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Thread: How to evaluate a rod purchase

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default How to evaluate a rod purchase

    Much has been said on the forum in response to new guys asking questions regarding rod choice. Some advice has been sound, some has been less sound, and some has been blatant rubbish.
    I would like to get to begin to formulate a thread which will constructively advise those with less experience, of the issues they need to consider, when evaluating a new rod purshase.
    The following are the criteria that i use, and believe that they have served me well. They are in some order of priority.

    Aside from the price, brand, warranties etc, these are based purely on the functionality and performance.

    1. Decide what the rod will be primarily used for. ( nymphing rivers, stillwater off a boat, stillwater off the bank, Cape streams dry fly, nymphing etc. etc. etc.)

    2. Once this is decided, select the ideal length of the rod. if you like to use a long rod for nymphing, great. Still water off a boat or float tube, should ideally be a longer rod than off the bank. CZN for yellows, you may want a longer rod than if you are indicator fishing. etc, etc, etc.

    3. Based on the species of fish that the rod will be predominantly targetting, decide on the ideal leader setup, and therefore the degree of tippet protection vs. pulling power that the rod will offer you. ( tip flex rod, vs. mid flex rod, vs full flex rod). This is going to influence the weight of rod you will go for. (for example, if you are targetting yellow by nymphing, it is pointless going to an ultra fast rod, where you need a 4x tippet, firstly, you wont detect the takes, and the one's you do, will snap you off. Tthis may also give you some idea of the sensitivity of transfering any signals from the fly, to your hand. (probably the most important aspect of any evaluation, as what is the point of a rod casting a mile, when you are not able to establish if a fish has bitten the fly)

    4. Once you have all this figured out, move towards a casting evaluation.
    If you cannot do this at the water, attempt to emulate the style of fishing that the rod will predominantly be used for. If it is a 7 foot, Cape Streams dry fly rod that you need, try and evaluate it at a swimming pool, where you can lay the line on the water, and establish how the rod loads throught the surface tension. If you have settled on a rod for indicator fishing for yellows, put on a leader with the indicator you will mostly use. If it is a nymphing rod for trout or yellows, try and establish the sensitivity of the transfer of vibrations from the fly to the rod tip. Do this by placing a few bricks at the bottom of the shallow side of a swimming pool, and dragging a heavy fly over them.
    If it is a still water rod, and you need to throw a full flyline with three weighted flies, attach the leader as wou would normally, and put the flies on with the points cut off at the bend. Get to a field, and do some casting.

    5. Very important to do all of the above , with the flyline you will mostly be fishing it with.

    6. Physical wieght of rod and reel. (some people will place more importance on this than others, depending on the required application)

    7. Other factors related to the individual decision....price, warranty, service from dealer.. etc. etc. (these can be given any selected degree of importance by the person shopping for the rod. ie. you may find the ideal rod, but simply cannot afford it. when shopping down, this rod needs to be used as the benchmark to evaluate others against.)

    8. Pay attention to a rod's reputation. Some rods are simply awesome at what they do, and this is worth noting.

    be very aware, that there is a lot more to evaluating a rod, then simply casting. In a salt water environment, if distance is the main focus, castability of the rod becomes more important, but in a fresh water river environment, the all round prformance of the rod is more important. Flyrods are not built purely to cast, but have a far broader performance consideration.

    Things to remember....
    There is no such thing as "a persons casting style" but there are certain actions of rods that you become more used to, and feel more comfortable. If you think you have a certain casting style, you need to get out of that comfort zone, and start experiencing rods that can offer you more performance, outside of that style. This is called, "gaining experience"

    Fast , slow, medium action rods etc, are all relevant to different applications, and not simply there to please certain casting styles. If you think you prefer a fast rod, and will only buy a fast rod, you may be missing out on some ideal situations where a slow rod will suit you better. A good angler will know how to adjust his technique in all situations to his best possible advantage.

    It is a misconception, that fast rods are poles, designed only to bang out line into a howling wind, with little or no sensitivity. most modern fast action rods. are as light and gently as slow action rods. Rods of different loading speeds, exist so that anglers have the options of versatility in varying conditions.

