Fly rods for better distance ? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fly rods for better distance ?

07-04-2003, 08:39 PM
I presently own a St. Croix Imperial 8'6" 5 wt with a supposed moderate action. I mostly fish still water with terrrestrial types of bugs for panfish and am seeking to get more distance with my casts. Would I see a noticable difference with a 9 ft 6 wt or not really? Also would a faster tip action such as the Avid series aid in greater distance? Being one rung up from a rookie, I appreciate your more experienced answers.

07-04-2003, 09:53 PM
All things being equal you'll get more distance with a longer rod and more grains but that's not to say you can't do more to get distance with what you have. Are you double hauling currently?

07-04-2003, 10:52 PM
foregive me for saying this but not knowing your skill level the first thing I would say is that developing good casting skills is the key to distance casting. That id exceedingly more important than the rod you use...

Secondly the action of a rod has nothing to do with it's ability to throw a long line. One of the furthest casting rods I have ever owned is absolutely dog slow it's a 10 ft 9wt and I once was able to throw it about 120 feet. Since I use spey rods now I am not that good anymore.

What does make a rod cast long distances is it's ability to create high line speed this doesn't take a fast action rod to accomplish. It can be done with a rod of any type action if it is designed properly. The only way to determine that is to go out and cast them... Simply looking for a rod with a fast tip won't necessarily accomplish that..

1. work on your skill
2. find a rod that you enjoy casting and live up to the performance needs you have ( test casting them till you find one you like)

07-05-2003, 01:21 PM
To get more distance out of a rod.

1. Work on your skill.
2. Work on your skill.
3. Work on your skill.
4. Work on your skill.
5. Work on your skill.
6. Work on your gear.

99.9% of the people I see casting do not "properly" load the rod (myself included). Spending an afternnon with a qualified casting instructor can save you thousands of dollars in new equipment. If you can remove all the slack from your casts, you can easily cast the entire fly line.


07-05-2003, 03:14 PM
Of course you gentleman are all correct in that my casting skill is in definite need of improvement, that is for sure. I was just curious that if stepping up to a 9 ft 6 wt would improve my distance even if my crappy form did not improve. Thanks for your input.

07-05-2003, 03:53 PM

Going to a 9 foot 6 weight might improve your distance slightly. But then again so might just putting a 6 weight line on your 5 weight rod. Going to the proper fly line can improve your distance as well. Using an XXD taper in lieu of a GPX will help your distance quite a bit.

Still, I know you don't want to hear this but "you" are the factor that can be the easiest to change and receive the most in the way of performance benefit. A couple of hours of your time at a conclave for a "free" casting lesson could possibly double your current distance. I see lots of guys go from casting 30 feet to 60 feet after their first lesson.


07-05-2003, 03:58 PM
Of course no offense is intended and we only make these comments because the most important change you can make is to improve your casting stroke.

Here are a couple things I teach:

#1 - try to get into a rhythm using minimal energy and just the first 30-40 feet. Don't keep the arm straight, bend the elbow so that it:
- your forearm ends up vertical at the end of the backcast, with the thumb pointing to 2 o'clock over your shoulder, and slightly out away from your body
- your upper arm and elbow should never be higher than your shoulder at any time although it can come up to that level

Now concentrate on the three parts of the cast, which I have my own names for:

1) the "driver", which is the energy wave coming off the rod tip
2) the "wedge" which is the fold in the line and
3) the "trailer" which is the section past the wedge that comes along for the ride

As the arm bends the elbow to make the forearm vertical, flick the wrist at the last second to 2pm and 2pm only, tighten the wrist to stop.

Watch the driver flow off the rod and aim it to be exactly 180 degrees from your final target. Make sure the driver does not point downward but it is straight and slightly elevated.

Does the wedge form cleanly or is it baggy? Does it exhibit wiggles or waves? If so, accelerate more smoothly when starting and lighten up on the flick. Remember this is just the first 30-40 feet of line and for practice with ideal grains.

Does the trailer follow parallel to the driver and not too far inside, outside, below or above? If not, then once again smooth it out, slow it down and watch it over your shoulder.

Just as the trailer overtakes the wedge, come forward pushing your thumb to the target. Again, accelerate so that there is no turbulence in the line, the driver, wedge and trailer are in harmony.

Don't do anything differently in the final cast if you are false casting, just let the line straighten and land.

Once you get a smooth 30-40 foot cast with minimal energy, then apply power to the stroke and slip line into the backcast to increase grains in the air. Wait a little longer as this length will require, then let any loose line go from your left hand on the forward stroke and it will shoot forward.

Again don't do anything differently on the final cast.

In order to add power, pull with your left hand in a piston motion during the power stroke. This is called a haul. Just use a slight tug and search for the timing more than power. A little goes a long way, it does this by increasing the potential energy in the blank between stops of the rod.

Give a little tug on the last forward cast and let 'er go! This should be all the distance you need with a 5wt.

Once this is all clean, you may reconsider whether you need a longer heavier rod. Of course, all things being equal a 6wt 9ftr will give you more potential distance than a 8.5ft 5wt, but only if the cast is able to take advantage of the physical differences.

Good luck!

07-05-2003, 04:08 PM
I really appreciate all the information and the step by step instruction that you are giving me but where can one obtain this proper hands on instruction. Are there seminars for this type of thing? or where can you get professional instruction? Are there any videos out there that you might reccomend? Again thank you for your input.

07-07-2003, 08:37 AM
You can probably get instruction at a good local fly shop. I would also recomend looking on the FFF web site where they list certified intructors(some might be in your area). A good intructor does NOT have to be certified, but one that is can probably teach a beginer to cast better.
As for videos, I really like the Mel Krieger series.
As for getting a new rod, I think that a heavier line would definitely help you cast the more wind resistant warm water bugs. People often have to work too hard because they use too light a line. Even a good caster would have trouble casting a popper with a five weight. Maybe a seven weight would be even better.
Another thing to consider is you leader. Too light a leader will also make it difficult to cast.
Match your leader and line to your fly and casting will be easier.

07-07-2003, 12:41 PM
I realize this is slightly off topic from the original question, and I agree with the advice given already. But after a recommendation on the Spey Pages, I recently bought a video, "Saltwater Flycasting- 10 steps to distance and Power" by George Roberts, very direct and clear analysis of producing efficient casts. I've been flyfishing for 40+ years, and my casting improved noticeably after concentrating on a few of his tips. (I have no connection with George or his company, etc,etc...)


07-07-2003, 12:51 PM
I agree with Dana's recommendation for George's videos, but I would say that his videos are best for taking the caster from 60-90 (and beyond) and not necessarily the best for taking a caster from 0-60. Your testimonial after 40 years reinforces this, IMHO.

George lives just down the highway and people in this region are lucky in that they can meet him for lessons with just a short drive. Maybe we can get him to donate a class for a banner so he can come onto the Forum and straighten us all out live and in person! :p

07-07-2003, 06:08 PM
George, banner or not, I think your perspective would be welcome here.

07-07-2003, 08:10 PM
That goes without saying, hope my mischevous tone went detected.