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  • Writer's pictureChris O'Byrne

Caster Types and Rod Swipes

Different types of fly rods bend and unbend with different characteristics. Manufacturers use the word action to describe where on the shaft, or “blank,” the rod bends, how much it bends at each location, and how quickly it returns. When purchasing a fly rod, action is an important point to consider, in part because your personality shows in your natural casting tempo.

The ancient Greeks who gave us fly fishing, also gave us a way to describe personalities. In terms of matching a fly rod’s action to an angler’s personality, two of these stand out. Energetic, fast-moving people were called sanguine. On the other hand, calm people who naturally prefer quietude, who move at a slow, thoughtful and deliberate pace, and who stay relaxed even in exciting situations were described as being phlegmatic. A recent fishing trip where I helped a tranquil angler find a rod to match his cast provides an example of a good match between casting personality and rod action.

This gentleman spent part of the morning not bending a stiff, fast action rod with his gentle casting stroke. As a result, his casts were short, and to cover water I was required to move the boat often. When I handed him a smooth flexing rod, his gentle power found a partner, and the length of his casts grew. I was able to keep the boat farther from the shoreline, and he could present the fly to more water. After he caught the first fish of the day on a nice forty-foot cast, he said with a touch of new-found swagger, “If you wait for this rod to bend it really does its thing.” In your search for a rod to match your casting personality, different rod materials will provide you with different feels.

Bamboo is known for a slow bending and unbending. Relaxed anglers love the phlegmatic action of modern fiberglass. And today’s graphite blend materials come in a spectrum of actions as wide as our personality types. My fishing guest matched up with one of these rods.

No matter which personality type describes you, a rod is out there ready to match your cast. Think about your personality. and how that effects your preferred casting tempo, then cast a number of rods. You will surely find one that moves with you.

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