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I have a guy that I went on my trip with and he was interested in a 7' 9" 4 wt 2 piece. Could I take Don Anderson’s 5 wt and deduct .005" from each station (totaling .010" diameter reduction) and give that a go, or would that be a bad idea. Or, better yet, has anyone built a rod like this that they like? If so, could you share the taper?  (Eamon Lee)

    I took Don Anderson’s Dimensions for his 7'9" 5 wt and asked Hexrod to change it to a 4 wt keeping the same stresses. It is saved in the Hexrod library as rod ID EL794. Have a look a let me know what you all think.  (Eamon Lee)

      I actually wound up building two of these and they are descent rods. Not great, but pleasant. No big character, but an easily serviceable "long life rod".  (Eamon Lee)

      When you change the line weight on a specific stress curve, using Hexrod, always run the dimensions back through to get a more accurate stress curve.  Then, if you want, you can adjust the dimensions to more closely match the original stress curve.  (David Dziadosz)

        I always do as David suggests, and tweaking the numbers until I get them as close as possible to the originals. There is more latitude with which to work on larger weight rods.  Smaller rods will come  out dead-on, and there's no room for tweaking.  (Martin-Darrell)

    When I've adjusted a taper, I've worked with percentages as opposed to specific amounts.  The affect of a .010" reduction at the tip would be more significant than a .010" reduction at the butt, and with percentages you reduce the rods entire profile on a more equal basis.  So if you reduce the dimensions by 10% you might get closer to what you want to do, than by reducing an even .010" throughout.  This is just theory, with no practical proof on my part. I've never adjusted one of Don Anderson’s tapers, so I have no idea how this sort of adjustment affects that specific rod.  (Chris McDowell)


I messed up one section of roughed splines, so I have to shorten the next rod.  Looking through Wayne’s book of 6’ and 6’3” 4 wt tapers, how can I tell which is going to be faster actioned?  (Peter Van Schaack)

    Look at the Hexrod stress curves to get an idea of each taper's feel.  Hexrod models a rod as a cantilever beam and calculates the bending stress along the rod's length.  While many have correctly argued that this calculation is not accurate, the shape of the Hexrod stress  curve will be an indicator of a taper's "speed."  All tapers will show a low bending stress near the tip and then the stress will rise to a peak as you go down the rod toward the handle.  Past that stress peak at usually 10 to twenty inches below the tip, the shape of the stress curve is the indicator.  A fast rod will show lower stress values toward the butt end.  A parabolic taper show lower stress toward the middle of the rod and then a bending stress increase toward the handle.  A slow action will show a relatively constant stress along its length.  So, the shape of the stress curve is the indicator

    Making sense of the stress value is trickier.  Here, you must remember a comment made by Wayne at Grayrock.  Each stress curve in his book is shown using a double taper line and at the casting length determined subjectively to be the practical maximum.  Thus a four weight shown with a line length of 50 feet will be a more powerful rod than one shown with a line length of 40 feet.  Wayne's book shows fewer stress curves than it does tapers and does not make it clear which curve is for which taper.  You can bet that the publisher took some liberties with Wayne's manuscript.  You can look at the Rodmakers taper file to get individual curves with line length info for many of Wayne's tapers.  If the design that you are considering is not there, then you will have to run the calculation yourself.  (John Sabina)

      Some how I missed the original question - perhaps it got lost in the Viagra spam - John gave an excellent overview of of stress curves and tip impact factors - the discussion can become very deep. To preface - a rod taper can be very personal - it can be as specific to be reflective of a particular stream - a hatch - and the person casting the rod - there are no set standards - or ideal that can be easily shared. Over the years the Garrison mathematica has been used as somewhat the standard (I was not the first or the only one to computerize it) for those feeling that stress curves are a valid indicator of a rods 'Character' - I have come to use that word more than any to try to explain this methodology. A stress curve represents a character -  when a tip  impact factor is added to the mix - you generate a taper - the other factor is the number of sections and the ferrule locations and weight. In theory it sounds workable - some say it does - others feel it is similar to waving a chicken around in the air - I will pass on that debate.

