Whats your Bone Rod/Reel? - Page 3 - Fly Fishing Forum
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  #31  
Old 05-12-2006, 02:38 PM
formula1 formula1 is offline
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Juro, you caught me there on the stiff rod phrase - I put my foot in that one, too often when someone speaks of a stiff rod they actually mean fast rod and I've automatically come to think of fast rods when someone says stiff. Yes, it's fast rods I like, although I frequently find that fast rods are also stiffer than an equivaent moderate action rod as well which is another reason I think of fast rods when you say stiff.

I don't have a lot of time at the moment to expound on it but to me, a tight loop is promoted by several things but all these things contribute to the real factor: the path of the rod tip which includes the circular arc it describes when the abrupt stop occurs and the rod is unloaded. Because a moderate action rod bends more deeply for the same load, by the very nature of that bend it throws a larger loop (i.e., less "tight") than a fast action rod which bends with more of the tip and thus a smaller 'arc'. So, for the same casting stroke and load, the fast rod's tip will describe a smaller arc and thus a tighter loop results. Now, as far as I know the only way to compensate for a slow rod's tendency to throw a bigger loop than a fast rod is to do the "swoop" which Joan Wulff describes in one of her books. I already have a "swoop" which helps me throw tighter loops but I find that I have to use a much bigger swoop with a slow or moderate action rod and I dislike having to do this.

Personally I like the very short time of recoil of the rod - I find that I have plenty of time even with the fastest of rods I've tried (including TCR's) to get the loop exactly the way I like it, but I'll also admit they are less forgiving. It was observed on another board that it may very well be that I like fast rods due to my own physiology - predominance of fast twitch muscle fibres, participation at a high level in many sports that require very fast hand speed (martial arts, boxing, fencing, racquetball, race cars, etc). I just know I love the feel of a crisp, fast rod in hand and moderate to moderate fast rods do not put a smile on my face.

I think I misunderstood your statement about the Dannielson's drag - when you said the it's "the best out there" I now think you meant the best in terms of price/performance ratio - originally I thought you meant the the best out there, period...sorry about misunderstanding...

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  #32  
Old 05-13-2006, 08:08 AM
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It seems we are closer to the same preferences than it appeared afterall. So often words like 'stiff' and 'fast' muddle the issue.

You do mention one aspect of controlling loop size - tip deflection. However the assumption that all loop faults boil down to just tip deflection on the stop is a bit hard for me to swallow as a dedicated student and instructor. Furthermore, I don't agree that the stiffness of the rod necessarily controls loop size, although it does help subdue tip deflection on a downward hammering stroke.

I practice with an old 5wt that is quite moderate to slow and a line that is cracked from age and scarred from parking lots and probably won't even float any more but I still frequently throw teeny loops and 100ft casts with it during practice casting. It sounds as if by stiff rod standards it would be a noodle, but because of several other important factors including tip deflection it's quite easy to throw tight loops for distance. In fact I prefer to use that rod because it's so easy to throw laser loops to the backing with the T&T H2 or the Sages in saltwater weights.

At the fly show I found it fun to throw tight loops with the new Sage 00wt rod and would encourage anyone to give it a toss if you haven't already. It's not a rod I would fish in saltwater but it's a humbling teacher for intermediate to advanced casters requiring the right balance of power and restraint to even get it to work. And then to get distance and tight loops, well that takes even more control where tip deflection is only one element.

Another good example is to take a purposely soft traditional two-hand Spey action rod of 14 or 15 ft in length and throw tight overhead loops with it. Tip deflection is a desireable characteristic for this type of rod action, not at all designed for overhead casting and by singlehand stiffie standards this rod would be on valium but it can still throw laser loops. So the question is how?

I teach tight loops as being a result of two things interacting...

A) the line under end-to-end tension in a straight path of flight

opposed by

B) an abrupt pulling point as close to the path as possible, to the inside and just beneath the path

Now this might sound rather obvious, but the subtleties within are the key and the minority of casters we see have a true understanding or control of these sutleties.

The line in flight must be fully under tension and traveling straight or the stop point will not form a tight loop even with zero deflection. In fact it's easy to demonstrate tailing loops and big floppy loops with a stiff rod even if the stop is on a dime when the line is not tensioned in flight or the path is not straight. The stopping (pulling) point which creates the lower leg of the loop is only half the equation.

