August 23rd, 2004

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

By Dave Rosset (anglerdave)

I'm not the sort of guy that goes fishing with the thought in mind that I may discover something new each time I'm out. I just go out and try to have fun. Now don't get me wrong, I may switch patterns or different colors, or work on my casting, especially if the fish aren't biting. But, I'm not a technical kind of guy when it comes fly fishing.

So I certainly didn't start out this summer in a discovery mode. In fact, because of constant pain in my casting arm, brought about by tennis elbow, I had serious doubts about whether or not I'd be doing much fishing at all. Now, I try to not let things get me down, but I couldn't cast any of my fly rods, including my 3wt without experiencing a lot of pain. That was depressing. Trips to the doctor, physical therapy, exercises and a cortisone shot, soon had me back on the road to recovery. But it still looked grim as far as fly fishing was concerned. My arm would feel fine until I cast one of my fly rods. I have to admit to cheating a bit. Even though my physical therapist had said no fishing, I thought well I'll just take my 3wt and wrist cast and I'll be okay. Wrong! I probably set myself back a couple of weeks by trying that little experiment.

Recalling an article about tennis elbow, by James Castwell I had read here on FAOL, I decided to give the Old Poo, I mean the Grand poo-bah a call. It was during a couple of telephone conversations with both he and the Ladyfisher that I learned about rod tip rebound or bounce back. Not only in relationship to causing stress and pain in my arm but how well or accurately a fly rod would cast as well. We also talked about rod action, tip action, overall rod weight and graphite content. Armed with this new wealth of knowledge, I was ready to experiment. After all, I had nothing to lose.

I would consider my fly rods to have an action between moderate to moderate fast and except for my 3 wt, priced from $100 - $200. I'm not sure what the 3wt cost, since it was a gift from a rod builder friend of mine. And because of the price range most of them are on the heavy side, with my 9' 8wt, being the heaviest and logically my 7' 3wt being the lightest. So based on what I had learned from the Old Poo (dog gone it there I go again) I strung up my rods and did some casting practice. What I discovered was that although my 8 wt was the heaviest rod, it had the least amount of rebound and that rebound dissipated before it reached the butt or grip. The 7' 3wt had little rebound also, but surprisingly I felt it more down in the butt of the rod. I would rate both of these rods as moderate-fast action. The arm killer was my 9' 6wt followed closely by my 8' 5 wt. Both of these rods had a lot of rebound or bounce back at the end of the forward cast. And casting the 6 wt I could feel all the way down into the grip. So now what?

Well I knew what the answer was. Continue with the way things were going or consider replacing my fly rods or at least the 5 wt, since that is the one that I use most often.

For the past month, I have had the opportunity to cast and fish with several different fly rods, from some major rod manufacturers both here and abroad. All of these rods that I cast were fast action and made of higher graphite content than any rod that I owned. All of them had little or no rebound or bounce back. However, although most of these rods left me with little pain or discomfort after casting them, only one was I able to cast and fish with pain free. That in itself was a great discovery! I also discovered that with a fast action, good quality fly rod, I am a lot better caster than I gave myself credit for. I can throw tighter loops, my line lands more delicately on the water and I am able to place my fly on target more accurately. They say clothes don't make the man, or women. But I am a firm believer that a good quality fly rod, at least in my case, can make the caster. You see, for one final experiment, I cast one of my rods and cast a rod that has been on loan to me, using the same fly reel, line, leader and fly. There's an old saying: "if I'd have known then what I know now." There was no comparison.

So whose fly rod was it? I'm almost a little hesitant to name the rod. Not because I want to keep it a secret. But I know that there will be some who will say "I fish this fly rod and I don't have any pain in my arm or my rod tip doesn't bounce back." Or I can buy 3 or 4 or 5 fly rods for what you'll pay for one expensive rod." And that's fine. In all honesty, this wasn't about you. It was about me and my only purpose in sharing all of this is because I have come to realize that FAOL is about sharing ideas and knowledge. And what each of us does with what we glean for this site is an individual thing.

If you want to do yourself a favor, get your hands on a Gatti FRHP. The Old Poo (oops sorry JC), I mean Grand poo-bah, did a review a while back on this rod and will have one at the Idaho Fish-In. And I think Brian Ahern from Gatti USA will be there as well. Of all the rods that I have cast the Gatti FRHP905-3TA is the lightest fly rod that I have ever held in my hands. And the only rod that I cast that left me with no discomforts what so ever in my arm. And for me, to borrow from a credit card commercial. Priceless! ~ anglerdave

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