Fly rods come in as many size, weight, and performance combinations as imaginable. Of the most popular trout rods, most are described by their size (7-9Ft) line weight (3-6Wt) and action (slow-fast). Anglers match rods to their preferred fly fishing method, the size of the water they are fishing, and the size of expected catch. A general rule is that smaller, slower rods are best suited for dry fly presentations. Faster, higher weight rods are paired to the heavier tackle of large wet flies, indicators and multi-fly nymph rigs. Of course variations in size of fish, body of water, line type, and individual casting style & preferences blur the boundaries of all these potential combinations.
A few days ago, I pulled my fast action 6 Wt rod from it’s case intending to fish a large streamer for big brown trout. As the tip section slid from the case, the last 2 inches or so fell to the ground. Fortunately I had another rod with me, although it was a much slower action rod and a line class smaller 5Wt at that. I was set on streamer fishing, and opted to fish the big heavy fly on the slower rod despite the obvious mis-match. This scenario had happened to me once before, and I remembered back to using a slower, ‘softer’ rod to fish big streamers. I remembered that with conscious adjustments to my casting, the combination was actually very fun. The beauty of advanced high quality rods today is that they are so capable. Granted they are all designed for various levels of specific use, many can perform far beyond their stated descriptions.
The water I was fishing this day was much bigger however, wide & open enough to where each cast was as long as I could make it. As I began extending the fly’s reach by several strips of line each consecutive cast, I reminded myself to slow everything down, follow proper form, and let the rod do the work. I smiled. This was fun! While carrying the fly line beyond the belly, I slowed the stroke and the rod bent deep into the cork handle. The casts had so much more ‘life’ and ‘feel’ to them. It energized my love and study casting and the mechanics involved. It made a few hours of ‘fishing’ into ‘casting’ and super entertaining in itself.
Maybe it’s odd things like this that make fly fishing so addictive to so many people. We’ve all hear the cliche, “Fishing is not all about the catching” but on any give day on the water it seems I always look back on some aspect of the day that’s in addition to whatever the catch may or may not have been. The next time a person asks me what I like best about fly fishing, I might have to reply “Ask me after my next trip and I’ll know then.”