    Above all......please note, these are my own opinions and some of the criteria that have served me well over the years, so if anyone does not agree, and thinks that a parking lot evaluation is good enough, be my gueast, I am only trying to help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Dargaville NZ
    Posts
    451

    Default

    A fantastic post. nothing more to add!!!

    In fact i would like to steal it and post in on our website with your kind permission.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Cape Town
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    Default

    I would add the following
    The quality of the components
    a. cork (bad quality will fall apart very quickly.
    b. wrapping and varnish (blobs of varnish, uneven varnish etc
    c. guides (quality, little nicks, smooth etc.)
    d. reelseat (proper locking, do all reels fit etc)
    e. spiggots, sleeves etc where rod pieces fit, and align.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Western Cape
    Posts
    7,613

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Korrie View Post
    I would add the following
    The quality of the components
    a. cork (bad quality will fall apart very quickly.
    b. wrapping and varnish (blobs of varnish, uneven varnish etc
    c. guides (quality, little nicks, smooth etc.)
    d. reelseat (proper locking, do all reels fit etc)
    e. spiggots, sleeves etc where rod pieces fit, and align.
    yes, this is all important. I did however qualify my evaluation criteria by stating that it is based on functionality and performance. One can get very detailed in an evaluation of appearance as well. One can go as far as the colour, gloss or matt finish, type of wood for reel seat, fighting butt or not, etc.etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Parys, Free State
    Posts
    10,023

    Default

    Point 7 to me personally is very important before I even look at the rod.Service,warranty and replacement time in the event of a break or similar.

    If I had to wait 3months to get a replacement it's a big no no regardless off all the pro's.

    I traded my 7# Gloomis Cross Current for a Jim Teeny 4#.
    Gerrit Viljoen

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Much has been said on the forum in response to new guys asking questions regarding rod choice. Some advice has been sound, some has been less sound, and some has been blatant rubbish.
    I would like to get to begin to formulate a thread which will constructively advise those with less experience, of the issues they need to consider, when evaluating a new rod purshase.
    The following are the criteria that i use, and believe that they have served me well. They are in some order of priority.

    Aside from the price, brand, warranties etc, these are based purely on the functionality and performance.

    1. Decide what the rod will be primarily used for. ( nymphing rivers, stillwater off a boat, stillwater off the bank, Cape streams dry fly, nymphing etc. etc. etc.)

    2. Once this is decided, select the ideal length of the rod. if you like to use a long rod for nymphing, great. Still water off a boat or float tube, should ideally be a longer rod than off the bank. CZN for yellows, you may want a longer rod than if you are indicator fishing. etc, etc, etc.

    3. Based on the species of fish that the rod will be predominantly targetting, decide on the ideal leader setup, and therefore the degree of tippet protection vs. pulling power that the rod will offer you. ( tip flex rod, vs. mid flex rod, vs full flex rod). This is going to influence the weight of rod you will go for. (for example, if you are targetting yellow by nymphing, it is pointless going to an ultra fast rod, where you need a 4x tippet, firstly, you wont detect the takes, and the one's you do, will snap you off. Tthis may also give you some idea of the sensitivity of transfering any signals from the fly, to your hand. (probably the most important aspect of any evaluation, as what is the point of a rod casting a mile, when you are not able to establish if a fish has bitten the fly)

    4. Once you have all this figured out, move towards a casting evaluation.
    If you cannot do this at the water, attempt to emulate the style of fishing that the rod will predominantly be used for. If it is a 7 foot, Cape Streams dry fly rod that you need, try and evaluate it at a swimming pool, where you can lay the line on the water, and establish how the rod loads throught the surface tension. If you have settled on a rod for indicator fishing for yellows, put on a leader with the indicator you will mostly use. If it is a nymphing rod for trout or yellows, try and establish the sensitivity of the transfer of vibrations from the fly to the rod tip. Do this by placing a few bricks at the bottom of the shallow side of a swimming pool, and dragging a heavy fly over them.
    If it is a still water rod, and you need to throw a full flyline with three weighted flies, attach the leader as wou would normally, and put the flies on with the points cut off at the bend. Get to a field, and do some casting.

