“Fast” Action Fly Rods are Dead:
Yeah that’s right “fast” action fly rods are kaput, gone the way of the Great Auk. I know, they were the holy grail for over a quarter century, but finally we’re waking up to the fact that “fast” action rods have little practical use. Good ridden.
Sound like heresy? Okay, I’m pulling your leg, but only a little. Honestly I feel our love affair with “fast” action rods may be coming to an end. At least I hope so. Why on earth does every rod have to be a damn “cannon”? Nuts. Yes there are a few fisheries where they work well, but in most situation super “fast” rods are counterproductive and even downright uncomfortable (This is why I preferred Sage’s RPL+ over the revered RPLX).
The romance began in 1974 with the appearance of graphite. It was much stiffer that fiberglass or bamboo. Hence less material was required to build a blank and therefore fly rods got lighter. Nice. I appreciate that part. But rod weight wasn’t the big selling point. The marketing message, the real sexy appeal, was “tighter loops” and “higher line speed”. Cast a graphite rod correctly and one could boom a cast out of town. We got hooked. To see it first hand all you had to do was stand by the casting pond at fly-fishing show. Everybody was making “hero” casts. And they same was true in the parking lots outside fly shops. We were in love with high modulus “fast” action fly rods. And every couple of years a new stiffer graphite hit the shelves. We went from IM6 to IM7 to IM8 to IMX and beyond. The modulus crusade was in full swing.
Nowadays fly rod manufacturers don’t talk about modulus anymore. Mums the word. Instead they tout mysterious terms such as Konnetic Technolgy, Nano- Silica, NRX. Overall this indicates an industry movement away from a strict emphasis on extremely stiff rods. Hell, one top makers is even talking about rods with “feel”. Whoa. That’s not to say fly rod catalogues aren’t filled with “fast” action rods. They are. Why? Manufacturers realize that a good portion of the buying public still remains addicted to speed and power over finesse. But there are cracks in the wall. The release of the new Scott G series is one. The G series clearly caters to a more sophisticated angler. The small but growing interest in “glass” rods is another example. Slowly we’re climbing out of the high modulus hole.