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A LIghter Fly Rod is Better - Are You Sure?
When all other things are equal, lighter fly rods are probably better. The big question
becomes whether or not everything else is equal.
When manufacturers reduce the weight of a fly rod, they either use material that is lighter in
weight, or they reduce the physical size of the material being used. In the first case, various
types of lighter weight materials have been used in an effort to reduce the weight. Some
manufacturers have gone to fiberglass handles, lighter guide material, and almost all of the
manufacturers have used higher modulus graphite. When it comes to reducing the physical
size of the components, manufacturers have cut down on the size of the handle, use cutout
sections of the rod seat inserts instead solid material, used smaller guides, and make many
other modifications to lower the weight of the rod.
During the last few years, higher and higher modulus graphite has been used to make the
rods more sensitive, lighter and more efficient. Generally, the higher the modulus of the
fibers, the lighter the blank is for any given stiffness; however, there's a general trade off for
this that must be addressed in the manufacturing process. Higher modulus rods take less
abuse and are easier to break than the heavier rods. Higher modulus graphite has enabled
manufacturers to make lighter rods primarily because they can make the blanks with thinner
walls. The exact manufacturing process becomes very important. The thinner walls must be
made strong to withstand the rigors of normal use. Different resins, additives, and
manufacturing processes add strength and greatly affect the overall value of high modulus
The modulus numbers can also be confusing and deceiving. Some manufacturers have
taken advantage of this with their marketing. Our "Superb Five" fly rod blanks are made from
high modulus graphite but it's the process used to manufacturer the blank that makes them
light, strong and more importantly, provides their superb performance.
Another big question is just how much benefit does an angler really get from a fraction
of an ounce reduction in weight?
Some manufacturers have grossly overvalued the importance of very slight differences in the
weights of fly rods. It sounds like a big difference when a company claims it has reduced the
weight of its fly rods by one-forth. What's the overall benefit of a fraction of an ounce in
weight reduction? If the rod is light enough, there's very little benefit, if any. If the weight
reduction affects the performance or durability of the rod to any appreciable extent, the
disadvantages of the light weight are greater than the advantages. Because of this, we do
not intend to pay the lightweight marketing game that some of the manufacturers are playing.
Our fly rods are very light and within a fraction of an ounce of the lightest. Let's look at the
overall benefit of a fraction of an ounce in the overall weight of the fly rod.
It's nice to pick the rod up off the showroom floor without a fly reel on it and feel the very light
weight of a rod. Unfortunately, that isn't the same feel your are going to get when your on the
stream and it's completely rigged, ready to cast to a trout. Let's look at what the real weight
tallies out to be.
5 Weight Fly Rod Weight: 3.13 ounces or .196 pounds
5 Weight Fly Reel Weight: 4.13 ounces or .258 pounds
Backing Line Weight:.................................015 pounds
Fly Line Weight: 5 weight fly line.......... .....060 pounds
Total Weight...............................................521 pounds or 8.34 ounces
These are dry weights. Water can easily add an ounce or two to the overall weight.
The question becomes, if the total weight of everything is only 8.34 ounces, what difference
does an eight of an ounce make? An ounce of weight would make very little difference. For
all practical purposes, an eight of an ounces doesn't make any difference. If the minute
reduction in weight reduces the strength of the fly rod, is it worth it? So, if you are
buying a new fly rod to cut the weight down an eight of an ounce or even an ounce, you may
want to reconsider. Our Perfect Fly "Superb Five" is within a fraction of an ounce as
light as any fly rod of its size.
The Best Fly Rods You Can Buy
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