A carbon fiber rod is not necessarily better than a glass fiber rod; the two fibers have different properties, with their own trade offs. Carbon fiber is less flexible (stiffer) than glass fiber and more brittle and prone to breakage when misused, while carbon fiber allows for longer and faster rods. Carbon fiber also allows for a smaller diameter rod that is more sensitive than a glass fiber rod. A carbon fiber rod is also much lighter than a glass fiber rod allowing for longer days of fishing. Each has its purpose in the fishing industry and both improve an anglers chances of being successful when the blanks are used for the right purposes.
Fly rods are thin, flexible fishing rods designed to cast an artificial fly, usually consisting of a hook tied with fur, feathers, foam, or other lightweight material.
More modern flies are also tied with synthetic materials. Originally made of yew, green hart, and later split bamboo (Tonkin cane), most modern fly rods are constructed from man-made composite materials, including fiberglass, carbon/graphite, or graphite/boron composites. Split bamboo rods are generally considered the most beautiful, the most “classic”, and are also generally the most fragile of the styles, and they require a great deal of care to last well. Instead of a weighted lure, a fly rod uses the weight of the fly line for casting, and lightweight rods are capable of casting the very smallest and lightest fly. Typically, a mono-
also to a particular weight of line: larger and heavier line sizes will cast heavier, larger flies. Fly rods come in a wide variety of line sizes, from size #000 to #0 rods for the smallest freshwater trout and pan fish up to and including #16 rods for large saltwater game fish. Fly rods tend to have a single, large-diameter line guide (called a stripping guide), with a number of smaller looped guides (aka snake guides) spaced along the rod to help control the movement of the relatively thick fly line. To prevent interference with casting movements, most fly rods usually have little or no butt section (handle) extending below the fishing reel. However, the Spey rod, a fly rod with an elongated rear handle, is often used for fishing either large rivers for salmon and Steelhead or saltwater surf casting, using a two-handed casting technique. filament segment called a “leader” is tied to the fly line on one end and the fly on the other. Each rod is sized to the fish being sought, the wind and water conditions and
Fly rods are, in modern manufacture, almost always built out of carbon graphite. The graphite fibers are laid down in increasingly sophisticated patterns to keep the rod from flattening when stressed (usually referred to as hoop strength). The rod tapers from one end to the other and the degree of taper determines how much of the rod flexes when stressed. The larger amount of the rod that flexes the ‘slower’ the rod. Slower rods are easier to cast, create lighter presentations but create a wider loop on the forward cast that reduces casting distance and is subject to the effects of wind. Furthermore, the process of wrapping graphite fiber sheets to build a rod creates imperfections that result in rod twist during casting. Rod twist is minimized by orienting the rod guides along the side of the rod with the most ‘give’. This is done by flexing the rod and feeling for the point of most give or by using computerized rod testing.
Spinning rods are made from graphite or fiberglass with a cork or PVC foam handle, and tend to be between 5 and 8.5 feet (1.5–2.6 m) in length. Typically, spinning rods have anywhere from 5-8 guides arranged along the underside of the rod to help control the line. The eyes decrease in size from the handle to the tip, with the one nearest the handle usually much larger than the rest to allow less friction as the coiled line comes off the reel, and to gather the very large loops of line that come off the spinning reel’s spool.
Unlike bait casting and spin casting reels, the spinning reel hangs beneath the rod rather than sitting on top, and is held in place with a sliding or locking reel seat. The fisherman’s second and third fingers straddle the “leg” of the
reel where it is attached to the reel seat on the rod, and the weight of the reel hangs beneath the rod, which makes for a more comfortable way to fish for extended periods. This also allows the rod to be held in the fisherman’s dominant hand (the handle on most modern spinning reels is reversible) which greatly increases control and nuance applied to the rod itself. Spinning rods and reels are widely used in fishing for popular North American sport fish including bass, trout, pike and walleye. Popular targets for spinning in the UK and European continent are pike, perch, eel and zander (walleye). Longer spinning rods with elongated grip handles for two-handed casting are frequently employed for saltwater or steelhead and salmon fishing. Spinning rods are also widely used for trolling and still fishing with live bait.