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Thread: Rods for beginners

  1. #1
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    Default Rods for beginners

    Fast cars, 2 min. noodles, silicone, fast action high modulus graphite fly rods... and you have to buy your first fly rod.

    Often beginners are told to buy fast action rods, cause it will make them cast further. Buy a 5 weight rod with a "matching" 6 weight line to load the rod and develop a feel for the cast. In my opinion medium action rods will make the whole process of learning to cast a fly line much easier.

    Any opinions to make the decision easier for fly fishers new the sport?

  2. #2
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    Phillip, this is a tough question, that I can't really answer for certain as to which is easier, because I enjoy using both fast and slow action rods in different situations. However, over the years I've taken quite a number of beginners fishing with me that I have introduced to the sport, and will attempt to answer based on their experiences.

    I have a couple of rods that I let these beginners use. Some of these rods are quite old. I have a 15 year old, 8'6" 5/6wt "Deane" rod that was the house brand of The Flyfisherman shop in Pietermaritzburg. Even when fished with a 5wt line, this rod has quite a slow action. I also have a much newer Xplorer Guide Series rod, which is 9'0 and also 5 wt, but that has a much faster action. that these guys use.

    Now having just leant to cast, and changing between the Deane rod with the slower action, and the Xplorer with the faster action, they are unanimous that the faster action rod is a lot easier to cast with. Based on that, I would say the faster action stick is easier.

    I however do not enjoy fishing any of my sticks lined up a weight. The stick I use most often is a 9'0 5wt Sage TCR which has a very fast action. Although I have read that a lot of people fish this stick lined up a weight or in some cases even 2. I find that the 5wt line performs best for me though. Incidently though, getting back to whether fast actioned rods are easier, I find that the guys I've fished with that are relatively new to fly fishing and casting a fly battle to throw this particular stick, and as such I would say that there is a limit to the fast actionedness (is that even a word ??? ) that a beginner will be able to handle.
    Last edited by ShaunF; 30-10-06 at 10:02 PM.

  3. #3
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    My choice for the beginner would be a medium action rod and I would limit them to 5 meter maximum distance casts, until they have the action and stroke off pat. Faster action rods dont work too well under 5 metres and many bad habits can be developed as a result. Like all things that require a fine touch, one should crawl before one leaps. I have my youngster practicing on the lawn at home and I have started him off on really short casts with the focus on minimal false casting and maximum accuracy.
    Last edited by Chris Shelton; 31-10-06 at 08:46 AM.
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  4. #4
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    The faster the action of the rod, the more exact your timing needs to be in your cast, slower rods are more forgiving for casting mistakes and putting a nebie straight on a very fast rod can be very frustrating for them.

    Which to choice as your first rod, well that's tricky. Best would be to first learn on a mates slower rod first till you get over the technique and then buy something a like a med-fast.

  5. #5
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    I dont go along too much with the statement that softer rods are more forgiving, unless you substantiate specifically why you say this. It is more forgiving of what may I ask?

    15 years ago I exchanged my old wiggly Hardy fibreglass rod for a super sloppy Orvis Ultrafine 2# for the streams. This little rod required the finest of touch and and quite a bit of practice to master accurate casts. It was certainly not the kind of rod I would recommend for any novice. To my thinking, a faster rod is a lot more directional when it comes to accurate casting. As far as presentation goes, I agree that the softer rod is a lot more forgiving.
    Last edited by Chris Shelton; 31-10-06 at 09:03 AM.
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  6. #6
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    I think of it in the same light that most golfers do when they buy new clubs. Its best to go to a dealer and get them to help you pick out the correct clubs(or rod) to match your style, since everyones is different.
    Daryl Human

    The solution to any problem -- work, love, money, whatever -- is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be. --John Gierach

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzy View Post
    I think of it in the same light that most golfers do when they buy new clubs. Its best to go to a dealer and get them to help you pick out the correct clubs(or rod) to match your style, since everyones is different.
    Hughie at Sharpes of Aberdeen in London made me test every fly rod in the shop, but he always started with the most expensive one. Once you've compared the action of a GBP600 to a GBP100, there's just no way you can settle for the cheaper model.
    Rudolph
    No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
    Confucius

  8. #8
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    I'll agree with Chris here, I think that slower rods are more difficult to cast, you just have to wait so long for the line to straighten. I would rather give a beginner a medium fast rod, less for them to cock up.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Elliott View Post
    I'll agree with Chris here, I think that slower rods are more difficult to cast, you just have to wait so long for the line to straighten. I would rather give a beginner a medium fast rod, less for them to cock up.
    hehe, reminds me of my old greenheart. It is a case of flick out some line, light a smoke, flick out a bit more on the forward cast, take a couple of puffs, lift into the next back stroke, finish the smoke while that straightens out behind you, and then dig out the film canistor from somewhere in between the other crap in the flyvest to put your dead stompie into while the forward cast is in the process of lying out before you
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  10. #10
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    Ok, let me rephrase that, the best rod to start with is a medium rod, a fast rod is less forgiving cause if you miss time your cast, it totally messes things up. I saw this when I took two total newbies out, put one on a fast and the other on a medium, the one on the fast really struggled, when I swapped the rods around, whoever had the medium rod casted better.

    I think what it comes down to is how beginner is you beginner. If it's the first time they hold a rod, fast rods don't work well for them. Once they have a bit of practice under their belt they will prefer a med-fast faster rod as they can cast further with it.

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