"The world of fly fishing thrives on ignorance. That is why so many poor
performing rod companies stay in business."
The picture above was copied out of a catalog. It exemplifies how bad some
production rods really cast. If you count them, there are nine or ten guides on
the rod in the picture. To my way of thinking, if the rod was six feet
long that might be okay. I am quite certain that this rod is longer than
that .... probably nine feet. If your nine foot, medium to light weight
rod has fewer than fifteen guides on it (including the tiptop guide) you are
experiencing the same problem. Every cast you are being cheated. You
working too hard to get the distance you are getting and destroying your line at
the same time. Even when fighting a
fish, a rod made with too few guides, is not loading properly, will break easier,
and abuse your line again.
No wonder you and so many other fly fishers are so tired after a days
fishing. Your poorly spaced and sized guides are dragging you down.
Line Belly occurs when the distance between any two consecutive
guides is excessive. This allows "sag" which creates "drag". When
"reach casting" (raising the rod and casting the line straight
down below the tiptop as the fly travels away from the
angler), line belly can hamper the "reach" at every attempt if the distance between
the tiptop guide and the first guide down is extreme. As you try to
thrust the line out the tip of the rod, a loop is formed between the tiptop (G1) and
the first guide (G2). This kills the "reach" and must be pulled out before
attempting another "reach" cast. This ends up being a case of working real
hard at getting nowhere. Line belly can only be solved by putting more
guides on the rod. This decreases the distance between consecutive guides
and improve the rod performance in every fishing scenario.
How do you know when you have enough guides on your rod? The best way is
to test a guide setup before making it permanently fixed. Use three to
five wrap of three-eighths inch masking tape to position the guides ....
then try these simple tests.
Reach casting is the best test for the correct position of the first guide below
the tiptop. Make sure you reach cast the main body of the fly line as
well, and most importantly, the running line. If no loop is formed between
the tiptop and next guide down the rod while sternly
reaching both the main body and/or the running line .... your setup has pasted
the first test. A distance of approximately 3 inches is adequate for line
sizes 1 through 3, 3 1/2 inches line weights 4 through 6, and 4 inches for 7
Hauling, either double or single, is a good test for the remainder of the
running guides. When your line is shooting, it should feel as if a silk thread
is being drawn through your rod guides. If it feels like the line jerking,
laboring, catching, or dragging .... increase the number of guides and
test again. Continue to increase the number of guide until it feels as if
the line is gliding through the guides effortlessly.
Shooting Mend test ... this test should be executed on water with a small fly
(#12 weight nymph) and matching indicator( an indicator large enough to float
the fly in calm water) or a medium head popper (about the size of a nickel).
Cast a good fishing distance cast (30 feet), let the fly and line settle, strip
3 yards of slack line off the reel. Now mend the line in the direction
that is easiest (to the right for right-handed or left for left-handed) shooting
the excess line out the tip of the rod without moving the indicator or popper
over 18 inches. Practice until you execute the shooting mend proficiently
without moving the indicator or popper past the allowable closeness. Once
proficient with this technique, increase the amount of slack line off the reel
until you can no longer keep the indicator or popper in the allowed expanse. If
the distance you are able to shoot the excess line is 4 yards or less, your
guide setup is grossly inefficient in the numbers and/or
openings. A good guide setup will allow a practiced angler to shoot 6
yards and more of excess line and still stay within the standards of the test.
