Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Avoiding the Mismatch

Having everything working together can make such a difference. There is a direct relationship between rod length and line weight, line head length and taper, leader length, thickness, and size of fly. It will be next to impossible to consistently cast well, a big, heavy wet sock of a fly using a long thin leader, light, finely tapered line, and a short, light rod. Suppose all we have is a short 8/9 rod and we have these big, heavy casting flies that we want to use. A heavy, compact head with blunt taper plus a short, thick leader of about 3’ or 4’ will make this a very castable rig. Then given the short leader, we’ll have to use a relatively fast sinking sinktip and a sharply angled downstream cast to get the fly to the fish with an acceptable presentation. This entire arrangement of equipment and casting angle is being driven by the size of the fly. Change this to something smaller and easier to get out of the water, then the rest of the dynamic changes.

This problem of mismatched gear is one of the more common ones seen on the river. Anglers have trouble getting flies out of the water, or if they do the flies won’t turn over. Then there are sinktips that are too heavy or too long for the line, so the turnover is poor. Then we have cases where the length of the line doesn’t match the rod, like an 80’ long belly on a 12’ rod or one that’s far too heavy or too light.

One of the surest ways to avoid the mismatch:

  • start by deciding on what type of presentation we want to make,
  • then the angle of the cast needed to get that job done,
  • then select the fly,
  • then pick the line sink rate, sinktip and/or leader needed to get the fly where it has to go,
  • then decide on the line needed to get all that out there,
  • next pick the type of cast needed to get cast the line, sinktip and fly,
  • use the best rod to do that job,
  • finally we need a reel to hold the line and backing.

  • Notice that the rod and reel are the last two items on the list,