      The idea at one time was to investigate all rods and then use the curves as a standards index - and for me it still is a mission - although it is still in the future at some 20 years of this - and I guess as time goes by others may have picked up that torch more so than I - Frank has done an excellent job with his online site - and -truth be known - perhaps years ago I settled into this rut of influence - I know what I enjoy casting - and I only fish on 2 rivers during a year - and I found or created a taper that I prefer. So several years ago - I shared some tapers - which was a little forward for the time - it used to be like trading marbles on the playground at recess - "I'll trade you 2 Leonard tapers for a Young" - very very different than today's world.

      Usually the - first rod taper question surfaces that starts threads as such - with the linkage today - the new comer is trying to take advantage of as much information as they can - but again that can be a bit clouded - first there so many tapers out there - and secondly the other influences come into play - the fishing situation and more importantly the person. This is where the suggestion to get to a gathering and cast would be the sage advice. But when doing so - mask the name and focus at the rod and how it handles for you - and in the same bounds as you would fish it on your favorite water. Having been to many flyfishing shows over the years I have this term - The Penile Effect - it usually effects a male within 15 foot of the casting pond - and it focuses at one thing  . . . . . .  distance. And with that focus one can miss other very critical facets of a tapers performance.

      Then - the arm wrestle with publishers - they think 16 page signatures - so if you contemplate writing a book - make sure that it fits into those guideline - or "they' will find a way to make it fit.  (Wayne Cattanach)


A guy wants to have a bamboo rod, about 7'  # 4 and with fast or medium fast action (still some g------e influence I guess). Which taper is recommended by Grand Jury?  Dickerson? Cattanach's Ballan Special?  (Pekka Hyvonen)

    You might use the Heddon Folsom taper. I made one this spring, and Doug Easton can attest to its prowess. A great snappy rod.  (Bob Maulucci)

    I think you would have to look hard to find two better tapers than the Sir D and/or the Payne 98.  (Dewey Hildebrand)

      I insist on adding the Driggs to that.  (Geert Poorteman)

    I made a Dickerson 7012 and liked it a lot. Good taper, you won't regret having chosen it. Probably not as fast as some of his other tapers.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      Come to think of it, after I made a Heddon Folsum I gave the Dickerson to my nephew. Total brain fart there- when I cast the Folsum at Grayrock, I basically wanted to leave then and there and get home as fast as possible to start one of my own.

      I think this is a new low- I just realized I was posting to my own message. I think this is first for the list. See what rodmaking has done to me.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

        I just cast Bob Maulucci 's version of that Folsum taper. Jeff's right on. It makes a really nice rod. Smooth with good punch. Highly recommended!  (Doug Easton)

    I've never met anyone who doesn't like the Payne model 98.  (Ted Knott)

      It was Ron Barch's suggestion as a first cane rod for my son, who's fished that synthetic stuff for years.  He loves it.  (Neil Savage)


I know most of the content on this lists deals with the anyone have a suggestion for a fast 7'6" 4 weight?  (Lee Orr)

    Payne 100, Sir 'D' stretched out.  (Mike Shay)

    PHY perfectionist.  (Chris Obuchowski)

      Yes, a PHY, indeed!  But ONLY if you already know that you like parabolic rods.  And ONLY if you can find a good, representative taper for this model. Then, you can't go wrong.   (Bill Harms)

        The Perfectionist is not a semi-parabolic rod,  as are many PHY tapers, but a fairly linear (hence a progressive action) fast taper, producing a quick, powerful 4 wt (at least the taper that I got posted in the archives is, from the copies myself, and a recent student, have built). If you like to overline your rods, some might think it a 5 wt, though I prefer a DT 4.  (Chris Obuchowski)


I have a friend that would like a 8' blank.  Are there any stiff 4 weight tapers out there?  (Lee Orr)

    I am also interested in this one. I want to make myself a fast stillwater 4 wt that will cast a fullish line (if it could handle a full line that would obviously be ideal!) I have started roughing a 4 wt Hexrod conversion of the Dickerson 8013, but would be interested if anyone has an alternative 8’ to 9’ 4 wt they could recommend.   (Stephen Dugmore)

      What about the PHY 'Perfectionist'?  or the 'Sir D' (that everybody raves about)?  (Patrick Mullen)

      I would convert the Leonard Tournament 8' 3 wt.  It is on Rodmakers in Frank's Hexrod interface.