Noisy Guides test .... a general complaint of REC Titanium Single Foot
Light Duty guides is, "They make noise". This is only true if your rod has a
deficient number of guides. There are many single foot guides that make
noise for the same reason. Even Fuji's Gold Cermet Titanium Frame Single
Foot guides, of unquestionable quality, will sound off if the rod is under
guided. Depending on the guide's design and material, the sound can range
from a low-pitched hum to a low whistle. This clamor is caused by the
excessive distance between consecutive guides, allowing the line to grossly wrap
around the guide ring and cause enough friction to create a "stop-n-release" or
"grab-n-go" situation that causes the guide to vibrate and resonate through the
rod. This racket will commonly occur when the rod is heavily loaded during
retrieval of a hefty fish for the weight of the rod. To test for this,
take the weight of your and multiply it by 1.5, this is the number of pints of
water that will be needed to test your particular weight of rod. So for
example: a one weight rod requires 1 1/2 pints; a two weight, 3 pints; a four
weight, 6 pints; an eight weight, 12 pints. Pour the water into a suitable
container, attach it to your line, and retrieve it across a level area of
dampened grass. I use one gallon plastic milk jugs. If your rod is
making a clatter, increase the number of guides and test again.
Is it possible to have so many guides on a rod that it affect the rod's performance? Yes, if the rod builder
uses guides that are too heavy and too much epoxy on the guide wrappings, the
added weight will deaden the tip of the rod and make the rod feel heavy to
the angler. However, the rod
will most likely out cast your standard production rod anyway. Why? Force equals
Mass times Acceleration, F=ma, Newton's second law of motion. Using
titanium double-foot stripping guides and light titanium single-foot running
guides, placing a guide where a wrap has to be anyway, 3 or 4 light coats
of high quality urethane varnish will not hamper the blank's performance at all. There are several
makers of light efficient guides on the market today. Remember this about
fly rod guides .... because a fly rod's guides are on the under-side of the
the guides do not have to be exceptionally strong but must be well attached.
If you are using several light duty guides they will more than equal the strength of
having a few heavy duty guides.
These UP Rods, No Sag - No Drag Rods are most sought after by nymph
fishers because the line's movement in and out of the rod is so efficient.
However, these rods work exceptionally well for all types of fly fishing.
The increased number of guides on these rods will increase the life of a fly
line two to three times. Cracked and broken lines often go unnoticed until
they reach the point of un-floatable sinking disasters.
Handles are the interface between the angler and the fly. The more
sensitive this connection, the more feedback that is given to the angler and the
better he/she understand what is happening below the water's surface. Handles
made of hardwoods - like oak, walnut, and maple - were
the first materials used in making handles. Cork was first offered by
Orvis for women's rods about 1890. When the hardwoods were replaced
by cork, something was lost. That something was sensitivity. Sensitivity has been
thoroughly exploited by the rod builders of rubber-worm and
spinner fishing. In these
two types of fishing, the more sensitive handle gives more feedback to the fisherman
which translates into more
control of the lure and more strikes realized. This ultimately means more fish caught.
This is also true in flyfishing. From the beginning of the back
cast to the fish in the net, the more sensitivity handle tells the fly fisherman more
about what is happening on the other end of the line. In our search for
the ultimate handle, we settled on a graphite handle designed by Bob McCamey.
This handle is as light as cork, unbreakable, and transmit the any tick, tug,
scraped, or vibration right to the anglers hand. They are always warm to
the touch and never tarnishes or stains. Cork is soft and absorbs
much of the information that are transmitted up the line and rod to the angler.
With this handle on your rod, you can catch minnows blindfolded. You might
say, "You can feel a whisper with this handle". I believe that
there is only one handle that could be more sensitive than this. It is a handle that is made as part of the blank,
which is now produced by one manufacture.
Reel Seats, cheap ones are like cheap whiskey - they both give you a headache.
Reel seats, in the past have been the heaviest and quickest to ware out addition
to any rod. I abhor wood inserts no matter what their quality. If
you leave them in the water long enough they all start to swell, so I favor the
metal and graphite reel seats the most and on some of my personal rods, I have
no reel seats at all. Guides - Sorry we do not offer snake guides on our
rods. Why? Lot of reasons. They require two thread wrappings. They are cheap. They are not
durable. They hamper the bend of the rod. They decrease casting
distance. They destroy
your line finish. They are a guide that the line can be touching
the same guide at two points at the same time. And that is just the beginning.
