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Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Jim Williams (---.pivot.net)
Date: August 20, 2022 07:41AM

Hello. I have not been on here for years. Life took me away from rod building. I still have an old question never answered. Perhaps not posted here. Anyway.....I like to balance a fly rod on a book end where my index finger would rest on the cork handle with a line running out thru the guides and lying on the ground....and hanging a cut in half plastic water bottle cup with bb's until I find the balance weight. Does anyone else do this or is it a waste of time? How would one find a reel to match the rod? I have pondered how to build a butt end where one could add or take off weights like washers maybe....to balance a rod. I don't think I know of any kits to do this.

Any comments would be appreciated.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Ron Weber (---)
Date: August 20, 2022 08:21AM

Only thing I can add to this, I what happens to your balance point in the back cast, fore cast, line drift in different water conditions, and when you are fighting a fish?

Ron Weber

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Tom Ciannilli (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net)
Date: August 20, 2022 09:53AM

If your reel is way too light to balance your fly rod an easy way to balance my fly rod is to add weight to the reel by buying lead tape used in golf clubs and wrap it around the spool and wind your line over it. Obviously the reel must be lighter and not heavier to balance the rod. Just add the amount of weight to balance your rod with your fly line and backing. You can tape the weight to the reel. The lead tape is easily cut with scissors to get the right amount of weight. When things are just right strip off the backing and line and add the weighted tape to the inside of the spool and add your backing and line. One tip is because the tape will take up some space on the spool, mark the spot on the spool where the backing meets the fly line and spool the backing to that point.

I've never really seen any difference in casting a rod that is balanced or not, but 90% of the time you are holding the rod and not casting when fishing and it's very tiresome to fight a tip or butt heavy rod all day.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: David Baylor (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: August 20, 2022 10:21AM

Tom, I am not a fly fisherman, but the method you just described is an awesome way of going about it. Not something that would have even come to my mind were I looking to do what Jim is looking to do.

And the tip of marking the spot on the spool where backing meets fly line is excellent. A lot of people don't think of those things going in.

Ingenious suggestions all around!!

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (45.141.121.---)
Date: August 20, 2022 11:08AM

I only fly fish - and only in salt water - I remember struggling with this same thing 25 yrs ago.
But from a practical point of view:
I have (too many) reels from 6+ oz to 9 oz. I can't say that I find much, if any difference.
Your fly line is mostly off the reel in your stripping basket or on the boat's deck. So, that lightens things up.
More importantly, while retrieving, the rod tip SHOULD be in the water no matter on a boat or wading.
So, weight is much reduced by that.

There are some fly rods (not CTS) that are tip heavy and maybe could be balanced better.

But IMO , a reel of 7-8 oz will feel fine without counterweights in most instances.
Herb
CTS

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.inf6.spectrum.com)
Date: August 20, 2022 11:27AM

What is the desired outcome of balancing a fly rod and reel, and where should this balance point be? Should this balance occur when all the fly line is reeled in or when you are waving 20 or 30 feet of fly line during a cast? I have always wondered about this.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2022 11:51AM by Phil Ewanicki.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Tom Ciannilli (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net)
Date: August 20, 2022 12:06PM

Phil Ewanicki Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What is the desired outcome of balancing a fly rod
> and reel, and where should this balance point be?
> Should this balance occur when all the fly line is
> reeled in or when you are waving 20 0r 30 feet of
> fly line during a cast? I have always wondered
> about this.

The balance point is not really affected very much by the amount of line out the tip. Get the balance close and you will naturally move your hand up or down the grip a fraction of an inch to achieve a decent balance.

Back-in-the-day, before I really knew much about fly-fishing I had a really mismatched reel-heavy outfit use to get a blister on the back of my hand because I gripped the rod around the reel seat and against the reel to compensate for a reel way to heavy to balance the outfit. The reverse of that is finding yourself gripping the rod above the cork onto the blank when fishing out the cast to compensate for a tip-heavy rod.


I've helped a lot of fly anglers with this when I ran a fly shop and taught FFing classes, and my first recommendation has always been to find a reel that balances out a rod right from the start if you can. But if the rod and reel you own doesn't balance out, you can always add weight to make fishing it more pleasurable. If your reel is too heavy, the only thing you can do is match it up on longer and/or heavier weight rods.

One final thing, new reels are generally lighter than older ones in order to accommodate the lighter weight rods of today (actual rod weight not "rating" like 4 weight, 5 weight, etc.) so it may be a challenge to match up an older reel with a newer lightweight graphite rod. Save the older reels for an older glass or boo rod. IMO, they look better with a vintage reel attached anyway.