      Actually, I'm going to do this - someday.  (Jerry Madigan)

      A.J. Thramer has one that I use all the time.

      Look under the taper archives it is the 84 PX

      I increased the tip a little and use it for nymph fishing and high sticking on dry flies.  (David Ray)

    Not trying to be funny or mean, but there are many very good graphite rods available today in longer, light line configurations.  There are limits to any material, and fast, light tapers in longer lengths approach those limits in bamboo.  One of these days all of us bamboo nuts are going to be forced to face how fantastic today's graphite rods really are.

    Having said that, I'd strongly recommend taking the 8' 3 weight Leonard Tournament in the Taper Archives at Jerry's Rodmakers page, and converting it to a 4 weight with Hexrod.  Though the action of that rod is progressive, it has an extremely fast tip.  (Harry Boyd)

      Just a brief comment on bamboo rods and their limitations. I do recall a comment , I think it was in Jack Howells or Wayne C.'s book but if elsewhere  please accept my lack of acknowledgment as a sign of old age, that cane has a "sweet spot" range reflecting a relationship between length and line weight. Once rodmakers get well outside that range then it is less likely that the rod will perform well. That is not a reason not to to go outside the range, just a warning that it is harder to get a good design.

      My recollection of the range is as follows :

      #4  - 7' to 7'6"
      #5 - 7'6" to 8'
      #6 - 8' to 8'6"

      I have found this guide generally to be pretty accurate and many of the "famous " tapers fit into it. It means that I use a graphite rod when fishing a #8 rod on the Tongario (although I do intend to make one of those 14-14 spey casting rods to use there just to shock the locals!).  (Ian Kearney)

    There are several Fred Divine tapers in the 8'-6" to 9'-0" range for a 4 weight. Many have praised the Divine tapers. Check out RodDNA.   (Tom Vagell)

    It occurred to me that Lee, and perhaps others who are relatively new to thinking about tapers may not really understand what this discussion is really about. So with apologies to those for whom this is old hat, and perhaps to Lee if I have misjudged this, here is the issue as I see it. Lee, what set off the discussion is that you asked for a STIFF 8 foot  4 weight. There are plenty of longer slow tapers around that are good rods, but when you start going for a faster rod, you run smack into the problem that cane rod designers have always faced. Bamboo is a relatively heavy rod making material.  In order to produce a long rod with a fast action, you need to have a thick, heavy butt section just to have the rod support it's own weight, before you even factor in the weight of the line being cast. To give you an example, I cast an 8 1/2' fast action 4 weight this summer that cast the line very well, but it felt like a 6 weight rod to my hand. It was sort of like driving a tack with a sledgehammer. It works, but it just does not feel like the right tool for the job.

    There are two ways around the problem, one is to go with a narrower butt and learn to love the slower action, the other is to hollow build. I personally feel an 8 foot moderately fast action 4 weight is a doable thing, provided you hollow build the butt to keep the weight within reason.

    If I were going to try this,  I think I  would start  with the 8 foot F.E. Thomas taper at Frank Stetzer's site. I would leave the first two feet of the tip alone, then increase the rate of taper such that the butt end was about .015-.020 thicker. I would build it two piece with a light weight ferrule. I would use the Powell or Winston method to semi hollow build the butt section.  (Tom Smithwick)

      Can you explain the differences between the Powell and Winston hollow building methods? I searched the archives and did not find what I was looking for, nor do I have Bob Milward’s book. All I found was taking off the pith to an approximate thickness of .07 and "fluting".  (Chris Hei)

        Bob Maulucci has a great article in Power Fibers.  It was in issue 17.  (Ralph Moon)


All, my son in law has the idea he'd like a "fast" 8' #4 cane rod.  I'm looking at the A. J. Thramer 8' PX taper, the stress curve looks to me a lot like the Dickerson 7613.  Any comments are welcome.  (Neil Savage)

    Your son in law is asking for something that is really pushing the envelope.  An 8' 4wt. fast cane rod is an oxymoron.  What is listed as  fast by cane rod standards is actually a lot slower compared to  graphite.  I can envision a fast taper at this length and line weight as  one with a hollow built butt and tip, with a compound taper and a ferrule that  drops at least 1/32 from butt to tip section.  This would lead to a  mightily tricked-out rod design.  The quickest rods with your SIL's desires  might be a Maxwell Leonard 40-4 Hunt, or a recent vintage Thomas and Thomas  Limestoner.   I am not familiar with A. J. Thramer’s taper, but he is one of  the finest people in our craft and I would therefore think his taper is  very good, but it might not meet your SIL's expectations.  Just  my $.02 worth opinion.  (Tom McDonnell)

    P.S.  I have not seen the tapers posted for either the Hunt 40-4 or  the T & T Limestoner.

