Copyright 2018 James Marsh
The fly rod serves two purposes in fly-fishing. It propels or casts the fly line and leader and it cushions
the fight of a fish caught on the fly rod. Many fly fishing anglers consider their fly rods the most important
tools for fly fishing. In reality, they are just one important part of the fly-fishing system. There are many
types of fly rods designed to catch different species of fish as well as to cast different types and sizes of
Although most fly rods are designed with certain species of fish in mind, there's really not such a thing as
a trout fly rod, or a bass fly rod, or a steelhead fly rod. Most fly rods will work well for more than one
species of fish. The same fly rod that works well for catching bass, may work just as well for catching
larger size trout. The same rod used to fish a streamer for larger size trout, may well be used for fishing
streamers for smallmouth bass. That written, a fly rod that was designed to catch large steelhead in a
large river isn't going to work well for catching small brook trout in a small mountain stream.
The size of a fly rod refers to the weight of the fly line it is designed to cast, not its length. Some fly rods
will cast more than one fly line size; however, in those cases they will almost always cast one certain fly
line size better than the others.
A fly rod should be designed and built to cast a fly line of a certain weight range. The length, taper,
stiffness and flexibility of a fly rod should be such that it cast a particular fly line size easily and efficiently.
Fly rod manufacturers mark their rods with the size line that the rod is made for. It is usually shown on
the butt plate or the butt section of he rod.
Most fly rods are single handed rods but there are other types. Spey fly rods are two handed rods that
were developed a long time ago for areas with limited back casting space on Scotland's famous Spey
River. Now they are used for many different fly fishing applications. A new type of fly rod is the Switch
rod. They are used where anglers want the advantages of a two-handed rod, but don’t need the length
and power of a full, size Spey Rod. These are used for mostly for steelhead, salmon, and sometimes for
large brown trout.
One of the oldest fly rods in history and one that is rapidly becoming popular again is the Tenkara fly
rod. Tenkara is a Japanese method of fly-fishing, which uses only a rod, line and fly
You will also hear fly rods described as bamboo fly rods, fiberglass fly rods or graphite fly rods, Some are
made of Boron. In these cases, the name of the fly rod comes from the description of the material used
to make the blank of the fly rod. Most fly rods are made from graphite. There are other names commonly
used for fly rods. Some trout fishers refer to rods as dry fly rods, wet fly rods and nymphing rods,
streamer fly rods, high-sticking rods and by many other names to do with the method of fly fishing. For
example, a nymphing rod may have a stiffer tip than a dry fly rod.
Prior to about 1940, most fly rods were made of bamboo. There are those who still prefer rods.
Fiberglass rods gradually replaced the bamboo rods up to a point, and are still in use today. Graphite is
lighter and stronger than fiberglass and this fact makes a big difference that means most anglers prefer
graphite over fiberglass. Modulus is a term used in connection with graphite rods. It refers to the stiffness
to weight ratio of the graphite fibers. The performance of a fly rod is also affected by fiber strength, resin
toughness, amount of fiber used, amount of resin used, and scrim as well as the modulus of the graphite.
There are some other materials used in the construction of fly rods by some manufacturers, such as
boron and titanium. These materials are sometimes used in conjunction with graphite.
Fly rods are also described as to the type of action, or flex of the rod. The action of a rod describes the
flex in the rod when it is bending. Most fly rod companies describe the actions of their rods as fast,
medium or slow, and other increments, such as medium fast, medium slow, etc. A fly rod that flex near the
tip are usually described as “fast” action rods, whereas rods that bend or flex uniformly throughout most
of the rod’s length are referred to as “slow” action rods.
A few manufacturers use "tip flex" action to describe their fast tip actions, "mid flex" action for actions
between fast and slow actions, and "full flex" for slow actions. In these cases, the action of the fly rod
refers to where the rod flexes. Usually, fast action rods generate more line speed than slow action rods
and they usually are capable of making longer cast. In general, fast to moderately fast rod actions allow
anglers to throw tighter loops with less wind resistance. Fast actions are popular for many saltwater
applications as well as big river applications. Fast action rods are preferred by many for nymph fishing
and those casting streamers.
Moderate to slow action rods provide a smoother, softer action and make it easier to make the roll and
mend cast. They are usually a little easier to cast than a fast action. Some anglers prefer slow action
rods that are more forgiving and cover up casting errors better than fast action rods. It's also easier to
feel the rod loading.
The length of fly rods is very important. The shorter the fly rod, the less efficiently you can cast. The
length and arch of a rod during a cast is what is responsible for propeling the line. Longer fly rods weight
more and are usually considered more difficult to cast around trees and other obstructions.
The majority of fly rods probably range from seven to nine feet in length. Two handed Spey rods
may be as long as fourteen feet or even longer. Longer fly rods have an advantage in open water areas,
during strong winds and whenever long cast are desired. Line mending is much easier with al long rod.
Often, angers select their fly rod as the first item of importance without any regard to the type and size of
flies they intend to cast. You should first select the line size that best delivers those flies you need for the
type of fish you will be pursuing, and then a rod that best casts that line size with ease. It is impossible to
intelligently select a fly rod without first knowing the type and size of the flies that you intend to cast and
the weight of the fly line that best presents the flies that the rod will be casting.
The number of sections can also be important, and for more than one reason. Strictly from a casting
standpoint, there wouldn't be anything wrong with using a one-piece fly rod It will work as well as any, but
transporting and storing it would be very impractical in most cases. For this reason most fly rods are
made in two, three, four and sometimes more sections.
Whatever species of fish and type of flies you need a fly rod for, make sure you consider Perfect Fly
rods. They are by far the best fly rods for the money and in many cases, the best fly rods you can buy. .
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