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A fly rod is the defining element in any tackle ensemble. This is the angler's primary tool and an extension of the angler. The perfect rod provides everything an angler needs to make the cast, set the hook and land a trophy fish.

The construction determines how efficiently the rod transfers the energy of the caster through the rod to the fly. A rod that is poorly constructed will not directly transmit the energy generated by the caster to the fly line, often resulting in a wobble at the end of the casting stroke. This wobbling transfers to the line resulting in a cast that is lacking the power to propel the fly. After a day with a poorly constructed rod, the angler is exhausted from trying to overpower the cast. The better the construction of a rod, the more efficient it is, and the more accurate and powerful it will be at all distances. Quality of construction is directly related to the type of graphite used to make it. As a general rule, the higher the modulus (a measurement of how much graphite is in the rod), the better the graphite. Top rod makers are continually searching and tweaking the amount and type of graphite to better improve their rods.

Line Weight
In general terms, the weight of a fly rod is directly proportionate to the size of the species an angler is pursuing. If fishing for smaller fish with smaller flies, a lighter line weight rod will allow presentation of the fly to be more accurate and delicate. However, if going after bigger fish, a heavier line weight is important for turning over the larger flies.

Fly rods are characterized by the area where the rod flexes. A fast action fly rod flexes near the tip, a slow action rod flexes near the butt and a medium action somewhere in between. The action determines the tempo of the casting stroke as well as the ability of the rod to generate line speed (the speed at which the line travels away from the rod tip). Most beginning anglers tend to lean toward a fast action rod because less effort is necessary to cast a long distance and they are also more accurate.

Length The type of water and fishing determines fly rod length. Smaller streams mean tighter casting situations and a shorter rod is easier to manage. In big Western rivers and saltwater environments, a longer rod is preferred. The longer rod will generate the most power with less effort and allow the angler to cast larger flies into the wind. In most applications, a nine-foot rod is ideal for the vast majority of fishing situations. Beginning anglers will benefit from using this length of rod as it is easy to maneuver and will allow for solid development of the cast.

Not all fly rods are created equal. The top rod manufacturers in the country are on the cutting edge of rod design and construction. Not only do they couple the highest grade materials with the greatest precision in rod making, but also they have achieved an unprecedented level of artistry in their rods. Fly fishers speak of a soul in a rod, a quality present in all great fly rods. Sam Druckman of Winston describes the soul of his rods as poetry in motion: “a feeling you only get when the right combination of material and construction come together as one”. So much goes into the construction of fly rods that fishing is not simply fulfilling, but a multi-faceted pleasure.