Bamboo Tips - Tips Area
Rod Selection - 5 Weight Rods

< Home < Tips Area < Rod Selection < 5 Weight Rods


I'm looking for a good taper for a three piece rod, 7'6" for 5 weight line. Which is the best place to take the mid section from? The bottom of the culm where the butt is split, or the top where the tip is split? (Gary Young)

    I just built (make that am still building) a Cross Sylph 7’ 5wt rod as a 3 piece. I cut the culm in three pieces for butt, mid, and tip. If the culm was already cut, and you are doing a 3 piece with 2 tips, I would select the strips for the mid section from the butt of the culm. (Kurt Clement)


I would like the list's opinion with regard to a taper for an 8' 5 wt 2 piece rod that I would like to build. I need a rod that will cast, for lack of a better word, like a rocket. The rod will be used for a fairly large river and will be required quite often to throw 50 to 60 feet of line. I would like to avoid any 8 1/2 footers or three piece rods, for the simple reason of added weight (6" of cane and an extra ferrule probably doesn't add that much weight, but any weight savings can't hurt). I was contemplating the Payne 102, or perhaps a Dickerson. Anyone who has cast any Paynes or Dickersons, or any good 8' 5 wt tapers for that matter, please chime in and give a poor lost soul some direction. Any help is appreciated. (Robert Cristant)

    I would have to say the Dickerson 8013. I have built several and they have all been hits. There is a taper for the rod in the Lovely Reed. (Mark Babiy)

    You might also consider the para 15 light tip which is a 5. (Mike Shay)

    You can't go wrong with the Dickerson 8013. I've built several each of the ones in Howells book and the one in the archives. I prefer the one in the online taper archive myself, it's a bit more delicate in the tip than either of the Howells tapers. If you want a real fast, strong 5 wt, use Hexrod to take the 8014 down to a 5 wt, that's what I do when someone who is used to graphite wants a rod that size. (John Channer)

      Somebody else has mentioned getting better results by taking an 8014 and converting it to a 5. Do you just do a straight conversion in Hexrod or do you have to subjectively adjust any of the numbers? (Bill Walters)

    My favorite rod this year has been an 8' 2 piece with a "straight taper" starting at .068 tip & increasing .0029 per inch. This is just a little bit slower than an EC Powell B9 taper, which has a slope of .003 per inch. I use a WF6 most of the time, but a WF5 works too.  Most of my fishing is on saltwater beaches and lakes & requires a long cast. With good timing & a nice easy casting stroke, 50-70' casts are easy.

    Another one to try is the modified 8' WF4 Para-15 taper from Bob Milward's book. It's a Para 15 (dry tip) with .010 subtracted to make it a 4 weight, and then another .005" taken off the entire tip section. I don't care much for Paras, but others who have cast this rod really like it.

    Another good one is a Garrison 212. I made a 212E that I've used on the Deschutes & some of the local rivers. It casts well with a DT6 & is also good for mending & controlling line.

    All of this is just my opinions & experience. The fun part is building and trying different tapers and construction methods to find something that YOU like! (Tom Bowden)

    A rod that I like a lot is the Sharpes Fario Club from the rods in the online Hex list of tapers. Cut off the last 5 inches from the butt and put the ferrule in the middle. It is a fast parabolic rod and you can really feel the power of the rod when you cast it. I didn't make the original 8'5", but the one I modified is great! I made it in four piece and I am not hindered by extra weight or loss of action, which surprised me the first time I made a four piece rod. I have made three by now and they all behave very well with the added bonus of easy transport. They are all parabolics, but I see no reason why a faster rod couldn't be made in four piece. On a faster rod you would need a big lower ferrule though and I only make ferrules up to #19. (Geert Poorteman)


I am looking for two tapers and wanted some suggestions. I would like to build a 7'9" and an 8'0" rod for 5 weight, both 2 and 3 piece rods. Does anyone have a good taper or can make a suggestion for tapers? I want something that is a little bit on the stiffer side not as full flexing as Garrison tapers seem to be. (Bret Reiter)

    Try the Payne 100 H. It is a fine, fast rod. (Carsten Jorgensen)

    Try Don Anderson’s 7'9" 5 wt. Don only fishes a few hundred days a year, so I would heed his tapers any day.  (Tom McDonnell)


I've been asked to make a 7'9" 5 wt 3 piece taper for a fellow that is making the step over from plastic. What would your choice be for a transition rod? (Mike Givney)

    How about having him try some of your rods and seeing which he likes? Some people seem to prefer rods that don't require a big change in their casting styles. Others, like a friend who fishes Sage RPLs, pick up a cane rod that is much slower but smoother and they just beam. He's at this point undecided between a Payne 98 and a Sir D while not impressed with a Dickersonian taper that he can cast a long way, and to me feels quite graphitey. (Henry Mitchell)


As a result of the 'Rodmakers Apprenticeship' (see Bob Norwood’s rod descriptions here) thread I decided to make two 7' 6" 5 wts, a Payne 101 and a Dickerson 7613, to add to my existing 7' 6" Perfectionist to kind of round out the spectrum of tip, mid and full flex rod feel. I know I could have chose others but this is what I decided.

After settling on the Dennis Higham version of the 101, Peter McKean had to come along and throw a wrench into my well laid plans and raise once again the spectrum of Super-Z versus step down ferrules for this model.

