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My 7-year old daughter has just started flyfishing and I'm going to make her a rod this winter. Before anyone says anything about how young she is, just know that this girl is like her mother, she does anything she sets her mind to and she decided this past year to start fly fishing, just like her father. Her cast is still rough but I know that when I put her in a casting class this spring she'll do fine.

Now, what I need is a suggestion on what to make for a beginner never tainted by the plastic rod bug. She is about 3 to 4 inches taller than many in her age range and has good hand, eye coordination. Any help?  (Bill Walters)

    Don't make the mistake of making her a short rod because of her size.  My daughter started with a Wayne C. 7' 2-PC 4 wt (the Sir D).  I think that's a great rod for anyone, regardless of age, experience, or casting ability.  (Robert Kope)

      I would agree with Robert Kope that a super short rod makes life more difficult for a beginning caster than a short 'average' rod. A Dickerson 6611 is a nice one but a 7 ft Granger is very easy to time and more versatile. It will even handle small weighted nymphs (up to #10 or so).  (AJ Thramer)

        I've got the taper for a 7', 4/5 victory  from George Mauer's book. Is this what you had in mind?  (Bill Walters)

          That is a good one, you can adjust the tip dimensions in the last 3 in to  the be the same as the butt. It makes the ferrule fit better if you are  using the ubiquitous Swiss style ferrule.  (AJ Thramer)

    I can't say enough about the Sir "D".  (Tony Spezio)

    To me PHY tapers are THE tapers. I regularly make other tapers for sale, but stick to the PHY´s if possible as they simply are the best.

    A month ago a client, who earlier bought a Perfectionist taper rod from me, turned up with the tip of a carbon rod -the butt was broken. I refused to repair the butt piece, as I only do cane as a matter of principle. He then convinced me into marrying his carbon tip to a new cane butt, as I saw fit. Being a sucker for a challenge I accepted and this afternoon I have wiggled my "Dania Flyrods CarboCane No. 1". IT WORKS. I simply made a Para 15 butt and married it to the carbon tip, and it makes an OK rod. Not as good as the real thing, but positively better than your average carbon stick. I think he is going to like it.  (Carsten Jorgensen)

    I am building a PHY Midge taper to give to my son for his 7th birthday, and will be his first fly rod.  Just finished gluing and sanding, can't wait to cast it.  Just waiting for the ferrules to arrive.  This rod is turning out so much better than I imagined (my first rod), the little fart is going to have to pry it out of my hands if he wants it!  (Kyle Druey)

      The PHY Midge is not really a short rod in the real sense of the word.

      It is actually a bit like a Zip file, and it automatically unzips when you cast it.  (Peter McKean)

    My vote on this is the Midge, as well -- the #2 in the Hexrod Archives.  (Martin-Darrell)

      Everyone that has used my Midge has fallen in love with it. I think it's one of the best small stream rods out there and will spoil you for that purpose. Now, let's step up a notch to a medium stream where you may want to throw some lead - even a very small amount of micro shot. The Midge runs out pretty quick - less than 15 feet or so and limits your ability to cover much water. Granted, it will throw a dry for 50 to 60 feet and is a blast for midge dry fishing. John Channer stood beside me as I landed a couple of 20"+ trout on the San Juan doing just that. The rod was bent double but performed wonderfully. But, as a first rod or something meant for more all-around use, I would recommend the Sir D or something similar in 7' + for #4 or #5 wt. You get a bit more spine and flexibility for your fishing, at least in my opinion. Still, it's is a mighty fine taper and is definitely one I'd recommend for tight, small streams.  (Jim Freeman)

        Yep, mighty fine little rod!  (John Channer)

    7' 4 wt. Sir D. If she gets tired of fishing later in life she can keep the boys at bay with it.  (Marty DeSapio)

    In every sport I ever tried my hand at be it rock climbing, kayaking, football, fishing etc. it was always my opinion that you should NOT start of with "inferior" gear. That would in this case mean a rod any different to what you your self would use for the area you're fishing.  All starting off with "beginner" gear ever does is make life harder than it needs to be to get good. Also, if a person is interested in the sport that person becomes good in a surprisingly short time and needs the better gear anyhow. Try a Sir D.  (Tony Young)

    The 7'6" South Bend rod is one of my favorites and it lays out a real nice line.  It was my Dad's and he gave it to me when I started fly fishing when I was 16 back in the 60s.   She will love it.  (Bret Reiter)


I have a friend who is wanting a fly rod. He is just starting and I offered to build him one at cost. What would be a good taper for him to fish with. The rod will be a 5 wt in the 7.5 to 8 foot range. does any one have a good suggestion?  (Matthew French)

    Dickerson 7613!!!  (Todd Talsma)

      Yep, Todd beat me to it. You would be hard pressed to come up with a better 7 1/2' 5 wt than that one.  (Will Price)

        You know there are about 5 different versions, so you should really pick one for him. I have a smoothed taper of the 1970 version which I like. I think it feels the same as the 1970, except that the butt is lighter. Once you get a butt swell of more than .030" you have stopped all the rod action at that point so it makes sense to make the rod a little lighter. I would think either one of these would make a great rod.

