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September 22, 2008

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Fast Rods Are For Weak Casters

One other thing I noticed at the FFR expo in Denver: A number of flyfishing companies are reverting back to more models with more "classic," softer actions. I say, great, because as a guide, I'm sick of trying to fix the casting flaws I believe are created by super fast action fly rods. Learn to cast on a more traditional level, where you actually have to groove your timing. Then step up, if you want to boom distance. But too many people rely on technology over technique, and that's a bad thing.

Along those lines, I'm also of the opinion that a 5 weight, the classic trout standard, is overkill for most trout fishing situations. I say 3 weight should be the bread and butter rig. If you're casting more than 40 feet for trout, in 90 percent of situations, you're making a mistake.

What say you?


PS Congratulations to Mr. Romano and his new bride Ellie Childs on a wonderful wedding celebration! All the best...


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Evan V

KD, if anything, a 4wt should do the trick. It'd be that not too big, not too small category that can hoist in bluegills and medium sized trout. Heck, I still use that Sage 4wt ling you sent me with my 7' 4wt that really flexes.


A 5 weight rod is certainly more versatile than a 3 weight. It may be overkill, but not by much and having too much rod on a small stream is a much more agreeable situation than having a wispy little 3 weight on a larger stream.

Could you elaborate on casting flaws that you associate with modern fast action rods? I'm really interested.



3 wt line gets is a pain in the wind. I prefer a 9 ft 4 wt, but use a 5 wt most. I am in Michigan and fish with 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 wts.


the rod has nothing to do with line weight choices that anglers have to make. it's simple physics. the more mass a line has, the bigger the fly (or split shot, indicator, lead eyes, whatever) it can deliver with more efficiency.

while a 3 weight rod is plenty of rod for fighting a sissy fish up to 20 inches (ok, maybe 24 if you're lucky), a 3 weight line is not very efficient for moving a #4 hopper, much less a weighted streamer.

obviously the rod corresponds to the line weight it's rated for, but rods do more than just fight fish.

Joe g

Still kind of new to this Fly thing so I can only comment based on my limited experience. I own a 5wt that is very fast(my first rod), it was recomended to me by a friend from Cali. I live in the north east and my local stream has 8 inch fish and is fifty feet wide! The rod is awesome when I go out west on big rivers or throw bass bugs but casting small flies and long tippets twenty feet away sucks! I plan to buy a soft four or three as soon as money allows. I also fish on The Chesapeake bay where I use a moderate/fast 8wt. I dont think a rod can be to fast on big open water! Try shooting Clousers in the wind on a pitching boat in the middle of the bay with a soft action, it is tough!
My 2 cents.

Tony Fotopulos

One thing you can do as a guide is keep a midflex 4 or 5wt rod strung up and ready. I carry it along and use it as a pointer to show the client the target. After the 2nd or 3rd bird nest, suggest they try it. I always stress that the smoother your stroke the better this rod performs. Then demonstrate a nice slow cast while chanting smooth and slow. If they aren't too type A, they often click into the groove of the rod and stop the spastic water swatter stroke. There are alot of great and forgiving rods out there. Unfortunately, many good flycasters reccomend the high performance fast action sticks to people who have not developed timing or muscle memory. Everyone seems to want the "New Hot Ferrari Flyrod". A good flyshop guy should never sell them one unless they have seen them cast. A quick lawn or parking lot session can reveal the level of flycaster and help match them with the right stick.


Seriously? A 3 weight as your all arounder? Are you sniffing Dave's Flexament again, or just drinking it?
That is some of the worst advice I've ever heard, like recommending a .410 for waterfowl because it doesn't kick. You wouldn't last two days in Montana with the variety of conditions armed only with a 3 weight - I've guided enough guys armed with said rod to have made an informed decision.
Having a good 5 weight covers most situations, with a 6 covering the rest, and a good 8 eight always comes in handy.
Tony - Your advice is great.


deeter lives in colorado. dinky rivers, dinky fish...(hehehe).

he also recommends a sand wedge as an all around golf club.

jerry k

colorado? dinky fish? Have you heard of Places like The Frying Pan,Blue,South Platte and other countless rivers where resident fish can and do reach sizes of massive proportion and are caught on a regular basis or are you just a little bitter becuase your that guy that sits in one hole for 2 hours because you can see him but you cant fool them?

I've never commented until now, but I just had to respond. I usually enjoy reading FlyTalk and have been reading weekly for a long time now, but this post didn't seemed simple minded. I own plenty of fly rods and have fly fished since I was seven. First off you titled the article "fast rods are for weak casters" which pretty much suggests that the new technology fast rods cast for you. Then you go on in the article to say that beginners should learn on softer rods before they move on to fast rods. This would mean fast rods are actually for advanced casters that are able to keep the knots out. So which one is it? You must get the timing right on any fly rod in order to cast it, even fast rods. It's just a different timing, so what's the difference on which one you learn on as long as you get the concept of timing? What makes the bad caster is the fact that people who buy fast rods are guys who go to the fly shop and insists on the most expensive, technologically advanced rod to go on their once a year guided trip. Lack of practice makes the weak caster. Also, as others have said already, a five weight allows a larger variety of sizes and types of flies to be cast in various wind conditions. A three weight if fun and more challenging, but that doesn't change the fact that a five weight is a more effective all around weight.


count me in the crowd that prefers a 3 wt. i get to fish the Pighorn, er Bighorn, at least once a month and unless it is really wind (20 mph plus)a 3 wt handles it well. the fish average around 18" with the many going in the 20-22" category and the 3 wt adds a ton of fun to the fishing.


jerry k.,

yes, dinky rivers/dinky fish. like rob says, montana has bigger rivers, bigger wind, bigger fish...requiring bigger flies, therefore bigger line weights/rods.

anyway, you can brag all you want about colorado because you're still only talking about a trout. i'm not a bitter guy and trout fishing is not rocket science. i just avoid those places (s. platte, frying pan, etc.) like the plague. those fish are only 'hard' to catch because those tailwater monstrosities get pounded by thousands of anglers, why would i care to fish there?

btw, save the hyperbole ("massive proportions") for a more deserving fish, like tarpon.

jerry k

Seeing as im only in highschool and these places are kinda the only places i ever go fishing cause i live in denver i would probably agree on the fact that tarpon fight better or a golden dorado would eat the fish i catch for breakfast but since thats all i experiance about flyfishing i defend it
ps. i would kill to have your job as a guide and traveling around the world to fly fish


sorry, jerry. i was just giving kirk a hard time, didn't mean to offend the whole state of colorado (or did i?)...haha...cheers...

jerry k

its all good

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