Have you bought the wrong rod?

Have you bought the wrong rod?

Paul Arden | Monday, 23 April 2018

It's rather odd that Sage has such a grand reputation in the fly fishing world when fly shops routinely recommend one line weight heavier than is written on the rod. Who's got it wrong? The fly shops or the manufacturer?

As far as I'm concerned if you need to over-line your rod to make it feel right, or use a line that is heavier than AFTTA rating, then you've probably bought the wrong rod.

One thing is for sure, up-lining is generally the equivalent to driving a sports car while towing a heavy caravan. 


The correct way to choose tackle is to start from the fly you intend to fish, work out the best fly line for casting that fly and then, finally, buy the rod that performs best with this line weight and taper. 


As a rule of thumb most trout situations can be dealt with by using a 4WT Double Taper fly line (which allows you to fish flies so small that you can't see them). If you are expecting to use heavily leaded nymphs (and are not French Nymphing) or require the versatility to cast a weighted streamer then a 6WT long belly WF line is a good choice.


If you are going to use heavily weighted streamers or big air-resistant patterns then an 8WT long belly line is the one. For SW Poppers and large weighted flies on the Flats then a better choice is a long belly WF 10WT line. 


This is the most versatile arrangement. There are certainly times when you may want to disappear down the Shooting Head route, particularly if all you are doing is trying to cover as much open water as possible (imaginary sea-trout fishing in the Baltic Sea for example). 


Fly line choice has unfortunately become a minefield. It is now common for fly lines to be heavier than AFFTA* standard. 1/2 weight over, a full line weight over and sometimes even multiple line weights heavier. 


There are two things that you must now do. 1) find out what is the true line weight and not the AFFTA number printed on the box and 2) arm yourself with a good cast. If you've taken up flyfishing in the last decade it's quite possible that you have never even cast a "real" 4WT/6WT/8WT/10WT. 


Sexyloops rods are designed to cast AFTTA conforming lines. Consequently if the line that is in the box that claims to be a 6 is really a 7 then this is not optimal. Casting such a line will make the rod appear more sluggish; fast shots become slow shots and line speed is lost. 


Now I know that there are expert tinkerers out there who like to tweak tackle to suit specific situations - we have many on the Board - and that is wonderful - but doesn't help the vast majority of anglers who want the secure knowledge that the tackle they are using is well-matched. It can become an expensive exercise if you find out you've bought the wrong rod and/or line! Mismatched outfits are very common in beginners' courses. 


(And we generally fix them by suggesting a different line weight, because that's the cheaper option, but in reality they simply bought the wrong rod)


So let me put your mind at rest with regards the Sexyloops rods. They have been developed using AFTTA conforming lines. My preference is for DT and long belly WF lines however even when using a short belly WF line I still use AFFTA conforming lines on  the HT series. 


So if you want to feel secure in the knowledge that you are using the right line for the Hot Torpedo fly rods, then use AFFTA conforming lines - because that's what the designer does!


If a line is half a weight heavier, then I will use half a line weight lighter (for example a GPX5 on HT6). You will lose a little bit of feel, but it will allow you to speed things up. However this is not optimal and I don't recommend 1/2 weight heavier/lighter lines for anything. 


On behalf of tackle manufacturers I apologise for this current predicament. It's not some cunning plan to get you to buy tackle that you don't need; it is simply a mistake. 



I didn't get to fish as much last week as I wanted. Sexyloops kept me anchored in internet coverage zone for most of the week. I did however manage to escape down the lake on Friday afternoon for a weekend of fly fishing. 


I managed a couple of Gourami during the Saturday morning session. Afternoon/evening fishing seems to be switched off at the moment. Consequently next week I shall endeavour to fish all the morning sessions (and a few evening ones, just to stay abreast of things). 


Gourami are really opening up for me this year. When I first started targeting Giant Gourami I was happy to hook one per week (and over the moon to actually land it). Now, however, I expect more than one Gourami a session. I still haven't landed more than two in a session, but have caught two multiple times. I expect to break through this (once formidable) barrier this week. 


Gourami have taken a lot of work but I'm starting to see the rewards. I've had approximately 50 in the boat, all up, but I expect to blow the barn gates fully off the hinges and more than double that number before my trip to Europe at the end of July. 


The Snakehead are appearing here and there but not in large free-rising groups yet. There are still the odd parents with babies to be found - but they are a rarity. I'm very comfortable notching up Gourami in these conditions!


I've been out running most days as well now. Running here is tough; either it's shuttle runs up a slight incline on a small island, or it's running around Banding Island where the resort is located. I've been timing my runs to coincide with the afternoon lull in fish activity - in other words the main heat of the day! Fortunately I'm training in the shade although three times last week I ran during an invigorating afternoon downpour. I have approximately 5 months to get fit for a 1/2 Ironman in Portugal. And I'll have to get fit, otherwise my sister will beat me! 


The World Championships in "Fly Casting with Fly Fishing Tackle" is coming up in August - lots of tackle tinkering to be found here! I haven't done much in the way of full-on fly casting training yet but I'll start factoring it in on a regular basis, because I plan to win! Perhaps I will have to find another log to stand on... (video above). 


This week I hope to carry on with the Spey Casts in the Video Manual. I have a couple of other Sexyloops tasks than need my attention. Rod sales are excellent at the moment, so thanks for that! Remember we have Tonic Sunglasses in stock now too - if you're looking for an awesome pair of sunglasses, that really are glass, then I can thoroughly recommend these. I am seeing more Gourami because of them - that's no exaggeration either by the way. 


Have a wonderful week. I hope to see more of you over here, fly fishing with me, exploring this incredible Malaysian jungle fly fishery. 


Cheers, Paul


*AFFTA American Fly Fishing Tackle Association - previously AFTM Association Fishing Tackle Manufacturers - which is also a fly line weight scale. You can see how the scale should look here: http://www.sexyloops.com/beginners/lesson2/aftm.shtml (Incidentally there is an error in that page; lining an 8-line on a 4-rod will not "probably" break the rod; it should be "possibly")



Paul Arden is the fly rod designer for Sexyloops and has been fly fishing for over 35 years and teaching fly fishing and fly casting for more than 20 years. Paul has extensively fished for trout in Europe, New Zealand, Australia and North America and for the past 25 years has been fly fishing more than 300 days every year. He currently lives in the North Malaysian jungle, fly fishing and guiding for Giant Snakehead and Giant Gourami. A competition caster, he has reached the finals in the World Championships in 5-weight distance on three occasions, winning a Bronze medal last year. Paul has appeared on Discovery Channel in the USA co-hosting a fly fishing programme shot in New Zealand. He is full-time manager of the Sexyloops website and brand. 


Paul's "Jungle Fishing Sponsors" are RIO fly lines: rioproducts.com PowerFilm Solar: powerfilmsolar.com Lawson Hammocks: lawsonhammock.com and of course he fished the Sexyloops brand of fly rods; The Hot Torpedo.