Analysis of Fly Rods
How to tell premium fly fishing rods
from cheap fly rods
Are there ways to tell premium fly rods from cheap fly fishing rods? The answer is a definitive Yes!
Here are some items to examine when looking for a premium fly rod. See the premium 9 foot 4 piece travel rod shown above.
Premium fly rods will generally have 1 guide for approximately each foot of rod not counting the main stripping guide. Premium fly rods may have two stripping guides but the second one is counted in the guide count. For example, the nine-foot premium fly rod pictured above has a total of ten guides not including the main stripping guide.
As the rod length increases so should the number of guides. Remember the rule of 1 guide for approximately each 1 foot of rod length plus a tip top guide. (Ex. A premium 8’6" fly rod should have 9 guides plus the main stripping guide = 10 guides. (Round up to the next higher whole fly rod length number, then count your guides)
A good model fly rod will generally have 1 less guide than the premium models. For the nine foot model shown here, a good rod would have nine guides not counting the main stripping guide.
A cheaper model fly rod will generally have still fewer guides not including the stripping guide. For example, a cheap nine-foot fly rod may have only eight guides not including the main stripping guide.
These less expensive fly rods will not cast long lengths of line as easily as premium fly rods will. Think about it. The guides carry the line as it shoots forward toward the target.
With less guides on the fly fishing rod, the line will tend to develop a little belly between the guides. With any belly in the line between guides, a lot of energy is lost. Loss of energy equals loss of forward motion and casting distance. Cheap fly rods also make you work harder to cast because you have to work to put more energy into the cast instead of letting the fly rod do it for you. Thus, a 60-foot cast with a 12-foot leader is more difficult using a cheap fly rod than with a premium rod.