    5. Very important to do all of the above , with the flyline you will mostly be fishing it with.

    6. Physical wieght of rod and reel. (some people will place more importance on this than others, depending on the required application)

    7. Other factors related to the individual decision....price, warranty, service from dealer.. etc. etc. (these can be given any selected degree of importance by the person shopping for the rod. ie. you may find the ideal rod, but simply cannot afford it. when shopping down, this rod needs to be used as the benchmark to evaluate others against.)

    8. Pay attention to a rod's reputation. Some rods are simply awesome at what they do, and this is worth noting.

    be very aware, that there is a lot more to evaluating a rod, then simply casting. In a salt water environment, if distance is the main focus, castability of the rod becomes more important, but in a fresh water river environment, the all round prformance of the rod is more important. Flyrods are not built purely to cast, but have a far broader performance consideration.

    Things to remember....
    There is no such thing as "a persons casting style" but there are certain actions of rods that you become more used to, and feel more comfortable. If you think you have a certain casting style, you need to get out of that comfort zone, and start experiencing rods that can offer you more performance, outside of that style. This is called, "gaining experience"

    Fast , slow, medium action rods etc, are all relevant to different applications, and not simply there to please certain casting styles. If you think you prefer a fast rod, and will only buy a fast rod, you may be missing out on some ideal situations where a slow rod will suit you better. A good angler will know how to adjust his technique in all situations to his best possible advantage.

    It is a misconception, that fast rods are poles, designed only to bang out line into a howling wind, with little or no sensitivity. most modern fast action rods. are as light and gently as slow action rods. Rods of different loading speeds, exist so that anglers have the options of versatility in varying conditions.

    Above all......please note, these are my own opinions and some of the criteria that have served me well over the years, so if anyone does not agree, and thinks that a parking lot evaluation is good enough, be my gueast, I am only trying to help.
    Nice post Andre! I thought the way we selected rods was to look at all these options and then buy the latest Sage?
    “Apparently people don't like the truth, but I do like it; I like it because it upsets a lot of people. If you show them enough times that their arguments are bullshit, then maybe just once, one of them will say, 'Oh! Wait a minute - I was wrong.' I live for that happening. Rare, I assure you” ― Lemmy Kilmister

    Reap the Whirlwind - WM

    Paradise = A 3wt Rod & a fist full of someone else's #32 parachutes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Pretoria Gangsters Paradise
    Posts
    5,735

    Default

    On thing to add to Andre's post in my view:

    Most of the 'criteria' we use to select a rod these days have been influenced by competitive angling and a mad rush to have the most technologically advanced tool.

    In my mind fly fishing is my hobby, my recreation, my passion and not a mad rush to either be 'the best' or have 'the best'. I want a tool that enhances the enjoyment of the entire process, wether it's the most technically advanced tool or not.

    Pick up the rod, the reel, the line ... if you don't get that feeling of inner joy and happiness, put it all down and pick up the next one. You'll be spending your most precious time using these tools, make sure you select one which contributes to the enjoyment of it.

    My R0.02, YMMV.
    "Hierdie drol het baie vlieë" - Ago 2014.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Western Cape
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    7,613

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by garyatstealth View Post
    A fantastic post. nothing more to add!!!

    In fact i would like to steal it and post in on our website with your kind permission.
    hey, i'm flattered. if you think you can make use if it, go for it. it's in the public domain anyway.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Durbanville
    Posts
    5,126

    Default

    very nice post Andre. Should have read this one first before replying to the other one
    will help a lot of people.
    Behold the fisherman. he riseth early in the morning and disturbeth the whole household. mighty are his preperations. he goes forth full of hope and when the day is ended, he returneth smelling of strong drink and the truth is not with him. originator unknown.

    my stuff.... http://www.flytalk.co.za/forum/album.php?u=824[/SIZE]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Benoni, Gauteng
    Posts
    964

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Much has been said on the forum in response to new guys asking questions regarding rod choice. Some advice has been sound, some has been less sound, and some has been blatant rubbish.
    I would like to get to begin to formulate a thread which will constructively advise those with less experience, of the issues they need to consider, when evaluating a new rod purshase.
    The following are the criteria that i use, and believe that they have served me well. They are in some order of priority.

