Rod Reels and Lines

//Rod Reels and Lines

Rod Reels and Lines

By |2018-06-29T15:12:12+10:00June 29th, 2018|Skills & Kit|Comments Off on Rod Reels and Lines

Knowing what fly fishing rod, reels and lines to use is crucial to landing that big fish.

In this section we will discuss the differences in rod types, reels and lines to establish some general knowledge when heading out to fish particular locations or whether you are considering purchasing gear of your own.


A fast action fly rod is a rod that is very stiff and primarily flexes and bends only in the upper 1/3 of the rod.  Designed to provide a high line speed for longer casts and tighter loops during the cast.

A fast action rod can also help facilitate landing larger fish quicker due to the extra power and stiffness that you will get in the base of the fly rod.

A medium action fly rod is one that will flex and bend primarily in the upper 2/3 portion of the rod. The line speed for longer casts will not be as good as a fast action rod due to the extra flex you will get, but longer casts can still be achieved easily.  You get extra sensitivity that helps to present softer casts to spooky fish.

A medium action rod will also be more forgiving for beginner casters as it will not create as tight of a loop that can lead to problems early on.  Fly rods with this action can cover a wide range of circumstances and is considered a good all-around rod type.

A slow action fly rod is one that flexes and bends almost all the way to the handle of the fly rod.  This rod is built much more for the close-quarters casting required by smaller streams and also those places where a delicate presentation is required to help prevent spooking fish, rather than the long casting open waters.

Another benefit of having such a flexible rod is when you are using a very light leader/tippet.  The extra flexibility will help prevent snapping that light line when setting the hook on a fish or casting.

A slow action rod is another good alternative for a beginning fly fisherman.


Rod manufacturers design rods for the average person to use under average conditions. So unfortunately, most fly fishermen use only one weight of line on their favourite rod.

Written on the rod blank or handle is a code number which indicates the line that the rod manufacturer suggests is best; i.e. 6 line. To get the full potential from different fishing situations, you may want to consider using several line sizes on your rod.

Manufacturers know your rod may be used in a host of fishing situations, but they can’t judge your casting style and fishing skills.

Here are several examples of when you might want to use various line weights on the same rod for different fishing conditions.

If you fish a swift, tumbling mountain brook, you can use a rather short leader with a dry fly. However, if you fish for trout with the same outfit and dry fly on a calm spring creek or lake, that short leader could prevent you from catching many fish.

In calm water, what frightens the trout is the line falling to the surface. The longer the leader, the farther away from the fly is the splashdown of the line.

A useful tip is to use a line one size lighter when fishing dry flies where the trout are spooky or the water is calm.

Finally, consider shooting tapers (also called “heads”), which are generally used to obtain greater distance. When casting with normal line, if you cast well, you never hold just 30 feet of line outside the rod tip to get distance. Instead, you false cast with considerably more than 30 feet of line outside. When using a shooting head, try using one that’s a size heavier than you usually do and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the distance you gain.


A key point to choosing a fly reel is to pick one that can hold the necessary amount of backing and fly line for the weight of rod that you are fishing with.  If you purchased a 5 weight fly rod, make sure you are choosing a fly reel that will accommodate fly line weights from 4-6.

Most fly reels will be available in different models to accommodate a range of fly line weights.

By choosing the correct size of fly reel, you will make sure that it holds an adequate amount of backing for that time when the fish you hook makes the run of his life.

The drag system is typically what distinguishes the $300-$400 dollar fly reel from the $50 dollar fly reel.  This is also where it becomes important to determine what type of fly fishing you are doing and the species of fish.

An inexpensive drag system will not hold up to hard running fish such as saltwater bonefish.  However, for your typical trout species an inexpensive drag system will be sufficient.

Again, choosing the correct size fly reel will also make sure that it is weighted appropriately to balance out your fly rod to help prevent extra fatigue when casting for extended periods of time.