Why overline a rod? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Why overline a rod?


baldmountain
07-20-2005, 01:40 PM
Why do people overline a rod? I understand that rods today will throw a pretty wide range of line weights but the line designation on the rod is usually the best choice. If you are looking for a little more distance why not choose an agressive taper like the RIO Outbound or Clouser lines rather than going one weight higher in a generic WF taper?

Eddie
07-20-2005, 03:56 PM
I don't think that people overline to "get more distance". I thinnk that over lineing is done for a couple of reasons. Reason #1: Every thing is easier with more grains. Plain and simple, a six weight is easier to cast than a four. It is easier to cast a gien fly, or straighten out a leader, or cast into the wind or roll cast etc. etc.
Reason #2: Some newer casters have a hard time "feeling the rod load". Many people will advise that this caster upline, which makes a fast action five weight a medium action six. Again, I think it has more to do with the actual weight of the line, but many feel that a slower action rod is easier to "feel".
Reason #3: Many rods and lines are designed to load up properly with a good bit of line out. If you want a rod like this to be "optimized" to cast shorter distances (say wadeing for bonefish or sight casting in poor vis.), you might want to fish a heavier than designated line.
I am sure that others have good reasons to add.

SSPey
07-20-2005, 05:20 PM
if you are looking for more distance, try downlining - not uplining

baldmountain
07-20-2005, 08:20 PM
if you are looking for more distance, try downlining - not uplining

Steve, I know you already know this but for others...

I'm finding that I get more distance as my casting improves and I rely on finese rather than chucking it.

I think uplining, downlining and any other equipment modifications to get more distance are a crutch. Spend some time practicing and you will find you casts getting longer and longer. Oh, and don't be afraid to seek help from an instructor.

soloflyfisher
07-20-2005, 09:56 PM
I tend to think people overline because they've been talked into buying a "trendy" fast action rod when they really prefer a medium or slow action rod. Lots of the marketing literature seems to imply that good casters need fast action rods, and that slower action rods are "outdated" or "cheap" or only for novice casters. I think lots of flyfishers succumb to this hype and then end up overlining because they don't really like the feel of their fast action rod. That's too bad, because (in my opinion at least) overlined rods feel heavy in the tip and sloppy--not at all like a good medium action rod (or like a good fast action rod for that matter).

Eddie
07-20-2005, 10:04 PM
I'm not sure that I would call it a "crutch". It is just another way to fine tune the rod, line, leader and fly combination. Remember that not all five weight lines weigh the same, and rods all have different flex patterns. And then of course there is the most important variable: the caster.
I agree that there are many rods that feel like crap (to me) when over lined, but I don't think that what works for me will work for every one.
Hey Juro! What thinks you?

MJC
07-20-2005, 10:42 PM
While good form certainly has a lot to do with it all the good casters I know will agree with Eddie and Steve. Overline for casting short and underline when wanting extreme distance.

juro
07-21-2005, 07:00 AM
Great discussion as usual.

'Over-line' is a somewhat subjective term, and as Eddie pointed out some rods and lines waver to one side or another already so let's just say it means that the line is on the upper percentile of the rods' load range but not beyond it.

Thus:

_|-------------|--------(x)--|
low---------optimum---------high

Where less than low will not throw a 100 ft cast in an expert casters hands in a 7wt and exceeding the high point will break the rod given a hard stroke. Optimum will mean that the vast majority would feel a good load and get good response from the rod across the broadest range of power in the most fishing situations, etc.

First and foremost it's all about getting the optimum load. This will satisfy pretty much everyone even if there are going to be situations where a light crisp tip load would be ideal and a deep springy load, etc - the best load is the one in the middle where everything is in rhythm.

That being said, my experience is that loading on the upper end does in fact create more overall distance as long as the line profile has not become so fat as to introduce resistance. A good example is high-density tungsten line verses floating line. Grain for grain, one is going to be thinner than the other. This makes a big difference especially in wind.

There are many elements at play but to name a few:

a) total potential energy stored in rod
b) mass and acceleration
c) line profile and air resistance
d) casting ability

More grains (within limits) will force more energy to be stored in the blank befre release. The right combination of modulus and mass will permit good acceleration and tracking during the cast. A narrow line will suffer less air resistance than a fat one, and similarly if the loop is big and round or the tracking is offline then it's all about the caster his/herself.

