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Post 09 Mar 2020, 05:05 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 02/09/20
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Location: Scotland
Rather than pollute the 5wt Glass thread any further I’ve opened Pandora’s box in a new thread.
The question regarding action got me thinking.
I’ve a lot of Epic experience and I find the new FastGlass 2 blanks faster than the originals , I prefer a more medium action rod as it suits my casting style better so I like the original more than the new one. I have tried to illustrate what I think makes this difference and maybe show the difference between faster and more medium actions in a way that hopefully makes sense. Apologies for the colour , I only have a Nude FastGlass 2 and it’s not the best for doing this sort of illustration. I used exactly the same weight in the bags which was not set to anything specific other than it gave me a good bend to compare.



This shows the softer (ie Faster) tip and also a slightly softer butt section on the new 580 rod. You can see the original salsa rod has a stiffer butt and stiffer tip but a similar mid section. For me this is a more medium action but also capable of more power, the faster new blank has a softer tip so in theory has better control and a more delicate touch , Plus the butt section should transmit better feedback.

In addition to this I also used the same weights with the Barclay 79-5 and an Epic 476 to see what the differences were in comparison to the FastGlass 2 580. Again you can see the Barclay (amber) has a stiffer tip but the lower sections of the rod follows the line of the 580 very closely, which reinforced my feeling in casting than it felt much nicer in the hand than the old one but cast in a similar way, and was very similar in the hand to the new one but was much nicer to cast. Very much an ideal medium action and very smooth. The 476 (salsa) is obviously over lined with the same weight as a 5wt but it does show how increasing the line weight effectively makes a rod load deeper and soften the action as it deflects the tip more from further down. The cost you would pay for that in distance And feel can be offset by the easy loading if you are fishing short range.



You can see all 3 of these rods have very similar stiffness in the butt sections, which given the 476 is a 4wt shows the reserve of power in the rod.

Hopefully that makes sense and I haven’t opened a can of worms. But it was a question I felt compelled to investigate, especially after a casting session yesterday with the two 580’s and the 79-5 where I could feel the differences that the pictures illustrate. All 3 rods were great in isolation but head to head the Barclay won out. A brilliantly designed rod and of course E-glass to the Zentron and S2 S-glass of the Epics. Just proves what Mike McFarland says about taper being the most important factor in rod design.


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 08:34 • #2 
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hmm, softer = faster? seems to me that almost always faster equals stiffer when people talk about these things; and neither makes sense to me.
You believe stiffer in the equates to more power?


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 09:07 • #3 
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have to agree with Trev, using faster to describe softer tip is a misnomer - softer better equates to slower
(though a good dry fly rod should have a fast mid and short soft tip).

I think the clearest way to look at tapers is progressive at one end (making that perfect dry fly rod "superprogressive"), and para at the other end.
Progressive has a stiff butt, with stiffness gradually decreasing as you move up the rod - this progressively matches the loading point on the rod to the length of line you have out - forgiving and accurate, sacrificing a bit of power because the stiff butt won't load.
Para is the opposite, stiff tip, with increasing flex in the mid and, especially, deep into the handle. This rod rewards good timing and haul with amazing distance for the rod length.
Right in the middle, big flex from end to end, is considered wet fly action.
Of course there are variations on all, mixing elements of each, which fills the taper spectrum - e.g., a short progressive tip added to a light line para taper to make a small water dry fly rod.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 10 Mar 2020, 05:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 09 Mar 2020, 09:28 • #4 
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Bulldog - that is one of the best descriptions I have read.


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 09:32 • #5 
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thanks friend


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 09:39 • #6 
Guide
Joined: 02/13/16
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Ron I agree with your progressive description but that first statement seems to contradict. Speed is in fact exactly a measure of the taper as you noted and not the overall stiffness. The terms have been screwed up so much that now a lot of people indicate "soft" or " slow" as if they're interchangeable, which they are not.

I agree with the OPs description. And Loomis used to do it right by using both "power" and "taper" to describe each rod series.


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 09:45 • #7 
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there are fast progressive and slow progressive, fast para and slow para.
Whether a rod is fast or slow completely depends on the line weight you match with it.

Again, the reason I love my Cummings Water Witch, it will fish DT3 to WF7, and becomes a different rod with different use for each line.


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 09:51 • #8 
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Ron's description of it is about as clear and concise of a description I've seen as I've always understood it.


