On the Fly: Finding the right rod
Never before has there been such a plethora of quality fly-fishing rods available from current manufacturers. Many of these rods are even touted as species specific or even technique specific. Finding the right rod for the situation at hand is often perplexing for most casual fly-fishers. Let’s take a look at various rod lengths, line weights and flex patterns to determine what rod will suit your needs.
Most single-handed fly rods vary in length from 7 to 10 feet. Most often, rods in the 8 1/2- to 9-foot category are common for the rivers, lakes and streams that one would fish in the Rocky Mountain West. These rods perform most tasks very well — hence their popularity. Shorter rods often are employed for small creeks where cover is often present in the form of heavy vegetation where casting is more restricted.
Longer rods on the other hand are best suited to larger rivers and other large bodies of water such as still waters where casting lanes are not restricted. Many anglers are beginning to use 10-foot rods for Czech nymphing fishing techniques where one fishes a taunt line with sinking flies and no strike indicator.
Fly rods are based on a numerical “line weight” system that ranges from 0 to 12; essentially the larger the number, the heavier the rod. For most trout fishing applications rods in the 3- to 7-weight category are suitable with a 5-weight being the best all-purpose trout rod. Often lighter trout rod weights (3, 4) are considered dry-fly rods where anglers fish nearly weightless offerings, while heavier rods (6, 7) are more applicable to tossing heavily weighted flies.
Fly rods also come in different flex patterns ranging from stiff to soft. Most casters are comfortable using mid-flex rods as they cast weighted and unweighted flies equally well. Softer rods are generally found in the lighter line weights while stiffer rods are typically found in the heavier line weights. In essence, I consider fly rods to be much akin to golf clubs. There are different clubs for different situations, and the same applies to fly rods. Stop by your local fly shop and cast numerous rods to determine the right fly rod for you.
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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