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by Terri Mackinnon

What are the differences.


Majority of experience fly fishers probably have an arsenal of rods that each serve different purposes. Most rods are designed to cast a specific weight of line so it is easy to see why anglers love to load themselves up with the variety of fishing rods so they are prepared for any action that they may require. Fishing rods actually are designed with casting in mind since they directly correspond to the size or number of the fly line that is intended to be cast. So with that being said a good example would be a #6 weight rod will cast a 6-weight line and a #8 weight rod will cast a 8-weight line. This also indicates that the larger the number the heavier the line that will be cast and the larger the rod. When we actually cast a fishing rod in normal fishing the action is not the same for fly fishing. In fly fishing we do not cast the fly rod, we cast the fly line… its momentum. The fly rod is only used as a mechanical extension of your arm so that you are able to fish for a longer period of time and so that it helps to place the line in a forward motion with greater ease. However, fly fishing line can still be cast without a rod.

What we tie onto the line also influences the cast so when we put on a fly that is too heavy then we find that the line will sag and the cast will not make it to the destination that you have tried to cast to. Choosing the correct size of the fly/line combination will make sure that you have a successful cast and catch. This does not mean that you have to have a different fishing rod for every fly that you use. General rule of thumb is as follows:

· 3 wt rod -- Streams and Ponds – crystal clear springs - tiny flies, dry flies shorter casting areas

· 5 wt rod – Streams and Ponds – Normal use and majority of smaller flies

· 7-8 wt rod – ocean/beach/saltwater with larger flies and longer cast

It is important that you take the time to match the rod and line weight to the Fly Size as the chart indicates.


Rod/Line Weight


Fly Size Range

1/0 - 12
2/0 - 10
3/0 - 8
4/0 - 6
6/0 - 4


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