Why short rods?

This board is for discussing concerns of fishing bamboo fly rods. Examples would be, lines, actions, classic and modern makers actions and the like.

Moderators: pmcroberts, uniphasian

User avatar
kevinhaney1
Master Guide
Posts: 471
Joined: 11/11/19 22:11
Location: The mountains of Maryland
Contact:

Why short rods?

#1

Post by kevinhaney1 »

I'm not sure why there seems to be a craze nowadays for short rods. They cost a lot more than the standard 8.5' or 9' rods and are more highly sought after. But beyond the need for a shorter rod in heavy brush or overhanging trees, they have many shortcomings. Longer rods are better for casting, there's more leverage for playing a hooked fish, and they are better at mending and line management. So is there any reason at all to use a rod shorter than say 8' besides avoiding overhanging trees? I just don't see any. Seems like the latest collector fad...

Kevin
Kevin Haney, Vintage Anglers
http://www.vintageanglers.com

User avatar
creakycane
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 3799
Joined: 06/20/06 18:00

Re: Why short rods?

#2

Post by creakycane »

Many like shorter rods under 7 feet, and the interest in them has come and gone and come and gone etc. Anything under 6' is generally too short for me, but a 6'6" with a good taper makes a nice 3 or 4 wt, and I love Garrison 193 tapers.
As far as leverage, I think a longer rod gives the fish more leverage, not the fisherman!

jim royston
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1263
Joined: 08/20/08 18:00

Re: Why short rods?

#3

Post by jim royston »

50 years ago, fly rods for trout were 7 to 8 feet in length. That was standard operating procedure on the East Coast. It seems to me that the graphite era introduced the longer rods, with 9 feet become normal. I prefer the shorter rods for stream fishing.

User avatar
kevinhaney1
Master Guide
Posts: 471
Joined: 11/11/19 22:11
Location: The mountains of Maryland
Contact:

Re: Why short rods?

#4

Post by kevinhaney1 »

50 years ago, fly rods for trout were 7 to 8 feet in length.
I can't speak to the 1970s and later, but I think that 60 years ago and more, during the bamboo era, the standard rod was 8.5' or 9'. That is why they are so much more common in bamboo than the shorter ones. And I guess I just like to buck the fads, but if I don't have to worry about overhang, I'll almost always go with and 8.5' or 9', for the aforementioned reasons.

Kevin
Kevin Haney, Vintage Anglers
http://www.vintageanglers.com

rsagebrush
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2146
Joined: 08/11/05 18:00
Location: RenoNV/FranklinWV 100%

Re: Why short rods?

#5

Post by rsagebrush »

Shorter bamboo rods a more accurate, lighter, much more balanced and fun to play with. Longer rods are fun too but after 81/2' they are a bit too ponderous.
You are correct about the advantages of a longer rod, that's why there's graphite.

Bill T
Guide
Posts: 145
Joined: 05/04/12 22:12
Contact:

Re: Why short rods?

#6

Post by Bill T »

I use to only make and fish rods between 6 to 8 feet in bamboo. I have been playing with hollowbuilt fiberglass ferruled rods and this season I have not fished a rod shorter than 8 feet. I am at a point where I have at least 7 or 8 rods of under 8' that I am considering parting with as I just am enjoying the longer rods more.

rsagebrush
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2146
Joined: 08/11/05 18:00
Location: RenoNV/FranklinWV 100%

Re: Why short rods?

#7

Post by rsagebrush »

Bill, No doubt your making them more like graphite rods then. Nothing wrong with that though and they sound interesting, any photos.

Bill T
Guide
Posts: 145
Joined: 05/04/12 22:12
Contact:

Re: Why short rods?

#8

Post by Bill T »

Here is an 8'6" 3 piece 4/5 weight that I just completed with fiberglass ferrules. It weighs in at 4 oz so weight is not an issue.

Image

User avatar
GerardH
Master Guide
Posts: 662
Joined: 06/20/19 08:45
Location: Wyoming, MN

Re: Why short rods?

#9

Post by GerardH »

kevinhaney1 wrote:
09/21/21 13:02
I'm not sure why there seems to be a craze nowadays for short rods. They cost a lot more than the standard 8.5' or 9' rods and are more highly sought after. But beyond the need for a shorter rod in heavy brush or overhanging trees, they have many shortcomings. Longer rods are better for casting, there's more leverage for playing a hooked fish, and they are better at mending and line management. So is there any reason at all to use a rod shorter than say 8' besides avoiding overhanging trees? I just don't see any. Seems like the latest collector fad...

Kevin

You're correct about the attributes of long rods regarding line management and mending. That's especially important on larger waters with complex currents and a lot of line out on the water. That benefit diminishes on smaller streams where casts tend to be shorter and accuracy is more paramount. Then the age-old Achilles's heel of long rods is their inherent weight...albeit some of that is can be alleviated by hollowing. In my experience, I have yet to cast an 8'6" or 9' rod that I could describe as crisp -- physics dictate that's not going to happen at those lengths.

But to sum up the appeal of shorter rods as being "the latest collector fad" is rather myopic IMO...especially since this "fad" has been around since the 1950s. I think the better term is "personal preference"...or horses for courses if you will.

HexaMaineiac
Master Guide
Posts: 551
Joined: 01/08/04 19:00

Re: Why short rods?

