Re: 2018 8 Weight Rod Shootout Published
Posted by Buzz Bryson on 2018-01-06 15:40:15
in reply to Re: 2018 8 Weight Rod Shootout Published posted by Steve Birrer on 2018-01-06 14:11:44
|Say we want to call this an 8-wt shootout. There are no standards for rods, other than whatever number the manufacturer chooses to put on the rod. Lines do, in theory, have a standard. An 8-wt. line should weight 210 grains (for the first 30 feet, minus the level tip, with no more variation than +/-8 grains). See https://www.affta.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/fly_line_weight_specs.pdf. I say in theory because that 30-ft standard was developed long ago, when trout fishing was the center of the fly fishing universe, and 30 feet was the middle of the bell curve for casts. Today, rod makers (nor line makers actually) don't necessarily stick with that when they're designing more specialized lines nowadays . . . such as a bonefish line. |
Should any such test start by weighing all lines labeled as 8-wt, and if they fall outside that 210 +/-8 grain range, discard them? That would "standardize" at least something on any comparison.
As I recall (hopefully correctly) from what Bruce Richards once told me, each 10 feet of belly of a floating line is approximately equivalent to one line weight. And since most 8-wt floaters for bonefish have heads longer than 30 ft, and anglers typically aerialize more than that, an "8" wt line transitions from 7wt to 8wt to 9wt as the amount of line in the air changes. Nothing new there.
Nothing new either in the idea of fly size (bulk or wind resistance) or weight affecting a rod's casting. Or the leader length and taper. Or the wind speed/direction.
The only point being that the any rod's performance changes as a function of a bunch of variables changing. And we haven't even talked about the caster's abilities or preferences.
So we can either throw our hands up, point out any number of issues not addressed in a rod evaluation, and say the only way is to test them all ourselves (and I often wonder how many people "test" rods at the store with any combination of line/leader/"fly" than when the store person hands them. In my experience, rarely do people even test cast rods with a bit of yarn.)
Or, we can agree that we have to start somewhere, and whether it be with the sort of shootout that George, Jamie and crew did, or what someone else, there might some some helpful information out there to start us on our way to picking a rod.
Clearly, there are many ways the Yellowstone Angler shootout could be made "better", as has been pointed out in this thread. Even if virtually all line combos were used, In the end, as long as any such test is based on a limited number of people doing the casting/testing, that "angler" variable will still be hanging out there. Well, unless maybe the fly fishing industry develops a casting "robot" equivalent to the golf industry's Iron Byron.
I think such shootouts are interesting and can be helpful, particularly if we judge the results somewhat on the known abilities/experience of the testers. And I'm pretty sure George and Jamie are OK with a rod in their hands!
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