Part IV: Fly Fishing for beginners - Rod of Choice
The fly rodding is steeped in tradition, fly rods are not. English man of the 1800s fished with no fancy split-cane bamboo rods. The fly rod of that day was just a branch cut out of a willow or even an ash tree. The bamboo rod which is what I think of when I think of a traditional rod of old, but it came along in the late 1800s and was used for almost 100 years. Bamboo rod I can remember hanging on my porch as a child with lust a single piece of line tied to the end. Fun to use and catch bass out of the pond behind my house where I grow up.
The development of the fiberglass rod made it so more people could afford to get into the sport. Now the next improvement to the fiberglass rod is the graphite rod, which makes a very fine cast. The satisfaction of a great cast is almost as fun as catching a fish. The graphite rod also has made many a better caster.
When I teach people how to cast, I can’t promise that they will be proficient right away but many cases I can have them catching fish the first day. If you have a nine foot rod and pull off nine feet of line, then flick the line out into the water you are already out there at eighteen feet. That’s not a bad starters cast. The little success can make the new fly fisherman eager to learn more…
Fly Rods Makeup
The Fly rod obviously gets the fly to the fish. You are casting the weight of the line not the weight of the hook. You use the rod like a bull whip or wet towel that you roll up and snap at your friends. All long time anglers will agree that a good rod is light weight and has good action to get the fly out to the fish.
From right to left in the above illustration you have the: first is the Butt of the rod which is the bottom half or third of the rod shaft which can bend or not bend, next Real Seat where the real is mounted and secured to the rod, after the real you have the grip which is usually cork, after the grip is a small little loop called the Hook Keeper where you store the fly when not fishing, the first eye is called the Stripping Guide which is usually line with ceramic to cut down on friction, next is the Ferrule male and female where you rod connect which can be a two three or four piece rod, next guides are the Snake Guide usually just wire to support the wider fly line compared to the spin caster which has small diameter monofilament, Tip is the last foot of the rod which can bend a little or a lot which determines the action, Tip Top a round guide finishes the top of the rod.
Almost all fly rod grips are cork, light weight material that balance the fly rod well. Cork offers little friction to the human hand and is comfortable. Give you good grip to hold the rod firmly and does not feel cheap in your hands like some of the cheaper plastic spin casting rods.
The grips come in different designs from standard, cigar, or full wells in that order below:
Standard grip (top) is most common fits your hand very well. Cigar grip (middle) great for delicate casting situations, Full Wells (bottom) better design for fighting fish.
Type of casting style
I liken the fly rod as a tool. A hammers a tool for driving nails. I can use a dumb rock to drive a nail and with will work but with a lot of effort. The fly rod can be used as a dumb stick or a tool. I can get line out in a cast using it like a dumb stick. If I use is as a tool with the whip action of the spine it is a lot less work. Think about a nine foot rod if I pull of nine feet of line, then I flip it out onto the water, I am out there about eighteen feet, that’s not a bad cast. Everyone will cast differently and with your elbow locked to your waste it is all in the wrist. It is the quick starts and stops which uses the spine of the rod to get the line sailing through the air.
Some feel a women and or child rod should be developed with a grip for smaller hands. As more and more women take up the sport we may have to start manufacturing if someone hasn’t already for them. Which means a smaller grip. Tennis racquets are modified for women why not rods…