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Re: Rod Actions

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2007/4/20 19:31
Posts: 69
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GreenWeenie provides some outstanding information here. In addition to the under rating of rods by manufacturers that GreenWeenie cites above, the line manufacturers have also taken the liberty to stray from AFTMA line standards and sell lines that compensate for this trend in rods. Many high tech lines are heavier than the standard so now it works well with the under rated rod at "normal" fishing distances. No wonder why nobody can figure this stuff out! I have the feeling this post could go on for days as there are bound to be many more questions than answers.
By the way, my favorite trout rod is a slower action glass rod. It is definetely a great "fishing" rod. If I need to cast 70 feet to get to the fish, I usually try wading into a better position to make a 20 foot cast with accuracy and control. I think most people fishing for trout do it this way also. It's just not that cool to try out a new rod in the parking lot of the fly shop and only lay out 30 feet of line. That's why we buy the one that we can lay out the entire line with only to find that it does not work that well in close range where we do the majority of our fishing.

Posted on: 2009/5/12 19:42


Re: Rod Actions

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2007/7/26 7:29
From Westmoreland Co
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While I don't have near the understanding that greenweenie and abbrod do, here is my take on the subject. I only really own two types of rods. Medium fast (one of the best all around actions IMO for a large percentage of casters) and fast. Here is why:

If I simply want a rod for casting distance or aerializing through tough wind I only want a truly fast rod. As stated it helps to have the tightest loops possible for those types of situations. When fishing salt for large game fish is when I really like a fast rod. Long casts into the wind when tippet protection isn't as big of an issue because it's typically pretty heavy. Also feel isn't the most important factor in these situations, which you don't get from many tip flex rods. (There are a few rods ie Sage z axis with good feel from tip, thus the hype, but too expensive for me)

For most freshwater applications I prefer the med. fast rods. Still a decent amount of backbone but I think you get much better feel from the rods. They do decent jobs at protecting tippets and are good for bottom bouncing nymphs but can cast some heavy streamers as well. Much of my salmanoid fishing is using nymphs and these type of rods serve me well.

I must say I don't care for slower rods like glass & grass. It's seems like too much work for me to slow my stroke down enough to let the rod work.

There may be some flaws in my theory or reasoning and it doesn't apply to all rods (some very high end being the exceptions). But for the most part this is what I stick by when looking at rods.

Posted on: 2009/5/13 9:32
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Re: Rod Actions
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2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
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The information here is very insightful, but I can't help but thinking that the rod action that is "best" is the one you are most comfortable using. It seems incorrect to imply that only slow rods "load." All rods properly rated and lined load, they just load differently and more or less quickly one might say. I have rods of all actions and with my faster rods, I just have to remind myself the the line bends the rod at a different point in the backcast and reaches the critical "fully loaded" point sooner than on slower rods.

[I edited my post because the way I originally structured the final comment was awkward. Hopefully this doesn't change the agreement of GreenWeenie expressed below].

Posted on: 2009/5/13 10:11

Edited by JackM on 2009/5/13 15:26:52
Edited by JackM on 2009/5/13 15:27:52
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Re: Rod Actions

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2008/9/12 12:41
Posts: 726
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Student and Jack are both correct. Here’s some more crap to consider.

Fishing rods, no matter what action, are load-bearing tools. A fly rod doesn’t know or even care if it is throwing 3 weight or 6 weight line, as all it responds to is the load/weight it is carrying. If the load is more than it is capable of handling, it won’t perform. If the load is less than it is capable of handling, it won’t perform.

All rods, no matter what action, have a certain loading point on the performance/design curve that is the optimum point of performance for that rod. All rods have this optimal design point for carrying weight irrespective of action and that weight is determined by (a) length of line times (b) line weight (density). Now, the key to making a good rod of any action is making the performance curve as flat as possible for as long as possible on both sides of the optimal design point

Now, the industry standard for the weight standard for determining a rod’s line rating is 30 feet of line so the only variable is then line size. If a particular rod is under loaded at 30 feet of 4 weight line, you shouldn’t increase the feet of 4 weight line to 50 feet to increase overall weight you should increase the line weight to 5 holding 30 feet constant. Although never exact, the line weight used at 30 feet of line that comes closest to performance at the rod’s optimum design point is supposed to be the rod’s rated line capacity irrespective of action.