I would add that deflection itself is not the culprit, even a very large final deflection at the stop can produce a tight loop provided it does not sweep the bottom leg of the loop out of line. This is an important aspect of how a soft rod can throw a tight loop BTW. No special tricks or voodoo, just good casting. I would argue that a caster who must control tip deflection with rod stiffness is hammering downward at the end of the cast.

In fact if (A) the line under tension is well formed and in-line then even a rather large downward deflection will create nothing more than what some call a "shock dimple" (also have heard it called "secondary loop" which makes no sense to me) because there is so much projectile force in the elongated tensioned flyline and so much opposing pull from the final stopping point that the rest of the casting loop pulls itself back together beyond the leading wedge where the shock can be seen. I am sure I can find some video of casts of this nature on the web as examples.

Anyway, thanks for engaging in casting speak. I take casting rather seriously and appreciate the chance to delve into the topic!
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  #33  
Old 05-13-2006, 12:44 PM
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Hey Juro, I think we are going to have some very interesting talks by my pool after a day of flats fishing - I'm looking forward to it <grin>.
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  #34  
Old 05-15-2006, 05:11 PM
speydoc speydoc is offline
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Sage RPLXi 890-5, Islander LA 3.8 & SA WF8F "bonefish" line - seen here with "bycatch"
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  #35  
Old 05-15-2006, 06:35 PM
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Sage TCR #6 & 3400D with a #6 quator taper or the #7 SA BoneFish taper.

Powell Tiburon #8 Tibor Everglades with a #8 SA BoneFish taper.

Sage #8 xp Abel Super 8 and SA #8 BoneFish taper.
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  #36  
Old 05-18-2006, 06:30 PM
josko josko is offline
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Maybe this went a little sideways, no?

For whatever it's worth, stiffness is defined as a measure of deflection under a unit load. So, let's assume we suspend a soft and fast rod horizontally by the handle and hang the 30' of right-weight fly line from the tip. A stiffer rod would deflect less than a soft (less stiff) rod. I think we would all agree that a fast rod would bend less than a slow rod, and so a fast rod would be stiffer than a slow rod.
Now, if we take a weight and pair it with a two different stiffness springs, the combo with the stiffer spring would oscillate faster. That's why we get faster line speeds from stiffer (faster) rods. I would argue that higher linespeed would be preferable in fast-reaction situations bonefishing sometimes demands.

But, many rod decisions are highly subjective and personal. I had a whole set of T&T Horizons, but when T&T went from free warranty repairs to charging $40/per, I got such a bad feeling I did not enjoy those rods any more. I felt like I'd been had whenever I had one in my hand. So I slowly disposed of them and now use a TFO TiCr 8 wt paired with a Lamson LP 3 reel for 90% of my bonefishing. However, I'm not dogmatic about tackle; I think I can adapt to any adequate gear, l and prefer to focus on the many other aspects of bonefishing.
For instance, I'm now deeply engrossed in seasonal fly selections and going after that 'last 20%' of very picky fish that are masters of the 'cold snub' refusal.
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  #37  
Old 05-18-2006, 08:14 PM
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Josko -

Good post with valid scientific considerations. Perhaps stiff and fast are more closely associated than I would propose by such thinking. However I feel that the rate of deflection of a uniform rod with a load on one end is not an applied analysis of what happens during fly casting because of the effect of rod taper and feedback to the caster who operates the tool.

The player with the biggest arms is not the best man to put onto the mound, technique has a lot to do with it not just brute force.

I have to believe there is some critical thinking being missed with the classic stiffness model above. So how do we factor taper and it's effect on loading the rod and transitioning energy into the loop in our analysis?

Let's consider the level line verses a weight forward line - the taper makes all the difference in the world in the way the line transfers energy along it's length. And although the modulus of graphite does not change over the length of the rod, the flexibility of the rod and the way it transitions energy along changes proportionately to the taper and graduation of taper thus it is unndeniably a factor in the way a rod operates.

Where material stiffness varies little, taper varies much more between rod designs. Let's say that one rod has a very stiff butt section that tapers parabolically to a very soft tip. Another has a stiff butt section tapering uniformly (circularly) to a stiff tip. A third is a level rod as in your example. Each of these rods will have a dramatically different feel on the wrist and thumb verses the other and a dramatically different effect on the line. In fact the third one, the uniform stiff rod, would essentially be useless.

My (anecdotal) experience has been that a soft rod loads up but does not unload well unless you baby it, a stiff rod does not load well unless you drive it harder than you need to.

