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#1172112 - 02/10/09 09:36 AM How to Choose a Rod?
gil1
12 Point


Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 6339
Loc: Nashville, TN

Offline
Jakeway had emailed me asking how I choose a fly rod, and I just thought it was an interesting topic. The same question can be asked of a baitcaster, spinning, spincaster, etc. Anyway, I replied with my own opinion (below), but I'm wondering how everyone else does it. It reminds me of watching the hordes on a crowded Bass Pro day whipping rod tips back and forth in the store. You can actually hear the tips cracking in the air. I always wonder what folks are looking for when they do this?

So how do you choose a rod?

Part of my reply to Jake - some of this won't be relevant to conventional fishermen because fly rods need to cater to a person's specific style of casting a fly line...

Yes, I agree with a 9 foot and no less rod for the basics on our tailwaters
(although I go shorter for dry fly rods just for my amusement). 6 inches
really makes a difference for casting and mending. For the Caney, I usually
bring 3 rods - an 8'6" 3wt. for dries, a 9' 5wt. for nymphs, and a 9' 6wt.
for streamers (usually with sinking or sink-tip line). If I'm without a
boat, I just take the 5. I don't cast a 9'6" but only because I haven't even
tried it. Could be perfect for you. Or not.

The only rod review I care about is my own because my
cast is unique (unfortunately, not in a good way \:D ). I don't buy any
rod on-line. I buy them at local stores who will give me priceless
information every time I walk in the door. I can try every rod I want out
right there at the shop. Pay the extra 5% at the local shop (or wait for the
sales). It's more than worth it.

I don't give a crap what the rod's brand name is. I have casted some rods
within the same brand that fit me great and others that don't. I have a $100
Cabelas travel rod that casts much better than my $400 Sage rod. For me,
it's all what feels right for my style casting. I put blinders on and go to
the fly shop. Usually, the guy at the shop can look at your cast and be able
to tell whether you will like a "slow" or "fast" rod and make
recommendations to fit your personal cast and the conditions in which you
will fish.

I don't want to know the price or the manufacturer. Often, I choose a
cheaper model without even knowing the price. Maybe my cast is not good
enough or smooth enough to take advantage of the breakthroughs of the
newest, best, and most expensive, but why would I give a crap as long as it
feels right for me?

Every rod I buy these days has a full warranty. I have broken most of my
rods twice. It ain't easy bein' me! \:D It's worth every dern penny to me to
have the warranty.

This advice is worth exactly what you paid for it! Hope it helps.
_________________________
It is not the killing ...; it is the contest of skill and cunning. The true hunter counts his achievement in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport.

Dr. Saxton Pope

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#1172253 - 02/10/09 10:40 AM Re: How to Choose a Rod? [Re: ]
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1606
Loc: East

Offline
I used to go to the store and test them. But I found out that casting in a big open field out the back door of a shop doesn't simulate real world casting in the mountain (where I do most my fishing). The three things I look for are length, weight, # of pieces, and price. I like a 9' rod on tailwaters and ponds, 8'6" on easy access mountain streams, and 7'6" rod on some brooky streams. I would use an 8'6" rod on the brooky streams, but I found I can negociate a shorter rod around obstacles while traveling to and from the stream, as well as moving upstream to different pools.

I usually buy the cheapest rod I can find. The more expensive rods may have lifetime warranties, but I just can't find it in myself to return a rod that I broke due to my negligence. I also like a four piece rod, because it fits in my vehicle better and I like to have one with me at all times. A 3 piece rod would be perfect, but they're impossible to find.

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#1172478 - 02/10/09 12:21 PM Re: How to Choose a Rod? [Re: Buzzard Breath]
gil1
12 Point


Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 6339
Loc: Nashville, TN

Offline
 Originally Posted By: timeless
I really don't "choose" a rod. It's almost like getting a puppy. I can play with them all I want, but in the end one inevitably chooses me. I have on more than one occasion favored a rod for it's build quality and wound up "accepting" it because it's more expensive so it has to be better. I also did that once with a Border Collie.

Good point. That comparison works with women, too. Often the cheapest is the best way to go. \:D

 Originally Posted By: buzz mcmanus
I used to go to the store and test them. But I found out that casting in a big open field out the back door of a shop doesn't simulate real world casting in the mountain (where I do most my fishing).

True dat, but it amazes me how my buddy's favorite rod sometimes won't "fit" my style. I need to try it out somehow rather than just buying on-line just because the rod gets rave reviews.

 Originally Posted By: buzz mcmanus
The more expensive rods may have lifetime warranties, but I just can't find it in myself to return a rod that I broke due to my negligence.

Lord, I got over that after I broke my first dozen! \:D I can honestly say I've never broken a rod on a fish, and I have caught 30 pound carp on a cheap 5-wt. I justify it because I believe you pay a little extra for that warranty insurance on the front end. And I've gotten my money's worth! \:D The Sage that I just broke the other day will still cost me $50 plus whatever it costs to ship.

 Originally Posted By: buzz mcmanus
I also like a four piece rod, because it fits in my vehicle better and I like to have one with me at all times. A 3 piece rod would be perfect, but they're impossible to find.

I agree. As good as the travel rods are these days, I can't think of a reason to have a 2-piece.
_________________________
It is not the killing ...; it is the contest of skill and cunning. The true hunter counts his achievement in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport.

Dr. Saxton Pope

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#1172520 - 02/10/09 12:50 PM Re: How to Choose a Rod? [Re: gil1]
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1606
Loc: East

Offline
 Originally Posted By: gil1
I justify it because I believe you pay a little extra for that warranty insurance on the front end.

I keep trying to convince myself of this. It sure would be cheaper.

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#1172620 - 02/10/09 01:59 PM Re: How to Choose a Rod? [Re: gil1]
jakeway
TnDeer Old Timer
10 Point


Registered: 11/22/99
Posts: 3578
Loc: Hendersonville, TN, USA

Offline
One humorous comment I found in my research:

"Swishing an empty rod around in a store is like seeing a beautiful woman wave at you through a car window. All you really know for sure is that the window is open."

I've fished enough spinning rods through the years that I can pretty much tell if I like them or not while in the store. Fly rods are a much different thing. They not only act and feel differently according to casting style, but they also vary according to the fly, leader, line, and conditions being fished. And the particular application I was asking Gil about refers to a particular technique called High Sticking Nymphs. It really doesn't have much to do with the cast, but controlling the line as it drifts back towards and past you.

I spent last spring's stimulus check on a new kayak and a new rifle, and the econmy is still a mess. Guess I better spend part of my tax refund on a new fly rod.
_________________________
It's not rocket surgery, for crying outside!

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