The Art of Selecting a New Fly Rod

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The art of selecting a new fly rod is just that, an art. So much so as the art of fly fishing being an art. If you don’t understand the art, you can’t partake in the art effectively. Man that sounds snooty, but it’s true. Let’s talk about what you need to know about your upcoming selection Picasso. For the sake of this conversation we are talking about saltwater fly rods.

The art of selecting a new fly rod is just that, an art. So much so as the art of fly fishing being an art. If you don’t understand the art, you can’t partake in the art effectively. Man that sounds snooty, but it’s true. Let’s talk about what you need to know about your upcoming selection Picasso. For the sake of this conversation we are talking about saltwater fly rods.

Fly fishing

First and foremost, you need to decide on what species of fish you want to target and what kind of habitat you are going to be hunting in. For example, redfish and snook are the two target species and you are going to hunt on the flats and backcountry bayous. If you already do this kind of fishing you understand the importance here. With the targets and kind of habitats that you wish to encounter, what is the best weight of fly rod? You could catch them on a good 6 wt. but you couldn’t throw the full spectrum of flies that you will need for varying conditions, such as wind or W as I call it. So the answer is an 8 wt. fly rod with fast action. The action is important for line speed and attacking in the W.

Next you have the grip to consider. You can purchase a fly rod with a foam grip or a cork grip. I prefer cork. There are several different grades of cork and the best is Portuguese cork. With that in mind you need to decide on the style of grip that will best suit the intended use. There are three major grip designs; full wells, half wells and cigar. For what you are going to be doing, I would suggest the full wells as it is the easiest to keep control of and to hang on to when that monster snook lets lose her fury. Behind the grip there is the reel seat where you will attach your fly reel. You are going to be fishing in saltwater so the best is the aluminum reel seat with double locking rings. That brings us to the butt of the fly rod. I prefer a fly rod with a fighting butt which affords you some comfort when pressed against your leg or gut while in a fight. It also aids in keeping the rod in your hand if a fish pulls you off of the wells.

Fly fishing rods

The first guide closest to the reel is the stripping guide. Today’s modern fly rods have moved to a larger stripping guide for good reason and you should seek this feature. The rest of the guides are snake guides with exception to the tip. When selecting your new fly rod, I suggest that you get one with stainless steel snake guides. You can get titanium guides for extra money, but it isn’t a must and they are generally associated with up-priced rods. Make sure they are stainless steel and not some mix of junk metal mixed with stainless. Remember that saltwater is very corrosive and will cause you problems when you least want one. The tip guide should also be stainless steel with a long tube foot. Some rods still have the old short tube foot which always comes unglued at the most inappropriate time.

Lastly we need to address the finish on a rod. A dull, flat finish does not make a rod cheap nor is it indicative of a poor rod. Some of the best rods have such a finish. A beautiful finish in your favorite color does not make it a better rod either. I’m a sucker for a very dark blue rod….eye candy to a fly fishing addict. The thought behind a dull or shiny finish is that dull will not flash like a mirror and a shiny finish will. For inshore flats fishing, I suggest a dull finish. As I mentioned, I am a sucker for the shiny dark blue finish and have a mix of dull finished fly rods and shiny dark blue ones. On overcast days the shiny blue ones come out. Once you have set aside a few rods for your consideration and I will assume that you are staying within your price range, the fly rod must feel good to you. That is as important as anything else that drives your selection. You do not have to spend $750.00 to get a great fly rod. Take a look at Albright fly rods. They make first class rods and very affordable prices. The owner of Albright has been designing and making fly rods for many years and knows what he is doing. There are others of course and only you can make the final decision. There is more that can be put into this however these are the important basics and I am always available to answer your questions. Thanks for reading and good hunting.

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