    Aside from the price, brand, warranties etc, these are based purely on the functionality and performance.

    1. Decide what the rod will be primarily used for. ( nymphing rivers, stillwater off a boat, stillwater off the bank, Cape streams dry fly, nymphing etc. etc. etc.)

    2. Once this is decided, select the ideal length of the rod. if you like to use a long rod for nymphing, great. Still water off a boat or float tube, should ideally be a longer rod than off the bank. CZN for yellows, you may want a longer rod than if you are indicator fishing. etc, etc, etc.

    3. Based on the species of fish that the rod will be predominantly targetting, decide on the ideal leader setup, and therefore the degree of tippet protection vs. pulling power that the rod will offer you. ( tip flex rod, vs. mid flex rod, vs full flex rod). This is going to influence the weight of rod you will go for. (for example, if you are targetting yellow by nymphing, it is pointless going to an ultra fast rod, where you need a 4x tippet, firstly, you wont detect the takes, and the one's you do, will snap you off. Tthis may also give you some idea of the sensitivity of transfering any signals from the fly, to your hand. (probably the most important aspect of any evaluation, as what is the point of a rod casting a mile, when you are not able to establish if a fish has bitten the fly)

    4. Once you have all this figured out, move towards a casting evaluation.
    If you cannot do this at the water, attempt to emulate the style of fishing that the rod will predominantly be used for. If it is a 7 foot, Cape Streams dry fly rod that you need, try and evaluate it at a swimming pool, where you can lay the line on the water, and establish how the rod loads throught the surface tension. If you have settled on a rod for indicator fishing for yellows, put on a leader with the indicator you will mostly use. If it is a nymphing rod for trout or yellows, try and establish the sensitivity of the transfer of vibrations from the fly to the rod tip. Do this by placing a few bricks at the bottom of the shallow side of a swimming pool, and dragging a heavy fly over them.
    If it is a still water rod, and you need to throw a full flyline with three weighted flies, attach the leader as wou would normally, and put the flies on with the points cut off at the bend. Get to a field, and do some casting.

    5. Very important to do all of the above , with the flyline you will mostly be fishing it with.

    6. Physical wieght of rod and reel. (some people will place more importance on this than others, depending on the required application)

    7. Other factors related to the individual decision....price, warranty, service from dealer.. etc. etc. (these can be given any selected degree of importance by the person shopping for the rod. ie. you may find the ideal rod, but simply cannot afford it. when shopping down, this rod needs to be used as the benchmark to evaluate others against.)

    8. Pay attention to a rod's reputation. Some rods are simply awesome at what they do, and this is worth noting.

    be very aware, that there is a lot more to evaluating a rod, then simply casting. In a salt water environment, if distance is the main focus, castability of the rod becomes more important, but in a fresh water river environment, the all round prformance of the rod is more important. Flyrods are not built purely to cast, but have a far broader performance consideration.

    Things to remember....
    There is no such thing as "a persons casting style" but there are certain actions of rods that you become more used to, and feel more comfortable. If you think you have a certain casting style, you need to get out of that comfort zone, and start experiencing rods that can offer you more performance, outside of that style. This is called, "gaining experience"

    Fast , slow, medium action rods etc, are all relevant to different applications, and not simply there to please certain casting styles. If you think you prefer a fast rod, and will only buy a fast rod, you may be missing out on some ideal situations where a slow rod will suit you better. A good angler will know how to adjust his technique in all situations to his best possible advantage.

    It is a misconception, that fast rods are poles, designed only to bang out line into a howling wind, with little or no sensitivity. most modern fast action rods. are as light and gently as slow action rods. Rods of different loading speeds, exist so that anglers have the options of versatility in varying conditions.

    Above all......please note, these are my own opinions and some of the criteria that have served me well over the years, so if anyone does not agree, and thinks that a parking lot evaluation is good enough, be my gueast, I am only trying to help.
    Great stuff Andre! Glad to read your full expression on things and you are spot on! To reiterate one echoing sentiment aways have fun!
    "All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure." - Mark Twain

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