Rod selection – recommendation by Franta Hanák

Listopad 18, 2019 - 5:11 pm Komentáře nejsou povoleny

p1390404 Franta asked me to edit his article which answers very usual questions of his clients, I added some of my own tips which originate from our courses and from my own long term experience and put the most important info to tables , I hope it is relatively clear and simply tutorial for selection of proper equipment. Don´t forget that fly fishing equipment must be balanced to give you the best service and fun, and everything have to have a purpose. Therefore I very often mention in my articles what gear I used during fishing.

Rod size selection according to the average size of target fish on rivers.

The reason I am writing this brief universal tutorial about the selection of rod weight to suit both conditions and size of targeted fish, is due to the amount of people asking me the same question over and over again: “What 3 weight rod do you recommend for targeting the trophy rainbow and marble trout?”

The answer is easy – NONE!

Here is a simple table of my recommended rod weights. The key to successful fly-fishing equipment is perfect balance. This means that you have to adapt the size of rod, size of hook and the diameter of the leader to match the conditions you are faced with. You must also take into account the method you are using (dry fly, nymph, streamer), the size of river, the depth of the water, the strength of the current but mainly the size of the target fish. The table below gives you a good guide as to what equipment you should be looking at using to target certain fish sizes:

Target fish  Rod weight   Hook size   Diameter of fluorocarbon
up to 30 cm  AFTMA #2   20-16   0,08 – 0,12
30 – 40 cm  AFTMA #3   20-14   0,10 – 0,14
40 – 50 cm  AFTMA #4   16-12   0,12 – 0,16
over 50 cm  AFTMA #5   14-8   0,14 – 0,20

Of course, even with a 3 weight rod you can tame a trophy sized fish of over 60 cm, but in the process you will overload the rod (which can snap the rod). However more importantly by prolonging the fight you can over play the fish which could lead to exhaustion and significantly decrease its chance of survival when released.

Don’t forget that successful hook ups depend on hook size and the strength of the strike. The lift of the rod is very often enough to set the hook with a fine needle-sharp size 20 hook, especially into the soft mouth of a small grayling (also making sure you don’t break fine leaders), but to penetrate hard jaw of trophy trout requires a decent hook and a much stronger strike (and of course strong leader).

An exception to the rule a completely different approach is competition fly fishing. With their experience and skills they can normally get a trophy fish to the net before it even knows its been hooked!

Rod length usually depends on the technique, power of flow and what space you have for casting and playing of the fish.

Technique    Recommended length of rod
Dry fly    275 cm / 9ft and possibly in large rivers 290 cm / 9,6 ft
Wet fly    mostly 290 cm / 9.6 ft and smaller streams even 275 cm / 9 ft
Nymphing    mostly 305 cm / 10 ft
            -    according to conditions 275 – 335 cm / 9 ft – 11 ft
Streamer    mostly 275 cm / 9ft

I wish you many wonderful experiences out on the water, and while you are deciding what rod to go for please just take into consideration the size of your target fish. You don’t want to be the last person that gets to release it back into its watery home!

František Hanák

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