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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 05:06am - Jun 23,09
Posts: 1065

Post Posted: 09:42am - Feb 19,15 
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Shipped my rod (afterall) to TFO and it was reutrned in a week (I think they just stuck another section on rather than repairing the broken tip. So, I am ready to do battle once more...the 3wt is a superb weight for the Duper fish since I have had no luck with the carp and the smallies and bluegill really are fun to have on it.
I have been musing about the ruggedness of carbon fiber wondering if any little ding (crack propagation) in the rod (by mfr or by owner) makes it almost prone to crack. Rather than fiberglass and cane which can take some punishment.
Well, whatever, I have the weapon back in the armory.

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 09:44pm - Apr 28,05
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Location: mokena, Ill

Post Posted: 03:23pm - Apr 4,15 
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stick with graphite as it's plenty tough, casts like a dream. Fiberglass too heavy and slow, cane too, too expensive, doesn't cast near as well

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 03:02pm - Feb 10,15
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Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 05:07pm - Apr 4,15 
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I have heard that scratch or tiny ding leading to a broken rod thing more than once.
I'd chalk it up to urban myth. Technology is not going backward when it comes to high modulus graphite.
Being very hard to break an ' Ugly Stick ' is not an award winning performance or technology endorsement.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 05:06am - Jun 23,09
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Post Posted: 10:24am - Apr 14,15 
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Orvis is making a glass rod and so are a few other mfrs. Glass, being slower, has its advantages in that one can feel the rod load up and it translates the action of a hooked fish better than glass. Heavy, it can be (I have an old Heddon Black Beauty that permits one to get a workout while fishing). I also have a Sage Vantage of the same line weight as the Heddon and I prefer the Heddon. Compared to my Heddon, the new glass is ugly.
Do I need a telephone pole's rigidity to cast 100 feet or do I prefer a rod that I can enjoy? I can always take a casting lesson to increase my distance.

A few years ago, I argued with another fly fisherman about the number of pieces a rod will break down (he really is a salesman at one of the shops). My contention is that the increased number of pieces makes it easier to mfr but each discontinuity leads to decreasing the rod's beam design. Now, I see some mfr's touting a 1-piece rod for the very reason I talked.

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 03:02pm - Feb 10,15
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Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 12:40pm - Apr 14,15 
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You can build a graphite rod as slow as you wish. And some makers do. The taper is up the the builder. It has nothing to do with graphite material limitations .
You can build a graphite rod much lighter and more responsive than any glass material.
Essentially , you can build a graphite rod which fishes like any other glass rod , but you can not get the same qualities as graphite out of glass.
Glass is much more inexpensive than graphite and it still does draw people who want that slow action and want a budget buy.
I'd also argue that one piece rods, while harder to ship, are much easier to build than multi-piece rods with ferrules. New tooling for the one piece blanks are the only draw back. And while they do slightly add to weight, there is slightly better energy transfer and a one piece is slightly stronger...slightly , very very slightly is the operative word. The performance of a well made multi-piece rod is hardly diminished in the slightest. It would take someone with an exceptionale feel to tell the difference between a Helios 2 multi and a Helios 2 one piece. And this is why Orvis does not expect the one pieces to fly off the shelves. The convenience of 4 almost always outweighs the tiny benefit of one piece.
Fly casters are some of the most demanding in the hobby . If there were noticeable diminishing returns in multiple ferruled rods the practice would not be ongoing and extremely popular today.
You may notice a trend in what used to be impossible to find . Two piece bait casting rods.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 05:06am - Jun 23,09
Posts: 1065

Post Posted: 12:51pm - Apr 16,15 
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Sailbad, your comment made me think further on the goodness (and disadvantages) of each material. But, in order to get an education, I contacted Tom Morgan Fly Rod Manufacturers. Below, I have copied his reply to my question.

Hello Chuck,

I think I can help some with your dilemma.

From early on with graphite I could see a confusion in the marketplace about graphite material and the rods companies were making. Everyone seemed to think just because graphite had a higher modulus of elasticity the rods had to be stiff. When Fenwick brought out the first graphite they were stiff and had a parabolic (stiff tip and soft butt) design. The reason for this was rodmaking technology at the time. The tip mandrels were larger in diameter at the tip I believe based on mandrels from the fiberglass era. However, another reason was the graphite material itself was thicker and required enough wraps to make it strong enough to resist breaking. This made for the parabolic designs because the butts had to be softer to make the rods feel soft enough to "feel" reasonably good when cast.

As time went by the graphite material became thinner, the mandrel making technology improved allowing for smaller diameter tips, and the manufacturing technologies improved. When this happened rods with more traditional tapers and feel could be made. My designs started to reflect these improvements.

However, it seemed to me graphite rods became stiffer and stiffer. I believe there were four reasons for this.

