The Purpose of the Fly-rod

I am grateful to my friend Daniel le Breton reviewed this article before it was posted.

Recently, a client that I was guiding asked me “What is the purpose of a fly-rod” and it caused me to think of a good answer, which forms the basis of this post.

You may already appreciate that a fly-rod has many subtle characteristics that are “engineered”, through design, to give a good response to a general range of casting styles and you may like to check the list below to see how this compares with your own thoughts on how a fly-rod assists in the casting process.

  • To help the caster maintain a straight-line path through flexing: This may well be one of the most important and goes along with the next point.
  • To help achieve a longer casting stroke through flexing: The stroke is depending on the caster, the tip path is longer with the flexible rod, so a better formulation would be “to achieve a longer tip path through flexing, allowing providing more energy to the line over a longer distance”.
  • To provide a lever with low mass so that the rod has low momentum and can be easily rotated and stopped by the caster (unlike a broomstick!).
  • To provide damping so that the fly-line is not shocked when it is accelerated and launched.
  • To generate a higher line speed through the use of the spring of the rod.
  • To allow and easier stop thanks to the way a flexible rod unloads.

Well – how did you get on? I hope that some of the points were not so obvious and caused you to stop and think about how the fly-rod helps you to cast. More importantly, did you consider how your casting technique might benefit from knowledge of these characteristics?

About John Symonds

I mainly fish the rivers Wye,Usk and Ithon for salmon, trout and grayling. Also fish in Ireland on the rivers Moy, Suir and Blackwater. Specialist skills photography and graphic design relating to fishing, casting and fly-tying. Qualifications include Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor (APGAI) single and two-handed fly rods, International Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) two handed casting instructor and Level 2 Angling Trust Coach.
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