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Thread: Rod action?

  1. #1
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    Default Rod action?

    A friend of mine has lent me his 5/6wt rod for an "extended period of time". The 5/6wt I have is a 2 piece Explorer 5/6wt 8-something-something (I can't remember the 2 numbers that come after the 8). The rod I received is a four piece Explorer 5/6wt 904.

    When I perform the casting action repetatively, I have noticed that the 2 piece rod is "stiffer" than the 4 piece. I seem to recall this is defined as the action of the rod?

    Anyway, I just wanted to know what one needs to take into consideration/look out for etc. when alternating between the 2 rods. Are there properties unique to the "stiffer" rod vs. the more "flexible" rod. I have noticed in the past when I used this rod that I cast better (and further) with the "stiffer" rod. Granted, this is the rod I learned to fly-fish with, so I probably styled my casting around it.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
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    All things being equal, the faster-actioned rod should create more line speed and smaller loops. What puzzles me is, from what I can gather, your own rod is shorter than 9'. Both rods should have a medium fast action and the fact that one is a two piece and the other a four piece should not really change the action of the rod. The longer rod should 'feel' slower, but should in fact be able of creating higher line speed, everything being equal. The Xplorer rods are made by the zillion without much attention being paid to spining the blank correctly. This factor alone will make individual rods in the same series feel different and will definitely influence action (stiffness is quite not the correct word). My advice would be to watch your loops, especially on the back-cast, paying attention to how the different rods load up and how you time your hauling.

    Action, by the way, is determined largely by the way the rod bends when applying a force (is that the correct word?) to the tip of the rod. A fast action rod will bend primarily in the tip area (stiff butt) and a slow action will bend all the way into the handle. That may also not be quite true, as the old Orvis western action rods has the bend profile of a slowish action, but man, can those rods lay out a long line.

  3. #3
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    I don't think in all cases a slow action means you can't cast far. Ask Kevin - his slow action 9wt (comparative to my rod - not rated slow) can cast out more than a full line in his hands, so it is just a case of getting used to it.

    Spig, just try waiting for it on the backcast before starting the foreward cast. You might see a large difference just from this slight adjustment. Also, don't force it with the less stiff rod.
    "So here’s my point. Don’t go and get your ego all out of proportion because you can tie a fly and catch a fish that’s dumb enough to eat a car key.." - Louis Cahill - Gink and Gasoline

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkieser View Post
    Spig, just try waiting for it on the backcast before starting the foreward cast. You might see a large difference just from this slight adjustment. Also, don't force it with the less stiff rod.
    Agreed with Grant here. For me lately I really rip back the line with my left hand (casting right) on my last back cast to generate more line speed- so much so that when my loop straightens behind me I can actually feel the rod thump backwards. That is then the cue to do the same thing on the forward cast as well. What I guess Im saying is that my saltwater casting has improved thanks to allowing my backcast to open up more before commencing with my forward cast (and the extra generated line speed which is generated by the stripping hand more than the casting hand). And then, as Grant says, the other 2 or three false casts with a slower action rod must be relaxed and timing orientated.
    " Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian." -Dennis Wholey

  5. #5
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    Nor does a slower action mean not casting tight loops - a fast action rod does not create tighter loops - the straight line path of the rod tip is what creates tight loops.

    The pause on the back cast is what the experts call drifting - you actually without knowing it let the rod tip drift back while waiting for the line to straighten thereby creating a longer forward stroke which leads to more power in the cast and therefore more distance - as Grant and Kev stated above.

    And of course - the faster the haul - the more line speed.Slow and steady with the rod and fast with the haul.

  6. #6
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    Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is that the faster the action of the rod, the less forgiving it’s regarding the timing of your cast, try teaching a newbie to cast on a TFO TcirX and you’ll see what I mean.
    Fly-fishing surpasses the need to actually catch a fish, it becomes a mindset, and with time, an obsession.

    Lord,grant that I may catch a fish so big that even I,
    When speaking afterwards,
    May have no need to lie.
    Amen

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    Slow and steady with the rod and fast with the haul.
    Could not have said it better (in my experience).
    " Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian." -Dennis Wholey

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkieser View Post
    Also, don't force it with the less stiff rod.
    LOL. Thanx, this is exactly what I end up doing with the more "flexible" of the two rods. I then end up getting frustrated and mess up almost every cast.

    So, just for clarity, my "stiffer" rod is a "fast action" rod and the other more "flexible" rod is a "slow action rod", right?

    Thanx for all the info, it helps a lot.

  9. #9
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    Hi Spig,

    You can also compare it to a bow (and arrow). Loading an 80 lbs. bow and an 50 lbs. bow along the same curve generates different arrow speeds. Physically bending a fast action rod by grabbing it at the tip will take more energy than bending a slower action rod along the same curve. This translates to more line speed if the caster is able to make the rod load properly. The other vitally important factors of timing, length/direction and speed of the hauling hand in conjunction with the speedup and stop of the rod tip - the direction in which the rod tip accelerates and stops.

    With all the hype of fast action rods I believe more often than not these rods aren't the tool for the job for many casters and under often encountered fishing conditions, with rivers and stillwaters being more suitable to slower action rods.

  10. #10
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    A slight flaw in your analogy, Fish. This is like comparing a 12wt with a 4wt. Both will cast a full line if the caster has the skill/technique to do so. A 4wt will however collapse or break if lined with a 12wt line. A 50# bow would be as slow as hell with an arrow spined for an 80# bow, particularly when using aluminium arrows. With a carbon arrow the bow would essentially be untunable and be about as accurate as the proverbial slosh gun. My 60# target bow is considerably faster than my 90# hunting bow (it's the wild cams on the target version, giving it the faster ‘action’). You are right, the 80# bow will store a lot more energy than the 50# and will deliver the arrow spined for the lighter bow with great speed (and possibly even wilder inaccuracy), and then you may have to start looking for the pieces of the bow after it disintegrated when the shot was fired. Luckily a 12wt will not even know it’s casting a 4wt line.

    Now, if the dear departed (or is that shot-not-through-the-apple?) Fario was still with us, we could have had a really good bull session on this almost rocket-science issue. He was an archer of note, I believe.

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