Fly Fishing Rod - What Are The Features Of A Fly Fishing Rod

"Fly-fishing may well be considered the most beautiful of all rural sports"

Fly fishing rods are undoubtedly the most important purchase when it’s time to get your own gear.  To be able to get the perfect rod that suits your needs, it is important to get the basics out of the way.

Let us look into the main features of a fly fishing rod:

Fly rods let the fly lines be cast with power and/or accuracy.  A good rod is one that can do both and take the fly and fly line to exactly where the fish are.

Line Control
If casting is important, then control is the key.  Once the fly is in the water, a good rod helps to control the fly effectively.

The fly rod is used to set the hook, fight and catch the fish.  It needs to be flexible but strong enough not to break or snap when it bends.

There are other features that should be carefully considered to making fly fishing an enjoyable sport.  Based on the need, one should look into the power, action, weight of the line, lure weight, and number of pieces.

Fly fishing rods can vary vastly in the power they hold.  There are rods that are Ultra Light, Light, Medium Light, Medium, Medium Heavy, Heavy, Ultra Heavy, and some more combinations. Choosing the right powered rod is important and is based on the type of fishing, type of fish, size of fish being caught.  There is nothing complicated about this.  It is obvious that the ultra light rods are perfect for catching small fish or in situations where the rod has to be very responsive.  Similarly the heavy rods are great for deep sea fishing, surf fishing or catching fish that are heavier. Why is this feature very important?  You can catch any fish with any rod, but imagine the horror of trying to catch a huge fish with the ultra light rod.  Forget about enjoyment, it will be a battle and the end result could be a broken tackle with the fish swimming away happily.

Action refers to the measure of the fly rod’s flexibility.  There are three main types of actions available: Slow Action, Medium Action and Fast Action. 

  • Slow Action Rods are extremely flexible for the whole length and will bend to almost a U shape.  They are used to make slow and accurate casts.  They cannot be used in strong winds and not good for long casts.
  • Medium Action Rods are only flexible for half the length; from the middle of the rod to the tip.  These rods are very popular as they are very versatile and work well with many different water conditions.  They are very easy to control and can be used by beginners as well as veterans, who use them as a matter of preference.
  • Fast Action Rods are stiff for the whole length and have flexibility only at the tip of the rod.  These rods can cast the line further than the other types.  They are useful when landing bigger and heavier fish.  They are easy to use in windy conditions.  However, these are not considered suitable for beginners because of the difficulty in controlling them.  They are perfect for fast flowing waters where a long cast is needed.

Fly Line Weight
This is one of the most important features of a fly fishing rod apart from the action of the rod.  When we say weight, we are not talking about the weight of the rod itself.  We are talking about the fly line weight that the rod can properly cast.  These weights are expressed in numbers from 1 to 14 (4wt, 5wt, 6wt). By and large, a rod can cast any fly line weight, but the rod’s power and action will change if the line weight is greater or lesser than the specified number.  If a rod is meant to be used with a fly line weight of 4 and it is used with a 7, it can be really a bad experience.  Since fly lines use the same numbering system as fly rods, it must be ensured that the fly rod matches the weight of the fly line being used.

Lure Weight
The performance of a fly fishing rod depends on the lure weight that the rod can support.  The lure weight is given in grams or ounces.

Fly fishing hooks come in several shapes, sizes and materials with each variety serving a different purpose.  The Eye is where the leader is threaded and tied; The Bend is the curved part; The Shank is the straight part that extends from behind the eye to the starting of the bend; The Gap is what is between the shank and the point of the hook; The Barb is what makes the hook stick in the mouth of a fish.

Number of Pieces
This feature needs to be considered carefully, as single piece rods are supposed to be the best.  However, many people find it difficult to transport them safely because of the length.  Then there are rods that are two pieces attached together.

In theory, an ideal rod is one that has all these features in perfect unison to allow for greater casting distance, accuracy and fish fighting quality.