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medium vs fast action


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29 replies to this topic

#1 swampsinger

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 07:56 PM

I purchased a medium action fly as my first fly rod a couple of years ago when I started fly fishing, I didn't realize it was medium action till recently.  A Greys Gs2 9' 5wt.  Its got a lot of use and I haven't handled it with kid gloves. It feels very comfortable to cast. I can cast 35 to 45' without thinking about it, and if I concentrate and double haul I can add 20'.  

 I think I like the medium action. What would I gain switching or "upgrading" to a fast taper outfit.

I also have fast taper 9' 8wt outfit, but I don't think its a fair comparison as when talking actions.



#2 steeldrifter

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 08:05 PM

When it comes to actions it's not really upgrading nor downgrading going to a fast or slower action. It's more or less just using the right tool for the job. If you are casting into a wind lot of the time, or need to reach out and try to reach spots that you can't get to now, then a faster action rod can be the right tool for those situations. With that said distance is actually more or less dependent on the caster using proper timing than the rod action, but some people do find it easier to cast further with a faster action just because they try to use too quick a stroke with a rod that is more medium action.

 

On the flip side, if you're fishing more small to medium size streams/rivers, or like to use a rod that you can also cast a nymph/indi rig (more open loop helps with that) like a more subtle presentation of the fly, then the slower to medium action is better suited than a faster action.

 

Now...as a rod builder I "should " say "Oh you need a new rod get a fast action rod...and get it from me" lol...but I'm too honest a person and wouldn't tell someone to spend money if they don't HAVE to do so. So my opinion, if you feel good with the action you have and it's doing everything right for where you fish, then don't fix what ain't broke is my advice.

 

Steve


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Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doin, than a long life spent in a miserable way- Alan Watts

 

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#3 swampsinger

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 08:47 PM

Here's the extent of my rod building. I broke the ceramic while coming out of a river in the dark. Emergency repair with red tying thread and bondic. One of those scars I remember with advantages, because the next day I caught an Atlantic Salmon, one of the highlights of a trip to NFLD.

 

Attached File  guide repair.JPG   22.87KB   0 downloads



#4 steeldrifter

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 08:58 PM

ruaWCD.jpg

 

My eyes can not un-see that! biggrin.png


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Owner- Steve Clark
Midwestcustomflyrods.com


Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doin, than a long life spent in a miserable way- Alan Watts

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=je3rQevW-cw


#5 Rocco

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 09:34 PM

One interesting aspect of the fast action vs medium action relationship is that it mainly pertains to standard overhead casting.  

 

Stiffer fast action rods generate more efficient line energy while in the air during back casts when done at higher speeds. (Timing is everything.)  You then get tighter loops that, as Steve said, buck winds better and give more distance.  Typically, medium or slow action rods allow energy and thus line speed to dissipate more costing you distance and wind control. 

 

But longer spey/scandi/skagit rods have slow to medium actions but still rfeach far and buck winds. Their energy is generated by the resistance of the heavy sections of the fly line on the water being overcome and transferred into forward casts by the longer rod moving very slowly but powerfully. The lever, if you will,  is a short D loop which propels the front, heavier, line section and yards of thinner, near friction free,  'shooting' line forward.  The result, despite the rods slower actions, is also tight loops and longer effortless casts -- even in wind with very large flies and sink tips.

 

Now there is a trend twoard using spey type lines and casts with standard rods --even ltwt down to 2-3 lb .  This 'mini spey' boomlet might prove to be a fad as only time will tell. But the industry is starting to pay attention judging by new offerings in rods and lines.each year . 

 

Rocco



#6 vicente

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 08:21 PM

I could see the mini spey rod working very well in certain situations.

#7 spiralspey

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 10:38 PM

What you mostly gain is line speed, and that translates into tighter loops and thus more distance, improved casting in the wind, and more accuracy. You also lose things like roll casting ability, delicate presentation, and feel. I've owned both faster rods and slower, more full flexing rods. They both have their place, but in most situations I prefer slower rods. I'm a dry fly guy who is interested more in presentation, roll casting ability, and feeling an average sized fish bend my rod into the cork, though.

#8 Bimini15

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 07:12 AM

Be ready to be initially humbled by a fast action rod. It will first feel like a broomstick, so you will put extra ooomph in the cast to get some flex on it, which will mess your stops and, in turn, the loop until you learn to make adjustments.

On the positive side, nothing that a few extra outings can't fix... :)
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#9 SilverCreek

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 09:45 AM



I purchased a medium action fly as my first fly rod a couple of years ago when I started fly fishing, I didn't realize it was medium action till recently.  A Greys Gs2 9' 5wt.  Its got a lot of use and I haven't handled it with kid gloves. It feels very comfortable to cast. I can cast 35 to 45' without thinking about it, and if I concentrate and double haul I can add 20'.  

