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 Post subject: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/12/20 22:25 • # 1 
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Master Guide

Joined: 12/25/11
Posts: 743
I have been observing and searching for information on older bamboo rods, particularly Orvis.

Ads have to be brief and typically read "HDG (6), but we all know that it takes a modern 5).

My question is which 5, WF or DT or both?

Or does it automatically mean DT5 or WF6? per Len Codella

And, sometimes a late model rod is marked 4/5 or 5/6. Where would you begin?

Have line weights changed in 30 years?

Thanks, Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/13/20 04:34 • # 2 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 03/23/12
Posts: 4703
Location: Cheyenne OK
A basic answer to that Bill is that YES, line weights have changed in the last 30 years. AFTMA line designated weights have not changed but line mfg'ers have played with numbers more than bamboo rod builders play with tapers. IF, I say IF, a line follows the designated guidelines than the first 30' of DT WF are identical. Problem is now lines can be had heavier than listed weights, lighter than listed weights, short tapers, long bellies, and today you can have a special line for everything from bluegills and carp to steelhead and salmon.

If a rod has a designation like Orvis that is known to generally be a line weight heavier than normally needed to load rod, then either a DT or WF or correct standard will load rod. Now how far you generally fish comes into play. If you fish smaller water and seldom put out more than 30' of line either is fine. If you generally fish beyond 30' a WF is a better choice since adding distance to cast adds less line weight than the DT would. If you want to go beyond the standards for line weights you and I were familiar with for years than you have to research each line to see what the mfg'er has done with them. A good example is a line a full weight heavier to load stiff and fast graphites so you can put the 5wt it calls for on there but you really put on a 5-1/2 or 6. Have fun out there.

Nick

ps...All above opinions on line weight are mine alone and YMMV.


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/13/20 08:30 • # 3 
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Master Guide

Joined: 02/11/07
Posts: 554
Location: TCs, MN
Yea, to Nick's point - I recently brought home a very early (I almost said "old") Sage, a 686 GFL. I like it better with a modern 5 line than a modern 6.

It's all about the grains, not the label. The rod doesn't know what it's casting.

- NJG
(It's Nate, but I generally only sign my initials.)

Got loopage?
http://plumbrookrods.wordpress.com


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/13/20 09:02 • # 4 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 12/23/04
Posts: 3395
The thing is that the old 'letter rating' was based on thickness (diameter) of the silk fly line while the current (more than 40 year old) AAFTA line rating is based on grain weight. Knowing this converting one letter rating to AAFTA line weight is almost accurate but not completely. :)

Rather than relying on a 'God save the Queen & let's hope it's correct' converting both ratings I'd say cast the rod with several line weights, including the current half and quarter overweighted (oh horror...) lines like the Rio Gold, SA MPX, etc.

For instance my HDG rated Orvis 7ft Superfine casts & fishes wonderfully with a 3 and 4 weight line (either DT or WF) within fishing distances (up to around 40ft). I think a 5 weight is too much for the rod.


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/13/20 14:23 • # 5 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 03/22/04
Posts: 2251
Location: NH
Lets look at the table for lines 4/5/6
4wt is 120, tolerance is 114 to 126
5wt is 140, tolerance is 134 to 146
6 wt is 160, tolerance is 152 to 168.

If a line weighs 130 grains for the first 30 ft is it a 4wt or a 5wt? The answer seems to be "Yes". Some manufacturers would market it as a "4wt, half size heavy to better fit with fast action graphite rods" (sound familiar?). Others would call it a 5wt, half size light to not overload your medium to slow action rods.

Basing a line purely by diameter is an old issue (look back in some of the old literature, John Alden Knight comes to mind); silk to early nylon lines. Diameter the same, fish differently because the silk and nylon don't weigh the same. They started talking about the specific gravity of the line material as a better means of comparing 2 lines.


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/16/20 16:47 • # 6 
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Sport

Joined: 11/09/18
Posts: 60
Location: Western North Carolina
Heavy 4 or light 5...who here has sensitive enough rods or such a finely tuned casting feel to truly detect the difference? The difference between 126 and 134 is only 8 grains spread over 30'. There are 7000 grains in one pound. For those on the other side of the pond, 8 grains equals about 1/2 gram at 28 grams/ounce. sounds like marketing hype to me.

Bruce


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/16/20 17:29 • # 7 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 03/23/12
Posts: 4703
Location: Cheyenne OK
I lean in your direction on that Bruce, especially when they now make carp tapers and bluegill tapers, but most of us who have handled a lot of different rods over the years often have found a particular line, like ibrookje mentioned, suddenly comes to life in YOUR hands with a particular line. I have a Penta Jeff Hatton made for me as a 3/4 weight. I tried with both and it was fine to use. I got a chance to buy a 3wt. Wulff Longbelly line as Jeff suggested and YES, the rod is just that much nicer so though most of us can't tell the difference in a line weight on a rod we can tell when that rod is right in our hands.


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/17/20 14:40 • # 8 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 03/22/04
Posts: 2251
Location: NH
Bruce: I never claimed or even tried to imply that I could tell the difference; I agree that it is marketing hype.
To make it even more fun, 4wt: 120 grain over 30 ft. Basically 4 gr/foot.
That "light 5" at 134 grains is like have about 34 ft of a true 4wt out
:)
So yep, hype.
But I agree with bassman: if you are having trouble, as the rodmaker what line he recommends.


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/18/20 07:08 • # 9 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 06/11/08
Posts: 1096
Location: Charleston WV
I am the odd man out and have not noticed any dramatic difference in plastic lines. Any issues with my casting has never been corrected with a line switch

Lee Orr
304 Rod Company

http://www.304rodcompany.com


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/18/20 10:56 • # 10 
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Master Guide

Joined: 08/30/12
Posts: 606
The only real way to evaluate any given line is to try it on the rod yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Line weight question
PostPosted: 02/20/20 07:06 • # 11 
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Sport

Joined: 11/09/18
Posts: 60
Location: Western North Carolina
Lee makes a good point. How many of us are not as good as we might wish to be and immediately start thinking equipment change, myself included. The first 10 years or so after I started fly fishing, I had one 9', 7wt. fiberglass rod with a level line. I learned to use that setup well under all conditions because I could not afford better.

Mers' point about taking the maker's line advice for a new rod is also well taken. I have a large enough collection of lines in the 3 to 9wt range, I would be hard pressed to need a new line for any rod I would be likely to acquire in that range.

Bruce


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