Rod reel balance questions

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by jessejames, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    A friend was in the shop with his new 8' 3pc 5wt bellinger rod and reel. He got the rod a week or so ago and brought it in then and we went out and cast it on the lawn behind the shop. He did not have the Bellinger reel at the time so we put on a Hardy Caspedia in a 4/5/6. I cast the rod with that combo and I really liked it. I felt good and cast easily. The combination was heavy but it did not feel heavy or ungainly when casting. With that reel on the rod it balanced right above the cork with the line out and hanging.
    Well today we put on the Bellenger reel which is smaller and lighter and the rod just did not feel as good as before. The balance was way above the cork and when casting the rod had a heavy feeling.
    So!!! Am I imagining things or is balance a big deal on Bamboo rods.
    Does a larger heavier reel change the swing weight so much that the rod feels light even though the combination is heavier in weight?
    I have not cast a lot of bamboo rods and the ones I have cast in the past were not high quality so the experience was not positive. But when I cast this Bellinger with the Hardy reel it was really sweet and I thought that's what a rod should feel like.
    Is there some balance criteria or formula or is it just what feels good and works for each individual caster?
    Inquiring minds want to know.
    jesse
     
  2. veilside180sx

    veilside180sx Member

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    Balance is a big deal on every rod, or at least it should always be considered. Bamboo tends to carry more tip weight than a graphite rod does, and that may be why you noticed it more than you typically do.
     
  3. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

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    It is indeed a big deal on bamboo rods, especially the longer ones due to the heavy tips creating a lot of extra swing weight. That rod probably needs a heavier reel.
     
  4. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    "I cast the rod with that combo and I really liked it. I felt good and cast easily. The combination was heavy but it did not feel heavy or ungainly when casting. With that reel on the rod it balanced right above the cork with the line out and hanging."

    The balance or lack of balance in a rod/reel/line combination is far more important than overall weight. Forget everything that contemporary rod marketing wants you to believe about overall weight.

    "So!!! Am I imagining things or is balance a big deal on Bamboo rods."

    It is very important on longer rods designed to cast a heavier line (like your 8013), less so on shorter or lighter rods. The longer the rod and/or the heavier the line weight the more important it is.

    "Does a larger heavier reel change the swing weight so much that the rod feels light even though the combination is heavier in weight?"

    The swing weight of the rod remains the same but the heavier reel counterbalances it. The result is an overall lighter feel even though the mass is greater.

    "Is there some balance criteria or formula or is it just what feels good and works for each individual caster?"

    The judgement of the individual is most important. However, most people like the balance that you described "right above the cork with the line out and hanging".

    Not to complicate the issue but every rod is designed or should be designed with casting distance in mind. A sweet spot at which the rod is doing what it does best. Doing what it is designed to do. All is in balance and casting is effortless. As you add more line to that distance the balance changes as the line gets heavier and different parts of the rod come into play.

    Most, if not all of Bellinger's rods were designed by Daryl Whitehead based on Dickerson tapers. He never strayed to far from the original tapers so the rod you cast should be very similar to the one you are assembling from Jeff's blank.

    And finally, the Cascapedia is a great reel for the price. You may find a more attractive price from online sources in the UK even when including shipping.


    TC
     
  5. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Jesse,
    You received quality replies from everyone, and I would agree that "balancing the rod and reel" is important.
    But you didn't say whether you used the same line on each of the reels you tried while casting the rod. Different lines can make a huge difference on bamboo rods. Some cast effortlessly with one line, and a line manufactured by another company (even of the same "weight") may make the rod perform entirely different.
    It sounds like the weight of the two reels affected your experience, but the lines (if they were different) may have had as much to do with how the rod felt to you while casting it as well.
     
  6. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    I agree 100%.

    The line is a critically important part of the equation. Often the single largest variable in the whole picture.

    Jesse you are lucky that you have access to a wide variety of lines from your shop. Try them all repeatedly until you find the one that feels right.

    I like a Rio Selective Trout on my 8013. Your mileage may vary.


    TC
     
  7. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    In regards to the line I did not have the same line on each time I cast the rod. The line on the reel the first time cast better but the balance issue was the thing that made the difference. The second line was lighter and the rod did not load as much but it still cast ok. It was the heavy tip weight that bothered me even when not casting.
    Tim you are right we have a lot of lines I can cast on the new stick when I get it done, and I will try a lot of them. I have my eye on an old Sage 506 reel that is in very nice condition and I want to put that on the rod and see how it feels. I like the looks and history of that reel.
    jesse
     
  8. Mike Monsos

    Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

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    Once I find the right balance on a rod with a particular reel I usually try different lines. A easy way to do this is to leave the "right" reel on the rod and string the rod with other lines off of other reels and place the "test" reel in your pocket or on the lawn. It saves a lot of time swapping lines from reel to reel.

    Mike
     
  9. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Mike's advice to attached the 'right' reel to the rod and then cast a different line through the guides is an excellent way to test multiple lines without the hassle of winding each line on the reel separately. Once you find the right line, only then do you need to spool it up.

    As another thought about balance, that's why almost all bamboo rods use a downlocking reel seat: that design moves the reel mass farther back from the balance point.

    Balance is also why most cane rod fishers avoid using today's heavily ported lightweight reels. Modern reels were designed for lightweight hollow plastic rods and are simply unable to provide sufficient mass to effectively counterbalance heavier bamboo rods. Sure, old Hardy or Pfleuger reels look (and sound!) cool. But the real reason so many of us use them on our cane rods is because they're so much heavier.

    K
     
  10. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

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    ...or if you want a heavier modern reel, check out the recently-resurrected Solitude fly reels, made in Mount Vernon. They're getting good reviews, and the 5-6 wt reel weighs around 6 ounces. That seems to me to be in the ballpark for that rod you've described.
     

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