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I have read a number of references to dry fly and wet fly tips for the same rod, wet fly tapers, dry fly tapers etc.  Please could someone explain what the essential difference is. I presume it refers to differing 'stoutness' in the rod due to differing thickness in the taper, but exactly how much and where?   (Stephen Dugmore)

    Rods that are considered to be called  dry fly rods are often fast in action. They could be a 6' rod and anywhere up to an 8' or even longer. Usually this means that the the rod does most of it's bending in the tip section, allowing you to throw the tightest loops with pin point accuracy. If you were only casting to fish that are on the rise you'll probably prefer a rod like this.

    Wet fly rods are usually 8' or longer with some of the older wet fly rods measuring up to 10' in length. The longer length of these rods allowed the flyfisher to mend and control the fly line much easier then he could have with a shorter rod. These wet fly rods almost cast themselves, with a nice soft full flexing action. When fishing wets you'll end up casting hundreds of times a day and this slow action makes it much more enjoyable and less tiring to cast then if you were armed with a fast action dry fly rod. If you wade fast and want to cover a lot of water then the wet fly swing and one of these action rods will be hard to beat.  (Jim Bureau)


A couple of these most interesting rod design posts briefly mentioned design of the rod tip.  The posts were intriguing at least to me.

I do wonder if there is any connection between tip design -- that is the last 15 inches of the tip -- and rod accuracy.  There certainly is a need for some sort of compromise between making the tip very fine (for whatever reason) and making it thicker to avoid breakage, but beyond that, what is one to think about in general about this part of the rod design??

Don't know that I have phrased the question well . . . but will see.  (Ted Godfrey)

    The big caveat here is that, when casting the tip must not bend so that a tangent to it falls below the line extended in the air, otherwise accuracy and timing are impaired and the line lands anything but in a straight line, it's because the tip pulls the line back when its trying to go forward. Usually, this is caused by overlining and powering the cast too much. You can easily test it by really hauling a #7 line on a softish #6 rod. A thick tip, or one that is unnecessarily thick, to be more precise, is worse than a thin one as it has more mass and thus more inertia. It keeps vibrating up and down longer.

    The strangely thick tips you see are a pure production necessity, they are easier to make and less  prone to break by being abused. Some rod makers used the same tip diameter on most of their rods simply because this was as thin as they were prepared to plane, others because their kit would not actually adjust to fine tips.

    Leonard made some lovely fine tips, but they are not much fun, I tried to construct a 60 thousandths tip recently, as an extension to be cut off, just for fun, it was more trouble than the whole of the rest of the section, but my otherwise serviceable wooden form may not have helped. I need to upgrade to steel when I get at this again next year.

    If anyone in the UK therefore has a spare steel former then I am the buyer!  (Robin Haywood)


I just finished gluing another experimental tip for the 7 1/2 ft rod, taped on some guides and test cast it.   Casting it, and several other rods got me thinking about the way we design and build rods.   Even the often copied "Sir D," that almost all beginners and all building for someone who's never fished bamboo before are pointed to.

Before I became addicted to bamboo, I cast graphite and before that glass.  When I started casting glass was just coming into it's own and was a lot more like bamboo than graphite, Maybe the glass rods made me a little more willing to learn how to cast bamboo.   Over time I've come to realize bamboo and graphite SHOULD be cast differently.  To cast a good bamboo rod you should apply the least amount of power to deliver the cast.   Most (and I'm one of them) overpower bamboo,  probably because you can get away with it when casting graphite.  In fact graphite, being so light a material, often demands it.

And that brings us to today's popular tapers.  Most are designed around making bamboo feel more like graphite -- to compensate for the tendency of the caster to overpower his tool.

