Choosing the Right Rod for You

Many women are unsure about how to select a rod that is right for them. Besides basing the decision on what type and size of fish you expect to catch with the rod, and how much you can afford to spend, consider the issue of rod flex.

Fly rods are designed to bend at different points along the length of the rod. Some bend, or flex only at the tip of the rod. These are referred to as fast-action or tip-flex rods. Fast action rods are designed to achieve greater line speed and distance in the cast but do so by requiring greater power in the casting stroke.. They often feel rather stiff to the caster and many find them tiring to cast all day. Generally, these rods will be the manufacturer's most expensive line of rods.

Some rods bend approximately one-fourth of the way down the blank. These rods are referred to as medium-fast action rods. They also provide for high line speed and casting distance, but are easier to cast over the course of an entire day. These rods are typically less expensive than fast action rods. Many casters prefer medium-fast action rods for fishing for large fish such as salmon, steelhead, pike, and muskie because they have the stiffness in the butt section of the rod that helps fight a large fish.

Medium-action or mid-flex rods bend about a third of the way down the rod blank. They are easier to cast for many anglers and help achieve accuracy better for the average caster. They are less effective in fighting large fish because not as much of the butt of the rod is stiff. These rods are usually in the mid range of a manufacturer's price line.

Full-flex or slow action rods may be the easiest to cast, but they often have a "wobbly" feel to them because they flex fully half way down the rod blank. They are ineffective in fighting large fish because the fly fisher cannot use the stiffness in the rod butt to hold against a powerful fish. These rods are generally the least expensive in a price line.

Most women find that they prefer a medium or medium-fast action rod for the majority of their fishing. Although there is no question that a woman can cast any rod a man can cast, and do so just as effectively, most women lack the upper body strength that men possess. Therefore, a woman may experience more fatigue when casting a fast-action rod all day.

These days most rod manufacturers indicate which type of flex a rod has. Ask to see the catalog description and be sure to go out and actually cast any rod you're thinking of buying.