April 30th, 2001

Is This a Good Rod?
By James Castwell

You're new to fly-fishing. The only rods you know about are spinning, casting and such. You know if you go to a fly shop you may be spoon-fed whatever he thinks you can afford, or he what he has a few too many of. What to do? This situation often surfaces on the Bulletin Board here, something like this; "I'm thinking of getting a 'brand-x' fly rod, are they any good?"

Then a few guys will reply they have one and it seems just fine etc. I think a better answer may be this. Is 'brand-x' any good? You bet it is. If you are just starting out you will not be able to cast very far and I can't think of a rod made that is 'bad' for the average casting distance. One sad fact is this, you most probably will break your first rod, or at least, it will get somehow broken. Striking a fish too hard, pointing the rod behind you while landing a fish, stepping on it, or some other tragedy. I do suggest you not spend a lot on the first rod.

Which action is always a question, like slow, medium, medium-fast, or fast? You can translate those into, soft, normal and stiff. Most companies have different names for these, but a rod is one of those. Remember, there is practically not a rod made and sold these days which will not cast very nicely at normal fly-fishing distances, no mater how much you pay.

For the most part, the beginner will probably start out with a medium, or medium-slow action rod, this is about what you get when you pay 'entry-level' prices. These rods are not designed to cast a mile. They are slow/soft enough so the beginner can feel the fly line while casting and that helps them get a decent cast out in front. Paying a high dollar for your first rod may seem good, but you chance getting a fast/stiff rod which may make learning to cast a bit difficult.

If you have a sporting goods store near, go ahead and get whatever rod you like. Especially if they have a guarantee and/or return policy. If you are buying off the Internet, reputation and policies again should be considered.

It is possible to force almost any rod, when in the hands of an expert, to cast all of the fly line off the reel. This is not a mark of a great fly rod, it just shows the ability of the person casting.

Wrapping this up, I do need to add this. The fly-line will make the most difference on your first rod. Do spend enough (around fifty bucks) to get a line near the top of the price scale. If cared for, it will probably outlast your rod and will make a great difference in how it casts. Also, you can use it on a different rod in the future. Try to cast any rod before you buy, but if that is not possible, make sure you can return it if you don't like it.

Remember, it's your money and it's going to be your fly rod; get the one YOU like. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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