Being new to this hobby I was going to go with the Super-Z as I am familiar with the process but I would like everyone's opinion as to what pros and cons would be for either ferrule on this model. And I know you all have them (opinions that is)!

What little I do know is the history of Super-Z, Fierabend and Payne's supposed comment, 'I wish I had thought of that'. However, after reading various posts and Todd's tip site, there seems to be firm belief from some that it makes quite a difference in the action.

But then there is Rob Hoffhines recent post. Where he is repairing a Payne 96 that broke right at the tip ferrule. Is this a fairly common occurrence due to  the thinning of the section at that point?

Lastly, what is a good source of how the installation process of a step down varies from that of a Super-Z should I decide to go that route? (Ralph Tuttle)

    Opinions on this list? Put 10 of these rod makers in a room, and you'll have 13 different opinions. I'll start by saying that I do like using Super Z ferrules, but for me, a rod taper that was originally designed to use step down  ferrules should have step downs on it. Unless the taper has been jiggled with to make use of the different characteristics of the Super Z, you won't end up with a rod that performs to the original taper specs.

    A step down installation varies only slightly to the installation of the Super Z. If you install Rush River's step downs, the installation is identical. If you are installing some of the more traditional style step downs, the only difference is you have to make the section of cane where the male slide fits over just a tad smaller than the rest of the section that the male ferrule fits over. Measure both of the depths, from the tabs to the bottom of the ferrule, and from the tabs to the "shoulder" and mark them on your cane. Sand/machine down the cane to fit the larger diameter first, then remark the cane and sand/machine the smaller diameter section to fit the ferrule. The female ferrule is done the same way as a Super Z ferrule. (Mark Wendt)

    I have used both Super Swiss and Super Step-down ferrules from Classic Sporting Enterprises on this rod. In both cases I have used size 13 ferrules. Both make great rods. I personally prefer the step-down ferruled rods slightly.... but some prefer those with the Super Z style ferrules.

    The short answer is that you can't lose with this taper. Either a Super Z or a Step Down will make a fine fishing rod. (Harry Boyd)

    Is there a rule of thumb about how to finagle tapers in  Hexrod to make them fit step-down ferrules?

    Is there a rule of thumb  regarding which  makers' rods  or tapers were meant to be used with step-down ferrules? (Henry Mitchell)

      I do not think there is a simple answer to your first question, because any rod taper designed for a Super Z style ferrule does not flatten out through the ferrule station. What I have done in the past is just keep the taper true and use the same sized SD ferrule. The only difference in fitting them is cutting the step in the tips. I will say this though; I believe that if the original taper called for a Super Z ferrule, that is what should be used, and the same for SD ferrules. In my experiments going from Super Z to SD, I have found the rod characteristics change slightly. Invariably the taper stiffens up, which I believe is related to the male ferrule (the male on a SD is longer that the male on a Super Z).

      As for which classic tapers used which ferrule? The SD was by far used much more in the classic period. Leonard, Payne, Dickerson, Edwards, Gillum, Thomas all used SD ferrules. Garrison was probably the person who put Super Z's on the map. Paul Young also used some Super Z's. (Robert Cristant)

    I believe that Fierabend had it right with Garrison's support. Engineering-wise the Super-Z is superior to the step-down, and is easier to install. I would never consider using a step-down for anything but repairs. Traditional tapers I do not do. Who knows which taper is authentic? (Bill Fink)


I've got a need for an 8’ 6” 5 wt taper. Probably 2 piece but if there's a sweet 3 piece I'd like to hear about

The rod is probably going to be used as a "general purpose rod" dries and lightly weighted nymphs for wild browns.  (Luke Bannister)

    I recently made the Leonard 50 1/2 tournament from Hexrod and its amazing. Its tippy for close flicks, and powerful too, for long casts. I think it would be great for all round fishing with lighter flies. As usual, I couldn't leave the original taper alone and lengthened it with 6' to a 9', which makes a great rod,  but I'll try the original soon, at 8'6". It’s a three piece, but looking at the taper, I think it would be easy to convert into 2 piece. What’s more, the fine tip makes it light in the hand. (Geert Poorteman)


I built a Dickerson 7613 as my 1st bamboo rod and I love it. Does any one have a suggestion for a similar action in an 8’ 3-piece? I'd like the crisp action of a Payne or Dickerson in a 5 weight 3 piece for traveling/backpacking purposes. The extra length would be appreciated. (Mauro Crestani)

    My favorite in that category is the Payne 201, 8-ft. 3-piece, 5/6 wt. (Steve Weiss)


Is there a taper for a 8", 3 piece, 5WF, with medium/fast action? I'm thinking this might be beyond the limits of bamboo, but I thought I'd ask. (Tom Key)

    Payne 201? If it's anything like the Payne 98, it should fill the bill. (Neil Savage)

      Nope, Payne 201 and Payne 98 are different critters. A Payne 102 would fit the bill but for the fact that it's a two piece rod. (Harry Boyd)

      Where might I find the taper for the Payne 201? I can find plenty of Payne's, but not a 201.  (Hal Manas)

        It was posted to the list a while ago:


        Grand Poo Bah Tim

        OK, here it is!

