What Makes A Fly Rod Different?

by Todd Gibson

A fishing rod is a fishing rod is a fishing rod, right? Yeah and a golf club is a golf club is a golf club. Fishing rods may all seem the same, but they are just as unique as golf clubs are.

Even if you do not play golf, you know a putter and driver are two entirely different clubs for two entirely different situations. One is for handling the fine work around the hole and the other is for working out the stress in your life by swinging with all your might!

Fishing is all about specialization. Trying to use a fly fishing rod to bring in a sail fish off Cabo San Lucas is not going to go well. Fly rods are unique and we can see why when we break down the design into certain components.

The first thing you will notice with a fly rod is the grip area is much bigger than on a spinner rod. Why? Well, you are going to be casting over and over. The larger grip is designed to give you plenty of space to do that.

A fly fishing rod design has to account for heat caused by friction. Your basic bait casting rod does not have this problem. The movement of the line is not frequent, so any heat derived from friction dissipates.

Fly fishing involves nearly constant line movement so rubbing and heat can be a big problem. Limiting the negative impacts of this friction is a central theme to consider in the design process.

To deal with this issue, the first alteration you will note is a subtle difference. The first loop off the reel is known as the stripping guide. It is lined with a ceramic material to cut down on friction and heat, but will limit your casting distance.

The second method for dealing with friction is found with the wire guides. On a spinner or bait casting rod, the wire guides are simple loops. Again, there is no real concern with friction, so the guides need only make sure the line runs up the rod.

On a fly rod, the guides are placed in similar areas, but are not circular. Instead, they are more of a spiral shape and are thus called snake guides. By using a spiral design, friction is diffused and heat is not nearly the issue it would be with circular guides.

Fishing is like any sport. There are specialty tools for every situation. If you are going to fly fish, knowing how your rod is designed and why it works the way it does is vital. Now you have an idea.

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