In the middle are several rods that I consider not stiff, but quite fast - meaning they load comfortably but recoil with a vengeance due to good taper design.

Crap there's that irony again!
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  #38  
Old 06-28-2006, 11:28 PM
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Long Tackle Talk...

Greetings,

Rods
Like this thread and think some of the comments are really useful. I've got several rods, from budget to top-end, and as a bonefish guide I get to cast all types of rods, both American and European: Sage, Scott, St. Croix. Loomis, Powell, Redington, Cabela's, Orvis, Winston, Hardy, etc. By far and away the best bonefish rod I've ever cast has been the Winston BIIx 8-weight. Unlike almost every other bonefish rod out there, it actually does what you need a bonefish rod to do: Cast short and long. So many rods nowadays are super-fast and only load with about 40 ft of line out the tip, or you have to over-line them to cast in short (which in turn can make long casts kinda' fuzzy). I agree with Juro that stiff rods are sort of a pain (for bonefish), and unfortunately some rod companies are betting the bank on this type of rod. You have to work twice as hard to start the loading process for this type of rod and close-in casts are very hard indeed.

Before I say more, let me make it clear that my useage of equipment is fairly specialized. I wade-fish for bonefish and permit (and the occasional tarpon). I do fish from the skiff occasionally, but over 90% of my fishing is from foot. That means that you can get much closer to bones without their knowing than from skiff... they can also do the same. This means that very short casts are often required. I've had several clients hook fish with the leader in the rod tip and 20-ft casts are very common. Usually these casts take place on cloudy days in less than ideal conditions - those days where the bonefish just seem to materialize "right there, 30 feet, 1 o'clock, cast now!" Casts have to be quick and accurate in these conditions or you don't catch fish. It's that simple. First time I fished the Winston BIIx, we hit three fish in a row, bang, bang, bang: all within 30 ft and 2 over 5 pounds. Decent fish... and we'd only had 4 shots in that half-hour. Typically that type of fishing yields about 50% success rate or less. The fish just come at you too fast, too close in. But since using that rod we catch way more fish, because it just loads and handles so well in close.

Of course, you can load 'er up and toss 90 ft of line too. No worries. It just loads smoothly down into the butt and handles that line easy.

Reels
I have also fished many types of reels, from the ridiculously expensive Hardy's to the modest Orvis Battenkill. For my clients I fish Abel Super-8's (now that they have outgoing clickers), but my personal reel is a Lamson Lightspeed 3. It's bigger, lighter, faster, and I feel the smoothness of the drag rivals other top-end reels like the Abels. Best part, the price is about half what you'd drop on those pricey reels. I especially like the Lightspeed now that they've replaced the dodgy clutch with a stainless version (which they'll do for free, by the way). It also has a crazy tough anodized surface ("guide finish") which I've fished hard in the salt for over 4 years and shows ZERO sign of corrosion. (No special care; just spray it off after a day on the water and you're good.) Finally, due to the large arbor size and placement of the handle the pick-up rate on that reel is flat out the highest of any reel that weight, which can make all the difference when a bone turns and runs back at you, which they do... size does matter, folks.

I also own one of the Ross' new Cimarron LA 8-weights. For the money it's a great buy. It's light, big, anodized, and the drag is very smooth and supposedly made from a new heat/friction-resistant material that should do away with the notorious problems their saltwater line had. I've still to put it through the ropes, but it's held up to its first few bonefish perfectly.

Lines
Now we come the the section where I have very strong feelings on the subject. First, let me say that for wadefishing for bonefish by far the worst lines I've fished are SA lines. I've owned several and also several lines that they produce for other companies (Sage, Orvis, etc.) Let me put it simply: they flippin' sink! You've got maybe a week of use (if you're lucky) and then it's over... no more floaty-float. Compair that to an old Cortaland 444 TropicPlus line which I fished hard with clients for 2 years and it still floated, no problem. Bang for your buck, Cortland TropicPlus. I also fish Rio lines, which are simply the best lines out there for casting into the wind. (Due to their stiff mono core which gives them backbone.) I also just fished this new Flip Pallot line that I think Cortland makes. Anyways, it's a great bonefishing line that flies in the face of several conventions that most WF Bonefish lines adhere to. First, it's bright, dayglo orange. The idea there (which I've been thinking for years) is that to fish all lines are dark silhouettes anyways, whether they're bright orange or pale blue. About the dumbest thing is making lines sandy colored, which only hides them from the angler above... who needs to see the line the most.

