Which Rod to Teach With?
By James Castwell, June 9th, 2003, Fly Anglers Online
It took less than five seconds for me to make the decision; go with the new Hexagraph rod. It was mid-afternoon, Saturday of the Fish-In in central Washington state. A few of the gang wanted to play with some of the rods I had brought along. I often try to have some new rods loaned to me from sponsors so folks can get a chance to try rods their local shop may not carry. I sometimes have some 'goodies' from other sponsors to give out too. I don't have or try to sell anything, the stuff all goes back after the event, we don't auction off stuff either, I hate those things. It puts unreasonable pressure on the sponsors for donations (make that 'shake-downs')and who the heck needs another framed picture.

Anyway, I considered who all was there. Some fine casters, good double-haulers, short-line accuracy guys, some with only a few years at it and some just starting out. Yikes, one rod for the whole bunch, a sponsors rod at that and I didn't want any rod to 'look' badly.

Truthfully, the cheapest rod I had with me probably cost at least $500. The best topped out at $850. So why did I pick the rod I did? I (wanted) needed a rod that would load with a short amount of line for the 'newbies,' yet would perform at all distances for the other casters. It should not be so stiff that it would be hard to feel the line unless it was loaded out to 50 feet or so, but with enough reserve power to deliver a line to 90 feet when asked. I had about a dozen rods with me and not an entry-level one in the bunch.

Admittedly, there are many rods on the market these days which might have served the purpose just fine. Almost any reasonably priced 8 or 9 foot, 5 or 6 weight, medium or med-fast rod would have the qualities I wanted. The fact was, I just didn't have one with me. Most of you know, for my type of fishing and style of casting, I do have my preferences on rods and brands. There are many varying situations which call for different rods if optimum performance is sought. This time I was lucky to have at least one that filled the bill just right.

Rather surprisingly, the Hexagraph not only worked well, it worked very well; not just a few there may have decided to purchase one. I fact, exactly that one. The afternoon became more of a learning time than all had expected. I think all who cast it not only liked it but were able to modify their style, whether they had come from cane or faster graphite, they either slowed down a bit, smoothed out some or put a bit more firmness into their stroke. A universal rod? No, there is no such thing. Would a medium, or medium-fast 8 or 9 foot 5 weight be close to one? Perhaps.

Try to understand and remember, there are no perfect rods which will do the very best for each of us under all possible situations. As our targets change so must our weapons. As time goes on we learn more about casting and about how to fish differing conditions for more and more varied specie of fish.

These may open the door for you to, with some rationalization involved, justify buying a few more rods. Nice huh? You're welcome - James Castwell