I wonder if we're making progress, or going backward?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    Some of us came to bamboo exactly for the qualities it excels in, allowing the caster to feel the cast and let the rod do the work. I like rods I can feel flex and balance the power vs. feel to get my ideal rods. I can actually cast graphite better now that I've been casting cane for the last 10 years, but I despise it for how hard it makes me work. I feel that the only reason some of us are making faster cane are to get more of the graphite crowd interested. I have a recent acquaintance that liked fast rods and has bought a few faster cane rods until he picked up a Payne 100 clone that I have and I almost didn't get it back. I think we overestimate the need of the graphite crowd to have a fast action rod when they first cast cane. (Bill Walters)


How do you view the different parts of the rod as contributing to the overall cast and fishability of the rod?

Tip, mid, butt. Do you think each part offers something different to a rod, or do you think they blend and therefor cannot be  distinguished from each other. Or, is this too subtle to think about? (doesn't matter)

For-instance, Does the tip taper control the loop size? If so, how does it do that. Or, does it contribute to sensitivity so we don't  break tippets when setting the hook and fighting a fish?   (Jerry Foster)

    I've heard Ron Barch expound on this and I believe that there is a section in Maurer's book, which deals with this.  I believe Maurer suggests that you make some experimental rod sections as a three-piece rod and interchange different sections to determine the effects on action.  I know when I'm playing around with tapers, I like to make three-piece rods and experiment with these by making several different tips.  My observations on tips are that the last 1/6 of the rod does not make very much difference in the overall feel.  But it does seem to me that a finer tip in the last 1/6 makes it easier for me to make tight loops.  When you make the whole tip finer in my experience, although this speeds up the rod, space It tends to reduce the power, because I think it doesn't transfer the stress down to the middle right.  Just a few of my off the top of my head ideas.  (Doug Easton)

      I wonder if when we talk about a rod's power, are we talking about  the rod under power from the casting motion, or the rods ability to  rebound after the stop and finish the cast for us? Maybe finer tips  flop out of the way and foreshorten the rod, making for tighter loops.  (Jerry Foster)

        When the tip foreshortens it is, I think, harder to  load the rest of the rod, and the tip is slow on recovery. False casting such a rod requires a faster stroke and better timing. Of course I am talking about holding the rest of the rod constant. I have put the same mid and butt with different tips into Hexrod. As I remember, when you weaken the whole tip the peak stress moves forward and is very steep. If you  manipulate the top of the  mid to compensate e.g. Reduce the diameter a bit you end up with a Sir D.  (Doug Easton)


Through the years I have read that weak tips cause waves in the line. However, I have never heard an explanation of this phenomenon. Could someone enlighten me?  (Jerry Foster)

    You rabble rouser, are you trying to drag the discussion from the classic rod forum over here?

    I've heard the same, though I've also be told that too heavy a tip will cause bounce from over-swing.

    I'm not sure where the truth lies, and I haven't done any investigating on my own (yet).

    I'm curious what responses you're  gonna get.   (Chris Obuchowski)

    I fear I framed the question incorrectly..AGAIN.

    I was considering:

    Too Stiff

    Just right (no waves)

    Too Light

    However, I now realize there probably no way to ask the question properly.  (Jerry Foster)

      The problem is to determine, too weak by whose standards?  OK, if you overpower your forward cast, the tip will osculate (bounce back an forth a couple of times) inducing waves into the line.  To get rid of the waves, lighten up!  Ease off on the forward stroke or use a lighter line or both.

      I suppose too powerful a stroke on a really stiff rod could cause the midsection to osculate as well.   It's the same thing, though, if you are getting waves in your line, you need to lighten up.

      It's not a design defect, rather a design difference and a casting defect.  (Paul Gruver)

        So, you're saying the tip will kiss the line (oscillate) and cause waves?  I know kissing the wrong woman causes waves, but.  (Neil Savage)

        So from that I gather all this  taper stuff is just a load of hooey. Rods don't throw waves, only casters do. Interesting.  (Jerry Foster)

          I think the wave of fly line is caused by the overpower of a caster even if the rod's tip is stiff when the line release is made downward strongly. This is because the tip top will force down the line. I experimented to throw a line by TWO FINGERS. This wave seems to be solid and happen at the front part of the loop. The shaped wave is one or two.

          On the other hand, another kind of waves might be caused by the design of tip tops.  This kind of loop seems to be weak and happens through the line from the top of the loop to the tip top, that is scalloping.