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 10:45 • #9 
Sport
Joined: 02/09/20
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Location: Scotland
bulldog1935 wrote:
Again, the reason I love my Cummings Water Witch, it will fish DT3 to WF7, and becomes a different rod with different use for each line.


That was what I suppose I was trying to get at. Thanks for the more detailed descriptions. I can see why the term Soft causes problems. I was also trying to compare apples with apples by using ‘fast’ action rods and more ‘medium’ action rods, where I percieve all involved to be progressive tapers of sorts.
The power in the butt thing has made me think, it was an observation made in the field while casting, I presumed it to be due to stiffness when I saw the curves the rods made. But this doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case.
I was hoping the pictures might help explain in layman’s terms what I would determine a faster action to looks like and why.
My experience with rods still tells me that the manufacturers statements of faster action, mean the tip is effectively softer and starts bending closer to the end of the rod and the further down the rod that the bend starts the more medium an action with a consequently less flexible tip.

I knew it was Pandora’s box as terminology differs, but it’s really fascinating getting these great replies. Every day is a school day.
And I certainly don’t want to get into the Para angle. Way too much quicksand :P
Cheers


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Post 09 Mar 2020, 11:26 • #10 
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regards -
- the biggest problem is Snow Job marketing has affected rod tapers and line rating, and even glass makers try to make their product fit expectations of graphite users (as do many modern cane builders).
If you come from a cane school, the whole thing makes a lot more sense.

Speaking specifically about why a dry fly rod benefits from a fast mid and short, soft tip. You gain both quick set and tippet protection. You have the power to dry your fly with line speed and accurately deliver a cast right now.
Most importantly, you have control and accuracy to cast the long leader alone. Very few rods have a slow enough tip for this.
Image


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 09 Mar 2020, 11:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 09 Mar 2020, 11:26 • #11 
Guide
Joined: 11/27/14
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Forget Pandora’s box you opened up a can of worms in a fly rod forum.

Many folks and manufacturers that says a rod is fast will say it has a stiff tip and strong throughout which will leave me scratching my head. Then if you actually look at the Common Cents System measurements you will find a bunch of rods that are actually a full line weight heavier than stated on the rod just to make it feel faster. Then you find some rods on the other end that people say are slow action are just being over lined.


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Post 11 Mar 2020, 06:09 • #12 
Sport
Joined: 12/27/16
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I really wish rod markets provided pictures of their rods on a deflection board, with a standard weight attached for each designated line weight. One picture says so much more than a lot of words even if the writer is trying to be clear. I am not holding my breath but it would be nice.


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Post 11 Mar 2020, 07:44 • #13 
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Stress curves make a helluva lot more sense
https://www.hexrod.net/Tapers/

There are still para rods out there - the venerable Sage RPLX and newer TCR - it totally belies their taper to call them tip flex, because neither one have any flex in the tip, but that's where an Orvis-style representation would show them.
It's even worse trying to fit them in mid-flex, or butt-flex, but that's where they flex.


Last edited by bulldog1935 on 16 Mar 2020, 12:54, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 11 Mar 2020, 08:34 • #14 
Guide
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Hi Sandy I forgot to mention your new Epic 580 certainly has less power than the original and looks faster action. I know some folks on here said the original for them was too stiff and was more of a 6 weight. To find out exactly the power and action difference I would do the same deflection using the Common Cents system deflecting the blanks until the tip goes down 1/3 the length of the blanks which is almost 32 inches for 8’. Also the rod or blank has to braced very firmly at 10% of the length. Action is measured by going to the Common Cents site and printing off the action angle chart. https://www.common-cents.info/part1.pdf I tape it to a level to make sure I make an accurate measurement or close enough. Find the power or ERN by weighing the amount it took to deflect on an accurate scale. I measure in grams on my scale then convert it to ERN. There is so much info on this that you really need to read that site and see the pics before doing it.


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Post 11 Mar 2020, 08:55 • #15 
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I kinda want to define a fast rod in terms of total recovery time, bend in the butt, the mid, the tip all returning to rest position. The trouble here is that not all will be bent equally and the one with the least bend has less recovery to make and so it recovers faster- stiff then equates to fast and a stove poker is the fastest of all; you can always stand still quicker than you can run.
Better maybe to define fast by the line speed generated with a standard deflection of XX" from rest, measuring that presents some problems.