 I think I like the medium action. What would I gain switching or "upgrading" to a fast taper outfit.

I also have fast taper 9' 8wt outfit, but I don't think its a fair comparison as when talking actions.

 

 

You would gain the ability to extend your casting range especially in the wind and the ability to cast heavier rigs like double nymphs with large strike indicators more easily and farther. But this ability comes at a cost and I am not talking about the cost of a new rod.

 

There is NO FREE LUNCH. You would need to relearn or add the ability to match your casting stroke and stroke timing to the faster rod action. A faster rod bends less for the same line speed. As the rod bends, the rod tip gets closer to your casting hand (see illustration below). As you cast, the effective rod length shortens. One of the purposes of the stroke path is to move the rod in a convex path, to correct the concave path of the rod tip as the the rod shortens due to its flex. Depending on how far you are casting, you need to adjust both the stroke length of the rod and the convexity of the stroke path to compensate for the lesser rod shortening with the faster rod. 

 

35337477880_b300ce4de4.jpg 

 

The fly line speed and loop shape is what determines the length of the fly cast. The fly line does not care if the rod stroke to produce that speed and loop is long or short. To produce the identical fly line speed with a faster action rod, the rod stroke length will shorten and the stroke speed will increase. It is obvious that to feel the rod bend, you will have to bend the rod. With a stiffer rod, you will need a faster rod stroke to bend the rod. Therefore, to cast the same distance with the faster rod, you will need a shorter rod stroke. So a faster and shorter rod stroke to make the same distance with a faster action fly rod.

 

The faster rod will also have a stiffer rod tip. This will mean it has less ability to protect the tippet from breaking. So if you are using light tippets, you should consider staying with the medium action rod. On the plus side, your reaction time to strike especially on those heavier nymphing rigs will improve. There will be less tip lag on a strike.

 

With all due respect, I must disagree with some of what has been posted by others. Higher line speed does not translate into tighter loops. They are relatively independent. Fly line speed is rod tip speed. Loop shape and size is determined by several things including the shape of the fly line path, the timing of the rod stoke, the wrist flick just before the rod stop, the relative position of the casted line when the opposite direction cast is made, etc. Note that the second image below from Jason Borger's casting book shows the control of the loop size by the size of the wrist flick (tipping the rod tip out of the way of the trailing fly line at the rod stop). Larger flick = larger loop.

 

 

35337477190_3393b7759b.jpg34883064914_f5683e9712_z.jpg 

 

 

 

The following set of images below from the FFF certified casting instructor study guide show 3 ways a wide loop can result = classic convex rod tip path, top of loop too high, and bottom of loop too low.

 

So lets get rid of the idea that a fast rod is a prerequisite for the tightest loops. If that were true, however did the fishers with slow rods in the bamboo era ever cast tight loops?

 

34883063004_1f2a7a1208_z.jpg34883062964_4f491f2594_z.jpg

 

Also I disagree that faster rods are always more accurate. In fact, The winners in the accuracy section of the fly casting competitions did not use fast action or even medium fast action fly rods. The 2016 Women's Fly Accuracy World Champion is (Maxine McCormick), and the 2016 Men's Fly Accuracy World Champion is (Chris Korich). It is pretty well known that both of these champions used a medium action graphite rods to win their respective divisions.

 

As to the reference to “high-tech rods,” three years ago, Korich gave Maxine McCormick a 40-year-old fly rod, he said, worth about $50. She used the same rod Friday to win the gold.As to the reference to “high-tech rods,”

 

http://www.sfchronic...ing-9173951.php

 

To cast accurately, the caster has to feel the rod bend. Rod “feel” is a combination of both fly rod action and fly rod mass distribution resulting in “swing weight or moment of inertia.” This rod feedback is what the caster uses to make accurate casts. Here is what accuracy champion Chris Korich writes about fly casting accuracy.

 

”At a 60 foot target distance, the heavier amount of line extended is going to help BEND a rod more deeply. Deeper bending, when not excessive, generally improves LINE FEEL and can easily help a caster execute his/her stroke and resulting cast more accurately.

 

At 30 feet, especially with modern light graphite and stiffer rod designs, minimal bending can easily rob a caster of adequate LINE FEEL. Hence, it's very easy to misdirect a short cast to a close target.

 

In essence, short strokes at close targets happen so quickly, the caster doesn't have the extra milliseconds and bio feedback to execute the stroke accurately. Combined with a lower mass of line extended and generally less line speed at 30 feet, it's also easy for air and wind conditions to negatively affect accuracy on the final delivery.