Good luck.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.inf6.spectrum.com)
Date: August 20, 2022 12:21PM

Where is the ideal balance point for a fly rod/line/reel combination, and should this balance point be measured while the line is all wound on the reel, or measured while the rod/reel/ line are being used and the weight of the line is being swung back-and-forth beyond the rod tip-top while a cast is being made? I always wondered if this balance is a static or a dynamic measurement - dynamic like casting is a dynamic activity.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2022 12:24PM by Phil Ewanicki.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 20, 2022 01:29PM

The rod should balance in your hand at the grip with it slightly tipping down toward the tip, when you have the amount of line stripped out that you usually cast. I have found that light is not always better and a heavier grip depending on the reel can help "balance the rod" to where it feels it will move with less effort. The fly line can totally change everything when you have 40' of line in the air and the weight of the body of the line and even the type of tip section. It's "dynamic" as Phil said and I believe the end purpose is to cast with as little effort as possible to where you are not thinking about it. The only way to know for sure is put everything together and try it out. I am not going to claim I am an excellent caster, but I catch fish with my not so perfect cast and I know when the rod feels right.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Jeff Shafer (---.s3309.c3-0.atw-cbr4.atw.pa.cable.rcncustomer.com)
Date: August 20, 2022 03:40PM

I own and fish a considerable number of fiberglass fly rods. Some are fished with a four weight line and some are fished with a five weight line. These two lines are mounted on two reels that I use for 90% of my fishing (and lots of lawn casting). Presenting dry flies and catching trout is usually not a problem for me. What I’m getting at is all of those rods balance at different locations, but usually 1” to 2-1/2” beyond my cork grip. Over the years I’ve considered building added weight into the butt sections, but haven’t done so because adding static weight to my rods was never appealing to me.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.inf6.spectrum.com)
Date: August 20, 2022 07:14PM

People who power their fly-casts with their wrist have reason to balance their rods - to reduce strain. People who power their fly-casts with their hauling arm seldom think about balancing their rod, since their wrists have little to do with their casts. Different strokes . . .

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: August 21, 2022 12:20AM

I used to advocate balancing, but I bought a bunch of Lamson Litespeeds at guide price when they first came out and haven't thought about it since.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Jim Williams (---.pivot.net)
Date: August 21, 2022 08:15AM

It is just my preference. There might be many others who prefer this. Perhaps not just me. Actually I think I like my fly rods to balance somewhere between the index finger and the middle finger. I have not noticed any negatives to this when fishing and casting and using it. So it is just what I prefer. If I am walking a mile or more to get to a stream or pond to fish.....I like the rod just naturally horizontal to mother earth. Or I am sitting in a boat with someone and he is running the boat 5-6 miles to some place to fish....I would possibly be holding the rod in my hand. I just prefer it being balanced.....
After my wife of 38 years lost a 4 year battle with cancer.....I went to Colorado and sat on a lake and howled at the moon for six months. I bought a laptop and Verizon internet service to keep up with bills at home. I happened onto flyanglersonline.com. I commenced daily looking at "Thins For Sale" and bought a ton of rods and reels. Didn't realize at the time it was some way of coping with my sorrow. I did not look for a new companion.....I had one for 38 years. Now I have too many rods and reels and am going to try to sell them off. But I do care about what reel to go on what rod and the balance thing. I think it would be a good feature for a custom rod builder to offer some method in his rod builds to vary the weight of the reel end of the rod. I think I would with a fighting but and some way of adding weight between the bighting butt and the attachment to the rod itself. That's just me.....Incurable Optimist with Insatiable curiosity. Thank you all for your comments and messages. 'tis good information for me.....'tis why I posted the question......

Seriously & Sincerely,

Jim

never ten words or less.....unless talking to my wife....which I no longer can do until I get to heaven......

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.inf6.spectrum.com)
Date: August 21, 2022 11:22AM

I get it, Jim. We all are entitled to our personal tastes. What bugs me are claims of superior performance without a whit of evidence. Enjoy your balanced fly rod.

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Dale Thompson (---)
Date: September 07, 2022 05:29PM

Jim nailed it with "If I am walking a mile or more to get to a stream or pond to fish.....I like the rod just naturally horizontal to mother earth".

I always weigh my rods and find the reel weight needed to balance where I naturally hold the rod while walking. I find the weigh that will balance and then subtract 1 ounce for line/backing. Then I get the right reel. I find this is the most comfortable weight for casting, too.(probably just fortuitous!) I build fly rods and the occasional spinning rod and I fish mostly small streams and rivers, so a lot of walking. I want the rod/reel to balance while walking because tip heavy or butt heavy is more stress on the wrist.

Spencer: "I used to advocate balancing, but I bought a bunch of Lamson Litespeeds at guide price when they first came out and haven't thought about it since"
You are still balancing, except this is called balancing the budget. Smart

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Re: Fly Rod Balance and Reel Weight
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.inf6.spectrum.com)
Date: September 08, 2022 10:49AM

When I walk a mile (or even a hundred yards) off-road with my fly rod I carry it broken down into four pieces. Even though my rod is much less "balanced" than it is while assembled It makes the trip much easier.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2022 12:36PM by Phil Ewanicki.

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