        Regular 1970 ver.


             340.0  (Bob Norwood)

          Of course you're right.  The 7613's that I've made are the 1970 taper, without any changes (well, as close as I came to them).  I've made 3 of these rods and every one is nice casting.  (Todd Talsma)

    The grand experiment rod!!  (Timothy Troester)

    Payne 101 or 102 8” is nice reach.  7’6” is kinda short for every day fishing, to my way of thinking.  Unless he will be fishing small streams all the time.  (Brian Creek)

      Years ago,  I don't remember why (perhaps it was just cheap), I picked up a late-1960's - early-1970's Constable Firefly.  The fittings were awful, but the action was bulletproof. It was the perfect beginner 's rod. It cast itself. I think it was 7' or 7' 3", but don't remember accurately.  I gave it to a cousin many years ago. But I would recommend that taper.  (David Zincavage)

        Harp, Harp, Carp

        The perfect rod for a beginner is a $25 KMART Graphite. A #4 with a #5 line. See what his stroke is like. He may end up liking Para's (dead zone rods), ultra fast, super slow. Everyone is just guessing. Even for cost a bamboo rod is still expensive. Or, bring out your quiver and see what he adapts too the quickest. Does he even know how to cast?  (Jerry Foster)

          I couldn't agree more,  being the great salesman that I am, when I had my fly shop I would always tell beginners just that. You really don't want to make the mistakes you will probably make on a $1000+ custom made fly rod as a matter of fact I just told someone that this morning. They can always come back next year or so and order a rod, hell part of the learning curve might be that they don't want a J. E. Arguello rod but a xxxxxxxxxxxxxx instead, I personally would not want someone having to make due with one of my rods if it's not what they want. Different strokes for different folks! Told you I'm one hell of a salesman.  (Joe E. Arguello)

          I thought that Matthew asked for a taper because he wanted to build a Bamboo Fly Rod for his friend and experience the joy of making and giving. To me, this is a very generous offer of  friendship and giving, that you can't experience by suggesting a Walmart Graphite one. It maybe true that his friend does not posses the skills needed to use a fly rod now, but what better way to learn than by using a Bamboo rod made by a Friend.

          Matthew; build the rod, it's a great feeling to give of your self and a Bamboo fly rod will be a cherished gift forever.  (Bob Norwood)

            Ya know, if that is the intent, then you’re right.   (Joe Arguello)

            Pardon me. My assumption was that he wants to make his friend a rod he will cherish and fish with. Indeed, I have made and continue to make my friends rods as gifts and don't charge them anything. As I'm sure do many of you. I don't think I wrote anything exclusionary in my post, he can make him a rod he will love (oh! the goo) in 3 months. The issue I was addressing was, what is a good first taper. Your best guess maybe his worst fit. If he wants to make him any rod, then why ask, or make him a Garrison, it still may be one of the best general purpose tapers ever created. It's kind of in the middle of everything else.  (Jerry Foster)

              I will second what you are saying. To be brutally honest you can not go far wrong with any Garrison. I take it the chap is a raw beginner (YES) Really the last thing he wants is a rod to fast or on the other hand to slow. His casting with develop in time it is true no matter what. How many of us can really say after years of fly casting there is not a place for a Garrison fly rod in your arsenal.  (Gary Nicholson)

    I feel like a Jesuit priest, here, reading the results of a survey of Saudi Arabians on the subject of "What is a good religion to belong to?"

    Quite obviously they are all wrong!

    The Payne 101 must, at the very least, be worth considering in this context.  I believe it to be the preeminent rod in its class, and an outstanding performer in every respect.  (Peter McKean)

      Here, Here!!  (Insert tennis clapping)  (Brian Creek)

        I've loaded the three tapers that have been mentioned so far in FlexRod.  I would have recommended the Payne 101, but Bob's smoothed Dickerson looks really good on paper.  It's going to load a little more than the Payne 101 with a 5 wt line.  I've made the 101 for beginners but recommended a 6 wt line so they can feel it load.  The smoothed Dickerson might be a better choice.  Here's a link to the FlexRod file.  (David Bolin)

      The Maurer taper for the Payne 101 is currently my favorite.

      And just for conversation sake, I think tapers that approach 8' exceed weight - length benefit ratio for Bamboo - unless their hollow built.  I'm still amazed at how far a 6'-3" Paul Young, Howell taper, will cast.  (Doug Alexander)


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