 

Hopefully now, the U.S. team's recent accuracy success using deeper bending and slightly heavier 1st gen graphite rods, makes a bit more sense.”

 

 

http://www.sexyloops...d33c6a1e#p33763

 

Sometimes you will see a post that says the fly rod action is the the taper of the fly rod = how it thickens from tip to butt. This is NOT always true. The taper we see is the EXTERNAL taper from tip to butt. HOWEVER, fly rods also have an INTERNAL taper that is determines by the rod mandrel. So the actual wall thickness of a fly rod and its shape is determined by the shape of the mandrel and the shape of the composite “flag” that is wrapped around it. Since the flag can be and is composed of material of different modulus formed into a sheet and cut into shape, the actual external rod taper we see and rod action we assume may differ from the true wall thickness and the actual rod action.

 

Phil Monahan speaks to the fact that rod stiffness can vary from tip to butt because of how the rod mandrel and flag are designed. Although he does not get into manufacturing, the methods above are what he is referring to when he writes. “trying to define action simply as the “stiffness” of a fly rod doesn’t take into account that the relative stiffness is not uniform throughout. A rod may have a tip that is stiffer than the butt-section, for instance, and the placement of stiffness along the blank can be one of the key determiners of rod action.”

 

http://www.orvis.com...ht-rod-for-you/

 

Finally, rod action is only one of  3 main properties of a fly rod that get confused. In addition to fly rod action, there is fly rod power and rod line rating. I wrote a sticky post explaining these three properties here: https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/fly-rods/222260-fly-rod-line-rating-power-action-explanation.html#post370934


Regards,

Silver

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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#10 chugbug27

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 12:15 PM

Thanks Silvercreek, that was masterful. Makes me miss the 1st gen graphite rod I used for 20+ years and recently lost.
cb27

#11 swampsinger

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:34 AM

You guys are good. I'll have to carefully read all this 2 or 3 times to take it all in.



#12 vicrider

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 03:01 PM

If you really want to get confused on these things just consider bamboo rod crafting. Let's take a 7'6" bamboo rod. All the same things Silver Creek apply in theory to bamboo except bamboo is a living plant when cut and therefore no two strips of bamboo are ever going to be perfectly identical. When you want to get into the action and speed of the rod you're dealing with so many things during the construction of the rod tapers and part of the reason why a rod that turns out to be a performing treasure is guarded as to tapers and sometimes hollowing methods, another can of worms. Bamboo is basically always going to be heavier than plastic rods but by hollowing the weight can be reduced considerably since the maximum pith can be cut away in the heaviest lower section. 

 

By changing the tapers a considerable range of actions can be determined and with good bamboo and with careful planing the repetitive actions is quite good. I have a hollowed 7'6" rod in a Penta design, meaning 5 strip bamboo, that is definitely fast with a 6 wt. line. I have a progressive 7'6" rod with two tips, one for a 4 wt., one for a 5 wt. I have a parabolic 8'6" rod, and parabolic opens up a whole level of performance that needs different treatment in handling than the progressive tapers. I love the slower feeling of bamboo and fiberglass but I do have a couple of 9' graphite rods in fast taper for 6 wt. and 8 wt. that I use for windy conditions or for longer casting situations. Now I just wish I got out to use them a lot more.



#13 Bimini15

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 03:22 PM

If you really want to get confused on these things ...


And let's not talk about over lining and underlining...

Time to bring up again the Common Cents Method
http://www.common-ce...ic_Layout_1.pdf
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#14 SilverCreek

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 04:01 PM



If you really want to get confused on these things just consider bamboo rod crafting. Let's take a 7'6" bamboo rod. All the same things Silver Creek apply in theory to bamboo except bamboo is a living plant when cut and therefore no two strips of bamboo are ever going to be perfectly identical. When you want to get into the action and speed of the rod you're dealing with so many things during the construction of the rod tapers and part of the reason why a rod that turns out to be a performing treasure is guarded as to tapers and sometimes hollowing methods, another can of worms. Bamboo is basically always going to be heavier than plastic rods but by hollowing the weight can be reduced considerably since the maximum pith can be cut away in the heaviest lower section. 

 

By changing the tapers a considerable range of actions can be determined and with good bamboo and with careful planing the repetitive actions is quite good.

 

Since you have mentioned bamboo fly rods, I can add what Jim Green had to say on the subject of bamboo rod action. Jim Green as most of you know is the originator of the first flexible ferrule, the Fenwick Ferralite tip over butt ferrule that has become the standard for most composite fly rods. He is also a former world champion fly caster. There is a great interview with Jim Green that has been republished on line by Sexyloops. 

