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If you were to make a parabolic rod for normal Eastern trout fishing (8'6" or less, 6 wt maximum) what would it be?

I really like the Fario Club, but am unsure of the best of the two or three tapers available.  (Joe West)

    Paul Young Para 14, a 7'9" 4/5 that doesn't cast too weird. Maybe a perfectionist too...  (Rob Hoffhines)

      I have built the 7'9" Para 14 and love it.  Be aware that there are multiple sets of numbers out there for the Young.  At the Grand Gathering a year ago, I stood with two other builders as we each cast our Para 14's and each rod felt dramatically different, even though the numbers were close.  All were nice, but each felt different.  My 2nd rod or 3rd rod was a Payne 7'9" parabolic and my buddy who cast it after I built it, refuses to return it.  Both are great rods, just different.  The Payne feels much lighter in the hand, and seems more delicate than the Young in my humble opinion.  Maybe I have found my next to build rod.

      I am sure that now everything is much clearer.    (Mark Babiy)

    I like the Driggs River Special.  It's shorter, 7'-2", but I like that.  (Hal Manas)

    I really like my Para 14, but it's my first and only rod.  I'm considering a Payne 101 for number 2 to cover both ends of the character spectrum.  (David Bolin)

      I'm in the opposite situation.  Of the rods I've made, I only have the Payne 101 for myself (built .005 too small everywhere and thus to my hand a 4 wt). I now want the other end of the spectrum.  But I was thinking Pezon et Michel Fario Club.  (Joe West)

    What's about the Para 15?  Some people say this is one of the finest taper ever built.  Actually I'm working on one but I just split off the culm, so I can't tell you more.  (Markus Rohrbach)

      It may well be.  That is IF you can decide which of the dozens of "Para 15" tapers available out there actually represents what the rod should be.  The variations on any given Paul Young model are all over the map -- from wimpy  to oak-tree stiff.  (Bill Harms)

        To what do we attribute this variance?  Poor measuring?  Varnish thickness differences? Manufacturing variance?  What?

        Which taper should the novice trust...I've seen the Cattanach versions that mention "from the beveller setup," or something like that and then there are ones that say something like "well, I think the varnish was about .005 on this rod, but maybe .003, so you can just decide."

        Is there just an imprecision about the whole thing?  (Joe West)

          I'm told that Paul Young liked to make rods to suit customers' preferences.

          Apparently, he would make up several sets of blanks (of a given model) and then vary their cutoff points to achieve different actions.  These, unfortunately for the later-day collector, would still retain the name of that basic model -- "Midge," "Driggs," "Perfectionist," or whatever.

          I hope I am not passing along just another myth, so if anyone knows better, please chime in.  (Bill Harms)

      The Para 15 is great. I made Wayne C's modification called "the Force".  It is a 6/7 weight. This may be a bit too much for most trout fishing. My favorite all-around trout rod is the Paul Young Perfectionist.  (Steve Weiss)

    I just completed a Para 15 (caught my first fish on it last night!).  The taper I used is from the archive on which has a two tip version.  I made the dry tip.  Since I’m new to boo I may not be best to judge the action but two of my friends who own several bamboo rods and who prefer fast action said this taper was moderately fast.  My only complaint which I voiced in a recent posting was that it is tip heavy.  Everyone said “get used to it”, that’s the way 8 foot rods are.  I’ve done some experimenting with a two ounce sinker taped to the butt and found that the improved balance made the rod so much more comfortable that the extra weight was insignificant.  (Al Baldauski)

      Bamboo rods all tend to be tip heavy when paired with modern reels. You need enough weight behind your hand to balance the mass of bamboo in front. Old classic rods were fished with pretty heavy reels compared to todays lightweight aluminum reels. Some older reels even had a space you could add BB's to to make the reel heavier to balance the reel to a specific rod. Start by using downlocking or cap and ring reelseats, they move the reel further from your hand. If you make your own reelseat spacers you can make them a little longer to move the reel as far away as possible. Use a heavier reel. The additional weight is not noticeable but the rod/reel combo will cast and fish much more comfortably. I think (my opinion only) that with about 30' of flyline out the rod should balance on one finger somewhere in the front 1/2 - 1/3 of the cork grip. You can't change the mass of bamboo in front of your hand that's determined by the material, length of rod and taper but you can work with the amount of weight and it's distance behind your hand to achieve a comfortable balance.  (Dennis Higham)

        Actually, I noticed something interesting that supports all of this.  I am sure that many of you have seen the "beavertail" grip design advertised in all of the glossy mags.  The idea behind it is that you can more comfortably slide your hand back for more leverage or somesuch. It struck me recently that what is happening is that there is not enough weight out in front of a short to mid sized graphite rod, and it becomes more comfortable  to cast with your hand farther back, nearly over the reel.  To put it another way, the balance point is too far back on many graphite rods when paired with the wrong reel.  Just as a longer bamboo rod demands a heavier reel, so does a shorter, lighter graphite demand a smaller, lighter reel.  Or perhaps a newfangled grip design to compensate.  (Carl DiNardo)

          After observing a lot of people cast, and doing a fair amount of instruction, I think that some people creep their hands down against the reel and some people creep their hands up toward (even off) the end of the grip. I don't know how much it may have to do with rod balance. The beavertail grip you describe is probably more of the ridiculous arms race among contemporary manufacturers who continuously try to make people feel insecure if they are using last year's model. Of course, last year's model was the best last year! We are the weird ones who insist on using last century's model. I even use Meisselbach reels with silk line. Ha ha.  (Steve Weiss)

        I’m thinking the solution to balancing a rod known to be tip heavy would be to use a screw on butt cap in place of a fighting butt which can be filled with the appropriate amount of lead.  Two ounces was right for my rod when attached at the very end of the butt. If I chose a heavier reel it would have to be much heavier than an additional two ounces since the center of gravity of the reel is much closer to the desired balance point that the end of the butt.