So, in theory, if you needed to throw 70 feet of 6 weight line, in the truest sense you should get an accurately labeled 8 weight rod of any action and underline it with 6 weight line.

But that is not what is happening today.

Traditionally speaking, fast action, just like medium and slow action, is a type of rod taper/performance and fast action really shouldn’t have anything to do with the ability to throw more line than any other taper. However, somewhere over the past 30 years fast action has become associated with bombing 90 foot casts.

Complicating this is rod companies are now labeling rods by who knows what standard. A 9 foot, fast action rod labeled “4 weight” by pure definition should not be able to carry 80 feet of 4 weight line in the air. This is not a true 4 weight rod – it is a 6 or maybe even 7 weight rod labeled 4 weight and people think it is a great rod because it throws 80 feet of 4 weight line. The fact is all the rod cares about is load and 80 feet of 4 weight line is probably pretty close in overall weight to 30 feet of 6/7 weight line. It would be like taking a Corvette chassis and engine and welding on a VW Bug body and then saying, “My VW Bug can go from 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 190 mph.” It’s not a VW Bug it’s a Corvette labeled VW Bug.

That being said this is now where the performance curve of a rod comes into play.

When fishing you are not throwing the design weight every cast but rather using the rod over a range of performance points (i.e., line distances change continually, which changes the carrying weight). So really you want to get a rod that performs best over a range of casting distances that you will be fishing. This is where “fast action” starts to get associated with distance casting and slow/medium action gets associated with up close casting.

While I may be wrong my understanding of performance of a slow/medium action rod is that these rods have a flatter performance curve skewed below the optimum design point while the fast action rods have a flatter performance curve skewed above the optimum design point. In practical terms this is why slow/medium action rods are better able to load/cast at shorter distances than fast action rods while fast action rods are better able to load/cast at longer distances than slow/medium action rods. This is where the whole thing of line distance starts to come into play and fast action begins to get associated with longer distances.

Further compounding the problem is as I noted before, most fast action rods, except the high end ones, have too stiff tips. For close distance casting with a fast action rod you are casting off the tip with more of a flick of the wrist as opposed to a casting stroke. Poorly made fast action rods can’t do this and this is why many people end up over lining their fast action rods for up close work.

The fact is rod selection all comes down to how you are going to fish it. If you are going to fish mostly light tippets in the 15 – 30 foot range, more than likely a 3 weight fast action rod isn’t the rod you want. You probably would be best suited with a 4/5 medium action rod unless you got yourself a high end fast action rod that does have a soft tip. If you are fishing waters like the Delaware where you regularly need to make 50-60 foot casts and you’re not using tippets much less than 5x, a medium action 5 weight rod probably isn’t the rod you want.

As for salt water fishing, salt water fishing is not about finesse and tippet protection, it is about throwing a large wind resistant fly in windy conditions a long distance. This requires line speed and tight loops and while Lefy Kreh and Joan Wolff could certainly put us all to shame with a slow action rod, 99% of us benefit from a heavy duty fast action rod with a lot of backbone to accomplish this. I complete agree with Student that fast action is the way to go in salt water however, going back to pure technicalities, most 9 weight fast action salt water rods aren’t 9 weight rods based on the 30 foot rating criteria, they are 11 or 12 weight rods. But the fact is circumstances in salt water (long powerful casts) are best suited to fast action rods for the vast majority of us.

Posted on: 2009/5/13 15:12


Re: Rod Actions

Joined:
2006/9/9 8:53
From York
Posts: 515
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I really don't cast all that well or know that much about fast/moderate/slow but here's what I prefer:

I also have a Loomis GL3--it's a 3 wt and I like that for dry flies.

I guess my "faster" rods are Sage RPLs--I like them for heavier streamers, (Clousers), nymphs and trying to punch through the wind.

Posted on: 2009/5/13 20:41


Re: Rod Actions
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2006/9/9 19:16
From Dallastown, PA
Posts: 7013
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Quote:

fritz wrote:
I really don't cast all that well ....


You underestimate your prowess, sir! You cast like a dream.