 

In the interview, Jim Green has some very perceptive observations about the "feel" of bamboo fly rods. Those same observations hold true for fiberglass and graphite  fly rods as well.

 

”You see I am an old Bamboo man, I have always had a love for Bamboo. It's amazing when you think about it, you take all these materials, Bamboo, Glass, Graphite in some cases Boron. The most important part of a rod is not what it is made of. What's more important is the action of the rod. If you take a good Bamboo rod with the correct action, they might say it's a Bamboo action, but there is no such thing as a Bamboo action. It might be a Bamboo feel, but not a Bamboo action. The action of a rod is just the way it happens to bend under stress. So you can make a bamboo rod that will bend under stress a certain way, and you can make a glass rod that will bend under stress a certain way, and then a graphite rod, they all are going to cast good you know? Sure one is going to be lighter than the other, of course that's what seems to be a big selling point, people like them light....

 

The feel is there because it has weight and swing. They call that a Bamboo action, it is not an action, it is a feel. The action like I said before is the way a rod bends. You can take all three: Bamboo, Glass and Graphite, and if they have a good action, they will all cast very well, but Bamboo will feel different because it is heavier. If you want to duplicate the action and feel of a Bamboo rod you have to build it solid, so it will have a different kind of swing to it.”

 

Jim Green

 

So Jim Green associates rod "feel" with "fly rod action + mass distribution." What holds for bamboo holds for fiberglass and graphite fly rods. I think Jim Green is 100% correct. Not only is he correct because he is Jim Green, he is correct because mass is an intimate part of momentum and energy, two key factors in how a fly rod performs and feels. Fly rods, no matter the construction material all obey the laws of physics and these laws determine the "feel" of the rod during the cast.

 

Therefore the fly caster must adapt to the rod and not the rod to the caster. This brings me to the practice of over lining fly rods. The over lining of faster action fly rods is NOT a mistake of the rod manufacturers but a mistake of the purchaser!

 

The fly line rating is designated by the manufacturer and is supposedly how far the tip of the rod moves in response to a load.

 

The Common Cents System is a static method of measuring tip deflection and the shape of the rod bend that gives an estimate of rod action and fly line rating. It is not perfect because it is a static system that cannot account for the weight of the rod blank, or the weight distribution along the rod blank, or the moment of inertia (swing weight) of the rod during a cast. These dynamic properties affect both how the rod feels and performs during the cast. I think it is a good starting point to find a rod to test cast.

 

Every fly caster has a preferred casting stroke and timing. As I wrote previously a fly rod bends as it being cast and this brings the rod tip closer to the fly casters hand. The functional length or chord of the fly rod shortens during the cast and then returns to static length. The casting stroke must account for this changing rod length during the cast to cast a tight loop.

 

I posted this video on youtube that shows how the effective/functional rod length shortens and returns to normal after the rod stop.

 

 

That is why some caster prefer a fast action rod and some casters prefer a slower action fly rod. The bend of the rod in response to the load determines the required casting stroke to cast a tight loop. The goal is to find the rod that fits the preferred casting stroke of the fly caster.

 

What up lining or down lining a fly rod does is to change the rod load for a casting identical distances of fly line. Up lining or down lining changes the amount of rod bend, the length of the rod stroke, the timing of the casting stroke, and the shape of the rod stroke. What the fly caster is trying to do is to fit the rod's dynamic response to fit their rod stroke by changing the rod load. If you have to do that, you bought the wrong fly rod.

 

I don't think rod manufacturers intentionally misidentify the line rating for their fly rods. What I think happens is that the fly fisher (mostly male) wants a fast action fly rod, when their natural rod stroke fits a slower fly rod action. So when they buy the fast action rod, they think the rod manufacturer should have given the rod a higher line rating. So they up line the rod so it fits their preferred casting stroke and timing.

 

The rod is still a fast action rod with a fast action design that is less able to protect the tippet. The buyer is forced to use a higher weight fly line than they want to use, and the rod does not fit the need or wants of the buyer. Who's fault is that? I think it is the fault of the buyer who did not understand their own casting stroke and what rod action best fits it. So if you wanted a 9 ft 4 wt rod and then have to over line it with a 5 wt line to get it to match your casting stroke, you bought the wrong rod. In your hands it is functionally a 5 wt rod and not the 4 wt you needed. The fault lies with you and NOT the manufacturer!


Regards,

Silver

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

http://tinyurl.com/lgkbu7v

#15 Poopdeck

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 08:30 PM

Bio feedback, milliseconds, moments of inertia, holy crap I didn't know I'm doing all that. Gimme a rod and I'll cast it that's all I need to know. I am impressed with the knowledge on this stuff. Good stuff.