus because it testifies to a quest for quality and performance. For example , SIC rings are lighter and stronger than basic Alconite rings; the same applies to single-leg rings, which are much more rarely used than serpentine rings. The coating also influences the glide: a hard chrome coating on the stainless steel is the standard. Some of our rods are fitted with very light Pacbay minima ring TiCr monoleg rings offering maximum glide.
- The resistance of metal elements to corrosion: can be a plus for a rod intended for saltwater fishing. Titanium rings will resist much better than stainless steel rings. In any case, dry your rod well at the end of each fishing trip before putting it back in its case.
- the material of the blank: historically the fly rod was made of split bamboo : some still exist but their complex artisanal assembly makes them expensive and heavy. Fiberglass was then used, then carbon , which now equips 90% of rods. The latter very light and flexible exists in many varieties. Japan (Toray) and South Korea manufacture excellent carbon blanks used for our rods. The qualities of carbon are distinguished by their "module" which characterizes their resistance for equal weight: from IM6 to IM12 for today's rods (this module is also classified from 26 tons to 40 tons). An IM6 rod is not "less good" than an IM12 rod but has a different behavior: it will generally be more flexible and slow to moderate action which can be an advantage depending on the type of fishing and your casting level An IM12 carbon allows on the contrary to manufacture a fast rod, with a tip action remaining very light. However, we also manage to manufacture rods of moderate action, very light in IM10 or IM12 carbon like our Trout rod. The latest revolution in this field is the arrival of carbon implemented with "nano resins" on very high-end rods which further reduce weight for equal performance. The very high modulus carbons are a little more "brittle" and withstand shocks less well: to be avoided in particular for the launch of ball nymphs at a long distance as long as you are not well in point at the launch because the tip can be weakened after the impact of a nymph and break.
After having almost disappeared from fly rods, fiberglass has been coming back into fashion for some time. It is particularly interesting for very large fish (salmon) because it is practically unbreakable...
The elements of comfort
Weight: current carbon fly rods all seem very light: from 60g for a 6 foot whip to 160g for a 'heavy' sea rod. peach and fatigue. Lightness is preferable.
The number of elements: the rod is divided into several elements for storage and transport. Today the rods in 4 elements are the most widespread and allow an easy transport in particular by plane for the current dimensions. For large rods (10 feet and more) or if you are looking for great compactness (backpack, hiking, mountain town) rods with 5 to 7 sections can be interesting. However, it is necessary to ensure that weight, action and robustness remain correct so as not to spoil your fishing pleasure.
The handle : generally made of cork, its shape and the quality of the cork can influence your fishing comfort and also the perception of having a beautiful object in your hand! The cork qualities are increasing from A to AAA and Extra Flor. There are also synthetic handles in EVA in particular.
The reel seat : its function is to firmly hold the reel. A double clamping ring is a plus to avoid any untimely loosening but increases the weight a little. The metal is generally an aluminum alloy or stainless steel (more resistant, heavier). The insert can be in wood, carbon, aluminum, cork: besides the weight it contributes a lot to the aesthetics of the rod.
The static balance of the rod: a rod that is well balanced around the point where you hold it is very pleasant when you hold it horizontally for a long time (fishing in fast water, dry fly fishing in calm lakes) which is not not the case when casting.... This can only be measured on the rod assembly equipped with a reel with its line. Knowing that for me the total weight is the main enemy in fly fishing, the static balance is unfortunately rarely achieved because it would require a reel that is much too heavy. This much discussed aspect because it is easy to measure is for me secondary for most peaches.
Fly hook: A fly hook above the handle is very practical when moving between 2 fishing positions.
Alignment points: placed on either side of the sockets, alignment points will make it easier for you to mount your rod correctly.
The case: a hard case is essential to protect your rod and should be provided by any serious seller and its cost must be included in the purchase price. Plastic/cordura or light aluminum or even carbon is the complement essential of your rod.
Color of the rod : black or "classy" dark green or yellow or "dynamic" neon green or even khaki or pink, all tastes are in nature. Of course, discreet colors can be an advantage in fishing action. A matte finish (on the blank, but also the reel seat and the rings) avoids reflections that can alarm a trout. Some old anglers don't hesitate to polish their new rod with bodywork polish to remove the beautiful shine you admired in store!
And now it's up to you to choose your rod and remember that price and quality are not always correlated, even if it is difficult to offer a quality rod for a few tens of euros.