Videos: Understanding Fly-Rod Action


Last week, we posted the first three videos in a great new series called “Getting Started in Fly Fishing,” from Brian Flechsig of Mad River Outiffters in Columbus, Ohio. In Episode 4, Flechsig helps you to understand fly-rod “action.” What does it mean? What are the different actions available? And how do you choose the right one?

Yes, this is very basic stuff, but it’s vital information for folks who are new to the sport. The biggest barrier to entry for anyone taking up a new activity is lack of information. Stay tuned to learn more!

For a much longer, in-depth discussion of action, check out this classic post.

6 thoughts on “Videos: Understanding Fly-Rod Action”

  1. I have options when I leave for the river. If it’s calm and I see rises, out comes the 7’6″ fiberglass. If it’s breezy I grab the 9′ graphite. If the mood strikes, I Tenkara. I like having to adjust my stroke to my equipment to suit the needs of the day, and sometimes my mood dictates my choices as well. I love solving the puzzles I find at the river, and sometimes having some specialty options allows me to do that.

  2. That is the best explanation I’ve heard. I’ve fished since childhood (66), fine tuned my preferences long ago but to have all this information put forward simply and coherently helps me appreciate how my individual tastes fit into the flyrod spectrum.

  3. Brian does a nice job of explaining the “flex profile” of rod action – where the rod bends. Slow or fullflex, medium or mid-flex, fast or tip-flex. And he uses these terms correctly. However he omits (perhaps intentionally) an equally important discussion on what confuses anglers about action and that is the overall relative stiffness. Regardless of where it bends, (it’s flex profile), a 6-weight rod loaded with a 4-weight line will feel like a fast rod to many anglers and they will call it a fast rod. Here it takes a stronger/faster casting stroke to load the rod. Conversely a 4-weight rod loaded with a 6-weight line will feel like a slow rod to many anglers. A slower, less-muscled casting stroke will load the rod, and a stronger/faster casting stroke will overload the rod (increasing the chances of getting tailing loops). Some rod companies and rod series within a company’s rod offering have relatively high or low overall stiffness and therefore will feel fast or slow. And that has as much to do with your rod choice for that humid evening or intense bonefish flat or your hippy professor or Type A investment banker as flex profile or “action”. Again, Brian uses the rod action terms correctly, but many anglers, fly shop sales staff and even experts confuse overall stiffness with flex profile when describing rod action.

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