      On this subject, any ideas for a taper that is a short 8 weight.  We have a river in Oregon that is very small with big rainbows.  You need a heavy line, but an 8 foot or (preferably) shorter rod would be great.  Any suggestions?  (Rob Clarke)

        Could you make do with a 7wt. If so I'd suggest the Dickerson 8014 Guide. I have a 6wt taper that Jeff Fultz posted on the Classic Flyrod Forum that was taken from an original that he worked on recently. I also have the taper off Sante Guiliani (fishin' Banjo) original Dickerson that is beefier and he said it really sings with a 7wt. Orvis had an 8' 8wt model but I don't have the taper for that one.  (Will Price)

          I'll second the Dickerson 8014 Guide. Great taper.  (Steve Shelton)

          I've got an Orvis 8', 2/2, 8 wt. in the rafters in the shop somewhere (never been used, imagine that).  I'll mike and post it, should anyone want it.  At the moment, we're in the midst of a full-gale snow and ice storm.  I anticipate a prolonged power loss at any time.  (Wally Murray)

      The taper is in the Hexrod taper archive.  It's under A. J. Thramer, the AJ 84 PX if you care to look at it.   (Neil Savage)

    Neil and anyone else wanting a taper they can't find;

    I've found the online Hexrod to be very good at changing lengths and line weights on various tapers, I suggest you take a taper that you know and use Hexrod to change it to what you are looking for. For a fast (for bamboo) 8' 4 wt, I make the 8013 taper from the taper archives as a 4 wt, it works out very well.  (John Channer)

      To compliment what John said about Hexrod I would also spend some time learning RodDNA.  It has the proverbial steep learning curve and can be a bit quirky in terms of the interface, but it is a very powerful tool.  For what you want to do (Neil), you can plug in Dickerson's numbers, then alter the length of the rod (or line weight, or pieces etc.) and the program will spit out the specs for your altered version.  In theory it should cast similarly to the original.

      As Tom pointed out, however, there are material limitations and all that little stuff can add up to difference in rod character.  I would think that the farther you get from the original design, the more chance there is for the theory to break down.  And I should point out that I am just learning this tool.  I just screwed up a mid section on a three piece conversion from a two piece that was going to be my acid test for how well the program converts two piece to three.

      There it confession hidden in another post!

      Maybe someone with more experience building from RodDNA conversions could chime in?  I like the topic!  (Carl DiNardo)

        I guess I should have been a little more clear in the first place.  I'd really like to stick with a proven taper, rather than try to design a new one (or modify one to the new specifications) that's why I was looking at the Thramer taper.  Son in law is quite familiar with cane as well as gr****te, so he won't expect "fast" to be gr****te fast.  (Neil Savage)


I'm looking for any suggestions of a 7'6" 3 pc 4 weight line for all round fishing, full semi para action, not too fast - mostly for small flies. How about a Paul Young Perfectionist modified in to a 3 piece rod? Anyone have any ideas?  (Olaf Kundrus)

    Funny thing you should mention it, I'm building a 3 pc Perfectionist as we speak. I used the taper from George Maurer's book, it might be available in other places, it's the one with a dimension of .203 at 45". Using truncated ferrules it changes the taper very little. I'll let you know in about 2 weeks how it casts.  (John Channer)

    What's a full semi para action?

    There's a 3 piece perfectionist listed in the taper board on Clarks. It has swelled butt. Does this not make it full?  (Jim Lowe)

    Do you have Wayne Cattanach's book? There's a taper in it. It's also listed in RodDNA.  (Steve Weiss)

      Try a Garrison and just adjust the line size good all rounders, but not full paras.  (Gary Nicholson)


I am a newbie builder.  Over the last 6 months I have managed to acquire/build all the tools and have just finished rod #1.  A Payne 100  from George Maurer's book.  I could never have accomplished this without all the info on this list and the archives.  Thank you all for contributing.