1st. The fly fishing market began to expand bringing in many new fly fishermen. There is no question in my mind stiffer rods are easier to learn to cast with so that is what most anglers bought. Also by this time fiberglass rods had dropped out of favor and production by all companies. We had to stop at Winston because the material wasn't available.

2nd. There was a big proliferation of sports shows around the country many consumers attended. They all had casting ponds that were 100 feet or over long. I used to watch everyone try to reach the end of the pond with their cast. They had no idea about finesse or how they would fish the rod they only cared about which rod cast the farthest.

3rd. The number of fly shops proliferated and customers would go into these shops to look at rods. Then they would go out into the parking lot and try various rods. There again finesse or on stream performance never entered the conversation only which rod cast the farthest. One of the best ads at Winston we ever did was entitled "Our rods won't win the parking lot distance contest but out on the stream it's what you need".

4th. It seemed to me rod companies began hiring tournament casters and not experienced fly fishermen to design their rods. They are wonderful casters but designed rods which they needed for casting demonstrations. What fun is it to watch someone cast 30 or 40 feet?

In my view graphite may be the best material yet. It's inherent properties make it have the best casting range. The material keeps resisting bend until it will totally fail. It's the only rodmaking material that will do this. Both fiberglass and bamboo will resist until it reaches its elastic limit then will keep bending but won't resist more. This gives graphite a greater range of casting distances making them more versatile. Fiberglass and bamboo rods reach their maximum load then it's more difficult to cast beyond that point.

That being said with modern mandrel designs with extremely small tips (as small as .018") and thinner graphite materials it's possible to make graphite rods flex and feel like traditional rods from past eras. I know this is true because our graphite rods have this design and feel unlike almost any others on the market. I could design graphite rods so soft the average angler couldn't cast them. On the other hand I could design fiberglass and bamboo rods so stiff they would resemble graphite.

I do like fiberglass and bamboo rods in the lighter line sizes because they are still light weight and have all the characteristics of great fly rods; they flex and bend like traditional rods making them "feel" good providing feedback to the angler, they have supple tips for setting the strike without fear of breaking the fish off, and for playing fish on light leaders and small flies.

So, your point is well taken. And I still like my glass versus my graphite.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:21pm - Jan 4,15
Posts: 64
Location: southside

Post Posted: 04:56pm - Apr 16,15 
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i have a tfo 3wt 6'7.2 piece.nice rod ,really nice for the money.i also have a modern glass 3wt 6'7 4 piece.really nice rod around the same price as the tfo.never had a problem with the ferruleseasy to transport in its tube and case.they are not cheaper to make just the opposite.ferrules take more time money and materials.the glass rod is actually lighter and the slower action actually adds distance,at least with my casting style.the tfo is great but stiffer even tho it is a slower action rod and pretty sure it would break if i hook up with a bigger fish like a bass or carp.modern glass rods are much different than the older glass rods.much lighter and more responsive.i have snapped the tips on a few carbon fiber flyrods for no known reason.a flyrod is supposed to flex alot like a noodle rod as you fight the fish with the rod and not the rod and reel like conventional gear
'

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:21pm - Jan 4,15
Posts: 64
Location: southside

Post Posted: 05:06pm - Apr 16,15 
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chuckt wrote:
Sailbad, your comment made me think further on the goodness (and disadvantages) of each material. But, in order to get an education, I contacted Tom Morgan Fly Rod Manufacturers. Below, I have copied his reply to my question.

Hello Chuck,

I think I can help some with your dilemma.

From early on with graphite I could see a confusion in the marketplace about graphite material and the rods companies were making. Everyone seemed to think just because graphite had a higher modulus of elasticity the rods had to be stiff. When Fenwick brought out the first graphite they were stiff and had a parabolic (stiff tip and soft butt) design. The reason for this was rodmaking technology at the time. The tip mandrels were larger in diameter at the tip I believe based on mandrels from the fiberglass era. However, another reason was the graphite material itself was thicker and required enough wraps to make it strong enough to resist breaking. This made for the parabolic designs because the butts had to be softer to make the rods feel soft enough to "feel" reasonably good when cast.

As time went by the graphite material became thinner, the mandrel making technology improved allowing for smaller diameter tips, and the manufacturing technologies improved. When this happened rods with more traditional tapers and feel could be made. My designs started to reflect these improvements.

However, it seemed to me graphite rods became stiffer and stiffer. I believe there were four reasons for this.

1st. The fly fishing market began to expand bringing in many new fly fishermen. There is no question in my mind stiffer rods are easier to learn to cast with so that is what most anglers bought. Also by this time fiberglass rods had dropped out of favor and production by all companies. We had to stop at Winston because the material wasn't available.

2nd. There was a big proliferation of sports shows around the country many consumers attended. They all had casting ponds that were 100 feet or over long. I used to watch everyone try to reach the end of the pond with their cast. They had no idea about finesse or how they would fish the rod they only cared about which rod cast the farthest.