Posted on: 2009/5/13 22:33
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Re: Rod Actions

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2006/9/23 0:52
From Lock Haven, PA
Posts: 478
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Wow lots of posts and I understand what everyone is saying for the most part but I'm still not sure I'm getting the answer I'm looking for. I'm wondering more about fishing techniques I guess and what rod actions are best for the situation. I know the fast action tip rods cast a lot of line which I rarely have a need for. I'm just guessing though that a fast action rod is perfered for throwing bigger dry flies. I'm unsure where it falls for nymphing and casts such as roll casts which is what I use the majority of the time. I'm also guessing a fast action tip though wouldn't be the best for throwing small flies or fishing for small fish. How about a moderate action rod? I'm guessing it would be more forviging with setting the hook on smaller flies since there's more over all bend in the rod.

With getting into the rod building though this is all interesting to me so keep posting!

Posted on: 2009/5/13 23:02


Re: Rod Actions
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2006/9/9 19:16
From Dallastown, PA
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John,

I think you have your answer....If you want to fish heavier bulkier flys you want moderate to fast action. If you want to roll cast fast action will do the job better. There is just more energy stored int he fast action rods to do these things. With this extra energy also comes blunt and heavier line delivery which may deminish your delicate dry fly presentation.

While a moderate to slow action will help with the drys it will not perform well in the heavy, bulky deliveries.

It seems to me you need to decide what you plan to use it for primarily.

For me, I find that moderate rods do everything OK and nothing well. But when you are planning to fish a stream with no particular game plan it serves you well. If you want to go fish the tricos or a morning bwo hatch that you know is going to come off, you may want the slower rod and settle in on a delicate cast.

If yo plan on fishing streamers early int he season or nymphing on a big river where reach is an advantage a 9' fast action rod will be a good choice and you are likely to not need to throw the softer casts anyway.

Think of it like you would guns....you wouldn't go bear hunting wit a 22 cal. nor would you shoot squirels with a 30-06. And a shotgun will work for both but is messy and not preferred.

Posted on: 2009/5/13 23:23
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Don't hit me with them negative waves so early in the morning. Think the bridge will be there and it will be there. It's a mother, beautiful bridge, and it's gonna be there. Ok?


Re: Rod Actions

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13405
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Well these are my rods:

9 ft. 5 wt GL3 = best nymphing rod, pretty good with dries, my "all round" performer.
8 ft. 5 wt bamboo = dry fly tool, especially when I'm throwing small flies.
9 ft. 7 wt Sage Fli = steelhead + streamers and such for smallies.
7.5 ft. 4 wt Cortland GRX overlined with 5 wt line = brookie rod, this one's actually pretty fast.

I will say, perhaps my small stream fishing is different from other people. But generally, on the small streams, delicacy is not the name of the game, you need short range power. Always been a pet peave of mine, I don't understand why some people equate small stream with small flies and delicacy. I'm throwin size 12's and 14's through tight windows. They'll hit a size 10 just the same as a 24, so you just want it to be visible, big enough so that they won't swallow it but small enough to hook em. While a lot of drag is still a problem, a little micro drag isn't, I'm usually using 3x or 4x tippet so I can pull it out of the limbs when I need to. And perfect accuracy on the water isn't necessary, those fish go clear across the pool for a fly, but you do need perfect accuracy in the air to get between those branches....

My midge and trico fishing is typically on streams with at least a medium size. In no way to I equate small stream fishin with small flies and delicate presentation.

Posted on: 2009/5/14 16:42


Re: Rod Actions

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2006/9/23 0:52
From Lock Haven, PA
Posts: 478
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Maurice- thats more the answer I was looking for. I kind of figured that but I just wanted other opinions. 99% of my fishing is nymphing and honestly I am not one that cares for a delicate presentation the majority of the time. Its just not necessary in my fishing style "most" of the time. I use my G-Loomis GL3 9' 6 weight almost all the time since I'm nymphing. If the water gets really low, fishing a smaller stream, or throwing dries then I'll use my Fenwick HMX 8' 5 weight. Has me thinking of maybe building a 9' 5 weight in a moderate/fast action maybe. I'll have to look around and see what I can find.

Posted on: 2009/5/14 23:05


Re: Rod Actions

Joined:
2006/9/9 16:08
From Erie Co.
Posts: 489
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Spay & Switch rods use grain weight and head lengths to describe what lines to use on what rod. Now that is enough to empty you wallet finding what line set up casts the best with given rod.
Scratching my head.

Posted on: 2009/5/15 8:19


Re: Rod Actions

Joined:
2008/11/4 15:20
From Upper Saucon, PA
Posts: 204
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I was taught with a mod/fast setup, moved to fast and never looked back.

Posted on: 2009/5/17 12:14
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