Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Art Trade

A good friend of mine just sent me this wonderful hand-made reel seat. We do a little bit "art trade". Matt is an awesome amateur rod builder, yet with professional skill. The special thing is he make his own rod component from scratch. Turning reel seats, mill metals... unbelievable! It's my honor to have his work! I think I am going to have "someone" to build my ultimate trout rod! my dream rod : ) Steffen 8' 5/6 fiberglass rod! How exciting!

side note: fiberglass rod in action
In general, casting a graphite rod, the cast itself is more "forgiving" mean easier to generate a fishable cast, the stiffer graphite rod is more likely to mask a improper casting stroke, so you might feel it is easier to cast a modern graphite rod than fiberglass or bamboo rods. Fiberglass rod is softer in action, full flex and is easier to have dampen feel on the rod tip. Because of this characteristic, it is much difficult to maintain a straight rod tip path in casting stroke. This usually cause tailing loop. (this statement is actually from Mr. Lefty Kreh's article, not me) BUT, if you can fix the casting stroke - rod tip travel in relative straight path line, smooth acceleration, and combine with hauling. You will get a pretty good distance with "quiet loop" and tight loop. The fiberglass is a bit hard for beginner, but I always joking with my friend using graphite rod "Hook a fish with a graphite rod is pretty much the end of fun; but hooking a fish with fiberglass rod is just beginning of another fun." (to be continued)

Imagine there are three types of floors that made up from 3 different mateials – rubber, wood and marble stone. You are standing on top of the floor bare footed. On the corner, someone drop a penny. Which floor you will feel the vibration better? Yes, the rock. The harder the material, the less the absorption, the faster the speed it transfer and the less the wave energy loss. That is the reason that fast action rod with high carbon modules are more sensitive in detect fish strike. Of course, assume everything being equal. Majority of the missing fish strike is not due to material, is due to fisherman, I have to admit.
Then there is another problem that people swear that a softer rod is “more sensitive” when fighting a fish. In my opinion this is a miscommunication of definition at “sensitivity”. The sensitivity here is not quite the same as we used in the rod action. The fast action rod will still remain more sensitive through out the fight. No doubt. You feel every move of the fish on the other end of the line. But, what people say about the other “sensitivity” is about the rod response to the fish fight. Softer rod bend easier, so every fish thrust and struggle will registered into the rod bends… this is “the second sensitivity” people are using. It’s different than the first sensitivity we have define in the rod action and vibration due to the material difference. The second sensitivity should be call flexibility. Softer rod should be more flexible during the fish fight. This is by definition. Because every fish struggle will registered on the rod bend and change the flex of the rod readily, so people call this high flexible and quick flexible response as “more sensitive”. It’s understandable that the flexibility make up the sensitivity. Especially visually! Most of the people use the bend of the rod to judge the fight and the power. So how about the flexibility of the fast action rod? It is not as flexible as the softer rod. But the angler still feel “the same” struggle and power from the fish. So angler should experience the same fight, it doesn’t matter what rod you use. The two end of the line should be maintain the same pressure. This is the principle of physics. What people (included me) think about “the joy” of softer rod is more in fighting a fish. Is because the visual and psychology components come into play. You feel the deep bend of the rod, your angling experience start to tell you subconsciously that this is a great fish and you going to break the rod, the line. The extra dose of excitement make it more fun especially you got other anglers’ attentions. ha...

It sounds a bit "illusion" in soft rod. no, another fact is no illusion. The soft rod actually add more challenges into the fight and make the rod feel more "sensitive". Remember the soft rod bend more, thus they change the leverage frequently and varies a lot. Every leverage change will make angler to change the center of the lever (pivot). that's another reason those addition responses make fishing soft rod more challenge and more fun (second sensitive).

There is also advantages and disadvantages to use the softer rod in fighting a fish. Softer rod absorb the line shock. So it is more likely the hook will remain "sticky" on fish’s lip and it protect the light tippet. When I swing a soft hackle for trout, it is very common the fast action rod will experience break off more often than soft action rod. Second, the disadvantage of the soft action rod is that you lost some leverage in control the fish because of the deep bend of the rod, this is especially true when fish is close to you, it’s hard to exert leverage to the fish, the only way you can do is move up and down the stream to move the fish in different directions. Leverage advantage is important in fighting big fish. Because the tippet is relative light, you have to use the leverage to disoriented the fish and drag them to the beach or to the boat. So in conclusion, what I said about the fun of use soft rod is, first, it is a challenge to cast a softer rod, so when you get a good loop consistent, this is really fun. And you really can feel the rhythm of rod and the line. They all coordinated in the well after a masterful control. Second, swing a softhackle with a softer rod is really a relaxing angling experience to me. Everything is so “fluid”, you never know the next moment would be a explosive take? Or a subtle tug. But you don’t need to worry about the break-off either ways, the soft rod will bend over to protect the tippet. (to be continued)


Mojo said...

Mark, what made you decide to go Steffan instead of McFarland or Riffle? Or even a Tom Morgan glass blank (sweet). That's a nice reel seat and did he make the agate stripper too? You glass butt might have to be cut down 3½" and an insert put in because of the diameter of the glass compared to graphite. Keep smiling bro!

Cameron Mortenson said...

Beautiful. Fair trade. Can't wait to see how the build comes together.


Yes! All good rods! But I prefer unsanded blanks, better texture, better feel, visually : ). Also, Steffen is MARK! lol

Thanks for the suggestion! I will ask your opinion when the blank arrived! Alan, your rod building is another kind that blow my mind! Excellent!

Anonymous said...

ahh, it looks so sexy, very nice can't wait to whip it around Utah with you



Want to try some glass rods?! The soft hackle is calling you this summer! : )