So what do you get when you
purchase an expensive mass production rod? Well let's
really look at it
critically. You get a blank that has about thirty dollars worth of
graphite or fiberglass. You get a cork handle that cost the
manufacture around seven dollars, a reel seat that is in the neighborhood of
and a set of guides (including the hook keeper) that cost less than five
dollars. It probably cost the manufacture less than ten dollars to get the
rod put together. So, if you paid six hundred dollars for the rod, what
was the other five hundred thirty-five dollars for? Well over half of it
was advertisement for sure. But notice that the cheapest component of the
rod was the cost of the guides. The major rod manufactures have been
convincing the less experienced fly fishers for years
that the blank is the most important
component of the rod. That's BULL-HOCKEY. Blanks are a matter of
personal choice and purpose. You don't use a ten foot two weight to catch
shark and a nine foot twelve weight to catch sunfish. Some fly fishermen
like noodles for one fish, sticks for other fish, and hammers for others.
Regardless of the length, line weight, or action of a rod, the most important
component of that rod is the guides. Let's face it, blanks just
bend one way then the other, some faster and some slower than. However the
UltraWave Rod blank does it best, because of its ability to store the
kinetic energy of the back cast and release it more aggressively in the forward
cast. So what makes a great rod? Great guides, good guide placement,
bigger guide openings, guides that carry the line away from the blank, and guide
linings made of extremely hard material that reduces friction and increase
durability. How do you know if you are casting a great rod ? When
you shoot the line, you don't feel the line leave the rod, even if it is an old
cracked line. We offer different grades of guides on our rods to fit your
pocket book. T1 Fuji and American Tackle Third Generation Titanium guides
are the best in the business for large weight rods. Their titanium frames are 60%
lighter than stainless steel and twice as strong. Their rings are made
thinner, lighter, harder, and stronger than anything other guide rings.
Our third choice for guides are REC Heavy Duty Single Foot Wire guides, also for heavy weight rods. The
of guides are REC Light Duty Single Foot Wire guides for medium and light line weight rods.
Blanks - We have several blanks sources to choose
from. If you want a specific blank we can probably provide it. As we
said before, "Blanks are a matter of personal choice and purpose." If you
don't know what you want in a blank, we will offer some suggestions. We
have our own personal preference of blank manufactures - we like Dorber blanks.
Why? Because they can do what the other blank manufactures can't.
Blank manufactures buy their materials from the same suppliers.
They all use about the same type of machinery to produce basically the same
blank. However I think that Dorber is a step ahead of other blank builders
and here are some examples of why. How about a ten foot one weight?
how about their new ultra-weave graphite blanks that are the lightest, best
casting, almost unbreakable, double
backbone blanks ever made. There D-Reach blanks are real parking lot
and grass casters. And lastly, the new UltraWave Rod, I think the
greatest fly rod ever made. What other
blank builder offers those examples?
Right, Left, and Neither-Handed Rods - Production rods
are made Neither-Handed, they are neither right-handed nor left-handed. At
Willow Ford we make all three styles. What makes a rod right-handed or
left-handed? The position of the last two or three butt guides on the rod.
We came upon the realization of right-handed and left-handed rods quite by
accident. One day when testing the guide placements on an unfinished rod,
I went outside to test its casting abilities. I had cast the rod several
times, when I noticed that the last two butt guides had moved toward my
line hand. I took the rod in my shop and cut off all of the guides and wrapped
them back on the rod using a different guide placement setup. Again I cast
the rod several times and noticed again that the last two butt guides had
repositioned themselves .... again. Upon realizing that the guides were trying to
tell me something, I continued to experiment with exactly how far the guides
could or should be moved toward the line hand. I think that right and left
handed rods cast a little further and the fly line last a little longer.
If you add up all the "a littles" that happen in a lifetime of a rod .... they
add up to a lot.
Custom Rods - To get a price one of our
Innovative Custom Fly Fishing Instruments or thinking of purchasing a
Custom UltraWave Fly Rod,
you need to call us at
or email us at email@example.com
. We will need to get some information on exactly what you want.