My question now is, what next?  I have pretty much decided that I would like to build two additional 7'6", 4 wgts that have markedly different characteristics than the Payne 100.  I have a long way to go in understanding the various tapers and their actions and feel this approach would be more helpful than moving on to a different weight - length combination.  So far I am considering a Cattanach Sir D 7642 and a PHY perfectionist.  Your opinions or suggestions would be welcome.  (Rick Hodges)

    The Sir D will be somewhat similar to the Payne 100, though likely a little more tip actioned.  The Perfectionist would be a good choice.  As for another 7' 6" #4, you might try a Leonard taper.  (Harry Boyd)

    The Sir D is a super rod; I am sure you will enjoy it. I know I did.  (Frank Paul)

      Can't beat it as far as I am concerned. I had one of the best rodmakers I know tell me the same thing. I am real happy with mine.  (Tony Spezio)


I am looking for a 8 ft, 4 wt taper that will punch the wind. The areas to be fished would be the Owens River and Hot Creek in the eastern sierras.  (Jon Holland)

    Go to the online version of Hexrod and use the program to take the Dickerson 8013 down to a 4 wt., it's my go to rod for the San Juan. On windy days use a silk 4dt on it, the smaller diameter cuts thru the wind much better than, say, a 444. 

    0          0.069
    5          0.077
    10        0.089
    15        0.107
    20        0.122
    25        0.137
    30        0.151
    35        0.161
    40        0.171
    45        0.179
    50        0.204
    55        0.221
    60        0.239
    65        0.259
    70        0.279
    75        0.290
    80        0.304
    85        0.329
    86        0.335  (John Channer)

    I believe the Payne 102 is an 8’ 4wt. It would be a good rod for the waters you mention.

    It's not an overly strong rod but should do fine on the Owens and Hot Creek.  (Jim Lowe)

      The Payne 102 listed in Rod DNA is a 5wt. Is there another taper you  used, or did you find it worked better with a 4wt?  (Scott Bearden)

        I was afraid of that. Sorry, my head for tapers isn't what it used to be. It would be a nice rod for Hot Creek or the Owens regardless. You could probably knock it down half a line weight and be OK as a 4 for those areas. I don't recall it being a heavy 5wt like the 200s. I don't have experience with any other  nonproprietary tapers out there that would fit the bill.

        Anyway, if I didn't have a taper I liked for Hot Creek, the Payne 102 would be a good starting point.  (Jim Lowe)

      Forgive me if I"m mistaken but,  doesn't line weight have more to do with "punching the wind" than rod strength?  (Tom Kurtis)

      I’m unfamiliar with the Owens and the Hot Creek, but the Payne 102 I built for my good friend who lives on the Delaware (Callicoon, NY) is a 5-wt., is a wonderful casting and fishing rod, and immediately inspired him to mothball his three Winston graphites.  This has little to do with me and a lot to do with Jim Payne.  The Delaware is his preferred stream.  (Steve Yasgur)

    Before moving to Oregon, the Eastern Sierra was my home waters. I fished Hot Creek and the upper Owens a lot. I built a Dickerson 7013 as my first Sierra rod. It was just too much gun for Hot Creek but was OK for pretty much everything else. Next I built a Payne 98 with a cork reelseat to fish on Hot Creek. This was a cool rod and for me light, sweet smooth caster, pretty well suited for the skinny water of HC. I was still looking for that one do it all rod. Next built a Driggs River. Love that rod, was absolutely bitchen on the upper O and East Walker. Also fished well on HC. Next I built a Cattanach "Sir D".  That is also a very well suited taper for the Eastern Sierra. Throws a nice tight loop and rolls casts nice. Most of the flowing water in the Sierra is smaller meadow type fishing. You don't need a powerhouse. Most all my rods were under eight feet and no larger than a five weight. I feel all your fishing could be done with a four or five weight and a three weight is lovely for the smaller water. I never used a six, even for lake fishing in a tube.

