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The Evolution Of Fly Fishing Rods

Fly rods have come a long way. Centuries ago, they were constructed of primitive material such as bamboo. These days, they're built from materials that are more durable and allow more action. While the type of fly rods built long ago offered few choices, there are several types available today. Each has a different purpose and is best-suited for particular circumstances. In this article, you'll discover the evolution of fly fishing rods. You'll also learn a few practical tips that you can use today to purchase and care for your fly rod.

The Bamboo Fly Rod

The Chinese were among the first cultures to practice fly fishing. They made their fly rods from a type of bamboo called Tonkin Cane, one of the most durable species. The high density of the fibers within Tonkin Cane provided the leverage, flexibility and strength they needed to play the fish. Though other materials are used today to build fly rods, bamboo rods are still used occasionally in certain parts of the world. Indeed, collectors have been known to pay thousands of dollars for antique bamboo rods.

Fly Rods Today

Though fiberglass fly rods had a brief moment of popularity after World War II, modern rods are usually made from a carbon fiber and graphite composite. These newer rods are typically stiffer than the bamboo rods and are less expensive to produce. The grip is made from cork and provides both traction and comfort that are unparalleled by other materials. Some rods can be broken down into 2 or more pieces (convenient for traveling). When this is the case, the carbon and graphite composite used to build the rods provides a consistent level of action and strength in the joints.

Why Length Matters

Fly rods are usually longer than those used for cast fishing. The length of the rod used is usually dependent upon the type of fly fishing being performed. For example, shorter fly rods are well-suited for freshwater fishing while longer rods are more appropriate when fishing for salmon and steelhead. They can range from 6 feet to 15 feet and usually weigh about 4 ounces (though the weight can vary). For larger fish such as tarpon (which can weigh over 100 lbs.), a longer and heavier rod is recommended.

Cleaning Your Fly Rod

Many anglers neglect to clean their fly rods. But, it's an easy task, doesn't require much time and can impact how successful you are while fly fishing. The cork grip becomes soiled quickly. The oil from your hands along with residue from the fish and water can accumulate. Any liquid household cleaner should remove the bulk of the grime. If your rod breaks down into pieces, make sure you clean the ferrules after every 3 or 4 uses. That will ensure your rod maintains its action and flexibility. For the length of the rod, you can use a household furniture cleaner such as Pledge. Spray gently and use a terry cloth to polish.

A Fly Rod Can Make An Angler

From bamboo and fiberglass to carbon fiber and graphite, today's fly fishing rods are designed to give the angler the edge he needs to catch his prey. A good fly rod (assuming it's well-chosen for the type of angling you're doing) will provide strength, durability and flexibility. But, to prolong its life, you need to keep your rod well-maintained. Take the time to clean the grip, ferrules (if your fly rod has joints) and the rod blank. The small details matter. You'll likely discover that a good fly rod can literally make a proficient angler.