Short Fly Rods are a Hoot: If there is a trend in fly rods these days, it’s toward longer ones…..Switch, and Spey come to mind. These elongated sticks have their merits, I suppose, but lets take a look at the other end of the spectrum – short fly rods. These days, you rarely hear much about them. Yet they are useful and fun.
So what constitutes a short fly rod? In my opinion it’s any fly rod under 8 foot. Angler often call them Bantams, Flea Rods, Flea-Flickers, Midge Rods, or Peewees. These things have been around for a God’s age, at least dating back to H.L. Leonard’s 36L Baby Catskill. Payne, Young, Orvis, Hardy, Garcia, Fenwick, Sage, Scott, Winston – to name a few – all make them at one time or another.
Some folks bad mouth short rods. Their beefs fall into three areas. First they will tell you short rods are lousy fish fighting tools. Really? Tell that to Lee Wulff. Actually short fly rods are excellent fish fighting tools as long as the anglers at the far end know what they are doing. Next you’ll hear that you can’t cast very far with a short rod. Okay, some truth there. Short rods are rarely distance machines. Typically they are most effective out to about 35 feet or so. But, frankly most trout fishing is done inside that range. So this is not a big deal. And lastly people point out that short rods make it difficult to “mend” line. True enough. But you can compensate by improving your “reach”cast, and your”curve” cast.
So why plunk down your hard earned moola on a short fly rod? Well they are clearly the choice in tight quarter; yes, you can actually do a ‘bow & arrow” casts if needed. Short rods are also super accurate. Believe me they are precision machines. Particularly useful when fishing in close such as a “spinner” fall. And because of their low profile, they are very sleathy too. Trout are less likely to see them waving around. And the forward cast travels lower over the water, so it lands lighter. Short rods are also easier to store, and easier to rig up. They make landing fish easier too. And they are more fun with a fish aboard. Yeah, short rods are a hoot.