Over or Underline Your Rod?

Just trying to share a helpful suggestion on certain rods and their performance:

On a particular high end rod, I was once underwhelmed with its performance in my hand. By selecting this rod, it occupied a particular niche (length and line weight needed to fill a “hole” in the line-up of tools used to fish with).

I cast the rod with its recommended line weight. For some reason, we did not jive.  I felt that the rod lacked something that other tools of this brand were giving me on a regular basis.  Because of the way this rod felt in my hand, I would leave it in the corner and take those that loaded and delivered with the feel I expected.

Later, experimenting with the rod in question, I over-lined it one size and found that it flexed, recovered, and delivered much better.  Essentially, the rod came to life.  Rather than cull the rod, I now use it with the higher line size and love it……. and yes, it has a spot in the rack that I feel needs to be filled. I did not originally obtain this rod for the line weight presently being used, but I like the way it performs so much, that I do not regret its purchase in the least.

Customer “A” comes in and wants a 8 foot # 5.  I have had a long, wonderful opportunity to become familiar with literally hundreds of different fly rods, old and new.  Some of these rods need to be tuned by changing line sizes.  When I suggest over-lining a particular 8 foot # 4, a very few get a puzzled look after viewing the manufacturer’s numbers on the rod shaft.  Some know me well enough not to question and accept my idea immediately.  But all seem to be willing to take the rod out for a spin with the larger line.  After casting with the higher line size and once they are convinced that the rod performs as they want it to, most forget what is marked on the blank and are pleased.

At some point in your rod buying career, almost everyone will end up with a rod he/she does not like because it fails to perform as they wish.  My suggestion is to try different lines on said rod, rather than quickly and carelessly dump it.  If the rod can be brought to life in that particular person’s hand, and they have a “slot” for it in their rack, then this may prevent them from selling it at a loss and seeking something else.

Just some thoughts and examples from a feeble minded rod freak……

Too many people pick up or purchase a rod and line it up, then may not be happy with the rod for various reasons. 

1.  They should try the rod with different styles/brands of lines and also be willing to accept using a different weight of line on the rod to make it feel “right.”  Some people get stuck on the “number” inscribed on the rod and refuse to try a different sized line “because the rod says………………” .  This is a big mistake !  I have fine tuned many rods for myself and others if they are willing to accept a different line size.

 2.  Or…………. people buy the rod for the way it feels when they “air test” it in a store, and then it does not feel the same when loaded with the line they chose.

 3.  Thirdly, too many people “lawn cast” a rod with a good line,  but then in a real fishing situation, the rod does not really perform for them as it did when casting over grass.   I am somewhat guilty of this myself.  Many rods feel great over grass, but a rod and line really needs water to exert the pull a rod needs to set up a backcast.   My biggest problem is when I take the rod to the stream and tie on not only a fly, but TWO flies.  The battle then starts between the cast flies and the rod does not feel the same as it did when casting with a bare leader.  Aside from changing my timing, UPlining the rod helps many times to make the rod bend deeper and “kick” the flies to the chosen spot.  Many bamboo rods I have cast without a fly (flies) on it felt great, then when I got the rod to the actual river,  I had to “push” the rod too hard to get it to lay the flies out as I wanted, especially tight spots.   I am a somewhat aggressive caster,  but I also want the rod to bend and deliver.  I do not want all the action to come from my arm alone.

If a new rod cannot actually be used in a live fishing situation and you are stuck simply waggling it in a fly shop, be willing to make some line adjustments later to make the rod really sing for you.

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