          Let's think about these;

          Too thin tip top might not join to accelerate the fly line. It joins but does not join effectively, I mean. Tip top always (?) be beaten by the force of inertia generated by the line.

          Then what would accelerate the line while casting.  Probably it is eligible part of the rod (effective length?), next to tip tops, or further next part. Tip tops are just accompanying to others.

          What would happen after the line is released from the rod, Tip top would vibrate differently in comparison to the eligible part of the rod.

          Then why we dare to design thin tip tops? Some of us may want to do something for a short distance with less power to control very light leader and tipets with a fly by the tip.  Or, dare to design it for roll casting ease.

          I see similar thing in a casting which puts a strong force at the middle of the  casting prior  to the final stage of casting. Acceleration, for instance, is made in such a manner of 1G, 2G, 5G, 3G. Prior to the line release at the end, the line is already receives the maximum acceleration by 5g.  When the rod is stopped after 3G acceleration, it just join to vibrate the line. Too thin tip tops seem be easier to make this kind of thing happens.

          Once I made a rod which is introduced on the Rodmakers site before. It is designed to cope with the clients request for both of 4wt and 5wt by two tips. I made a 4wt rod copying its taper.  It was just such kind of a rod.  5wt butt and 4wt tip. It always made waves.  (Max Satoh)

            I remember once a 2/piece 8' for a #5 I built.  I thought it was a very sweet rod.  I could throw a narrow well formed loop without any wave with no difficulty at all.  I thought it was a very well designed rod.  However the guy I built it for came back crying that it did nothing but shoot waves.  I told him to ease up on his stroke and he still got lots of waves. I showed hum that it was not the rod, but the caster that determined the wave action.  He never could get the timing right.  I built a new tip for the rod that had the grace and elegance of a baseball bat and he was thrilled.  I thought it was a real klutzy rod.  What I am trying to say is that I still think that the casting stroke is the ultimate factor in wavy line.  The design may be contributory, but a good caster should be able to overcome any design differences.  (Ralph Moon)

              The grace and elegance of a baseball bat" ,what a description!! That's the first time I ever heard it put that way! Thanks for putting a big smile on my face this morning :^)  (Will Price)

            I kind of thought Max would come very close to my understanding.  We (on the list) have talked many times about the cast up to the stop, the start of spring portion of the action.

            General understanding was that the rod must continue to accelerate through the cast (including after the stop). This goes back to the conversations about energy transfer.

            There is one other variable that comes into play here. Time. (Ralph just brought it up too) The timing here is exactly when the line passes the tip and starts to form a loop.

            My theory is that a tip section which is not strong enough to straighten in sync with the rest of the rod will decelerate. If the line passes the tip before the rod is straight then the path of the tip as the force passes through Zero (and the rod will naturally straighten) will generate a wave. This will also be farther exacerbated as the line load is exerted on the tip and the tip is dragged down and forward generating another wave. Max's point of the overthrow of the rod do to inertia will also come into play. I think this type of weakness in a rod will result in standing waves. On the other hand I have a rod with a tip that is a tad to stiff and it appears to throw a 1 " traveling wave down the line, It's kind of neat.

            Ralph and others who give the caster most of of the responsibility, I agree. Except in the case where you must soften the cast so much that the weaker tip will no longer have enough energy to turn the fly over. And the other issue of each persons natural casting style. If I must alter my stroke while fishing in an unnatural manner I may not like the rod.

            Ralph, that was also my point about rodmakers of the future having the tools to analyze someone's casting style and build a rod the suits them exactly. Today, we still make rods that we like, much like the graphite guys, and these rods don't always fit a prospective customer.   (Jerry Foster)

      (Sigh) Another all to innocent looking question Jerry. I do think Max has a point. If the butt delivers more energy than the tip can absorb, where is it going to go? I think it can cause oscillation, but it depends on the design of the tip. If you take a smoothly designed 3 weight tip, and mate it with a 4 or 5 weight butt do you get oscillation? I don't think so. I think you get a rod that will cast the 4 or 5 weight line slow and short. Possibly, you will get a tailing loop. I think the oscillation comes from a design problem, that is made more apparent as excess power is applied. Some sort of a hinge would be my guess, but I do not have chapter and verse on that one, and I suspect there is more than one way to mess up.