I think my ideal rod action is equally "soft/slow" in butt and tip with the mid being the power and speed generator. When bent under load these rods seem to have almost a uniform arc end to end. Maybe.


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Post 11 Mar 2020, 10:40 • #16 
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Static deflection charts reveal a little bit IF the material and length are a constant in a comparison. The area swept by the deflected rod tells a little bit more if the weight is a constant. Or the area swept may be the constant, and the different weight to achieve that will tell a little bit, again with the length and material a constant. These will hint at dynamic tests that reveal the natural frequency of vibration, amplitude, and damping--all of which can be measured.

I can't do any of the technical sources justice by trying to explain the mechanical principles further .The best source on this is The Technology of Fly Rods by Don Phillips, and some earlier stuff that I can't lay my hands on at the moment, but I think by the same author, but I don't recall each source distinctly over the years.

Ha! It all blends together, and even the best technical coverage doesn't quite cover--nor is intended to--the mechanical-human link of feel or general description of action "type."


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Post 12 Mar 2020, 16:04 • #17 
Guide
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While measuring whole rod deflection can tell you something about rod action, a better approach is to measure tip and butt deflection (resistance to bend) separately and then talk about the specific way tip and butt relate to each other. Long before Scott started doing this with graphite rods, or Orvis developed its Tip, Mid and Butt flex system, bamboo rod innovator E.C. Powell outlined rod action basics by dividing them three broad categories: A tapers are tip yielding/butt resistant and therefore fast in action, good for short accurate casts, C tapers are tip resistant/butt yielding, slow in action but good with longer casts with heavy flies. B tapers, with a constant increase in diameter along the length of the rod, are what we now call “Progressive” all-around actions. Bulldog described that B action perfectly. And as noted by someone else, Action and Power are different things: the former describes the relationship between the parts of a rod, the later its relative overall strength.

I would like to respectfully disagree with Bulldog's explanation of Parabolic action. My understanding is that the tip in a parabolic action is not stiff, but rather relatively supple or soft. It’s the mid section that gets the extra beef while the butt is also relatively soft. The idea, attributed, with various connections to what might actually have occurred, to builders Charles Ritz, Paul Young, Jim Payne, and Everett Garrison, was that short casts could be made just off the flexible quick moving tip, while longer casts worked initially off the tip and mid, then into the lower butt more rapidly than with a progressive action rod.

There are, of course, multiple variations possible within and between any generalized idea of rod action, so we talk of Semi This or That. A rod designer increases or decreases resistance to bend at different parts of a blank in order to accomplish something that he thinks good casters will appreciate for one reason or another (or to accommodate the bad habits of bad casters). What semi parabolic means, we can assume, is that someone modified, in some way, the general idea of supple tip, stiffish mid, soft butt. And that someone else probably did it somewhat differently. Whether doing also might make it Semi Progressive, or simply Slow, is another question. We can only be assured it won’t be Fast.

I also suggest that using a much lighter line doesn’t change the action of a rod. Putting a WF8 on a rod designed for a 5 weight line will indeed result in slower line speed, because the rod won’t have the power to efficiently propel the increase in mass. But line speed isn’t action. A fast 5 weight rod doesn’t become a slow C taper rod with an 8 weight line, any more than a slow C taper 8 weight becomes an fast A taper if you underline it with a WF5. You can Move just about any fly line with any rod, but you won’t be Casting either one very well if you go too light or too heavy.


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Post 12 Mar 2020, 17:14 • #18 
Master Guide
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Location: Belgium
I have had two original 580s in hand - same vintage, same colour - that had very different actions so perhaps the differences aren't entirely due to design evolutions.


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Post 12 Mar 2020, 17:19 • #19 
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Ooooo, I love the LK's last point. I think it is why, with fiberglass anyhow, if you let the rod do the work, it tells you the line that is a good match in weight. If you have to work the rod to throw the line, it is trying to tell you the line is lighter or heavier than optimum.


