Fishing The Fly Forum, based in Aberdeenshire,  Scotland

Hamish Young

Rod actions.... a personal journey
« on: May 28, 2018, 08:44:21 AM »
In a reply to a post in recent thread elsewhere on the forum I mentioned (and I'm using some of that text again) that my favourite river rod used to be an Orvis Trident, a through actioned "noodle" as a former forum member classed it.

Back then, when I was fishing the Don a fair bit (say 12+ years ago now) I found it always preferable to have a softer rod for short range fishing which, by and large, is river fishing in a nutshell. Now I had the choice of more modern rods such as Scott's and Sage and others but, when I looked for a replacement, I opted for a custom build on Winston BiiX blank which Sandy very kindly built up for me. Those Winstons were fast action, some might have said with a 'wobbly' tip but I never felt so, but the rod simply bent and the bank still recovered quickly. I could 'feel' what was going on through the cork as (when you needed to pop out a longer line) the rod simply bent further into the blank.

Thing is (in case you hadn't figured it out) the rod bent. 

I maintain that a softer rod can help "protect" the lightest of tippets and the finest of hooks when playing fish.
Having done some casting instruction recently with an improver, it was rewarding to note that moving to a softer rod (a Vision Onki - interesting, try one) made for some really big improvements in her casting, at end of the lesson she tried my Mackenzie FX1 9' #6wt I happened to have with me and bingo :!  Even better results - although I think her husband was less amused at the potential for another fishing toy purchase :wink

Thing is, why did it all come together  :?

Well... obviously my instruction  :z4 but when we sat down and debriefed it was clear that the client preferred a softer rod. Or let me put it another way... a rod that bends for more than just the first few inches.

It got me thinking and I had a play with some double handers the following day.  In my 'collection' is a 15' rod that is based on a Daiwa CF98 blank. For those who don't know, that is old. Very old. It wobbles (would love to try some different rings on it) but it also bends and when chucking a 75' head line around that's a nice thing.  Didn't like it with shooting heads on, except a tournament head, but I liked that the rod bent. It was somehow comforting.

So I continue to wonder....  we produce lighter, faster rods which are often casting cannons... which is nice. But we have also gone to the extremes of developing gear designed to mitigate that stiffness and provide what a softer rod would naturally provide... have we gone too far in the quest for lightness and stiffness :?

Where does the future lie in rod design and action :?
What is more important...
 feel :?
 weight :?
 bendiness :?

I don't have answers as it will be down to individual preference at the end of the day. But I do know it seems I like a rod that bends and that I have come to appreciate those qualities more of late. Maybe it's because I'm less inclined to pick up a rod and try and cast to the horizon than I used to, instead I'll pick it up and see what loop shapes I can generate, what it's like at real fishing ranges.

So it's possible that over time it's just me that's changed but, whatever the reason, it's why I'm part of the way through changing out a significant number of rods for things that bend a bit more.

I'm never going to move to split cane, but I do have an Epic 'fastglass' rod coming my way....

H :cool:
“When tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.”

Mike Barrio

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 11:02:05 AM »
Lots of interesting points in there H ........ I've basically had the same experience for a number of years now :z12
www.flylineshop.com   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Terry Coging

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 13:41:45 PM »
Very good points Hamish.  A pal asked me why I liked the FX1 as we were de tackling in the car park. I showed him the bottom section and bent it, saying "rods that bent like that used to be considered sloppy, nothing sloppy about this one though!"  Must be a coincidence but I used to use a Tony Fordham 10' built on a CF98 blank (I used to sell CF98's 30 odd years ago) and that was a through action -  the FX1 reminded me of that.  I used to under line the CF98 10' rod and get the butt end going for greater distance. So I was also wondering, where is rod design going? It looks like we can now get a rod that can do more or less anything.  I would not us a tippet of less than 6lb on the FX1 #6 though.  I'll still use the Shaky #4 and #5 for that (until I treat myself again = #4 FX1  :X2 )

Derek Roxborough

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 14:58:19 PM »
I come from the" Buy it and use it" school of rod buying, having had many rods in my 60+ years of fly fishing, very few of them have been seriously expensive ( I am a tight Git   :z5      )and only one or two have been lemons, one was an Orvis, I could not get a straight line out with this rod no matter what I tried, I sold it on and the Guy seems to be well pleased with it, he uses it for boat work , I never tried that, I do find that a middle to tip gives me a better casting action than a through action but, I can over line a rod and get a through action  I found this out on my 3 wt when I picked up the wrong reel and ended up at a hill loch with a 3wt rod and a 5wt line, it handled nicely and was actually a pleasure to use, so, to me just about any rod can be made to perform , by tweeking the line options, up or down, but really only for short lining, if you are casting to the Horizon then stick to the rod Parameters,  :z13 Derek Roxborough

Terry Coging

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2018, 11:18:29 AM »
I have been trying out different weights and models of Bario lines for a while now and seem to have come in a circle to where I was 30/40 years ago. My best results back then were with a Garcia Long Belly lines matched to a 10' CF98 rod. By underlining it was possible to stick a lot of line up in the air.  Now, all those years later I am doing a similar thing with the 10' #6 FXi and a GT90.
So, a modern version of and old theme. The main difference being improvements with directional change, less effort and  the range of lines that the FX1 will handle with almost no compromise.
For me the 'go to' line with the FX1 is the GT90.  The SLX stays in the bag unless it gets very windy,  or when there is little room for a back cast or when streamer fishing.  The Mallard comes out for the lighter dries, having the finest tip.



