Choosing A Fly Rod

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<h2><strong>Choosing a Fly Rod - Action</strong></h2>
The action of a fly rod refers to how flexible the fly rod is. If you forget everything else, try to remember this. The action of a fly rod is simply a fancy measure of how flexible the fly rod is. With that in mind, essentially, there are three different types of fly rods that a beginning angler should concern themselves with. The three different types of fly rods are differentiated by the amount of flex in the fly rod. So, how is the amount of flex in a fly rod measured? Simple, it is measured on the backcast. The more the rod bends on the backcast, the more flexible the fly rod is. <br /><br /> <strong>FAST ACTION</strong><br /> A fast action rod is a powerful rod with less flex, requiring that the caster have good timing and technique. The stiffness of a fast-action rod can help bring in a fish more quickly, ideal when playing larger fish. A fast action rod is also beneficial in windy conditions.<br /><br /> Beginners might struggle learning how to cast with a fast-action rod. The sheer power in the rods makes "getting a feel" for the fly and fly line difficult. Precise casts in particular will be difficult for new anglers. <br /><br /> <strong>MEDIUM ACTION</strong><br /> A medium action rod is very versatile. More forgiving than a fast-action rod, a medium action rod is somewhat flexible but also offers a good degree of stiffness. During casting, a medium action rod will bend moderately for half of its length and the lower half will remain stiff. <br /><br /> Overall, if an angler will only own one fly rod for freshwater trout fishing, then it should be a medium action fly rod unless the fishing situation falls into one of the other categories above or below. <br /><br /> <strong>SLOW ACTION</strong><br /> A rod with a classic, traditional or slower action is designed for anglers who need to make the short, accurate and gentle casts typically required on small rivers and streams. These rods are very flexible throughout the entire shaft. The rod's generous flexibility and slow line speed allows inexperienced casters to have good control of their line, resulting in increased accuracy. A slower action rod is not an ideal rod for casting in windy conditions.
<h2><strong>Choosing a Fly Rod - Length</strong></h2>
<li><strong>Below 7’0″</strong> : Specialist small stream / brook rods. Ideal for casting small flies in enclosed conditions using fine leaders. Generally employed to target small Wild Brown Trout and Grayling although experienced anglers will also tackle larger specimens using short rods.</li>
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<li><strong>7’0″ – 8’6″</strong> : Small Stream &amp; Brook Rods. Not quite so specialised; an 8’0″ being the benchmark length for river anglers who like to adopt a light line upstream dry fly approach. 8’6″ is gaining popularity on the chalkstream scene.</li>
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<li><strong>9’0″</strong> : There are many rods within this length range offering a multitude of uses, dependant on line weight. Starting with 9’0″ rods for freshwater this is certainly the most popular length for chalk streams. There is a crossover here too as many anglers use 9’0″ rods for “small” stillwater use. Saltwater anglers will be very familiar with this length, even rods aimed at serious species such as Tarpon are rarely longer than 9’0″.</li>
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<li><strong>9’6″ – 10’0″</strong> : In the UK this is the standard length used on large still waters such as lakes, reservoirs and lochs. 9’6″ has become particularly favourable with bank anglers. 10’0″ still water rods are widely employed by boat anglers, especially competition anglers looking for greater control of their flies which are often cast/fished while sat down. The extra length also allows for the use of long leaders.</li>
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<li><strong>11’0″ – 12’0″</strong> : This length can also be popular with Irish/Scottish loch anglers targeting Sea Trout or practicing traditional “loch style” with bushy surface flies.
<h2><strong>Choosing a Fly Rod - How Many Pieces</strong></h2>
If you plan to frequently travel, carting along a long fly rod that only breaks down into two pieces can pose difficulty. For frequent travelers, especially those who travel by airplane, consider getting a "travel rod" that breaks down into four or more pieces. This allows the rod to slip easily into a small suitcase or into one of the many fly fishing luggage pieces designed for airline travel.</li>
<h2><strong>Choosing a Fly Rod - AFTM Rating</strong></h2>
Choosing the AFTM rating of your first fly rod can be confusing. Fly rods are designed to cast a particular weight of fly line. The weight of a fly line is described by an AFTM number. This number is printed on the rod just above the handle. The AFTM number is based on the weight of the first 30 feet of the fly line. These numbers range from #0 (the lightest line) to #13 the heaviest line. <br /><br /> Here are three things for you to consider. <br /><br /> <strong>The size of fly you will be casting.</strong> : The bigger the fly, the bigger weight rod and line will be required to turn it over.<br /><br /> <strong>Wind</strong> : The windier it is, the bigger the weight of rod and line you will need. If you intend on fishing somewhere which is often windy such as an exposed reservoir or in the sea, you will need a heavier line to cut through the air. <br /><br /> <strong>Size of fish</strong> : Because the weight of the line flexes the rod, heavier rated rods will take more weight before they are fully flexed. This means that they will handle bigger fish. If you intend to target big fish then you will need a heavier rod. <br /><br /> Here are a few examples to help you make sense of it.
<li>Small brook small fish: #2 weight</li>
<li>Small river medium fish: #4 weight</li>
<li>Medium river potential big fish: #6 weight</li>
<li>Reservoir potential big fish and wind: #8 weight</li>
<li>Pike fishing or saltwater for big fish both big flies: #10 weight</li>
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