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An Introduction to Fly Fishing by Tony Scott

Choosing your Fly Rod

Your choice of fly rod will reflect the venues that you intend to fish. Put simply, the smaller the water you choose to fish, the lighter outfit you will need.

To give you a little history of flyfishing – originally most rods were made of split cane, greenheart or other durable and of course flexible woods. These were combined with lines made of silk with no taper at all and a horsehair leader. This made for difficult fishing, and casting. Followed in the sixties with fibreglass, which although tough was not as light and flexible as todays modern rod materiels. We are lucky to have had such developments as carbon fibre rods which make the old “unbalanced outfits” almost redundant.

Eventually the fishing tackle manufacturers got their heads together to produce a system, which would be worldwide and enable angers to choose fly lines, which would balance their rods to perfection. Nowadays when you buy a rod you will see either the letters AFTM or the symbol # followed by a number. A number indicating the length of the rod often precedes this. For example if you see the following on a rod: 9.0 AFTM 6, this tells you that the rod is 9.0 foot long (2.7 metres in modern terms) and will be balanced correctly with a fly line of the same number, 6, also known as a 6 weight.

So what does the number represent?

During single-handed overhead casting the rod works best with around the first 30 feet of fly line extended outside of the tip of the rod. The numbering system relates to the weight in grains of material in the fly line that will optimise casting ability when 30 feet is extended. The lower the number, the lighter the line and hence the outfit.

If you feel that you will be mostly fishing small brooks with no need for long casts, or the need to battle huge fish, a rod length of 8’0” to 8’6” with an AFTM rating of between 3 and 5 would be ideal.

If you are intending to fish larger rivers and smaller stillwaters then a rod length of 9’.0 to 9’ 6” with an AFTM rating of between 5 – 7 will suit you.

Reservoir fishing from boats, or fishing large fast rivers can sometimes necessitate longer rods of up to 10’.0” with AFTM ratings of 7 –9.

Modern fly rod design means that even in the heavier weights of rods, these are comfortable to handle and cast easily. Of course you may wish to fish smaller rivers and large reservoirs. There is no outfit that can be classed as an “All Rounder” as different waters present different challenges. This may mean that you need two outfits to match your choice of water on the day. This will keep Tacklebargains very happy as they can sell you two outfits?. On a serious note there is nothing worse than having the wrong outfit for the wrong venue, so it is worth thinking about where you will be doing the majority of your flyfishing.

Personally I have an 8.0 AFTM 3, for light stream work and a 9.0 AFTM 5 for medium rivers and stillwaters as this makes up the vast majority of waters that I fish here in France.

With regard to 2, 3 and 4 piece rods, this is purely personal choice as modern technology has given us multi piece rods that function perfectly. 4 Piece travel rods can of course be concealed more easily in the boot of a car and are easier to carry if you intend wandering and meandering over a few miles of countryside before reaching your chosen site to fish.

With regard to quality, like so many other things in life, buy the best that you can afford without breaking the bank, of course. This will pay dividends in the long term. Modern rods can last a lifetime if you look after them. They should be looked upon as a tool, not a toy.

Kindly provided by Tony Scott / Tacklebargains - Copyright Tony Scott / Tacklebargains all rights reserved. Content on this web page may not be reproduced without prior permission.