Here's the logic: in order to know where your fly is sitting on the bottom you need to know where the end of your flyline is. That way you can estimate how far past that your fly is based on the length leader your fishing. If you can't see the end of the flyline (cause maybe it's pale blue or sandy and blends in with the flat from above) then you can't tell where your fly is and can't fish it properly. Day in and day out I'm looking at the end of that flyline to see where the fly is. A line that was easier to see would sure be a big advantage. Remember, the fly has to be in the zone in order for the bonefish to see it and then eat it. No zone, no fish.

The other interesting thing about this line was its very short front taper. Also, the main belly of the line was right up front. This means that the line loads the rod right away for short, quick casts. Of course, this is very different from the long front taper and belly of the Rio Bonefish line, a line obviously designed with Keys bonefish in mind. I'd have to say that outside of that very specialized fishery most bonefishing takes place 60 feet and under. A line that loads a rod very quickly would be perfect for that type of everyday bonefishing. In fact, not a week before casting this new Flip Pallot line a friend of mine was visiting to catch bones. The visability was less than perfect so most of his shots were coming very short (20-40 feet). He was having trouble loading his rod with so little line out and had a devil of a time being accurate with a partially loaded rod. When we measured it, the front taper of his line was over 10 feet. He chopped about 7 feet off and bingo, the rod loaded much better. You might think that lack of taper would make the flyline splash down that much heavier, but it's a trade-off. If you can't get the fly to fish on time, it doesn't matter how delicately the line lands.

Anyways, I'm still undecided on this new line, but a lot of it does make sense. For now I'll keep fishing my Cortland 555 Tropic Lazer Line and chop the heads off my SA lines to make cheap running lines for my shooting heads. Heck, they sink anyways.


On the water,
Bonehead
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  #39  
Old 06-29-2006, 12:10 AM
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Slow vs. Fast...

Just a few thoughts here, with due deference to the sage wisdom above. In my experience a stiff, fast rod (they're the same, but taper does make a difference in the loading and unloading process) might not be the best choice for all bonefishing, regardless of the definite need for quick reaction time... no arguement there. Here's the thing, most situations where you need to react swiftly are those where the fish is very close to you and you need to get a shot off before he sees you or the skiff. These are the very situations where a fast/stiff rod will get you into trouble everytime. Unless you've overlined it, that fast action stick will take more false casts to load the appropriate line and therefore take longer to get the fly to the fish. Also, more false casts when a fish is close makes the likelyhood of spooking it greater. On the other hand, a softer rod will load up quicker (with fewer false casts) and therefore get the fly to the fish faster. The problem comes when you need to make long casts in windy conditions with heavy flies - fishing Andros big bones, for instance. Then a softer rod becomes a liability. (All this is unless you are a very good caster, in which case you can probably make most any rod do any thing you want.)

There is another consideration when talking about fast action rods. Certainly they generate more line-speed, which results in faster, longer casts, but high line-speed is not always a good thing. Case in point: the final presentation cast. Too much linespeed here and the fly will slam into the water as it turns over. Add a crisp double-haul to this and the flyline (and fly) is traveling at a tremendous rate which defies almost any attempt to feather the cast. Ever wonder why all those old Bahamian guides have that wide open lazy looking cast? It slows the speed of the fly and allows it to settle gently to the water instead of flipping over and splashing down.

Here's an example: 2 anglers; 1 trout, 1 stripers. Which do you think will catch more bones first time out? Almost every time it's the trouters. Sure most striper anglers can haul out tight loops and toss 80 feet easy, but the simply generate too much linespeed to present the fly quietly. By contrast the Colorado trout angler that can maybe cast 50 feet works out a wide, slow loop and puts that fly down so quiet you can hardly see it land. Linespeed.

Of course, the perfect bonefish cast is something that joins the two approaches, just like a good bonefish rod should have both the delicacy of a cane rod and the power of a 9-weight you might use to throw at stripers from the beach. When I fish I tend to put a lot of speed into the first 2 false casts and then shoot almost half the distance on that final cast. Since I'm wading the tension of the water feathers the cast and slows the line so that the leader flips over slowly and the fly flutters down. (Not every time, of course. I still spook my share of fish... like everyone.) However, with a slower rod I might not have to rely on shooting so much line to slow the cast. This is one reason 6 weights work so well on calm days. In additon to throwing lighter lines, they also typically generate less linespeed so the fly lands quieter.

