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Any serious fly fishing professional or hobbyist knows that a fly rod is a tool meant to meet all sorts of challenges the fishing environment can pose. Selecting a perfect fly rod is, therefore, key to getting the best results. But do you even know who invented the fly fishing rod?
History of the American-made fly fishing rod
Well, it's difficult to really say who invented the fly fishing rod. Dr. Andrew Herd, an early fly fishing historian, wrote that the Macedonians used wooden poles as fly rods about 200 AD. He describes these wooden rods to be very stiff and heavy.
Things did not change a lot in the age of Izaak Newton. The fly rods were still long wooden sticks but this time weighing about 20 pounds. They were made of long branches or sticks. Imagine yourself on your favorite river with such a weighty rod. Sure enough, you'll be making false casts.
During the 17th century, the rod was revised. Anglers of that age designed indigenous methods of making a hollow at the center of the rod in order to reduce weight. Using ferrule systems, these anglers could also join wooden pieces to make rods of the desired action.
In the 18th century, the bamboo was used to make rods because of its lightweight. A split bamboo cane was invented as suitable to construct the rod by an American violin maker.
Since then, the technique has been perfected by American anglers. The fiberglass became the first commercial rod and recently we have rods made of graphite. The modern rods are designed to have different sizes and lengths and their measurement is based on the size of the fly line that is believed to be most suitable for a particular rod.
Choosing the best American made rod
For an angler who has a great passion for fly fishing, there are qualities that transform a plain fly fishing rod into an extraordinary rod. Here are the pointers that should help ease the selection of the extraordinary rod:
- Your target catch: The type of fish you want to catch determines the kind of rod you'll use. Remember the baseline is to equate the weight of the rod to the weight of the line and so that of the fish. While the lighter fish call for a lightweight rod, heavier fish need a heavy rod.
- Your fishing experience: Your fishing experience will determine the flexural characteristics of the rod you use. Anglers who are new to fly fishing would need medium-fast action rods and move on to more sophisticated rods once they gain more experience. However, there is no general guideline that can be given about this factor because the aptitude, the feel, and the strength of casting vary from an individual to another.
- Fishing environment: The dynamics of the fishing environment determine the rod weight and length to be used. Mild conditions may need the use of medium weight rods while severe conditions such as high water currents call for heavier rods. As of length, tight water conditions require the use of smaller rods while extensive water conditions may require you to use larger rods.
- Rod material: Rods can be made of fiberglass, graphite, or even traditional materials such as the ancient bamboo. For a moderate rod, one that is made of graphite could be a better choice.
- Cost: Of course the cost of any object is never to be ignored. Make a good generalization by considering the factor of quality and cost.
Top American made fly rods in the market today
With regard to wide research done on fly fishing rods in the market today, there are several great choices and brand names. Below are some 4 incredible companies making high-quality rods, that have been proven to take the trophy home:
- Orvis rods
Orvis is among the first American companies to make fly fishing tools. Although some of its tools are made in foreign countries, the fly rods are specifically made in the United States. Orvis offers a large selection of rods, bamboo, graphite, saltwater, freshwater, lightweight, heavyweight, and rods of different actions. For instance, the Helios series rod is suitable to both saltwater and freshwater conditions and can be used to catch most species of fish that an angler can encounter. The Superfine series is another brand by Orvis that is praised for excellence in precision casting and when using small flies.
- Thomas and Thomas rods
Reputation precedes Thomas and Thomas for making high-quality rods. The company makes several models- bamboo rods, switch rods, and two-handed Spey rods. The Exocett series by this company is known for its great performance in saltwater conditions. The Apex series is a good choice for catching salmon and steelhead. The Whisper-Lite series is a medium action rod with great smooth casting abilities hence it's an all-around king of the trout. The bamboo rods from this company have also been recognized as being among the best in the world.
- St. Croix rods
Founded in 1948, you can tell that this company has a lot of experience in producing high-quality rods. It has a long-standing history of manufacturing some of the best rods on the states. Amazingly, most of its brands carry the name legend and for sure they are true to it. The Legend- Elite series is a lightweight rod with fast action and can be used for trout and in salt water. The Legend-Ultra series has medium-fast action and comes in both a multi-grip Spey and a single hand model. St. Croix rods are also popular for being cheap yet superior in quality.
- Scott rods
Not enough words can be used to describe rods from this company. Scott manufactures a variety of rods based on fishing situations and an angler's experience. The A3 series has medium-fast action and is very compatible beginner fly fishers. The S4 series has fast action and is a great multipurpose rod. The versatility of rods made by Scott is something anglers celebrate on a daily basis. Scott also makes specialty rods for fly fishers who need specific characteristics. The expert staff at Scott ensures optimum customer service and satisfaction through feedback and inquiries.
american made fly fishing rods