#10

Post by HexaMaineiac »

“There’s more leverage for playing hooked fish.”
WRONG. You are giving the fish a longer lever to work against you, high school physics. The rod is the lever, your wrist the fulcrum.
I like short rods for when there’s a big rise and fish are coming up right by my boat, because they make it easier to net the fish, and for me they are more accurate. Yes, there are times when I use a 9’ rod, but in that case I use graphite as longer bamboo is heavy and I’m a scrawny little guy who has also gotten a little old.

Eddie Southgate
Master Guide
Posts: 636
Joined: 03/24/16 11:20
Location: Minor Hill Tennessee

Re: Why short rods?

#11

Post by Eddie Southgate »

I have everything from 6' up to 11' in bamboo Trout rods and have fished them all but my most used rods are 8' - 9' from 3.5 oz to just a hair over 5 oz .
Can't beat a 6'-7' light rod on a small water with tight casting conditions but on anything else an 8' 4-6 wt is as good as it gets . They are the rods for average day to day conditions where I fish with all the others being specialty rods .
Wore out old rod junkie , WILL WORK FOR RODS .

Tommasini
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1102
Joined: 10/17/14 16:11

Re: Why short rods?

#12

Post by Tommasini »

Why Short Rods??
I go with what the late Ed Shenk said, " Short rods are more fun to fish with and fun is the name of the game"
They do require you to be a more practiced fisherman to cast properly, perhaps that is why some don't like them?

User avatar
toothybugs
Master Guide
Posts: 608
Joined: 02/11/07 19:00
Location: TCs, MN
Contact:

Re: Why short rods?

#13

Post by toothybugs »

My take is that because you can!! Cane is SO much better a material for short rods than other materials. To paraphrase the above comment, that leads to them just being more fun.

Short rods are also inherently better than long rods for swing weight, assuming similar tapers. While limited in distance capabilities I find it more fun to shoot dries under a branch than a long cast across a pool (unless I am swinging for steelies but that's another matter).

As far as whether long rods fish better than short ones is a matter of the locales we all frequent.
- NJG
(It's Nate, but I generally only sign my initials.)

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

User avatar
Short Tip
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 3417
Joined: 02/26/06 19:00
Location: Old Dominion

Re: Why short rods?

#14

Post by Short Tip »

I have a 7' FE Thomas from 1915, a 7ft Leonard from the 20's, a 6'8" FE Thomas and a 6' Payne from the 30s, a 7' Leonard from the 50s, a 7' Payne from the 60s, and a 5' Leonard from the 70s. All were made to fish and fish they do.

Rods are fun. Short rods are more fun. Yes, the argument can be made about efficiencies, I don't worry about those. Mending is usually counterproductive on small waters, it usually moves the fly on short casts.

Short rods do little to keep your fly out overhanging trees or brush. A tight loop, and maybe a little sidearm, does that.

Tommasini
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1102
Joined: 10/17/14 16:11

Re: Why short rods?

#15

Post by Tommasini »

That's an impressive list of "li'l fellers Short Tip.
I have the following rods in the 6' length : Heddon , T&T , Leonard (several), Sweet Grass, Wojnicki, Jennings, Kagerow, Kosmic (Jim Frank), Payne, Carlson (Dana) , Kundrus , Kusse . Had a Winston but sold it because I felt the grip at 6" , looked to big . The 6' rod, my favorite length!

User avatar
Holdover
Guide
Posts: 177
Joined: 08/26/11 18:00

Re: Why short rods?

#16

Post by Holdover »

They match well with smaller waters and fish. Great for short accurate cast, and a short light line rod is loads of fun with smaller fish.
Bottom line; in the right setting they're fun.

Arubey
Guide
Posts: 144
Joined: 06/01/17 15:07
Location: Corrales NM
Contact:

Re: Why short rods?

#17

Post by Arubey »

Mainly for the reduced risk of "shortening" one in a ceiling fan.

But they are a lot of fun to fish too!
A. Rubey Rod Co.
rubeyrods.com

User avatar
scarlet>fire
Guide
Posts: 137
Joined: 08/29/20 07:56
Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming

Re: Why short rods?

#18

Post by scarlet>fire »

See the "Tiny Water Stalkers" thread for why many of us love short rods.

Cheers, Chris

PT48
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1085
Joined: 02/19/13 22:26

Re: Why short rods?

#19

Post by PT48 »

All of my bamboo rods are 7' 6" or under for good reasons: they suit the terrain and techniques that I fish, they are relatively light and, now that I am entering my mid-seventies, they keep me on the stream. Six and half to seven and a half feet is a sweet spot for bamboo and, as has already been stated, no other rod making material matches it. Also, I have no qualms with those of you who enjoy fishing longer bamboo rods - good luck to you.

User avatar
Flykuni3
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2994
Joined: 12/21/11 14:11
Location: California

Re: Why short rods?

#20

Post by Flykuni3 »

PT and Short say it all. Can only add that I fish small places most of the time, so my rods are all 8’ and under, lines 5 down to two. Most are 7’—7 1/2’.

Now, I do one one at 8’3, a very fine and light Reams for a 4/5. But it’s for spring creek work and long casting. For me it’s a specialty rod, whereas lots feel a short rod is their specialty rod. I confess I have lots of short rods, and I love thinking of and strategizing which one to use on a specific stream.

Post Reply

Return to “Fishing Bamboo Fly Rods”