Rob Brownfield

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2018, 11:47:44 AM »
Quick bit of clarity, because it causes sooo much confusion. There is a difference between taper and action, despite them using the same descriptions.  A rod with a fast taper will be stiff, a rod with a fast action, will recover quickly but could be any taper. With that cleared up, onto my story....

I had an evening of two halves last night on Loriston.

I started with a 6 weight 9'6" Diamondback Flawless rod (Soooooo awesome) which would be considered a medium taper but it has a fast action. It is a rod that throws a good loop and will cast "fishing" distances easily. However, when hooking a fish, it takes on a really deep curve that was perfect for last night. I hooked a "bow" of 4-4.5lbs on a size 16 F-fly and 4lb tippet at maximum range and it just took off for the far bank. However, the rod very quickly got the better of it and it was soon unhooked in the margins before swimming away.

As the night wore on, the fish pushed out and the wind picked up. Time to switch to "The Beast"!

So, out with a 7 weight Recon. Fast taper and fast action meant a complete change in casting. Line was a long belly Partridge Reservoir jobbie and I was able to just reach the fish that were now topping a good 30 yards out. Awesome rod, but much harder work to get things flying (line will have influence too).  Timing became critical and I found myself concentrating on the cast rather than the fishing.  Still managed two smaller "bows" though, both on a sedgehopper.

What was noticeable was the time it took to land those two smaller fish. I could not really lean into the fish as the rod is so stiff. despite having a heavier tippet (6lb) and larger fly, I felt that any more pressure would have pinged the hook. With the Flawless I just clamped up and bullied the fish in.

There was another chap fishing and he came over for a chat. He mentioned the distance I was casting so I handed him the Recon. Nope, he really struggled with it. He handed me his rod, a Sharpes "Gordon", and it felt very slow compared to the Recon. But casting was a breeze.

So...as I have always said, if you want a fishing rod, get a moderate taper, fast action rod.  If you want to spend time watching back casts and forming perfect loops, get a stiff rod ;) And more recently I have discovered the joys of an S-glass fast action rod for short range fishing on the river (and Loriston :) ). Mine bends through to the hand but boy does it handle fish well and cast soooo easy.
Ok, I admit it, I quite like this salmon fishing lark....

Derek Roxborough

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2018, 15:45:42 PM »
Ah! The Garcia Long Belly, I kept mine going for years and you got a fly box with it, or was that the Galion?, any way I liked that line, I used it with  an 8ft Shakespear International for boat and bank, it was because I nearly wrecked my shoulder with a 10-6ins 8wt, it was 2 years before I could used a longer rod  but I stayed with a 5wt as I have yet, at the moment Rob I still like carbon fibre and at the price of the Epic glass I will be staying with it for some time yet, State pensions only go so far  :z8  Derek Roxborough

Rob Brownfield

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2018, 08:00:56 AM »
the price of the Epic glass I will be staying with it for some time yet,

There are much cheaper S-glass rods out there...arguably just as good. :)

That last one I built, the reel seat and handle cost more than the blank, but its a stunner!
Ok, I admit it, I quite like this salmon fishing lark....

Derek Roxborough

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2018, 08:11:23 AM »
I believe you Rob,but when they come down to the price of a ShakespearAgility, I will wait 'til then , :z16
Derek Roxborough

Terry Coging

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2018, 09:41:24 AM »
I'm gradually giving most of my rods away to our club juniors or newbies. So, which rods would I not part with? Obviously the #6 FX1 for all round fishing. The Agility 2's, being a 10' #5 and a 9' #4. Then a cane 8'6" #5 built for me 30 years ago.
Someone once said "There is nothing like the best".
It's subjective, but for me the FX1 is the best all round performer. The Agility 2's are the best value and a pleasure to use. The cane rod has the best memories.

Can't see me ever getting a stiff, fast, tippy rod again.

Derek Roxborough

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2018, 12:42:02 PM »
 so it's a Rolls Royce for me the next time?  :X2 easker1

Terry Coging

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2018, 19:04:45 PM »
so it's a Rolls Royce for me the next time?  :X2 easker1

No expensive cars for me Derek. Waste of money.  My fishing Wagon is 14 years old and our 'good' car is 10. See no reason to change. Fishing tackle, food and drink are a different matter entirely  :z4

Euan Innes

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2018, 21:11:16 PM »
When I have more time I will add my 2p to the above but right now I have spent a day with  the love of my life and really appreciate the softer things in life! My Guideline Fario 9' #4 is not fast but throws a lovely line. Not very far, but far enough to catch fish and feel the heart beat of the trout that you are attached to. It doesn't like beaded flies, except for short range stuff, but unweighted things are ace.
Maybe it is my age but some things are not as stiff as they used to be! :oops  :z4 :z4 :z4 :z4

Euan
Living with deep, full breaths is the way of the trout. Fish, it seems, are the ultimate teachers in breathing.
RC Cone

Derek Roxborough

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2018, 21:20:34 PM »
It was the buy the Best comment , I drive a Punto,  :z18 Derek Roxborough

Rob Brownfield

Re: Rod actions.... a personal journey
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2018, 11:35:46 AM »
My Guideline Fario 9' #4 is not fast but throws a lovely line. Not very far, but far enough to catch fish and feel the heart beat of the trout that you are attached to. It doesn't like beaded flies, except for short range stuff, but unweighted things are ace.

CRS or normal? With a #4 SLX I found mine is surprisingly good at putting flies a long way...way further than a 4 weight should...almost to the backing.

But best of all, when you kook something..wow...a proper fight but in control. I was really able to lay into the fish on Loriston and get them in quick on 3lb tippet.
Ok, I admit it, I quite like this salmon fishing lark....

 




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