An optimal loading line cast with perfect tracking and acceleration will generate a razor loop and achieve approximately the same result but require more skill, IMHO. As a caster improves in skill it seems they gravitate toward this balance.

A light loading line will be very pleasant for fine presentations at shorter distances but not in the distance game due to lack of mass. I know many stream trout anglers who prefer this combination, however large river trout anglers prefer a deeper load. I think this is a testimonial to grains (within range) providing more distance in most hands.

I agree that loading on the high range is easier for learning casters because the feedback from the rod is more emphasized. Some of the new-fangled fast rods are horrible IMHO because they lack the soul of a rod that flexes smoothly and fully. For decades there have been rods that load nicely but recoil with a vengeance thanks to high modulus modern materials. I'm not sure these really needed to be "improved".

As someone mentioned above, the learning caster uses less line and thus the rod must load well with a short cast. This doubly supports the high load for learners theory.

However IMHO if an accomplished caster puts a good lick into a rod loaded on the high end of the working range, I think he/she will produce a longer cast due to the above factors (rod load, mass, etc). I think they could do this with more consistency than even the optimal load simply because less things need to be perfect in some aspects of the cast to achieve distance when there are more grains flying.

Finally, the better a caster becomes the less tolerant of this excessive load they might become, and thus the middle of the range will be what he/she chooses to fish with from sunup to sunset on the water.

Personally, I don't enjoy the heavy load as much even if it gives me more easy distance and I don't enjoy the light load because it's robbing me of using the energy the rod has to offer. Working with the right load forces me to refine my casting to reach the maximum distance using more kinetics than mass, which gives me great satisfaction, not to sound like a broken record but I don't fish for fish so much as I fish for satisfaction and refinement of casting is a big part of that.

That's my best attempt at a very subjective topic.

baldmountain
07-21-2005, 07:32 AM
Excellent posts guys. Juro, as usual, thanks for the details.

Let me be more specific. The question is probably Rhetoric. Why does someone who doesn't understand any part of this discussion, or at least hasn't thought about it, go out and buy a 7 weight rod and blindly put an 8 weight line on it?

I'm an OK caster. If I buy a 7 weight rod I get a 7 wt line for it. It may not be optimum but I'm not risking stepping over the high boundary and possibly breaking a rod. I'm playing it safe because I don't have enough experience to tell me if a rod will perform better with a heavier line than the specified one. I'd wager that most other people will also fall into this category as well.

juro
07-21-2005, 07:40 AM
This is where the pro shop comes into play. My advice is "don't shoot blind in the first place", talk to guys who have been through all this before.

When I worked at a shop I cast every rod. I tried different lines. When someone came in and asked about a rod, I would know whether that rod was light or stiff, and would assess the caster's ability. If I thought that rod was not the best choice I would recommend another. However if the person was bent on that rod (no pun intended) I would try to match the line to best suit that person in the way they were going to fish. In some cases if the rod warranted it I would suggest a line weight higher. If it was an old lightline 4wt I might have suggested a 3wt DTF (lighter) etc.

We all put 325-350 grain lines on our 9wts for striper. That's an 11wt. But if the guy is going to fish the rips, that's the line.

Get acquainted with a few real live shops, find some guys you like and can relate to. They have rods on the shelf and lines on reels to try and nothing speaks louder than first hand feel combined with some knowledgeable advice.

baldmountain
07-21-2005, 07:55 AM
Sigh, the more I get into Fly Fishing equipment, the more confused I become.

Get acquainted with a few real live shops, find some guys you like and can relate to.

Like?

The closest shops are Blue Northern in Ayer, (about 5 mins from my house), or Concord Outfitters in Concord, MA. Both shops have nice folks but I think BN would rather sell guns and CO is an Orvis shop so they are limited in what they can sell. (BN does have a pretty decent selection of tying materials though.)

Honestly, the best equipment advice I've gotten is from MJC at Red Shed Fly Shop but Oregon is a little far to travel to a fly shop.

MJC
07-21-2005, 09:43 AM
Honestly, the best equipment advice I've gotten is from MJC at Red Shed Fly Shop but Oregon is a little far to travel to a fly shop.

Yes Oregon is a little far and if you were going to the Red Shed and went to Oregon you would drive for a loooooonnnnnnnnggggggg time as the Red Shed is in Idaho. :) I do appreciate your kind words!

