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8 Ingredients of a Fly Rod

8 ingredients 1

Raging River Sales, our Echo, Airflo, Nautilus and Simms representatives, sent out an email blast the other day.  The gist of the email blast, amongst other things was a video involving Tim Rajeff describing the “8 key ingredients that make up a fly rod”.  This video was so well done and so to the point that I wanted to share this with our customers who are starting the process of purchasing their next fly rod.

At least a couple times a day we at Stillwater get this question…  “Hey I am looking for a new fly rod, which one would you recommend?”

On the face of it, this does not seem like a tough question.  And if I just told them the rods I fished, well it probably isn’t.  But there are so many factors involved in the answer of this seemingly easy question.

I first have to ask at least a half dozen probing questions to get a feel for what my customer is really asking.  Are you going to fish in freshwater or salt, lakes or streams? What species of fish are you going after?  Do you fish subsurface or top water?  Do you double haul a lot or single haul?  Each answer starts another trail of questions and answers.

Near the end of the conversation I try to find out if they know how they cast.  What I mean by that is their style of casting.  With all of this information I can then branch out into the below listed “eight key ingredients of a fly rod” to reduce the range of available rods down to a narrowed category.

Thanks to Eric and Troy of Raging River Sales for allowing us to rebroadcast this information, and to Tim Rajeff for putting into words a lot of information we already knew but couldn’t list it so succinctly.

“So typically, somebody with a very aggressive casting stroke will get more from the rod if they use a rod that is stiffer with a slightly faster action.” “Somebody that has a longer and smoother casting stroke will benefit from a rod that is slower and has a little bit softer action.”

“So, just because your buddy likes a certain rod, it doesn’t mean that you need to cast that rod. That’s the beauty of this sport!”

“When you dial the right action and power of a rod to your stroke, you will be more efficient, you’ll make better casts, you’ll be less tired, and the rod will do more of the work for you!”


So when you are starting your research into that next fly rod, please ask these questions to yourself.  Use them as a guide line to your decision and lastly, if at all possible cast the fly rod finalists to determine which is truly right for you and your fly fishing ways.

Tim lists these 8 as key core elements that are the make-up of a fly rod.

  1. The Action of the Fly rod.
    1. He describes this as where a fly rod bends. These can be described as slow to fast or flexible to stiff.  Either way, depending on your casting stroke will dictate which you should be using.  An aggressive back and forward stroke will like fast or stiff rods.
  2. What is the power of the fly rod?
    1. How much does it bend? This usually is determined by the “weight” of the rod; ie 3wt to 12wt.
  3. The cosmetics of the fly rod
    1. What does it look like; color of the blank, cork and reel seat. At times, as the cosmetics increase in grade so does the price. Want to look at a high end cosmetic rod, check out the details of a Winston.
  4. The components of the fly rod.
    1. Size the rings, type of reel seat, specifics on the rod blank. This can be mixed and matched depending on the “grade of rod”.  What I mean by that is the good, better and best rule of thumb regarding value.
  5. The weight of the fly rod
    1. Simply, the weight of the rod in ounces. The Sage One would be on the lower end of the spectrum for weight in ounces of a rod.  Balance:  find the center of gravity; where is the weight distributed.  This is important when balancing a reel and we get asked this a lot by customers.  The Nautilus FWX is commonly matched with the Sage One.  But remember this can also vary from customer to customer depending on where they hold the rod.  Their hand acts as a fulcrum and the balance changes as the fulcrum moves up or down the handle.
  6. The strength of a fly rod.
    1. How much will this rod lift before it fails? Typical this is associated with #2, but can also change with the type of material the rod is made of; glass or graphite and what kind of graphite.
  7. The warranty of a fly rod.
    1. What happens when I need to repair/replace the rod?
  8. How much does the rod cost?
    1. The cost is important to a lot of us in this business and ultimately this becomes a very valid concern with the customer. Normally I can narrow the customer’s choice by asking their price range first and then delve through the other key ingredients.

So the next time you are in the market for a new fly rod read through these 8 key ingredients and start in on your research.  But when it comes down to it, Tim says that action and power of the fly rod are the most important.

ECHO rods continued to be built with actions that are very user friendly and work with all ranges of casting styles and actions.   If you have any questions regarding ECHO products give us at Stillwater Fly Shop a call or email so we help you pick up that perfect fly rod.

Tight loops,


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