Balance: rod and reel weights, etc.
Too many people spend too much time worrying about a tiny fraction of an ounce whether it be rod or reel.
For those concerned with “balance” – THINK: If all rods have UPlocking reel seats, and long rods already tend to “balance” towards the tip, placing any UPlock seat pushes the reel further towards that tip, and therefore should require a heavier reel to “balance.” Yes, I tend to favor downlocking seats for a number of reasons. Alas, marketing in recent years has produced a gravitation towards uplocking seats by all major graphite rod manufacturers.
I believe just placing a reasonably sized reel loaded with the proper line on a typical 9 foot rod with UPlock seat, you are going to see a “balance” which is on the most forward cork ring of the grip. I don’t know about the rest of you fly flingers, but I don’t place that uppermost cork ring in the center of my palm. When the line is strung up and actually being used, the “balance” will then be moved well up on the graphite blank, maybe past the end of the cork grip. The majority of the time, my hand is resting at the extreme rear of the grip.
To me, the perfectly “balanced” rod has a downlocking seat with a reel that is proportionally sized and just plain looks “right” on the given rod.
Examples: not placing a 5 inch diameter reel on a 6 1/2 foot rod, or placing a 2 1/2 inch diameter reel on a 9 foot rod. If concerned with “balance,” a downlocking seat places that balance closer to where most people want it, – – – the center of the hand. Also, a downlocking seat gives more grip options. The reel will have an opening between the bottom end of the cork grip and the reel foot. This can be where the hand is moved down off the cork grip a bit to milk the rod for the most of its useful inches. Likewise, the hand can be moved up the grip and a forefinger placed on the rod shaft for accurate close “pointing” work. I am old fashioned, but downlocking seats are the way to go for me. Too bad that today’s rod companies don’t see it that way.
The “balance” constantly changes anyway as line is brought in for storage on short casts or let all the way out to hit that fish 75 feet away.
My bottom line is that I do not get torn up about “balance” and/or fractions of ounces on rods or reels as long as they look proportional to each other, feel good in the hand when casting, and perform well.