Fly Fishing Academy

Rods,Lines and Reels.


Q. What is The First Step To Improving Your Casting Technique ?

A. Buy Balanced Kit !


One of the most important things to get right when you purchase equipment is to make sure your rod and line are balanced. Get this right and your well on the way to casting sweetly. Quite a few students have come to me with the inappropriate equipment or an unbalanced outfit.

Beware of that bargain setup from a none specialist fly fishing outfitter or a mail order company, chances are if costs less than £ 99 its going to be bad news. If its not balanced then no experienced fly caster will be able to cast with it. "You canna beat the laws of physics captain." Make sure you try before you buy, if the tackle shop wont let you do this then the odds are, they don't know what they are talking about! Fly rods can be a very personal thing so try one or two.

If you have the right tool for the right job then its going to get easy for you. And just like car spanners I have a sack of them one for each situation and one or two for no special reason other than I like the action. Overtime you will think nothing of having more than one rod.

For beginners I recommend a middle tip action rod. These rods are a little forgiving in that your casting stroke doesn't have to be spot on. A fast tip requires a little more precision in your technique. I have banded together 3 types of rod outfit for different fishing situations.

  • heavy (#9)

  • medium(#7)

  • light (#5)


So How Does the AFTM weighting scheme work ?

The Weight (wt) number is equivalent of the car engine's hp rating for a rod. The bigger the number the stronger the rod spring, the more energy the rod can transfer to the line and then the fly. More power is not always better, you cann't fire a .22 bullet from a cannon nor a cannon ball from a pistol. To continue this analogy your files and line are your ammunition, flies weigh something as light as 50mg (0.05g) f-fly (a piece of feather fibre) at one end of the scale to 0.5 g tungsten beaded nymph at the other end of the scale.

The most important message I can give you is that the rod and line must be matched, or balanced. All rods have this number painted just above the cork handle on the blank. Lines usually come with a label.

  1. Pike/salt water fly fishing requires heavy rod and line, to combat wind or heavy lures require a 9ft #9 wt.

  2. River fishing requires delicate line and flies and I would recommend a 8-9ft #5 wt or lighter for good presentation. Your fishing style is in close proximity to the fish, so you fish stealthy and need delicate presentation.

  3. For still water reservoirs I recommend 9-9ft 6 #6/7 wt, here distance can be important and a 7 wt rod and line can get you that. This rod is also versatile being middle of the range.

The other category that comes to mind is Salmon fishing which uses large weighted flies in powerful rivers. Here a 14-15 ft #10/11 wt double handed rod has the power to deal with the current, heavy flies and big distances. Note you may also use a heavy weight single handed trout rod to fish for Salmon.


A Word On Rod Length

A note on rod length, it is reckoned that the most efficient rod lenght is 9ft 3 inches. Personally I find a 9ft rod most comfortable for casting and less tiring than a 10ft rod. Less leverage and a lighter rod. Longer rods tend to be advantageous for roll casting or fishing the "hang" in a boat. Small rods come into their own if you find yourself fishing in a little stream with overhanging arch of uncopiced wood, even a 7ft 6 inch rod might be too big !

Think where am I most likely to fish and which species am I fishing for.   Remember right tool for the right job!


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