By Captain Paul Darby (QRRFISH1), Shalimar, FL
Tap, Tap, Tap, is this thing on? Ok then here we
Fly rods are tapered, that taper gives them power
zones. Each zone has a purpose and collectively
they make up the dynamic of the rod. The better
you understand how to use those zones the easier
it's going to be to put the movements together.
I have found that most modern fly rods have three
basic power zones. Now before you start winding
your clock, yes there can be more and some with far
less. Three is enough however to get the point across
here. The top third of the rod I refer to as the
'projection zone', this is where the majority of
flex takes place when drawing the line, forming
the loop and projecting the line. The mid-section
is the 'transition zone' and the bottom is of course
the 'power zone'. So just what makes me think this
is important to understand?
Because if you better understand the tool, you may
better understand how to go about operating it.
Power is transferred in two directions on a fly
rod depending on what maneuver your involved in.
In a manner of speaking you will both send and
receive signals up and down the length of the rod.
Your hand will send messages up the length of the
rod and the line will send signals back down the
rod to the hand. If you've ever tried to lift too
much line off the water and felt the rod bow down
into the power zone, you probably saw a very large
loop result. And there's a very understandable
reason for that, now if I can just think of it.
Oh yea, rods are tapered. That should clear it right
up. Perhaps not, I see Scooter is still confused.
He's scratching his head and Ole Blues at the same
time, well the boy does have some talent. I don't
think we consider how we relate to the action and
reaction of the dynamic of the fly rod. Why do we
so often have trouble with loop control, when we
retract or present a line unassisted by benefit
of a single draw?
Well frankly its because we don't consider how
the load shifts to the various zones of the rod
and how we both cause and react to those changes.
Consider that if you lift too much line off the
water, the tip of the rod will indeed bow deeply
due to higher resistance. This has the effect of
shorting the length of the lever we are lifting
with, thus losing considerable mechanical advantage.
The shorter the lever, the greater the effort you
will need to apply, to lift the line into the air.
Ah but there's the rub. It is the nature of rod
blanks to remain straight, and they are designed
to distort at a predetermined flex under reasonable
load. You are in effect over powering, pushing the
reasonable limit of the design; control suffers and
efficiency falls off. At some point your going to
stop drawing the rod. That 'tho is still not the
end of the story. The excess power you exerted on
the grip is still being transferred up the length
of the rod and into the line. The line has no choice
but to follow the path of the rod tip. A path that
has been shaped more by line resistance, which is
reflected in the deep flexing of the softest part
of the rod blank. And creates the largest arching
This situation is easy to avoid. Lowering the rod
tip closer to the water before you begin the lift
and draw. This will reduce the slack that will
have to be drawn out before the line can begin
moving up and off the water. Lowering the angle
of the rod to more closely match the angle of the
line on the surface of the water allows the load
to be spread out further down the length of the
rod, helping to maintain the advantage of the
lever to lift the line with less effort.
The less effort it takes to aerialize the line,
the more accurately you may form the loop. ~ Capt. Paul
Have a question? Email me!
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