        Since this rod doesn’t have a screw on cap, I’ll fashion a cup shaped cap to replace the existing flat one and epoxy it on.  My calculation suggests an extension cap filled with lead would only need to be about 1 inch long (for 2 oz.)  (Al Baldauski)

          Why not just put on a down locking reel seat on a known tip heavy rod. move the reel aft and not have to add any weight.  (Patrick Coffey)

            Moving the reel center of gravity back may require a setback of about 2 in.  if the reel weighs 5 oz.  This increase in length below the grip may be an interference while casting but it certainly deserves investigation.  Given that fighting butts apparently are not problematic then this shouldn't be.  (Al Baldauski)

              There is about a one inch difference, in distance from the butt of the rod, between up locking and down locking reel seats.  (Patrick Coffey)

                I used a downlocking seat to begin with.  I'm guessing the seat with have to be extended rearward another two inches to achieve balance without additional weight.  (Al Baldauski)

                Some expert builders and experienced casters said that balance was critical.  Other equally expert people said balance was less important than total weight, ie you should use the lightest possible reel and never add weight to balance a rod.  They made a good case. (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

                  I don't believe in adding weight either. As soon as you get a bit of line out, the rod is again tip-heavy.  (Steve Weiss)

          I have read that tournament casters used to omit reels all together!  (Steve Weiss)


Looking for comments on making the Young Para 14 Perfectionist (Parabolic) and Garrison 209E (Progressive) this winter.  (Frank Paul)

    I particularly like the Para 14 submitted to the archives by George Maurer nice taper. For another taper suggestion. I like the grand experiment Waara taper share to us by John Long.  A very good taper.  (Timothy Troester)

    The Para-14 and Perfectionist are two different rods. The Para-14 is 7'9" five weight, and the Perfectionist of 7'6" for 4/5 lines. Can't go wrong with either in my opinion.

    I have some notes on the taper from an old, old post that says that the Para-14 works well with a swelled butt. Since a swell stops the action, and paras are designed to flex into the butt, it seems like a swelled butt would be at odds with the original design. So if your taper came from that post, I would build it in the traditional manner.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I've made the 209e from Garrison's book, and the Para 14 from the Hexrod archives (and the Perfectionist in

    the Hexrod archives, but I submitted it so I should like it : )

    They are very different tapers though; the 209e is a smooth progressive taper, and the Para 14 a classic parabolic.  I'd say you couldn't go wrong with either (unless you are one of the misguided unwashed horde who don't get parabolics, in which case you should steer clear).  (Chris Obuchowski)

    The Para 14 was the first rod I ever made. It's nice but after making dozens of rods I'll have to say that the Para 14 goes unused by me. It's a very nice streamer rod but not as nice as the Para 15 in my view. I haven't made the 209E so I couldn't comment on it. The 4 wt Perfectionist is my all time favorite's for fishing small dries (18's -20's) to 40 feet. I haven't found anything better and I've tried nearly everything. I consider the Perfectionist to be somewhat medium in action (flamed) although it may seem to be slow action by others. If your casting stroke is somewhat slow and lazy you'll more then likely love the 4 wt Perfectionist. If you like a lot of line speed when casting you may be happier choosing a faster action rod then the Perfectionist.   (Jim Bureau)

    My first rod, made in Wayne's class back in 2000, was a 7'6" PHY Perfectionist. It's not my favorite rod to cast, but it's a great rod to fish with on medium sized streams. It casts easily up to 40 feet, roll casts, mends line well, has the power to set the hook on a strike, and can handle reasonably large fish quickly. It's a rod that I like better at the end of a fishing day than at the start (I consider this a positive attribute).

    I also made a Para-14 a few years ago. It's a great casting rod, but to be honest I haven't fished it very much. The 7'9" length and 5wt line always seems either too big or too small for the types of fishing I do. I haven't made or cast a Garrison 209E taper.

    I prefer progressive tapers, but the parabolics have a lot of great attributes & are worth making.  (Tom Bowden)

    I got my Perfectionist taper from Jim Bureau a couple of years ago.  I believe it is the same as the one in RodDNA listed as Rod #1 or in Hexrod as Rod #2.  I've been fishing it almost exclusively for two years and love it.  It's got all the attributes Jim claims but I find it fishes better with a 5 WF unless you're always out at 30 to 40 feet.  I've broken it three times, once on a 25 inch rainbow at the net,  I think it was due to a brittle nodes, it's about three inches shorter now but still fishes well.  (Al Baldauski)

      Isn't this rod worthy of a new tip section? I always honor a favorite rod that's been broken by giving it priority for a new section.  (Steve Weiss)

      With all the breaks repaired and still performing well, why put a new tip on it?:)  Actually, I do have the strips planed  for a new tip, just have to finish it.  (Al Baldauski)


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