More thoughts on rod selection

OK… when you are fishing on a boat you see the fish from further away and are making longer casts.  Stiffer rods respond well here with longer casts, but if you happen to see the fish in close, you sometimes have trouble getting these faster rods to load well at shorter distances.

On foot you tend to see the fish in closer, making shorter casts… maybe more in the 30-50′ range. Getting your super fast action rod to load at 40′ is sometimes a little difficult and so many anglers up-line for wade fishing.  Typical bonefish lines are .25-.5 weights above the line weight anyway, so some folks move to a redfish line, which is .25-.5 heavier still.

Here’s a thought… what if you used a SLOWER action rod for wade fishing?  Slower rods (I’m talking medium action here, not a dry fly rod) load better at short distances.

Might a medium action rod actually be better on foot???

I found this little tidbit at Orvis by Jim Lepage and Marshall Cutchin…

In the second situation you are looking for a rod to take bonefishing. You know these fish are strong and fast, that they can get up to 10 pounds in weight and can attain speeds up to 30 miles-per-hour, and that you’ll have to contend with wind while you are casting. The flies you will be using range from size 2 to 6, and they may have some weight added to them. All this means you should look at a rod with a butt section stiff enough to quickly land these fish and a flex profile that puts most of the bend in the tip to mid-section. A rod that flexes in the tip is often referred to as a ‘tip flex,’ or ‘tippy,’ or ‘fast action’. These rods flex progressively toward the mid-section as more and more line is cast. You’ll also want a rod that is on the high side of the “load range” — casting better with 20 to 30 feet of line out of the rod tip than your typical “slow” rod will. In this situation an 8- or 9-weight rod is a perfect match.

Softer, or “slower,” rods allow the caster to feel the loading of the rod more quickly, with less line out of the rod tip. Long casts, on the other hand, tend to benefit from having more line out of the rod tip (there’s more weight to throw), and a stiff rod makes holding more line in the air easier.

From Orvis.

Found by Flatswalker… good points here!

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  1. Yes, it’s a great idea to have a medium action rod when wading the flats when there is NO WIND!!!! Typically in the early A.M. or later P.M. just before sunset. Even more fun is bonefishing with a four or five weight, but those opportunities & ideal conditions only happen once in a blue moon.

  2. Kelly, I’m a dreamer, a poet, a romantic. When I picture bonefishing in my head it is almost ALWAYS calm, ideal conditions. Then I go and remember that it is almost never like that.

  3. Softer rods also mean quieter presentations. I had this in mind taking a softer rod on my last trip to the Bahamas where a bay I like to fish has super spooky bones.

  4. My favorite bonefish rod is one that has a “slower” feel to it. I wouldn’t say it’s slow, or soft, but it does have great feel. It’s a 9.5 ft rod and anyone can pick it up and easily cast 30 feet. However, as you get out more line the butt section takes the load and you can bang out 70 ft easy, more if you have to. It’s my favorite wading rod.

    In fact, the problem I have w/ most “saltwater” rods is that they’re too fast and have no feel. I could name a few, but, on balance, no. Better not. Here’s the deal, unless you’re fishing the Keys where super-smart bones and casting from a skiff means you’ve got to make 50-70 ft casts all the time, most bonefish are caught under 35 ft. Period. So, you’ve got to have a rod that will work inside that range. It’s no good if you only start to feel the cast right before you have to drop the fly.

    As for the wind, unless you’re casting directly into it, a med-action rod works just as well as a fast. Maybe better because you can feel it.

  5. That is why I carry Scott S4S rods in 9 and 10 in my boat. Of the many options out there, the Scott S4S is extremely powerful, smashes the line into big big Hawaiian winds with ease and with distance but more importantly bends on demand and fishes just as well in close (tip casts well when wading) and also excels at the 40-50 foot medium distances where alot of our bonefish are hooked. Most importantly it rates at exactly the line they advertise it at. That is if is says 9 weight on the rod, then you can put ANY good 9 weight bonefish taper, saltwater taper, redfish taper etc on her and she will perform. You don’t have to go on a line finding mission like you do on some rods nowadays, wasting your hard earned money trying to find a line that you new hotrod saltwater flyrod will bend under all conditions and distances. If I buy a 9 weight rod, I want it to cast a 9 weight line, I don’t want to be told, “well it’s a 9 weight but she casts better with an aggressive 10 weight taper.” Fast is good in saltwater, but the rod is a fishing tool, not a tournament casting tool and it should perform in every aspect of the fishing needs for 700 to 800 bucks. You deserve at least that much as a consumer and angler! At least that much. Coach Duff

  6. I have always selected medium flex rods for my fishing. Probably because I am 53 years old and grew up fishing first with bamboo and then with fiberglass rods. I cast these rods in all kinds of weather including gale force winds. They have more feel (to me) and load faster for short casts. I have been to the casting pond and I can cast my rods to the far end and sometimes beyond. That’s more than 80 feet. I think folks these days like faster rods because at first they seem easier to cast. I have been fly fishing since I was 10 years old and have never had a fish break a rod. I have broken rods with kids, car doors and dropping or stepping on them, but not in normal use. I applaud this info on softer rods.

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