Eddie
07-21-2005, 12:06 PM
First off, I like to think of ALL of the FlyFishingForum's sponsors as our local shop. They really are an important part of the knowledge that is shared on this site. I have bought stuff from quite a few, and I have been really impressed.
Why do people without alot of experience over line a rod? For the same reason they would do anything. Because someone they trusted suggested it. That could be a guy in a shop, Lefty Kreh of some geeek on the internet. That doesn't make it right or wrong advice.

soloflyfisher
07-21-2005, 12:19 PM
Baldmountain . . . I live pretty close to you apparently (just a few exits west on Route 2, near Gardner); I'd suggest you take a drive up to Hunter's in New Hampshire <link removed>. They've always been extremely helpful. In fact, when I bought my first spey rod, the owner (Nick) drove me to a local pond, taught me the basics of spey casting, and let me try about 2 dozen rods. He spent a whole afternoon with me. If you're serious about buying a rod and want to try a bunch of them, call ahead to make sure someone is free when you're coming (they're a small shop and they can get busy, so calling ahead is the best way to ensure you get the attention you need). It's about an hour drive from Ayer, but it's well worth it.

soloflyfisher
07-21-2005, 01:56 PM
Interesting analysis Juro. One thing I might add--in my opinion, most casters would probably be happier switching to a medium action rod when they want more "feel" rather than overlining a fast action rod. Medium action rods have a nice deep bend and a smooth feel. I don't think overlined fast action rods duplicate a medium-action rod's deep bend. Instead, I think they continue to bend mostly in the tip section--but when the rod is overlined, that tip bend becomes more radical and the tip loses some of its spring and recovery time (at least that's how it feels to me). This does give more feel--but it's sort of a "top-heavy," unbalanced feel--very different from the smooth, balanced feel of an optimally loaded medium action rod. I guess some casters might like the top-heavy feel of an overlined rod, but in general I'd bet most would prefer an optimally loaded medium action rod.

Eddie
07-22-2005, 06:55 AM
For less accomplished casters, it is not only a matter of "feel". I think that the extra grain weight has as much or more to do with the improvement in casting.
I think you are right about the flex profile of many "tippy" rods, and that is why uplineining doesn't seem like such a good idea. However, in the case of a rod with a progressive action, this shouldn't be the case.
Having said all this, I think that faster rods have much better "feel". I would argue that the caster that can't "feel" a fast action rod load, can't feel the load on a medium action rod either.

soloflyfisher
07-22-2005, 08:37 AM
I think that faster rods have much better "feel". I would argue that the caster that can't "feel" a fast action rod load, can't feel the load on a medium action rod either.

Eddie . . . this is probably true. I was discussing casting with a friend the other day and he made the comment that when you're learning to cast something suddenly "clicks" and everything feels right. Until that "click" you probably can't feel any rod--and after that click, you can feel just about all rods. I know this was true for me--once everything came together, I could cast just about any rod and before then I couldn't cast at all. (It's funny, too, I remember as clear as day the exact moment when the click happened--it was that dramatic.)

I agree with you that fast action rods do have good feel, but I think slower action rods do too, as long as you adjust your stroke to the action of the rod. I actually use both and like both--but in different fishing situations.

Eddie
07-22-2005, 09:59 AM
Hmmm, on second thought, I have cast a bunch of "fast" rods that seemed to have no feel. I suspect that it is harder to design a fast rod that still has good "communication". I still think that a well designed fast rod has (for me?) a more direct and possitive "feel".

baldmountain
07-22-2005, 10:18 AM
Hmmm, on second thought, I have cast a bunch of "fast" rods that seemed to have no feel. I suspect that it is harder to design a fast rod that still has good "communication". I still think that a well designed fast rod has (for me?) a more direct and possitive "feel".

Hmmm... Could this be a fast tip and softer mid section? (A progrssive tip with a regressive mid section/butt?) I guess this is why rod design is such an art.

soloflyfisher
07-22-2005, 09:06 PM
Hmmm, on second thought, I have cast a bunch of "fast" rods that seemed to have no feel. I suspect that it is harder to design a fast rod that still has good "communication". I still think that a well designed fast rod has (for me?) a more direct and possitive "feel".

I really like the Sage XP, which I guess most people consider fast. Some of the older fast Sages, though, had pretty poor feel in my opinion. I have an RPL+ that I now have learned to cast okay, but that took me a long time to get used to because it didn't have good "communication" (I like your term). I think the fast-action technology has really improved in the past few years, making fast-action rods much more communicative . . . and much more pleasurable to use.