How to Bend a Rod… and Why to Forget About it Afterwards

Surfing the internet the other day I came across an article that called my attention due to this statement:

Ongoing advancements in fly line materials and design continue to offer anglers ways to get more out of their casts. Today’s fly lines load rods more effectively…”

So I think it is worth talking a little bit about rod load or, as I prefer to say, rod bend.

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The Rod-Load Model

“The fundamental problem with the casting model based on rod load is that nobody knows what a proper rod load is for a given cast; I don’t know of anybody able to look at the bend in a rod during a casting stroke, and tell if it is a proper load or not. Not only different rods will show different amounts of bend for the same cast, even every angler can get different amounts of rod bend for the same cast and casting distance, depending on their individual styles.”

The Technocrat

Schematic Approach


At the moment I am preparing a mentoring session for two anglers that are getting ready for two different casting certification tests. Writing is the best way I know of putting my ideas in order, so I have started this succinct list. A work in progress, probably. Comments are welcome.

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Rod Bend

“Because adding bend makes hand paths become less extreme for a straighter tip path, bend also gives us a bio-mechanical advantage. We are able to input more force, more smoothly and control the force vectors more easily the fewer changes we have to make to the direction of our hand path.”

Mark Surtees

When reading about “rod load” think of straight trajectory of the rod tip, instead of bow and arrow.

Sweep, Loading… Unloading I

Nymphing on river Pliva

Always shrouded in the mist of mystery, when popular casting mechanics focuses on spey issues it seems to enter the realms of magic.
It doesn’t help that the various styles of spey casting seem to compete in presenting their respective approaches as if they were different techniques, instead of just adaptions to some particular conditions.
Fortunately spey is spey, and physics is physics, and the latter governs the phenomena involved in the art of throwing a line with a pole in exactly the same way, whatever the brand, length or taper of your rod and line, and the waters and fish you are after, be it in Scandinavia or in the Pacific North West.

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