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Had one of those spiritual awakenings this last weekend. 

I've been working of a rod for a friend who's been looking down his nose at bamboo for some time.   I told him we'd trade rods, and whoever paid the least for material got to make up the difference. 

Because this guy always fishes graphite, I made the taper a little faster than other rods I've rebuilt. 

So I was down to the "let's test this sucker out" point, just before putting the name on the rod, under a good coat of wax.  Took it out and fished it. 

It casts fine.  It catches fish.   It IS fast. 

After about an hour I realized my wrist was getting tired.   Why?   I think the rod isn't well balanced. (no not that it needs a bigger reel, it's a 7’ 4 WT for gosh sake.)  

I think the rod is too stiff in the bottom 2/3.  I think that a rod with more flex is easier to cast because you don't have to get all the mass moving at the same time.   With a slightly slower (not slow) rod you're able to put less effort in getting things moving.

Anyone have similar experiences?  Any comments?  Is my theory good or bad?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    I might have worded it differently, but your point is correct. The more weight you put in a taper , and the farther away from the grip it is, the more tiring the rod will be to use. Assuming reasonable tapers, I consider a progressive action rod to be by far more comfortable to cast than either a fast or parabolic taper. I can out cast the progressive action with either of the others, but we are talking about comfort. I remain a big fan of Garrison. I think his much maligned tapers give you plenty of casting power, with the minimum of weight.  (Tom Smithwick)

    Good Terry.  (Ralph Moon)

    You are correct Sir! EC Powell who was a rodmaking genius and made rods with specific tapers to achieve specific results stated that his "A" Dry Fly Rods would make your wrist and arm tired due to the increase in taper in the lower part of the rod. These "A" rods could be made in several degrees from mild to extreme. You may want to read EC Powell treatise on Fly Fishing.  (Adam Vigil)

    I agree completely with your theory. I like slower action progressive taper rods, especially for lake and beach fishing where a lot of long casts are required.

    Stiff rods require a lot of effort to cast. Sometimes I think that's why people like them - they don't have to learn the timing & rhythm of the rod - just apply a lot of brute force & watch the line fly across the fly shop parking lot a few times. Actual fishing is a different matter altogether, and after an hour or so you really appreciate a progressive action rod.  (Tom Bowden)

    Go up a line weight and it may flex further down and slow the action. Let us know.

    I have had rods come alive and have that easy feel after going up a line weight.  (Steve Weiss)

    Sounds like a good, sound explanation for what I too have noticed. One of my favorite rods is an Orvis with a slow action and its an easy rod to fish all day. I've also had fast, wind-sticks that wiped out my arm after a few hours. I always thought it was the weight but your explanation makes more sense.  (Bill Walters)

    Yes, faster rods feel heavier to me when casting. For the reason why - I came to the same conclusion you did. Having to slow down, stop, and then accelerate in the opposite direction more of the rod at the same time than a slower or parabolic rod.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    Just a suggestion but try a different weight line on the rod.  You started with a 4 wt. If it was a 4 WT WF try a 4 WT DT, then a 5 wf then a 5 DT The heaver the line the deeper your rod will bend.  I think that you may find a line that you like better on the rod. Rods are not always the weight they are supposed to be and not always the same weight for every person, we all have different likes and dislikes.

    Experiment with lines if you can I think you might be surprised.  (David Ray)

    A fast rod is generally stiffer (a higher spring rate - lower deflection for the same loading force) towards the rod grip. If the rod weight is fixed, the stiffer rod can not recover elastically as much of the kinetic energy that has been imparted to it by the caster. This requires more work by the caster which reflects in the rod appearing to be heavier.  that is why the "plastic" rod shops want to make the rods lighter and lighter so the caster does not have to work so hard - remember it is force = time rate of change of momentum - and momentum is the mass x velocity. So if one makes the bamboo rod softer towards the rod grip, more kinetic energy is recovered and stored in the rod while making all those false casts. This requires less work = force x displacement  by the caster. Thus, the caster does not feel as tired at the end of the day.

    I hope this helps - Claude - correct me if I made a mistake in writing what I was thinking.  (Frank Paul)

      Sounds good to me, Frank.  I would find it difficult to argue with you - after all, you're the physics professor - I'm just an old duffer who still has a very active curiosity. (Claude Freaner)

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