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Post 14 Mar 2020, 19:02 • #20 
Sport
Joined: 06/23/19
Posts: 55
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L Kenney wrote:

I would like to respectfully disagree with Bulldog's explanation of Parabolic action. My understanding is that the tip in a parabolic action is not stiff, but rather relatively supple or soft. It’s the mid section that gets the extra beef while the butt is also relatively soft. The idea, attributed, with various connections to what might actually have occurred, to builders Charles Ritz, Paul Young, Jim Payne, and Everett Garrison, was that short casts could be made just off the flexible quick moving tip, while longer casts worked initially off the tip and mid, then into the lower butt more rapidly than with a progressive action rod.


That is my understanding of parabolic action, also.


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Post 14 Mar 2020, 19:12 • #21 
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I recently picked up a couple of 4 piece rods, one rated 3/5 wt and one rated 5/6wt. The cool thing about these rods is that all the pieces are interchangable (and they are dirt cheap).

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=68401

If I find some time to just tinker, I'm going to try all the different combinations of the 3/4 tip on the 5/6 butt and vice versa. Ought to be fun!


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Post 15 Mar 2020, 11:03 • #22 
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Here's a nice blurb on the subject from Echo:




Action vs Power Comparison
The Action vs. Power matrix is used for comparison between ECHO rod models. Utilizing this chart, you’ll be able to choose an ECHO rod that best fits you and your personal casting stroke. The vertical axis indicates the rod’s power, while the horizontal axis indicates the rod’s action. In simple terms, single-hand rod action is derived from the top half of the rod, while power is derived from the bottom half.

Action:
Fast action rods feature softer tips than medium action rods and provide a ‘stiffer’ feel. Fast action rods excel in the hands of anglers with more aggressive casting strokes and greater stroke control. Medium action rods are ideal for anglers with more fluid casting strokes and have a larger ‘sweet spot’ for a wider range of casting strokes. Consistently throwing a tailing loop? Your rod’s action may not be a good fit to you and your casting stroke.

Power:
A rod’s power is its resistance to flexing under load. Powerful rods are ‘beefier’ through the bottom half, generate higher line speeds, and are more adept at keeping big fish pinned. Delicate rods are more presentation-oriented, protect light tippet, and are a better choice for picky fish.

https://echoflyfishing.com/project/echoglass/


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Post 15 Mar 2020, 12:28 • #23 
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I've spent days fishing with this gentleman, from the Don West school, who, in turn, was Paul Young's business partner, providing parabolic bass and inshore rods across Texas.
Image

Rods like Martha Marie and Perfectionist add a progressive tip to a short para taper to turn it into a small stream dry fly rod, where para tapers otherwise come up short.
In this case, the longer soft tip is added to improve the taper as a fishing tool.
The goal of a para taper is to build the most powerful distance tool into the smallest package.
Certainly Charles Ritz, who created the term, had no use for a soft tip on a distance competition rod.


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Post 15 Mar 2020, 14:10 • #24 
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As it happens I'm rereading the Ritz book presently a couple of quotes might show his ideas on parabolic design, while working with cane in France;
Quote:
... are not dozens of types of actions, but one only, whose rigidity varies according to the length of the rod, and it must work progressively from the point to the handle without the slightest weakness, however used. The action may be more or less powerful, but the curves must be identical. This action which I have called "Parabolic", though the term is only a figure of speech, and the curve of the rod has absolutely nothing whatever to do with a parabola.

This sorta relieves me of trying to make sense of the term parabolic as relating the rod taper or action to a parabola- he says straight up it doesn't.
Then talking about his fifty years of research and his move to Conolon and fiberglass in 1968;
Quote:
The main defects with split cane rods were weakness in the rod tip and a relative lack of flexibility in the butt. Some rods produced in the first quarter of this century were too soft in the center section. With such equipment no fly-fisher could possibly develop the skills of which he or she may have been capable.

I understand this to say he wanted a stronger tip, stiffer mid and more flexible butt section.
A question does arise in my mind though, in the example of a willow bending being stronger than other trees breaking, is Ritz desiring a stiffer tip or a less brittle tip?


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Post 15 Mar 2020, 19:17 • #25 
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Trev, what we call a progressive taper moves the loading band down the rod as more line is going out and the rod is doing more work.
The para taper, on the other hand, loads more of the total rod length as more line is going out and the rod is doing more work - we've described that it loads like a bow.
He's also describing why a progressive taper casts a limited distance, because the line weight is never enough to load the rod butt, which you've noted with your Phillipson DFS. What he doesn't describe is why that Phillipson accurately casts the leader alone, and why it's so forgiving out to its limited cast distance.


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