        Payne 201 3/2 8' 0" 5wt

        Deduct for varnish ( I have no idea how much, maybe .003 )

        0"- under tip top
        5- under wrap
        4 3/4- 0.080




        65- in ferrule
        66 3/8-0.256
        85-0.335 (swelled butt)
        87- grip starts - 0.364 at start of wraps

        Guide spacing:

        tip top
        #1- 5 1/4
        #2- 10 3/8
        #3- 15 5/8
        #4- 21
        #5- 26 3/8
        #6- 34 1/4
        #7- 40 1/2
        #8- 47 7/8
        #9 - 57
        #10- 66 1/2
        #11- 75 (stripper)

        87" Grip starts
        92 3/4 grip ends / seat starts
        96 1/4 end of seat

        Ferrules mate at :
        Tip-to-mid 32"
        mid to butt 63 3/4
        downsliding C&R
        Varnished walnut (?) spacer

        All the usual disclaimers (and more) apply! I was full of beer while measuring.


        (Neil Savage)

    An 8 foot, 3-piece, 5WF is well within the limits of bamboo, there are great tapers that handle that and the two that immediately come to mind are the Payne 201 and the Leonard 50DF. Others are available, just do some research and pick the action you like best.  Start here. (Bob Murphy)


How about some recommendations for a favorite 8' medium action 5 wt. Something that will reach out a bit. Say 50 or 60 feet without too much effort and perhaps a bit further if needed. A true 5 wt would be nice but I'm also considering a 5/6. (Wayne Kifer)

    Payne 201 3/2, 5/6-wt. I prefer a 5 wt on this rod. A 6 wt is OK if you will be casting short. (Steve Weiss)

    The Leonard 50H is not bad, but then traditionally you have to mix stain in the varnish and blue all the hardware. (David Zincavage)

    How 'bout a Dickerson 8013?

    The taper I'm adding uses a size 13 ferrule and is perhaps the smoothest medium action 5 wt. I've ever cast. Its the older version of the 8013 so its a solid medium action and not the medium/fast windstick that is posted on the Rodmakers site. This rod will cast the 50/60 feet you describe and will work in close really nice as well.

    0     0.070   
    5     0.076    174304
    10    0.090    216737
    15    0.106    206105
    20    0.120    196985
    25    0.134    184657
    30    0.148    172412
    35    0.160    167507
    40    0.178    146784
    45    0.191    141613
    50    0.202    143556
    55    0.216    141758
    60    0.232    136023
    65    0.252    124765
    70    0.266    123644
    75    0.282    120122
    80    0.296    119565
    85    0.312    116959
    86    0.322    109680 (Bill Walters)

      I built this rod last year using Tom Smithwick's taper numbers on the Stetzer Hexrod site. The taper there had deducted 5 mils for varnish. I swelled the butt a little over the 350 mil dimension given in the taper. Tom indicated he swelled the butt to 375 mils. The rod is fast and handles a 5 wt. line at good distance. I did 3x3 nodes on this rod and used URAC 185 for adhesive. I like the rod for larger water. It has handled several larger browns over 18". I think you will like the rod. (Frank Paul)


A few months back I posted a request for taper recommendations for a 8'-0", 5 wt., 3 pieces blank that would be on the medium fast rather than slower in of the action scale. Back then I was just starting out and knew little, but I know have three 2 piece. rods completed and stand ready for the challenge of a 3 piece. My first request resulted in quite a few responses but since I didn't bother to save them I'm asking again. Also, is it possible to take a 2 piece. taper and turn it into a 3 piece? Have any of you ever built/fished the Dickerson Mystery 8053?

I look forward to hearing from you ALL, at least those of you who actually know what you're talking about - Ha, Ha! (Tom Key)

    Yes, you can make a 2 piece rod into a 3 piece, but it works best with a taper that flows smoothly thru the ferrules, a 2 piece taper with a big drop over the ferrules doesn't work as well. Look for a 3 piece taper with an average of .015 or so change per 5". that will be a medium/fast taper. Of the few 8' 3 piece tapers I've tried, I like the Granger 8040 and Payne 201 the best, though both are more medium than fast. I have a Mystery Rod taper that I built quite a while ago,  which, while a nice casting rod, doesn't look anything like a Dickerson, if you look at a graph of the taper (not the stress curve but the actual taper) it doesn't look much like any other Dickerson of that size, it is much more like a Leonard. It might make a nice 3 piece, I haven't looked at the conversion. Try Wayne Cattanach's book, he has a large taper chart in the back of his book covering most length/line weights in both 2 piece and 3 piece variations. (John Channer)


I'm looking to y'all for recommendations for a 5 wt. nymphing rod.

Medium to medium-fast.

9 footer.


Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. (Ren Monllor)

    If you're going to be using a tuck cast and high stick with bamboo I'd suggest you try a 6 weight or even possibly a 7 weight rod with your 5 weight fly line. A very stiff rod is what would work best for doing an overpowered tuck cast and I don't feel that any 5 weight rod that's 9’ long would do the trick. I'm not a nymph fisherman but I do know the normal distance for this type fishing is no more then  30 feet including line and leader. I can't suggest any specific taper but I'd choose one that's stiff and has a stiff tip which would help prevent excessive tip bounce when doing the tuck cast. Probably a good steelhead taper would be my choice. I don't have the numbers in front of me but I'd look at Dickersons 8' 6" rod for starters. Nine foot rods are tough to handle in bamboo cuz they're really heavy. (Jim Bureau)

      I agree with Jim that a stiffer action would work best with weighted nymphing. (Al Baldauski)

