Fly Rods : Different Types of Fly Rods
Fly Rod Types
Probably one of the more
lively debates anyone can get into about fly fishing is what type
of fly rod works best. Some people will argue that bamboo
fly rods are the best. Still others will argue for graphite
fly rods. And
still others will say it doesn't make a difference as the cheap
fiberglass fly rods at the local department store work just as well.
So, exactly, what are the differences in what fly rods are made
out of - and does it really matter??
Bamboo Fly Rods
Bamboo fly rods are the
"traditional" fly rod. Bamboo fly rods were one of the
very first fly rods ever created, and the fact that they are still
around says much about how well they perform. Bamboo fly rods are
made by taking very thin triangular strips of bamboo and then gluing
them together to form hexagon shape blank. Today's better quality
bamboo fly rods are also generally "impregnated" with
various plastics or other compounds that help to both protect the
fly rod as well as prevent the fly rod from developing a permanent
case of the bends. These "impregnated" bamboo fly rods
require no maintenance, in comparison to other bamboo fly rods that
only have topical varnishes applied. From time to time, these types
of "varnished" bamboo fly rods need to have additional
treatments to protect the rod from the elements.
Bamboo fly rods are inherently
slow action. They are also quite a bit heavier in comparison to
today's lightweight graphite and glass fly rods. Despite this, and
their high cost, Bamboo fly rods are still considered the finest
fly rods on the market today - especially for anglers who fish for
wary trout on very light tippets.
Fiberglass Fly Rods
Fiberglass fly rods have
several redeeming features. First, and probably most importantly
to most anglers, is that they are very inexpensive in comparison
to graphite and bamboo fly rods. Secondly, fiberglass fly rods at
times seem virtually indestructible. Fiberglass rods are impervious
to heat, cold, water, and the sun. Third, fiberglass fly rods are
extremely light but still strong - it is very unlikely a fish will
ever break a fiberglass fly rod, although stepping on one the wrong
way will do the trick quite nicely!
Fiberglass fly rods have
a hollow core, which is why they are sometimes referred to "hollow
glass" rods. Fiberglass fly rods are made by wrapping cloth,
which contains glass fibers, around a dowel. Then the whole thing
is baked at high temperatures in an pressurized oven. When the baking
is done, the fly rod has a hollow core that is surrounded by the
Fiberglass fly rods use
to be very popular. However, today, you'll have a difficult time
finding one except in your local department store. And the reason
for this is because graphite fly rods have come along, relegating
fiberglass fly rods to most people's garages and attics.
Graphite Fly Rods
Graphite fly rods are
the "newest" fly rods on the block. Graphite fly rods
are also the most popular fly rod today.
It should be noted that
there is different types of graphite in today's graphite fly rods.
And new types of graphite are always being introduced. The primary
difference between various forms of graphite is the weight - some
graphite is simply heavier (in grams) than is other graphite. Not
surprisingly, the lighter the graphite is, the more expensive the
fly rod is, too!
When fishing around for
a graphite fly rod to purchase, it also needs to be remembered that
graphite fly rods span a wide range of prices. The inexpensive graphite
fly rods will, generally, be significantly heavier than more expensive
graphite fly rods - sometimes weighing twice as much! Additionally,
inexpensive graphite fly rods generally also lack some of the finer
details found on more expensive rods - such as poor quality reel
seats, guides and wrappings. In short, with graphite fly rods, you
get what you pay for. Buying a cheap graphite fly rod is likely
to lead to additional purchases of replacement fly rods in not to
long of a time. By contrast, spending the money upfront to get a
good graphite fly rod will likely mean you can count on the fly
rod for a lifetime of service.
Graphite fly rods are
generally more expensive - and sometime a lot more expensive - than
fiberglass fly rods. Yet, despite the added expense, graphite fly
rods are by far and away the most popular fly rod today. And the
reason for this is simple. Graphite fly rods are significantly lighter
than fiberglass fly rods. Graphite fly rods are also more forgiving
to beginner casters and allow for both longer and more accurate
casts. In short, graphite fly rods allow anglers to cast longer
and more accurately than when using fiberglass rods - and the lighter
weight makes a day of casting seem far less fatiguing.
Rod Types Summary
Thus, unless you just
need a fly rod to give to the kids for fishing in your local pond
(a fiberglass fly rod will do nicely for this) or need a classy
fly rod for ultra demanding spring creek fishing, a graphite fly
rod is today's fly rod of choice.
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