Being a fly rod designer for many years, I want to give some advice to those who have to buy a fly rod. One of the elements that often make the neophyte "crazy" but also the expert fisherman, is to understand if a rod has the right features to make it a good fly rod. Questions like these: "what kind of features has to have a 9' rod to fish in a creek ? Or "which rod is the best ?" and so on. It is easy to read it everywhere.
Who knows me, knows that I was lucky to have two masters who have taught me so much about fly rods, one is Aldo Silva who is the greatest Italian expert regarding how to make a fly rod. He knows everything about carbons and resines and what is the best way to combine them together. The other one is Roberto Pragliola a big name about Italian fly casting technique who was my master too. He is the greatest expert in Italy regarding the connection between rod and cast.
Having had in these last fifteen years these two "masters" as friends with whom I spent a lot of time to talk about rods and also experiment on them, I behaved like a sponge absorbing all that both, separately, they explained me understanding all details about rods conception. So one day I started putting everything learned together and get a thorough understanding on the subject concerning fly rods. So let's see how we can understand if a fly rod works well for our needs.
The first elements to be evaluated are:
1) Where and what type of fishing we want to do
2) What weight of line we want to use
3) Choice of rod length
Many fishermen orient themselves on brands that they know or choose a rod that has a beautiful cosmetic. In these cases, a first mistake is often made because the choices are made emotionally and not analyzing the rod quality.
From a dynamic point of view, it is necessary to know well what are the three components that delineate a rod's features, they are:
3) action, (the most important one)
These components have a priority in relation to the various types of rods, in other words one component is more important in a short rod, another in a long one and so on.
The rapidity is nothing more than the time that a rod has to return to the initial position, in a more or less short time, after giving it a thrust. One rod will be faster than another one if this time is lower than the other.
In the modern casting style, rapidity has great importance since this involves very fast casting operations. Hence a tool that adapts better to the operations of the cast and that is able to greatly speed up the line, this last very important element.
It is clear that the rapidity alone is not enough since it must be added to the other component, the action, even if both of them work together. This is a concept that we will see later.
For longer rods which are designed to be able to cast heavier lines, the rapidity will be less pronounced since the most important element will be the power.
In fact, a long rod calibrated to cast lines weight 8 - 9 and more, must necessarily have very different casting timing than a shorter rod as well as being more powerful for obvious reasons. The power of a rod is the element that characterizes its strength.
In other words, the energy that a rod can accumulate and then return during the cast, can be defined as power.
The third component, the action, has a great importance in a rod because being the curve of the rod when it is loaded, inevitably also affects the other two. In fact a rod has its rapidity and its power, but both must submit the action because a rod will not be speed if it has parabolic action, or it may not be powerful if it has a tip action.
Nowadays casting technique has inevitably produced an evolution of the equipment and first of all of the curves.
What does this mean ? It means that with a little line out the tip of the rod, only the tip gets curved, but increasing the line out of the tip, the curve will increase progressively. This will give the line a constant increase in speed which is our goal.
That said, how do we test a rod to evaluate its features ?
Let see it
The rod will have to load with both lines, but it will be with the weight 3 that the rod will give the best results.
If this does not happen it means that the rod has not been calibrated well from the factory.
If this not happened the tip wasn't work well. Usually in this case it is too soft so we have to discard the rod.
We have already done the test of the butt with the palm of the hand, now we have to test it with a cast. I know that many fishermen do not know casts used to load the butt, for example the low parallel cast or the superimposed cast, and this does not allow them to test the butt, who wants can read how to do this cast here: http: //www.massimomagliocco .co.uk / index.php / 232-2 /
Finally, remember to avoid buying a rod only for its cosmetic or for its blazoned name.
These two elements can be important but you must remember that they cannot be so important as the action. Fly fishing is a beautifull technique but the most important element to get it fantastic is to cast in the best way, but to do it you have to have a good rod. So, let me finish with a my saying "you can't forget that you can have the best fly tied with the best materials but if you cannot put it in the right place and in the best way, then it no serves purpose.