        Yes you will need a stiff action, Fast tip for sure with a tuck cast Look at the Ray Gould tapers from his book. I don’t use rods over 8’ in cane to heavy. Gary Nicholson)

    Have you looked at any of the tapers for 9' Grangers? Some of them are 5 wts and most all of the Grangers are medium to medium fast. (Will Price)

    Did I miss the answer to this? I have the same question. The graphite guys seem to talk about fast to medium fast rods. Seems to me that invites shocking the rod with weighted flies. Seems to me slow rods with wide loops would be best. (Doug Easton)

      Not if it's windy.  Large loops  are a disaster in windy conditions and most rivers are often windy. Remember, that most great nymph fishermen see the take long before they feel it. The type of rod doesn't make much difference in nymph fishing. (Mark Dyba)

        Like for like if you cast a slow rod against a fast rod both with the same casting stroke which usually is short with a tuck cast The slower rod will throw a wider loop. Wide loops are less efficient and do not penetrate wind well. (Gary Nicholson)


Anyone got a taper for a 7.5’ 5wt Fast action? It must be a like a cannon. Not for me, I am a gentleman you understand  (Gary Nicholson)

    You might consider the Bill Waara taper from the Grand Experiment rod.  (Scott Grady)

    This is the rod that John introduced at Grayrock several years ago and is referred to as the "Grand Experiment".  I highly recommend this taper. (Timothy Troester)

    Bill Waara 7 1/2’ 5wt

    tip: 72, 92, 108, 124, 140, 158, 170, 184, 196, 210

    butt: 210, 220, 230, 240, 250, 280, 306, 325, 325, 325

    guides: 4 8.5 14 20 27 34 42 f 51 61.5 

    Also might consider the stiffer of the two 7.5 #5's in Wayne Cattanach's book.  It's lightning fast and will scare you.  (Harry Boyd)

    If you really want a fast 5 DT or 6 WF taper try this one. I think it will fill your requirement very well.  (Bob Norwood)

    Phillipson Peerless 7.5' 5 wt.

    Make it with Resorcinol (sp) glue.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      The Peerless is the fastest 7.5’ rod I’ve graphed.  Its deflection curve shows it to be more like a @#$%%^ graphite rod than any I’ve seen.  It was built as an impregnated rod but my program can’t factor that.

      Most rods that are called “fast” bend more uniformly along the length.  The Peerless bends more in the top half similar to a medium graphite rod.  (Al Baldauski)

        The Peerless taper has my attention as does the Cattanach "Force" and the "Grand Experiment".  I'm going to build one of them as my next rod.   Did you graph the Peerless numbers starting with .072, .086, .105 ...... .315?   Have you  graphed the Force or Grand Experiment?  (Doug Alexander)

          Here is the Peerless taper I got from David Ray’s library.


          His numbers only went out to the 70 inch station so I arbitrarily added the rest  

          To compare apples and apples, I have fixed line wt at 5, and line out at 40 ft.  in this discussion

          The Grand Experiment is not nearly as fast compared to the Peerless.  It has a large hinge in the butt that allows it to flex a lot probably making it feel parabolic.

          I can’t find a taper for the Force so I can’t comment on it.  If you send me the numbers, I’ll look at it.

          Please understand:  My comments are based on graphical interpretations and some technical understanding of stress curves as best I know it.  I haven’t built and cast hundreds of rods so take it for what its worth.  (Al Baldauski)

        Doug Alexander just made me aware of my mistake.  I clicked on the taper beneath the Peerless Taper which was a Phillipson Peerless 7’7’’ rod.

        I will respond about the 7’5’ Peerless in about an hour. Hang in there Jack!  (Al Baldauski)

          My previous comments apply to the Peerless 7’ 5 wt which due to a typo on the Ray web site actually looked like 7’7” 5 wt.

          Having looked at the Peerless 7’6” 5 wt, I can now say that it appears to be about as fast as the “Grand experiment”, and a Payne 101.  They are full flexing rods down to the butt.

          So now Jim Bureau is right.  The Cross Sylph is much faster than the above rods  based on total deflection alone. It also has a little more tip action.

          The Peerless 7ft 5wt and the Sylph are the two fastest rods I’ve graphed and should have about the same feel.

          Jack, here are the numbers for the Peerless 7’6” 5wt

          .315  (Al Baldauski)

        I nearly flunked math when I was back in school, so for the most part I do my evaluations of rods through casting. If I was better at math I may find it more interesting to study rods through a more scientific method. That said, I have used some math to evaluate rods and to get a general idea of the overall action  (fast Vs slow) of a given rod. All I do is to subtract the tip diameter of a given rod from the diameter of the rod where it enters the handle. Take that answer and divide it by the overall length of the rod where it enters the handle. That answer is what's called slope per foot. Apply that formula with any other rod of the same length and line weight and you'll have a general idea of how one rod compares to another as far as fast or slow is concerned. You must also take into account if one rod has an abrupt swell in it Vs another rod. I figure once the action is stopped due to a swell it doesn't really matter how big the swell actually is. I figure the math don't lie as to how fast the overall rods action is and it's a good rule of thumb to go by. I'm glad to know that you like your 4wt Perfectionist. It was a rod I didn't care for after I'd first built it. Then, as my casting improved it became my favorite rod for small flies. Most guys that have switched from graphite to  bamboo are used to high line speed and a fast tempo. As you know, that won't get it with the Perfectionist. Slow down the tempo and cast only as fast as need be to keep the line in the air and you'll fall in love with this rod.  (Jim Bureau)

        PS:  check out the Heddon Folsom 4 wt 7 foot rod for a really fast action. 

