Balancing Your Fly Rod, Reel, Leader and Fly
One of the most common mistakes I see from new anglers is sizing their rod, line, leader and fly up. I know the 9’5wt rod is the most ubiquitous rod out there. I also know you’re going to have a heck of a time trying to throw large salmon flies on it or even worse yet a 1/0 streamer.
The chart below (Table 1) should be a big help for folks. You want to start with a balance fly rod and reel. What is a balanced fly rod and reel? Well to be literal, is does not exist. That’s right, there really no such thing. Why? You’ve got your rod, you’ve got your reel, you’ve got you line…. now you balance it on your forefinger where your thumb would be, and it is perfectly horizontal and balanced on your finger. Perfect! Now put out 10 feet of line. What happens….not so balanced any more.
OK, so I’m being a little smart here. You should start with a “balanced” rig. The point is just this, that we have to deal with an unbalanced set up all the time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help ourselves a bit. That’s where your leader comes into play and our Table 2.
You want to turn over your flies with your cast, and to do it, you have to have the right set up. Simply put, the butt section of your 5X tapered leader will not turn over a size 8 bug well. It’s just not. You’re going to need at least a 4X to do the trick and preferably a 3X.
A common misconception is that as leaders get heavier, it’s because of bigger fish. Please of big fish have been caught on 7X and 8X leaders. While from a commonsense standpoint there is some validity to this argument, the leader and the stiffness of its but section is engineered to turn your fly over.
That’s it for now my fishy friends,
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags