How much lighter can the next generation of rod really be? There *is* a limit. I remember some time in the late Iron Age, when G. Loomis released the first generation of IMX-rods. They really were a game changer on the market. They *wereW very light and they were fantastic rods. They also had some breaking issues to begin with - probably due to squeezing the lemon a little too hard to achieve a lighter rod. But this is speculation, of course.
One major company released a rod some years ago, and they went all in on the weight-marketing. The rods were light, granted. But that has had absolutely nothing to do with carbon material and resins. It was easy to tell where the weight savings were achieved. The reel seat! Simply take any number of comparable rods. Then weight all sections together. Then weigh the bottom section only, and the other three (assuming 4-piece rod) apart. On the three top sections you’ll usually see a very marginal difference in weight.
But I fully acknowledge the significance and benefits of a lighter reel seat. The G-series rods Scott ran in 90s where fantastic rods. I had an 8’8” 4-wt and I actually boiled off the factory reel seat and put on a lighter one. And it made a significant change (for the better) in the rods performance.
And then to make the matter even more polarised, reel choice of course come into play. I’ve never understood the chase for the lightest and newest rods on the market, only to hand a 10-ounce reel on the reel seat. I’ve always felt the as light as possible is good. But I’ve never chased the weight reduction in the rod as such. Yes, I like a light weight reel seat, but the most weight can be saved on the reel.
The heavier the rod (as in recommended line weight) the less it matters, I find. But I’ve often founds on lighter rods (3-4-5-wts) that a heavy reel (and seat) has a negative impact. I especially feel a much better control and feeling of the tip of the rod when the other end is a light as possible.
Then I often get the argument of balance… But frankly, I couldn’t care less how the rod balances when a particular reel on it on the store. Once’s there a line through the tip ring, it’s tip heavy compared to just reel and rod. If you’re not sight fishing and casting 432 million casts a day, a lighter reel (and reel seat) saves a lot of weight moved.
And that I like! Try weighing bottom sections and the rest apart on different rods. You might get surprised.
Have a great weekend!
PoD: I prefer to go as light as possible, even on the big guns. Here a 12'6" and a 14'.