Expert thoughts on fly rods and reels

Fly rods are numbered by weight. The heavier the rod, the larger the weight number.

For speckled trout, Keith Richard recommends a 5- to 8-weight rod. For redfish, his preference is 7- to 9-weight. A 9-foot-long rod is a good average length.

Graphite is the dominant material of rod construction today, Richard noted. Carbon is light, and it is strong.

But some rods are boron, which is stronger than carbon. Most rods are hybrids of both materials.

Fiberglass, once the material of choice, has regained some of its bygone popularity, but its negative is its weight. Fiberglass rods make up only a very small portion of the fly rod market.

Bamboo, the material of legend, is not often used in saltwater.

Fly rods can cost from $100 to $800. Price is determined by financial means and ego. Most fishermen, he said, should be satisfied with a $100 rod.

Contrary to the surprisingly common belief that fly reels are simply used for line storage, Richard said big fish are often fought off of the reel.

“A good drag on the reel is important for big fish or when fishing a very light tippit,” he said. “For saltwater, an anodized aluminum reel is a must because of corrosion.

“Fishermen should really consider purchasing a reel made of bar-stock aluminum. These are milled rather than cast, and are stronger.

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.