So, if you're headed to the Bahamas you might take a couple rods. A fast rod for throwing lots of line from the skiff (where you need to make longer shots) and a softer, easier loading rod for wading where close, accurate shots will take 90% of your fish. Take only one type of rod and you'll definitely run into situations where you wish you had the other.

Just some stuff to think about.

Boneheaded
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  #40  
Old 06-29-2006, 12:35 AM
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great stuff!

One thing to note though, as an owner of two of the lamson o-ring drags... if you ever pop that thing off anywhere near saltwater you can kiss the internals goodbye as they will corrode as they have for virtually everyone I know who has one.

I don't think you can beat the Danielsson 6nine as a bonefish reel, a much higher niche and about the same price.
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  #41  
Old 06-30-2006, 12:04 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Are there any practical reasons why a shooting head with mono running line would be a bad choice for bones? As they are shorter and proportionately heavier than comparable conventional lines, they would seem to address the short cast / quick load problem even on stiff rods.

I hope to get bonefishing, either next year or after retirement, the rod is ordered and the 6nine will be next. However, I'd prefer to go with a shooting head system on it unless there's a compelling reason not to do so.
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  #42  
Old 06-30-2006, 12:35 PM
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Peter the thing is you only needs one line 98.9% of the time which is a floater.

Shooting heads also do not land as quietly as full lines do so that would be a consideration.

-seam
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Old 06-30-2006, 01:02 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Thanks Sean

I do realize that I'd just be using a floater and that the quick change aspect of shooting heads offers no advantage. Rather, I'm thinking more about the short cast / quick load vs. long cast problem. I have a 32' shooting head for freshwater use for my current 8 wt. that I cut out of salmon DT-9-F. Being proportionately heavier vs. a standard WF-8-F, it loads quickly but the 12' front taper turns over very nicely without a lot of smackdown. It's capable of good distance as well. I wouldn't use this head in the tropics as it would be turned to mush by the heat but something similar to it in a tropical line might work as a head.

Smooth landings can be controlled by the shooting head angler if the loop is opened up, less energy applied and/or a bit finger tip drag applied to the running line as it shoots out. Doesn't matter the species, if you're casting to wary fish, you want the cast to run out of gas above the water, just as the fly turns over and then settle down, rather than drive it into the water carrying a lot of velocity.

Thanks to the elevation in a boat, it's pretty easy to make single speyish looking cast with a head that'll turn over nice and easily out to 40' or 50' without a lot of splash. Accuracy would be a challenge but that distance is easily achievable in a single motion.
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Old 06-30-2006, 01:24 PM
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Sounds like it would work.

Personally I would just get a line size or two heavier(that high line speed stuff is shite, give me a line that loads the rod ) but it sounds like you have the shooting head thing figured out.

-sean
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:01 PM
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Opinions are like... well you know the rest

After 12 weeks of bonefishing over the last couple of decades I would have to say that my ideal line would be the one that casts in a controlled manner with good feedback no matter how much line I have out.

As you might imagine this says a lot about the rod too.

But on the topic of line, I would have to say that the taper should allow for short work in close, easy loading when you need to reach the average cast and a gradual back taper for aerializing a lot of line for those long casts.

I would say that the SH would have an advantage for long casts EXCEPT when you miss, the line is useless unless you strip back to the registration point at the back of the head.

A line with a gradual back taper let's you fudge with a sharp haul and get it all back in flight without too much strip adjustment, making the adjusted second shot which is typically better than the first if the fish did not spook.

For short work, I don't know. Shooting heads aren't known for gentle front tapers but they do load quick. I like the Rio Outbound on the flats, which is a 38ft "integrated shooting head".

The color change is a real plus. You always know where you are. However it's not as good as not caring, which a more gradual taper (e.g. a double taper) will afford. However a DT is crap for shooting line.

So IMHO the perfect bonefish line is a line with a gradual rear taper, a positive front taper that loads short, and of course if a gun for reaching out and touching a bone in it's tracks. The latter is the easiest characteristic to find, what's hard is the short game and the long line pickup for a second try.

I have used a line with an abrupt rear taper and hated it because I tend to maximize the distance I take the first shot to minimize their awareness of me. Because feeding bones don't swim straight I often take a smooth and single back second shot to adjust. This requires a long pick up with smooth continuous tension. I have to guess that a shooting head would not be right for me.
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