          Calculating the slope is a good general indication of speed but will often give unexpected results due to the “lumps and bumps” in a taper.  For instance, the Cross Sylph and the Peerless 7’6”, using the slope technique, have exactly the same value (0.036/ft) but in my estimation the Cross is way faster.  The difference comes from the fact that the Peerless has a thinned area between the 40 and 60 inch stations which allows it to flex a lot more, slowing it down.  When you calculate slope you don’t take this area into account.  (Al Baldauski)

            OK, so what we need to take into account is really not just the rise but resistance to bending over the whole section. Dips hinges ECT will in effect slow the rod down. Just thinking so really the most resistance to bending would be in a convex taper.  (Gary Nicholson)

              There are a lot of tapers that have multiple changes in slope which show up as the peaks and valleys on the Stress Curves.  Anywhere you see a peak in the stress implies a greater tendency toward bending.  But you have to bear in mind that a stress at the tip of 140,000 represents a much sharper bend that the same stress at the butt.  For that reason, it’s difficult to visualize what the shape of a rod is from a stress curve.  That’s why I created a program to plot the shape of a rod under casting load.  It gives you a picture of the deflected shape and a better feeling for how the rod will feel.

              I don’t think I’d want to comment on what taper has the most resistance to bending.  You can change the slope to cause more or less bending anywhere along the length thus modifying the feel.  The total deflection for two rods may be the same but one may bend more in the tip and you’d call it a fast rod but the other may be designed to bend more in the butt and you’d call it slower.  If by a convex taper you mean one that seems to have a gradual swell in diameter toward the middle then I’d say that’s a rod which will have a lot of bending near the butt and less so in the middle which when properly loaded would feel slower.  And it’s all a matter of degree.

              Again, these are my guesses based on engineering but not backed by many rods of experience.  (Al Baldauski)

                The practical effect of any taper functions BOTH because of the slope in a section, and because of the distribution of the taper itself along that section. But the slopes in a rod may vary from one section to another (depending on how you want to focus the rod's action), and the shape of convex tapers themselves can be  manipulated in a great variety of ways.  The  convex  taper  is  always a section-by-section feature, and does not extend as a single curve across a rod's entire length. Lastly, while the term, "convex" always means a fair curve through a section, it doesn't necessarily mean a uniformly rounded trajectory from end to end.

                Gary ventured to guess that "the most resistance to bending would be in a convex taper." All things considered, I believe this potential holds true (that would be the whole point, after all), but the taper also needs to be designed around one's choices for the slope(s).  (Bill Harms)

                  Yes I agree.

                  The Convex taper must give greater resistance to bending forces, and accordingly will be  based around the taper and  line sizes of the individual rods. Of course, casting action and taper preferences are the main primary factors.

                  I also think you are correct in saying convex tapers are in the main carried out on individual sections. But I have seen this carried out on the whole rod with little adverse affects. As a matter the rod in question cast great. The rod was a tip section of an old salmon rod made into a 1 piece trout rod, Well who makes the rules anyway.  (Gary Nicholson)

                    I believe that Robert Crompton was the first to design bamboo rods using "convex" tapers, and he, no doubt, influenced other makers as well, including Marinaro.

                    After looking at my convex tapers that were developed by either my uncle or father, the butt section tapers regress before and into the grip, with segments of straight tapers, especially in the tip tops.  Most of these tapers are for pentagonal rods, so they might have been influenced by Crompton also.  (Larry Tusoni)

                      Yes, the convex taper was Crompton's innovation in the first decades of the last century, and a butt section whose convexity regresses at the ferrule  AS WELL AS at the butt end is surely a sign of his influence. Not a very successful way to manage the flexing needs of a butt section, as it turned out (and not at all what we would want for dry-fly action), but that was Crompton's first iteration of the idea. Through the first half of that century, Marinaro worked continuously with Crompton,  but developed  his own idea for the dry-fly convex taper.  (Bill Harms)

                  I didn’t realize “convex” normally referred to the Marinaro school of design.  That’s one reason I was unsure on how to answer.  My personal opinion is that a Marinaro design is say three “convex” sections fitted together, each section being created to accomplish a particular action within it, the some of the sections providing an overall design of, hopefully, good and expected performance.  I think each section would be stiffer in its middle than the ends creating a series of hinges. I further opine that the same overall action could be duplicated with a continuous taper of some description which would average out the effects of the multiple convex sections.  I thought I had graphed a Marinaro taper but apparently not on this computer  since I can’t find it for comparison.  I’ll have to do that when I get home.  (Al Baldauski)

                    I'm just finishing a 7' convex taper  and I graphed it also, and, indeed, no apparent hinge effect,  on paper anyway.  (David Haidak)

                      Just so we’re clear, the graphing I did was with a program that calculates and graphs the actually deflection under casting load.  I can see areas of increased stress at the thinner sections of the Marinaro taper which implies a greater degree of bending but it is subtle enough that it can be seen on the “bent” rod.  (Al Baldauski)

                      I'm a champion of the convex taper (certainly, not to the exclusion of other successfully designed rods), and I just want to raise a few questions about your recent post.