      So let me tell you a story. Earlier this year I made an 8 foot 3 weight with a hollow butt, and a step down tip, trying to get a spring creek rod for bank fishing that would carry a lot of line high in the air. Frankly, I screwed up, and somehow missed the taper on the light side at the 15, 10, and 5" stations. It was not able to cast the 3 weight line for any distance, but would cast a 2 weight, just not feeling like a 2 weight because of the weight. Recently, I took another shot at the tip, beefing up the taper slightly at the 5" mark, and otherwise hitting the numbers. Being anxious to try it, I took it fishing with one coat of varnish. It carried a lot of line, and shot line well in short quarters, but had tip wobble. I was baffled, but liked the rod enough to put a couple more coats of varnish on the tip. A strange thing happened. No more tip wobble.

      The tip was little more than a week old, and glued with Epon. Was the glue still soft, or would a couple coats of varnish make the difference?

      Oh yeah, and the 2 weight tip? It is tapered like a parabolic.  I'm going to make a 3 foot parabolic butt so I'll have a parabolic 7 foot 2 weight with an offset ferrule. If it works, I'll claim it as a work of genius. Well, maybe not here :-(  (Tom Smithwick)

    You know this discussion is fascinating, but to what end?  Waves are in my opinion simply a matter of excessive power input.  Now a fly rod is a tool.  The purpose of the tool is to catch fish.  Since most fish seem to be effectively caught at thirty feet or less (this is not an absolute) why do we need extra power.  IE: why do we need to be concerned with the difficult question of modifying the taper when the easy solution is to modify the input energy.  (IE:  teach people how to cast) I think we are searching for the Holy Grail and everyone knows the answer to that.  However since we are all experimenters at heart, perhaps we can instead of coming up with a single all purpose taper designed to minimize wave action  simply make a recommendation of just a few (3-4) with varying response to energy input.  I am not trying to criticize any one since as I have said, the discussion is fascinating.  (Ralph Moon)

      How about thinking of rods like golf clubs? A putter doesn't make a good driver, and a 6' small stream rod doesn't make a very good rod for casting in a distance tournament. You can't have one tool and  make it work perfect for all situations. If you try to overpower that 6 footer it's not going to throw a perfect loop.  (Joe Arguello)

        Your statement on golf clubs is right on. I was showing my rods just this past weekend to a golfer friend whose question was "Just how many rods do you need?" My answer was "just how many golf clubs do you need?". I proceeded to explain that just as in golf we may need a different " club" depending on the situation at hand.  (Bill Bixler)

      "The purpose of the tool is to catch fish" Well said.  (Bill Fink)

      This has nothing to do with waves, really.

      And no Ralph this has no practical use.

      When we stop the cast, No additional force being applied by the caster. Isn't the unspringing of the rod only governed by the momentum of the rod (mathematically). Maybe + a little resistance from air, gravity, and the line (and I guess the residual (extra) power that makes waves)? What I am interested in, is how far the rod overthrows naturally while casting a line. (Jerry Foster)

        I agree with your desire to know how far the rod overthrows naturally.   I guess that every rod must at one time or another, but still can't the caster's second or third cast begin to overread that overthrow and by modifying hus cast get rid of it?  (Ralph Moon)

        I think the conservation of energy law works when a rod casts fly line.

        Just before when we stop the rod,  I expect the rod is bent enough. This bent is made by the force of inertia generated by the line on my back, top guide, bamboo blank, line on rod, ferrule, glue and varnish, etc..

        As a result, so called momentum is stored over the rod.  Momentum is the sum of all those kinds of moment, calculated along  the rod.

        We can consider two kind of forces work on the rod when the rod stops.

