Posted on September 09, 192001 at 17:54:08:
New Fly Rod Materials
Can we make it stronger, lighter, faster? The industry continues to produce new rod materials to push the limits of performance. Do these changes truly enhance the experience of fly casting? Lets take a closer look.
Material innovations over the last 30 years have opened up new doors for flyfishing. Look at salt water fly fishing as an example. Fast light rods coupled with modern line tapers and innovative reels have not only made salt water fly fishing more practical but also more enjoyable. True innovation can be a good thing, however, one must learn to separate innovation from marketing fads. You need to be the judge.
Graphite continues to be king in the performance fly rod market. Graphite rod blanks continue to have faster tapers, thinner walls, narrower blank profiles and lower overall mass all contributing to the rod's performance. Be aware; there is a point at which durability is compromised in the name of performance. All materials have structural limitations.
So where is the innovation? By utilizing existing aerospace technologies some rod manufacturers are bonding graphite fibers using unconventional resins. These resins overcome the structural barriers associated with older resins and traditional graphite fibers. Manufacturers are able to use higher modulus graphite to build rods that have tremendous durability. The result is a rod that is exceptionally light for its strength and durability.
One such rod is manufactured by Redington. Redington calls it the Nano Titanium (Nti) series. I have had the opportunity to use a 9ft, 10 weight NTi for a couple of weeks. Here is what I found.
Upon removing the rod from its aluminum case my immediate thought was they sent me the wrong rod. The blank diameter for the ten weight looks more like that of a seven weight. After assembling the rod the overall low mass was shocking. Although I felt like I was holding a seven weight a few flicks of the wrist made it very clear that the rod was indeed nothing short of a ten weight. It felt strange to hold something with such a delicate profile that had so much power.
Once on the water I tested the rod with two different lines. One was a ten weight intermediate the other a 450 grain shooting head. The intermediate loaded the rod with about 45-50 feet of line out. At that point the rod produced blistering line speeds and would effortlessly punch out 80-100 footers with a modest double haul. The 450 grain shooting head loaded the rod perfectly with just the head out the tip top. Again the rod produced superb line speed and never showed the signs of being overloaded. In both cases the rod produced smooth loops and allowed for accurate presentations to distant targets. The Nti is a cannon ! You would be hard pressed to find a rod that will match its performance.
Will this new manufacturing process revolutionize the fly fishing industry the same way the introduction of graphite did back in the fiberglass days? Hard to say. I know one thing for sure. I'm hooked!
Registered Maine Guide, Captain Gary D. Scavette is the founder of Northeast Anglers Inc. You may reach him with questions or comments at www.northeastanglers.com or at 1-800-558-7658