                      As you select and arrange your sample rods, you say that, "over the full length of the tapers (not individual sections), the designs fall into a clearly defined band of convex to concave tapers."  But a statement like this calls up a couple problems: 1) I'm not AT ALL satisfied that folks are on the same page when the term "convex taper" is used, so the "clearly defined band" you refer to remains very far from clear to me, and; 2) The relative effectiveness of convexity (strictly as a design principle) cannot be estimated when the sections are ignored and only the rod's full length is considered. There are too many other variables coming into play when one does deflection tests on an entire rod, and you're no longer evaluating the design principle of convexity, in itself.

                      In this latter regard, the most significant part of your recent post is the following:

                      "The overall tip deflection can be identical from convex to concave with diametrically opposed slopes.  But the convex and concave tapers will feel very different (e.g. Young Vs. Dickerson). They can be designed to have about the same overall deflection but fit entirely different casting strokes."

                      Indeed, this could be true, but the statement begs the question of what you consider to be a "convex taper," and it still assumes you're looking at "overall bending characteristics from butt to tip." Thirdly, when you speak of "diametrically opposed slopes," did you actually mean taper trajectory? The term, "slope," is a very different design consideration, and will affect the overall bending characteristics of the taper-line itself (as will one's choice of ferrules, guides and their spacing, thickness of varnish on wraps, etc.).

                      You're comparing a variety of rods that (in their full lengths) have notably different tapers, and surely, that's interesting work. But you still haven't defined what's meant by "convexity" (or "concavity," for that matter),  or how these shapes may have been carried out, section-by-section, in the rods you've chosen. When you do this, I think you'll see (as architects and structural engineers have known for centuries) that a convex profile is more resistant to the stresses of deflection than any other profile.

                      In all, it doesn't seem   that   you're   comparing apples-to-apples, and haven't isolated design principles in themselves. Your modeling assumptions don't seem adequate to justify conclusions about whether a convex taper will be more resistant to bending than a concave taper.   (Bill Harms)

                        Maybe a picture really is worth a thousand words so how about some actual tapers to talk about?

                        I also get lost in the generalities. Where's the beef!!!  (Bob Norwood)

                      Sorry but I still do not see how a concave taper can have the same resistance to bending as a convex taper when taking the same straight line path. as the bench mark. One is reducing material from the rod the other is adding it on  how can one have the same resistance.

                      Like I have said before its important not to get confused with speed and power of a fly rod.  If the rod is compound in any way its not a fair test is it.  (Gary Nicholson)

                        (as architects and structural engineers have known for centuries) that a convex profile is more resistant to the stresses of deflection than any other profile.

                        Architects and engineers are dealing more with beams supported on two ends  where the load is concentrated at or distributed around the center of the beam.  This is also where the stress is maximum.

                        A flyrod is a cantilevered beam where the load is opposite the fixed end and the stresses increase as you approach the fixed end.  I dare say you'll never see a cantilevered beam with a convex section.

                        If you take three convex sections and stack them, you are creating alternating stiff areas (the middle of each section) with less stiff areas (ferrules joints), each section behaving as a cantilevered beam attached to the one below it.  The thinned areas flex proportionally more that the stiff areas creating a hinging effect at the ferrules.  It's a subtle effect to be sure since the changes in slope from a straight taper are not that great. Indeed, I graphed the Marinaro 7'6" rod last night and could not detect the "hinge." (Al Baldauski)

                          I thought that same thing about the Marinaro rods for many years. Nothing that he wrote in "The Ring of the Rise" made any sense to me, and it looked like the rods were designed to hinge at the ferrules. That changed when I got the opportunity to actually cast the rods. If you look at the casting photos in Bill and Tom's book, I don't think you will see any evidence of hinges, just even bends, and a very smooth transfer of energy from the rod to the line. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, and as usual, the devil was in the details. The swells are much more subtle than I had imagined, and their placement seems designed to offset the stiffness, and the weight of the ferrules.

                          A long time ago, I put an overweight ferrule on a light action rod. If you put a static bend in the rod, everything looked OK, but if you got it swinging, it flexed too much, not at the ferrule, but about 6-8" behind the ferrule. The momentum of the swinging weight was acting like a lever on the too weak area behind it. Eventually, I figured that out,  replaced the ferrule and solved the problem. I think the placement of the swells in the butt and mid of the Marinaro designs address that problem without making a stiff spot, and come pretty close to negating any ill effects from the ferrules. The swell in the tips is typical of many other makers taper designs, and designed to produce an optimum transfer of power. So despite my earlier reservations, I have come to conclude that the convex theory guys have some good things going on.  (Tom Smithwick)

                            I just had an off list discussion with Bill on this very point.  When I first looked at Marinaro tapers I opined that the stiffness of the ferrules was compensated by the changes in the taper.  Indeed, my program shows no obvious bending in the “thin” areas despite the fact that they do show up on the stress curve.   As Bill says, your building a SYSTEM.  It is the average of all the components that makes up the character. (Al Baldauski)

                            Thanks Tom for this insight.  Now I think I know what Marinaro was doing, making the rod with stiffness or deflection or whatever you call it,  that progresses smoothly through the ferrules.  Makes sense when I think about it that way.

                            Somebody on this  list used  to advocate 1-piece rods of any length,  was it Bill Fink.  Maybe he could chime in on ferrules & rod design.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

                              Most breaks I've seen on bamboo rods occur just below the female ferrule where the ferrules inability to flex causes a pivot point where the ferrule ends. Is this mainly a result of poor ferrule fitting or the fact your placing a straight tube on to an increasing sloped surface. You usually don't see the same thing happening on the female end where the cane is slope is decreasing. Should we have an absolute straight taper at the female ferrule or would this just move the problem.

