With the popularity of fly fishing at an all-time high among women and girls, it’s amazing that it’s still hard to find a fly rod design for women. Women anglers typically have to make do with fly fishing equipment made for men. As a result, their fly fishing experience is not as comfortable. Only recently have women been able to find waders designed for women, and now it’s time for fly rods to be designed specifically for women.
Want to learn about optimal fly rod design for women? Here’s a quick primer from Rocky Bob’s Fly Fishing Rods, which offers a fly fishing rod designed specifically for women.
With the development of graphite fly rod blanks, instead of heavier fiberglass or bamboo fly rods, the phsyical weight of the fly rod is reduced, allowing women anglers to fish and cast longer, and with less fatigue. For example, an 8-foot-long, 5 weight graphite blank weighs 1 oz.; an 8-foot-long 5 weight fiberglass fly rod blank weighs 2 oz. The fact that graphite weighs half as much as fiberglass can really add up over the course of a day fly fishing. Women’s Fly Rod Design Recommendation: Whenever possible, a fly rod for a woman angler should be made of graphite.
The length of the fly rod is critical in casting and line drift management so the fly has the best presentation. The longer the length, the more leverage with casting and the less line drifting. Leverage allows more rod energy to be used and less wrist and arm effort to be expended. Either a 9-foot graphite fly rod (1.5 oz.) or a 10.5-foot graphite fly rod (2.2 oz.) offers easier casting and the optimal line presentation for the best chance to hook a fish with a fly. Less fatigue in the arm and shoulder will provide a better fishing experience. Women’s Fly Rod Design Recommendation: A 9-foot fly rod is good but a 10+ foot fly rod is better for women anglers.
The next problem in a fly rod for women is the handle. The handle unit has 2 parts. The first part is the cork grip. It may not seem that important but a grip with too big of a circumference will be too hard to grip with small fingers and lead to hand/wrist and arm fatigue. It is also more difficult to accurately cast when the rod is not gripped properly. Mainstream fly rods typically have a reverse half wells designed cork grip. It works with the average men’s hands. Unfortunately, its size and design does not fit the fingers and palms of the average women. The best cork grip style for fly rod for women is the cigar-style grip. The cigar-style cork grip features a tapered cylindrical design with a smaller circumference. Anyone with small fingers and palms would enjoy this grip on a fly rod. The next part of the handle is the reel seat. Often overlooked as a functional part of the casting process, most folks just think of it as a pretty way to attach the reel to the rod. But physics comes into play here. Think of a fly rod as a pendulum and the swing motion is what casts the line. Imagine how that pendulum is balanced as it swings. The position of the reel affects the ease of the swinging motion. To achieve the best motion with the least amount of effort, the reel needs to be at the very bottom of the rod. This position provides ease of movement and more control for women anglers. The type of reel seat that is best for this position is known as a down locking reel seat. Women’s Fly Rod Design Recommendation: A cigar cork grip paired with a down locking reel seat is the necessary combination for the most comfortable women’s rod.
The last issue for ideal fly rods designed for women is the way the line goes out of the reel and onto the water’s surface. Casting more than 20 feet is mostly a myth. Women are more patient and typically fish with more finesse than their counter parts most of the time. To create the softest presentation with finesse, a fly od must have the proper guides for this task. Guides are the most underrated and most ignored part of a fly rod. Yet they are instrumental in the performance and feel of any fly rod. The guides are the interface between the angler, the rod, and the water & fish. The smoother the line flows through the guides, the better the control of the line is achieved. There are two styles of guides used on a fly rod: snake guides and loop guides. Which is the best? It depends on the criteria. Mostly snake guides are used because they are less expensive and easier to mount onto the rod. Loop guides must be constantly aligned and re aligned as they are mounted to the blank, which takes more time in the crafting of the fly rods but pays big dividends over the life of the fly rod. The advantage of a loop guide over the snake style of guide is there is much less friction as the line moves around in the loop versus the snake style guide. Friction is the enemy of line speed and casting smoothness. Both guides mount to a blank by their “feet”. Snake guides uses 2 feet to be wrapped on to the fly rod blank. Loop guides come with both a 2 feet style and a single foot style. Why does the issue of how many feet a guide has be important to the function of a fly rod? When the guide is wrapped on to the rod blank a “dead zone” occurs. The flexing action is impeded. The size of this “dead zone” depends on the size of each thread wrap. To maximize performance and feel, a rod needs as little thread wrap as possible so the flexing action is preserved. Many high end rods have decorative thread wrappings in many parts of the fly rods. This is only for show and actually hurts the rods fishing performance. Women’s Fly Rod Design Recommendation: A fly rod with loop guides with a single-foot design is optimal for women who fly fish.
In summary, women should not have to use men’s equipment for fly fishing. When women anglers can use fly rods designed for women, their fly fishing experience is much more enjoyable. Rocky Bob’s Fly Fishing Rods has designed a fly rod designed specifically for women who fly flsh: the Rainbow. This fly rod designed for women features all the best practices outlined in this article: a lightweight graphite rod blank, a longer length, a downlocking reel seat, and single-foot loop guides. All these crafted into the Rainbow rod make for a lovely and comfortable fishing experience for women who fly fish. For more information on the Rainbow, a fly rod designed for women, click HERE.
About The Author:
Rocky Bob Knowles is a master fly rod designer & builder, and a master angler with a lifetime of fly fishing, fly rod building, and outdoorsman experience. He is the founder and president of Rocky Bob’s Fly Fishing Rods, and hand makes fly rods, one on a time, at his studio in Denver, Colorado. Bob Knowles can be reached at: 720.810.9763; firstname.lastname@example.org; or www.RockyBobsFlyFishingRods.com