        1. Momentum which tries to unspring=momentum gathered by the force of inertia. (theoritically)

        2. Inertia which works when the rod tries to stop from its move.

        The force 1 is just like when releasing an arrow from your bow. It throws the arrow by only the unspring power of the bow. Oh yeah (so so), exactly like bow casting.

        The force 2 depends on how the caster moves the rod before stop. This is like the riding shoot of bow and arrow.   In addition to the force 1,  the horse speed is added to the arrow.  When the horse makes a sudden stop, the rider jumps forward with bow. (I mean you push the rod forward and the rod itself moves forward while it is fully deflected.  Tip top moves forward from the original position. It means the tip top already accelerates (pulls) the line prior to the unspring of the rod.)

        When  the  force  1  tries  to  throw  the  line,  if  the line is pre-accellerated by the cause of the force 2, the force 1 can throw the line easier. If the cause of force2 is less, like a bow, rod momentum only tries to throw the line.

        In general, the distance of a flying material depends on the angle to which direction it is shoot out.  45 degrees above the horizon?

        How far depends on:

        • how much the fly line is accelerated backward before casting forward
        • how fast the caster moves the rod
        • how the caster moves the rod, translated? or rotated?
        • how heavy is the rod
        • which direction the line is shooted out
        • how stiff or soft is the rod
        • how far the caster wants to throw
        • how nicely the rod is stopped
        • how good the rod is designed (I don't know how of this yet)

        Excited?  (Max Satoh)

          I think the archery analogy is not relevant. I see similarities, but not enough to make a comparison, except maybe glue.

          Lets just talk about the rod.

          Assume the line is traveling parallel to the ground (false casting)

          The line speed at the end of the backcast is almost nill. A backcast and a forecast are the same to the rod.

          All of your points are the subtleties of rod behavior (except speed, which relates to power), all important, but isn't the only power source, after you stop your hand, the power contained in the deflected rod. All other aspects are resistance to/components of the speed at which the rod can recover.

          Personally wagging an unloaded rod back and forth tells me nothing, but I am obviously numb. A rod loaded with line acts totally differently to me.

          This is another tuff subject.  (Jerry Foster)

          If a caster wants to learn how to build tempo, have him learn how to cast with his hand (Lefty Kreh style) and once he gets this down then casting with either bamboo or plastic, will be a snap. If a caster can get out more than 20 feet without wrapping his head in line then he should have no problem casting a properly (et al) made bamboo rod.  (Rudy Rios)

    I'm thinking that this is a problem in someone's cast.

    One possible fix is to "STOP" the rod, then relax slightly. It is a technique to reduce the natural "resonance" of the rod. You can do it by slightly lessoning your grip right after the stop and or lowering the rod tip. It is a muscle memory action that you can train yourself to do or develop. If it is that much of a problem, video yourself and over exaggerate the motions and then dampen the portion of the cast post stop.

    When I read this topic, it sounds like a problem in the cast, not the rod.

    Orvis used this as a advertisement ploy in some of their old plastic rod ads if I'm not mistaken.

    Arrow straight casts with tight loops are obtainable with conventional bamboo fly rods without any of these odd thoughts creeping into your casting stroke. It is my thoughts that make me think that this wave induction is a process of overpowering the cast with poor technique.

    I've only had this sort of thought out on the flats when I wasn't catching any fish. When the fishing is good, there is no thought of waves.

    Just another perspective.

    It's an interesting thread though.  (Adam Trahan)

    After reading all of these post, and the prospect of having to go out and split more fire wood, I took 4 rods of different tapers up to the river to see what waves they had at different strokes in the cast. I found all would make waves from Garrison to a very light tip 7'8" 3 wt. but all could be taken out with a little change in the casting stroke. As tip's get lighter, I feel the stop need to be more of a hesitation and follow thru. In fact I seem to do this more on most rods.  Now is  a wave in the line always a bad thing? I think in spring creek slack line casting it helps. I speed up the forward cast and stop to slack down river. Maybe this isn't the input you guys want, just some input from a troutbum not a maker.  (David Roberts)


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