                              I usually oversize the ferrule to reduce the amount of cane removed when cutting the ferrule station to help stop this problem or would using flexing bamboo ferrule where no cane is removed eliminate this problem? I build 6' 1 piece rods and they are smooth casting rods.  (Ken Paterson)

                                Most rod breaks I see occur 5 to 15  inches down the tip section the area of max stress.  I have not found many snap at the ferrules.   (Gary Nicholson)

                                Most breaks I've seen on bamboo rods occur just below the female ferrule where the ferrules inability to flex causes a pivot point where the ferrule ends.

                                Hi Ken - IMHO breaks in this area are caused by poor fitting, regardless of taper. A good description of how to handle the transition from metal to cane is in the Garrison book. If you serrate and thin the ferrule, and transition from hex to round under the serrations, I doubt that you will ever have a problem.  (Tom Smithwick)

                              Yes indeed I do advocate one-piecers. I made quite a few up to 7'3'' and they are without question superior to their 2-piece prototypes, Eliminating that heavy stiff discontinuity in the middle really helps, and also when you run the design software you can eliminate the substantial moment caused by that quarter of an ounce in the middle, resulting in a lighter butt section for equivalent rod action. The downside is transport. No problem with my full  size  van  but a  bit of a no-no in car pools.

                              Also, no ferrule cost  and no loose or stuck ferrule problems.  (Bill Fink)

                                Yes I have got to agree with you one piece rods are far superior in all ways, minus  transporting.   (Gary Nicholson)

                                  Yes! ...and, one piece rods require      helpers         when auto-closing or screen doors are involved!     (Timothy Troester)

                                    I've  busted  just  as  many two-piecers as one piecers in screen doors. It's not a function of the rod design as much as a function of  number  of six-packs  (Bill Fink)

                                      I build my  rods in a similar way, although I call them progressive tapers each section taper is faster or at least has a different slope than the previous section and it's easy to see if you graph the rod in sections especial a three or four piece rod.  (Ken Paterson)

              I'm a little late getting into this conversation.  But I've done a lot of research on this using a deflection model.  Just thought someone might find it interesting.  Glad to hear that Al has built a deflection model.  Maybe Larry can add something like that to RodDNA some day.  My research included 444 3wt to 6wt hex tapers from the RodDNA database.  The distribution of taper designs is very interesting, to a numbers geek like me.   Over the full length of the tapers (not individual sections), the designs fall into a clearly defined band of convex to concave tapers.  The overall tip deflection can be identical from convex to concave with diametrically opposed slopes.   But the  convex and  concave tapers  will feel very different (e.g. Young vs. Dickerson).  That's one of the really cool things about bamboo rods.  They can be designed to have about the same overall deflection but fit entirely different casting strokes.

              So,  will a convex taper be more resistant to bending than a concave taper?  No.  Not if you take into account the overall bending characteristics of the rod from butt to tip.  Convex and concave tapers can have the same overall tip deflection.  My research is posted on the blog.  I've explained the methods I used in detail and summarized the results in several charts and tables.  One of my favorites is a table the compares the overall design characteristics by maker.  Most makers dabbled in both convex and concave designs.  But there are a few that pushed it to the limit, like Young and Pezon convex tapers, and Divine and Dickerson concave tapers.  I've extrapolated a series of standard tapers from a series of Payne's, Garrison's and Young's that cover the full range of designs from convex to concave.  All of my standard tapers have the same relative deflection for each respective line weight and rod length.  It's going to take a few years to make them all but I'm off to a good start.

              If anyone's interested go to the blog and select the "tapers" category from the menu on the left.  Scroll down to "Taper Research #1" and read the four taper research posts in order.  They won't make sense if you don't start with the first post.  Actually, they probably won't make sense anyway.  But it was fun doing the research.

              By the way, standard taper number 1 is pretty cool.  It's a "concave" taper.  I've made it in a 7.5’ 2 piece 5 wt and a 7’ 4 piece 4 wt.  Both are sweet rods.  The taper design is similar to a Payne 101.  Standard taper numbers 2 and 4 are roughed in and ready to plane for  7’ 4 wts, 7.5’ 5 wts, and 8’ 6 wts.  If anyone uses these tapers please let me know how they turn out.  (David Bolin)


I live in southwest Wisconsin & fish mostly spring creeks.  However, I will travel to  SW Montana this summer & need a rod/taper that will handle the bigger water & the wind.  Any suggestions on rod tapers in the 8' & 8.5' length, 5 wt. 3 piece category are most welcomed.  (Paul Julius)

    My wife and I regularly fish the Madison and Yellowstone Rivers outside of Yellowstone Park and use Baginski 4-5 wt rods that are 7'6" to 8' long.  The rivers are what one would call big water and wind is almost always present, but we have no special problems.  We use mostly small dry flies and do not try for record-length casts.  The tapers are Rolf Baginski's own.  (Tim Anderson)

    I have fished the area for many years and have found the following tapers to be useful:

    PHY Perfectionist 7'6" 5 wt.
    PHY Para 15 8' 6 wt.
    Winston 7'6" 4 wt.
    Payne 201 8' 3 piece 5-wt.

