Hybrid rods?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Kent Lufkin, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. I had an interesting but brief conversation yesterday with a person about so-called 'hybrid' rods: made with a blend of graphite and fiberglass. They confirmed what I had already read about graphite being inherently stiff, and thus the reason behind the industry's relentless trend to faster and faster actions. They suggested that the hybrid material serves to actually 'slow down' actions in an effort to offer a meaningful alternative to those of us who don't think faster is necessarily better.

    Since this came as news to me, I wonder if anybody can offer more information on this intriguing development?


  2. I would think you could adjust stiffness and action in the factory by how much or how little graphite you use. My small stream rod is a 98% graphite. I like it because it isn't fast like my river and lake rods.
  3. Many IM6 graphite type rods have a fiberglass scrim or fiberglass is one of the main scrims used for IM6. Not all IM6 rods are the same. From my experience the fiberglass rod, while fun to cast and fish, has a very noodle feel and a definite slow recovery. (after a quick thrust forward the rod conitnues to wiggle for some time before returning to position, if you do this with a good high modules graphite rod it will quickly return to its position)...this is important in casting for mid to long distance.

    The old St. Croix Imperial series comes quick to my mind with regards to IM6. I had the 5 weight for some time and it was a soft rod, softer than the Sage LL you had. It was a wiggle warrior but fun to use. It bent way down in the handle, you could feel the rod flex in the grip for longish casts but also when fighting any 18" brute.

    The common graphite rods in the market have different degrees (counts) of graphite
    Below in no way is an implication of performance or value, just a generalization.

    30's million....entry and low end rods. Many made with fiberglass scrim
    40's million ...mid-level rods
    50's million ...high end, sage xp, slt
    60's million ...high end, sage sp
    I don't believe any of the high end or high graphite count rods use fiberglass as the scrim...these rods are using thermoplastics, high tech aircraft material, etc. all to aid the dampening of the rod...and of course that 110 foot cast.

    I know this has been said before but long before these high graphite super gen 5 hoopla bi-max IPC tech long casting machines, there were flyfisherpeople launching simple glass and boo rods and sending lines 100 plus when needed, so what has really been gained?

    I'm sure someone else can lend more knowledge to the subject.
  4. Kent
    Hardy was one of the first companies to use graphite fiber for rod building, they say they were the first. They, in the personage of Richard Walker, rod designer, thought that the key to using graphite was to use very little graphite and mostly resin. They were so certain of this that they effectively bet their future on it by specifying the resin to fiber ratio in their patent. Unfortunately, this ratio proved not to be very versatile and the rest of the industry moved towards more fiber and less resin leaving Hardy somewhere out in left field.

    You might want to search for older Hardy graphite to find the properties that you are looking for.

  5. I just reread my post and didn't answer your question, Kent. I believe TFO did this with their big game fly rod, they use s-glass in combination with IM6 graphite. I'm not sure of the make-up of the rod but the glass is said for fighting fish and the graphite is to aid in it's casting properties.

  6. If you like slower action rods you just have to buy one. Most of the "high end" rods offered by their makers happen to be fast and expensive as hell. Most offer slower graphite rods for less, you just got to figure out which model is the slow trout rod. Unfortunately what is called "slow" these days isn't as slow as "slow" used to be.

    Or you could find an older SAGE rod. Those are some of the best slower graphite rods ever made IMO.
  7. The problem with that is slow graphite usually equals shity components on cheaper "new in box" production rods. It sort of forces one into rod building and I'm not quite sure yet if that is a blessing or a curse.
  8. Thanks to all for your replies. I may have missed something in the fellow's explanation but I interpreted it as meaning that the scrim was a combination of fiberglass AND graphite, NOT just fiberglass or just graphite. I'll be seeing him again tomorrow and will try to remember to clarify.

    Interesting story about Hardy betting their future and losing Tim - thanks for sharing!

    Thanks too for the advice to just buy a slow action rod Jason, but you're preaching to the choir! I don't own a single fast action rod any more, having sold my last (a T&T Horizon) just last week. Besides 3 Sage SPs and an SLT, my closet also holds 11 bamboo and three fiberglass (the two latter categories set to increase by one each within the month.)

    I'll pipe up again when I learn more. In the meantime, I'd certainly appreciate more insights from anyone who cares to share.

  9. I'd love to see a few more "in between" rods with a slower action than what is trendy right now. Too many rods out these days has to make me feel like I'm trying to win a race. I prefer my fishing to be a bit more relaxing in most situations.
  10. iagree A lot of people think faster is inherently better than slower rods, but that's not always the case. In my opinion, rods from 5 wt. down should be a lot slower than they are now. There should be more companies selling more smooth, middle-flexing rods.
  11. Just about every major company does: Sage ZXL, Scott G2, Winston WT to name a few...
  12. Check out the Winston BL5; your search is over. I believe Winston uses boron, graphite, and fiberglass (the tip for the latter) on this stick.
  13. Interesting comment, "all to aid in the dampening of the rod". Could you elaborate? I'm not familiar with how the two are related; my understanding of the use of thermoplastics (resins)is for use differently than "all to aid in the dampening . . . ". :thumb:
  14. more than that of course, weight, strength, wall thickness or reduced diameter of the stick, but in the end they want to create stick that flexes and returns to position without wasted motion. graphite alone is brittle and the scrim helps hold it together especially under stress...a long cast, a big fish, etc. The resin bonds it (scrim and graphite) all together and all of this comes together in which one hopes (actually formulates) the desired qualities of a certain rod. Scrim adds weight to a rod. Fiberglass is cheaper but heavier than other new scrim material. The less scrim and the lighter the scrim (insert more expensive) is better and aids in the rods feel and dampening. Of couse the bonding (resin) agents has it's role too. And the taper, And the selected material.. So much in to making a fly rod

    But back to the original question.....the hybrid rod is already out there, Winston and TFO as two examples. But how about this

    Carrot Fly Rods...better than graphite?

  15. My take on weather you like a fast, med, or slow action rod is all dependant on your casting rhythum. If the rod speed matches you natural rhythum you will love the rod. Of note is that graphite is a superior conductor to fiberglass which enhances the casters ability to detect or feel the fish with the rod. Rod sales is like any other business there are lots or bells and wistles all adding to the cost, but they all functionally do the same thing. What is improtant is that the rod works for the customer and performs to his/her liking.. So if it feels good and casts well in your hands composition is a mute point.

  16. The G Loomis GL 2 rod series is a graphite/fiberglass blend. Tough as nails and cast well. A bit on the heavy side.
  17. Hybrid rods aren't really new. I built an 8-1/2' 6wt. back in the 1970's, using one of the first blanks made by Sage. Dave Shoff told me the blank was a blend of graphite and s-glass, and was the first real medium-action graphite rod. A lot of us that learned to fish with glass and bamboo didn't like the stiff actions of the initial graphite rods, and the Sages were a real revelation.

  18. Hardy are making a new line of fiberglass rods; they're being marketed as small stream rods. The blanks are mainly fiberglass, with 10% graphite to help control tip bounce and aid overall recovery. Sounds like a cool idea. I'd like to cast one, but they weren't at the Bellevue show :mad:
  19. The Fenwick Streamer Fly Rods made in Taiwan were fiberglass/hybrid composites,(according to phone conversation with Fenwick) my 2 pc, 9', 6wt (SF906-2) weighs 3 1/4 oz, and has an action like a fast bamboo or fiberglass. I bought it thinking it was graphite, but action gave it away.
  20. Thanks for your first post to WFF and for dredging up one of my old threads! Looking forward to reading more from you. Welcome aboard!


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