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Thread: Designing the ultimate French nymphing / Leader-to-hand rod

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Default Designing the ultimate French nymphing / Leader-to-hand rod

    This is a post based on theory rather than my extensive experience of this fishing style which is a total of about 2 hours in Slovenia some years ago! I hope it might be of interest to others besides myself. The challenge is to design the ultimate Euro-style rod (10-11'). Some of you will have read Jeremy Lucas who sees a convergence between leader-to-hand and Tenkara techniques - both have in common dispensing with conventional fly lines altogether but differ in that the length of presentation can be more easily varied with Euro-style rods than with Tenkara's fixed line length.

    'Casting' a long mono leader requires a soft tip - this is generally agreed. I have an idea about how this issue may be tackled in a different way. Again this thought process starts in Slovenia - parts of the Sava needed to be fished with jigs (for want of a better word) and my guide picked some big enough to throw on a spinning rod and got me to tie them on to my 5wt. I'd learned the Belgian cast more or less from first principles so I was able to 'plop' these flies out far enough to make presentations to a few deep-lying rainbows. Yesterday I was throwing some heavy flies to bass on an EPIC 5wt using the Belgian cast and was struck by how much easier it was with the slightly slower response of glass. The rate at which it loaded and unloaded better matched the dynamics/speed of the heavy fly than with graphite. Graphite is obviously far quicker and feels (to me) jerkier in this situation. Jerky = less straight line and compromised presentation maybe? This may be a bit of a jump but I believe the slower and smoother unloading of fibreglass would benefit long-leader presentation.

    So first step in the Ultimate LTH (leader-to-hand) rod might be a top section (2.5' maybe) made out of 'S' glass - possibly 2-3wt equivalent with the balance in graphite. The graphite section could be stiffened up somewhat because the glass tip would provide enough tippet cushioning (something glass does very well) and the extra weight of the glass would need to be dealt with.

    Secondly guide-size could be reduced significantly as no flyline is required - the micro-guide revolution in conventional tackle has proven this point. Smaller guides in a titanium alloy could reduce weight overall.

    Sidebar: It may be possible to dispense with guides entirely and run the reel line up the centre of a telescopic rod of the same material construction - this too has been done with conventional gear. Friction however might be an issue when trying to extend presentation length with a virtually weightless end rig and leader to running line connections might be too bulky.

    Thirdly installing an adjustable weighting system in the butt would allow balance to be achieved without having to go to a much heavier reel which is the normal way of solving this problem.

    Who could tackle this challenge? It seems to me Hardy/Greys have all the requirements - they work in glass and graphite and have highly skilled specialists in the LTH discipline. I suppose for us locally a brave soul or two could work with Steven Pratt at CTS on such a project - after all it is clear if you look at their own and the EPIC rods that CTS has an excellent understanding of using fibreglass in fly rods .

    I look forward to your comments!

  2. Default

    Henry Haneda has been doing these sort of hybrid rods for a number of years. Each section from different materials to suit the outcome. The results were amazing!!!!
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    127

    Default

    There is one other potentially interesting idea I have been experimenting with - there is a class of light Japanese spinning rods (LRF) which incorporates a solid, tapered graphite tip (1mm in diameter at the tip). Casting weight range is given as 0.5-4g. Overall the rod is 7'2" - using your LTH leader design (or as close as I could get - 30lb Amnesia, tapered leader section and 30lb braided mono sighter + 2m tippet) I was able to cast 17m very comfortably (on grass). The tapered tip seems to work really well - loops are tighter than with my 9' 3wt Sage SP and despite the shorter rod length I can achieve the same distance but with less effort.
    Some may have heard of an American rodbuilder called Dale Clemens? He experimented extensively with solid, tapered tips (he called it the Apogee series) in the 80's and applied them to fly rods as well as conventional ultra-light spinning. What was interesting is that the solid tip fly rods could comfortably handle up to 4 AFTMA line weights.

    It may be that in designing a rod for LTH which incorporates a fine solid tapered graphite tip it may be possible to create a tip that is exactly calibrated to the weight of the LTH leader. The solid tip recovers much more quickly than a hollow graphite section and it will accept a much more extreme bend than a tapered graphite tube. Consequently it might be possible to create a slightly stiffer blank with much of the line loading being done in the top 12" or so. It would be interesting to hear what someone like Howard Croston would make of this idea.

  4. Default

    You certainly have access to the right people to make this happen it seems. Not sure if anyone can add to you very specific ideas, but maybe a comment on the solid tips ... Don Phillips made solid Boron rods more than 30 years ago. The diameter was insanely low. The downside was that the entire rod was on the heavy side, as he had to use metal ferrules as you would on a bamboo rod. However, having had the immense pleasure of casting and fishing on of those rods in a 2-weight, it was spectacular!!!!!! The weight melted away once you began to fish it. It was an amazing experience.
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

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