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Where do folks prefer to balance a rod (with reel and line mounted)?  I'm most comfortable balancing at the index finger with a key grip.  I've read recently where someone balanced graphite rods in the middle of the grip.  That seems really close to the butt of the rod.  The reason I ask - I'm calculating swing weight in my taper database.  One or two inches will make a big difference in the calculation.  I've been using nine inches from the butt as the estimated location of the index finger.  Is that reasonable?  (David Bolin)

    Given the choice, I like the rod to balance on my second finger, but I also like my index  finger to hook around the end of the grip.

    When fishing, though, I've found that the balance doesn't really mean much.  The amount of line out, and the drag of the stream on the line all over ride any delicate balancing I may have done. 

    Getting the proper line weight, so the rod loads effortlessly, is far more important.  (Paul Gruver)

    I think that this balance point thing is a bit overemphasized. Some flyfishing store  salesman may have started the whole thing. As long as the reel is somewhere near appropriate for the rod, it will be OK. As soon as there is a bit of line in the air, the whole balance thing changes. Many old-time tournament casters didn't use reels on their rods. They just spooled off a bunch of line and put the reel down or in their pocket.

    I have a customer who was unhappy with his 8' 6 wt Orvis Battenkill because it didn't cast well. He had a huge saltwater reel, probably a 9 wt loaded with a WF6. Well, that was the extreme of a too-heavy reel. I took the reel off and spooled out some line, put the reel on the ground, and the rod cast great. He was happy that there was nothing wrong with the rod and I probably lost a sale.

    I've never seen anyone casting a rod balanced on a finger.  (Steve Weiss)

      I had a fella come into the store a few years back. He had gone to the west and flyfished last summer and the guide told him what a quick learner he was and a casting prodigy, in just a single day.  He came in to critique our sage rods he had read about. Well, to make a long story long, "Sage rods cast like crap!" (also very poorly balance).  We finally talked him in to a couple hours of instruction and it was just amazing how much those sage rods improved.  In just 2 hours!  Quick studies they was. Yep! Yep! Yep!  It's as true as I'm sitting here!  (Timothy Troester)

        It is a proven fact that some rods are smarter than others. Now the casters, that’s another subject all together. (Ray Wallace)

          Hmm, I suppose I accidentally pushed a on.  The idea was to standardize the COG and calculate the balancing weight at the butt as a proxy for MOI (modulus of inertia).  Swing weight is a common term for MOI as it is applied to golf clubs, tennis rackets and baseball bats.  Maybe I should just calculate the MOI and forget the weight thing.  As I understand it, MOI doesn't change as weight is added to the butt anyway.  The COG changes but not the MOI.  MOI would be useful when comparing the strength to weight ratio of several tapers.  Just because a rod weighs less overall does not mean that it will be lighter in hand, like a baseball bat.  MOI might also indicate how a rod will recover compared to other tapers.  A higher MOI might not recover as well as a lower MOI for the same line weight.  (David Bolin)


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