Mar 22, 2018

Fly Rod "Feel" or "Function"

Forty foot cast with 30mph downriver winds
I recently encountered a situation where one day I fished a fly rod with great feel and the next day I fished a fly rod that provided excellent function. My question to all of us is...Do we buy rods to feel good or to get a job done?

In the realm of fly fishing "easy" I don't even feel this is a question to ask. If the casting is easy and we are getting it done with a rod that feels good than great! Go with that. But as we push the limits of fly casting, fly size and casting situations, is "feel good" going to get the job done?!

On the day I fished the "feel good" rod we had wind, long casts, water load casts, and long mends to contend with. The rod I chose performed these task quite well, especially tight looped, long casting. It certainly didn't fail with water load cast and long mends and had I not fished a more stout rod the next day I'm not sure I would have known any different. This feel good rod is one you would pick up and swing and say "oh yes, it feels good." It's also a rod you would take to the pond and really enjoy casting.

The next day, I was handed a rod that even at first feel seemed clubby. One false swing and the quick label would be "broomstick." For fair comparison I used the same line and reel from the feel good rod. Keeping an open mind, my guide and I went to work.

This particular outing for both rod test days was an endless array of casting situations in which it demanded everything but the standard, off your strong shoulder, trout casting. It was back hand casting, steeple casting, reach casting, roll casting, throwing mends at cast and water load casting. Currents were strong and pockets were small. The species was brown trout and let's call their size "Predator."

The rod I quickly labeled "broomstick" proved to have some qualities which made my day easier. Water loaded casting proved to be much easier with ample reserve power to lift line and a weighted fly from the water. On short, heavy fly upstream flip casts I noticed the rod tip did not quiver which really helped to keep the cast on target and provided quick connection to the fly once landed. Across stream mends were also easier which I can't say I fully understand as to why.

Late in the day a beast was hooked. Once again the "broomstick" proved to have the upper hand. This beast of a fish grabbed the fly on a downstream swing and immediately turned into the raging current. It was a situation were you either put the wood to him and trust the tippet or helplessly watch him defeat you on a downstream run. While the outcome could have gone either way, the "broomstick" turned him and kept him under my control. The tippet held and after a hard battle of give and take the beast came to net.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Anadro, Lamson Litespeed, and for now, the rod remains a mystery
Together this day with these situations have caused me to re-evaluate my idea of what makes a great fly rod. The fly rod I would have put back on the fly shop rod rack proved itself to be to right tool for the task. I remember writing a statement a long time ago that read. "before you buy a fly rod know what it is that you are buying it for." I believe I needed to be reminded of that.

Greg Darling - @bassprogreg

"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

1 comment :

  1. Greg,your last statement "before you buy a fly rod know what it is that you are buying it for.I believe I needed to be reminded of that"sums it up perfectly."Feel and function" are often mutually exclusive,inasmuch as a good casting rod isn't always a good fishing rod.The quest for the Holy Grail continues.


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