    Bottom line is the two rods I went to the most was the Payne taper for HC and the Driggs for everything else. If I was to have to use one rod only It probably would be the Cattanach Sir D. My opinion as far as punching line out in the wind, most times a smaller line will slice thru the air easier than a bigger one. Less drag. The last bonefish trip I was on I was fishing a eight weight and my buddy was fishing one of the new Sage RPLX six weights. We were fishing in a pretty good onshore breeze and we could get the six weight to punch better than the eight.

    I know I didn't answer your question as far as the best eight footer, but these are my preferences for rods for the Eastern Sierra. This doesn't cover  a float tube rod, that is another story.  (Mark Heskett)

    I noticed the recent discussion of 8ft 4wts, notably John's "8012" dropped down from an 8013 using Hexrod.  I thought it would be interesting to compare it to the numbers from an original Dickerson 8012 that we Mic'd at CRR in '08.  Here they are:

    5 Inch
    Station                           Diameter
                     Dickerson 8012        Channer's calculated 8012

    0                     0.0747                       0.069
    5                     0.0746                       0.077
    10                   0.0916                       0.089
    15                   0.1077                       0.107
    20                   0.1233                       0.122
    25                   0.1389                       0.137
    30                   0.1532                       0.151
    35                   0.1666                       0.161
    40                   0.1848                       0.171
    45                   0.1942                       0.179
    50                   0.2040                       0.204
    55                   0.2055                       0.221
    60                   0.2275                       0.239
    65                   0.2517                       0.259
    70                   0.2679                       0.279
    75                   0.2856                       0.29
    80                   0.3022                       0.304
    85                   0.3447                       0.329
    90                   0.3750                       0.335
    95                   0.3750
    96                   0.3750

    The rod was marked:

    Top Flat - Robt & Rockwood
    2nd Flat - Blank
    3rd Flat - Dickerson 8012-3 3/4 oz.

    That's not a typo at the tip of the original, although John's number is what I'd use.  On the original the top 5 inches go about like this:

    0        .074
    1        .072
    2        .071
    3        .072
    4        .073
    5        .075

    We subtracted 4 thousandths for varnish, these are the calculated (raw cane) numbers.  We measured all 3 flats and averaged.

    Note that John's recipe uses a 12/64, while Dickerson's, although labeled an 8012, actually uses a 13/64 ferrule (the diameter of the male slide measures .203, same as the cane, indicating a stepdown).

    I haven't cast either of these tapers, but I'm planning to build the Dickerson version, about which, personally, I am wondering whether it will be a 4 wt or not.  (Lee Koch)


Does anyone have experience with Ray Gould's RR-93 rod from page 62 of his Tips and Tapers book ??  I have a guy that wants a "fast" 7.5' 4 wt.  Any other suggestions.  (David Van Burgel)

    Here's the Wilcox version of the Orvis Battenkill 7642 taper.  Appears to be speeded up and smoothed out.  Using Gould's rise formula, comes in at 296, so comparable to his RR-93.  Hexrod, punch it in.  Looks interesting, anyway.

    0   .066
    5   .080
    10  .092
    15  .106
    20  .120
    25  .134
    30  .148
    35  .161
    40  .176
    45  .192
    50  .209
    55  .226
    60  .240
    65 .258
    70 .272
    75 .324
    80  .360
    85  .360
    90  .360  (Bob Brockett)

    I have built several of these and they make fine quick actioned rods that suit many graphite users.  Two points, firstly there is a glitch at point 55 which may be a designed roll casting hinge but I always smooth the curve to remove it.  Secondly it is definitely a 5 weight to my mind.  (Gary Marshall)


A friend wants me to make him a 9' 4 wt rod.  He has always fished a medium action graphite and likes long rods.  Anyone find something in this area that they like?  Would figure this may need to be 3 piece.  (Dave Kemp)

    I am sending two tapers from Rod DNA which meet your specs. 9 ft 4 wt rods are rare on our DB lists because most of them are painfully slow. The Divine is a bit slow but if you are willing to wait you would be amazed with the smooth feel and accuracy of the rod. The Phillipson is not a rod that I have cast but Bill Phillipson tapers generally are smooth and powerful. This one reminds me of a Wright & McGill I own which is an 8'6" rod and a favorite of mine. Note the strong middle section.   (Doug Easton)


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