    All the rods that work for you in Wisconsin will work in Montana.  (Steve Weiss)


I am not very good yet at looking at taper dimensions and reading rod actions. I am wanting to build a 7'9" 2/2 5 weight rod. I have been looking over a few and would like a few comments about the characteristics of these tapers.

#1 Don Andersen's

#2 Garrison 209E

#3 Payne

#4 one listed in George Mauer's book

#5 Cattanach, maybe his is a 4 weight

#6 Young's Para 14.  (Jason Moody)

    I finally finished my Anderson 7/9 5 wt last May after starting it about 7 years ago. I am real pleased with the rod. I am a great fan of the Cattanach (Sir D version) and put the 7/9 in the same class. At this time, I am working on two more making a total of five I have made.  (Tony Spezio)

    I've built the 209E and found it to be a very fast rod.  Almost a 6wt.  Also built the Para 14 and found it to be extremely parabolic, flexing way too much into the handle for me.  (Brian Morrow)

    I have made both the Garrison 209 and the Para 14.  I like them both but they cast differently for me. The Garrison is slower for me than the Para 14 which I like better because it seems faster.  The past year I fished the Garrison actively and found I enjoyed casting it. I think that using the Garrison more gave me a better feel on how it behaves/casts. I have now found I like both rods,  so if you have time make both.  (Frank Paul)

      "I think that using the Garrison more gave me a better feel on how it behaves/casts."

      I have always thought, and I still believe, that this is so true! We all know that fishing a rod is so much different than lawn casting one, but I honestly believe that I really start getting a feel for any rod after I have fished it for a while.

      On my web site I said:

      "The feel of a fine cane rod is like nothing else, and as your relationship with your fly rod grows, you will have found a fishing companion you will not want to be without. Fishing bamboo makes a better flyfisher of anyone who is willing to cultivate this relationship."

      This is not just a marketing statement I really believe this to be true, and every now and them I hear someone else express this.  (Joe Arguello)

        I built a 7 1/2' Waara rod for the Grand Experiment at a Canadian cane gathering a while back but I was on a tight schedule to get it finished in time so I never got to fish it until it was returned about 5 months later. On that first day that I tried it on the water I hated it and almost took it back to the trunk of my car to switch it with another rod. But I decided to stick with it and after about half an hour of fishing I suddenly realized how well the rod was now casting and I had to only allow myself to adjust my casting rythem to what the rod wanted. It now remains one of my favorite rods to fish and I'm glad I decided not to give up on it.  (Ken Paterson)

          I built a Payne 200L with the light tip. I lawn cast it and I had to say I was mildly disappointed. I didn't set any new personal distance records. Then I took it to our local spring creek and fished it in a section where long and stealthily casts are required. All of a sudden I realized that I was hitting the usual haunts of Brown Trout that I often hunt from far greater distance with better presentations  with greater ease than I had ever gotten from other rods. By the time I finished  out the day, I knew I had a great fishing rod. Later other rodmakers and even people who, although they are great fly casters, fish graphite (including a local guide) raved about the rod even though they were only lawn casting it.

          I think that when we evaluate a newly made rod by lawn casting it we often misjudge its character because we have expectations for the rod that are unreasonable or because lawn casting and fishing are very different. Ergo, Joe's right!  (Doug Easton)

    I have built Don's 7'9" and I love it.  I prefer rods that flex into the handle and I have a slow casting cadence.  This rod suits my likes.  I have not made the other tapers, so no comparative comments.  (Greg Dawson)

    Hands down the 209E.  (Bret Reiter)

      I have cast PHY #14, 209E, the Warra version, Homer Jennings 7'9" #5. All good rods, and I would be happy to fish any of them on a regular basis.

      The only version I own is the 209E. This was built by a friend, for himself. He did not like how it cast. He has built quite a few PHY and Dickerson tapers and the 209 E was just slower action rod than he wanted. He just cast it, had'nt fished it. So it came my way, and while it is not for casting across parking lots.............. when you just add water it comes to life, and it is a favorite rod.

      There is a difference between casting and fishing, its all fun though.  (Peter Jones)


Just wondered if anyone has tapers for multi pieced bamboo rods in a 5 wt say, 8 foot? or anything close? What are the most sections anyone has seen in a bamboo rod that was not a horse whip or a grounding rod?  (Jerry Andrews)


    Twelve sections, it is on a rod that was called "LiL Poacher" or the Salesman  Rod, it would fit in a Salesman's display case, it could be carried by the Salesman and have it available when needed. I had this rod here for a while but never did mike it. I have been thinking about it and will see if it is still available. I think the rod was about 6' long assembled. That was about 12 years ago before I made my first rod. I would hate to buy all the ferrules at today's prices.  (Tony Spezio)

    If you are interested I have the taper for the South Bend 291, which is a 4 piece, 7 1/2' that handles a 5 or 6 wt and really isn't that bad of a rod. Let me know if you would like it and I will send it to you. Maybe you could plug it into Hexrod or one of the other programs and stretch it to an 8' rod.  (Will Price)


Site Design by: Talsma Web Creations

Tips Home - What's New - Tips - Articles - Tutorials - Contraptions - Contributors - Search Site - Contact Us - Taper Archives
Christmas Missives - Chat Room - Photo Galleries - Line Conversions - The Journey - Extreme Rodmaking - Rodmaker's Pictures - Donate - Store