3rd. The number of fly shops proliferated and customers would go into these shops to look at rods. Then they would go out into the parking lot and try various rods. There again finesse or on stream performance never entered the conversation only which rod cast the farthest. One of the best ads at Winston we ever did was entitled "Our rods won't win the parking lot distance contest but out on the stream it's what you need".

4th. It seemed to me rod companies began hiring tournament casters and not experienced fly fishermen to design their rods. They are wonderful casters but designed rods which they needed for casting demonstrations. What fun is it to watch someone cast 30 or 40 feet?

In my view graphite may be the best material yet. It's inherent properties make it have the best casting range. The material keeps resisting bend until it will totally fail. It's the only rodmaking material that will do this. Both fiberglass and bamboo will resist until it reaches its elastic limit then will keep bending but won't resist more. This gives graphite a greater range of casting distances making them more versatile. Fiberglass and bamboo rods reach their maximum load then it's more difficult to cast beyond that point.

That being said with modern mandrel designs with extremely small tips (as small as .018") and thinner graphite materials it's possible to make graphite rods flex and feel like traditional rods from past eras. I know this is true because our graphite rods have this design and feel unlike almost any others on the market. I could design graphite rods so soft the average angler couldn't cast them. On the other hand I could design fiberglass and bamboo rods so stiff they would resemble graphite.

I do like fiberglass and bamboo rods in the lighter line sizes because they are still light weight and have all the characteristics of great fly rods; they flex and bend like traditional rods making them "feel" good providing feedback to the angler, they have supple tips for setting the strike without fear of breaking the fish off, and for playing fish on light leaders and small flies.

So, your point is well taken. And I still like my glass versus my graphite.

i totally agree even tho i have never built or designed a rod.40 feet is about my limit on a good day.i want something i can feel and cast without thinking about it too much and concentrate where i want the fly to land

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:21pm - Jan 4,15
Posts: 64
Location: southside

Post Posted: 05:20pm - Apr 16,15 
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chuckt wrote:
Orvis is making a glass rod and so are a few other mfrs. Glass, being slower, has its advantages in that one can feel the rod load up and it translates the action of a hooked fish better than glass. Heavy, it can be (I have an old Heddon Black Beauty that permits one to get a workout while fishing). I also have a Sage Vantage of the same line weight as the Heddon and I prefer the Heddon. Compared to my Heddon, the new glass is ugly.
Do I need a telephone pole's rigidity to cast 100 feet or do I prefer a rod that I can enjoy? I can always take a casting lesson to increase my distance.

A few years ago, I argued with another fly fisherman about the number of pieces a rod will break down (he really is a salesman at one of the shops). My contention is that the increased number of pieces makes it easier to mfr but each discontinuity leads to decreasing the rod's beam design. Now, I see some mfr's touting a 1-piece rod for the very reason I talked.
i than graphite.have old wonderods had some heddons etc.they were cutting edge at the time they were made.now just collectibles for the most part,some people still like them in shorter versions.modern glass is just as light if not lighter.i have rods same length action and line weight in glass and graphite.the tfo comes with me less and less.had a large bass,at least 5lbs swallow a 9 inch bluegill i had on the glass rod and it held up fine.almost got the bass lipped before he spit it.my tfo would have been destroyed i think.the glass is a 4 piece and put together you would never know.i dont think 3 sets of ferrules is easier or cheaper to make

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 03:02pm - Feb 10,15
Posts: 226
Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 05:55pm - Apr 16,15 
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The engery transfer of glass is not as efficient as graphite , modern glass or dated. To give an example that Gary Loomis uses;
Glass rods are like a fiberglass diving board. You load the board and dive . After the dive much of that energy used in the dive is still reverberating as the board flops up and down and up and down.
If the board were made of graphite much more energy transfer and efficiency goes into the dive . It does not keep going up and down and up and down after the dive . It goes right back into to place quicker with less wasted energy.

Now , if you like the ability do dive as a fiberglass board does, you can build a graphite board with exactly the same tendencies as the glass, but lighter and more efficient. What Mr. Morgan did not point out when he said he could build a rod just as stiff as any granite rod out of glass is that apples to apples... a glass rod will always be heavier. It takes more glass material, since it is lower modulus (stiffness) than any graphite being used today.
If the same rod builder uses the same exact length , taper, wall diamer and weight resin and cloth the glass rod is always going to be less stiff than the graphite rod.

So, what I extract from guys who really really like glass are essentialy three things.
Apples to apples glass is and will always be cheaper, as it is a cheaper material.


Glass rods may tend to hold up to abuse a little more than graphite, but again, apples to apples and it's not really true because the graphite always has less matial than the same -same glass rod , so it's not a fair comparison.
Rod breaks tend to occur more from doors than fish fighting.

Older , slower glass rods were built in an era when there was really no way to make a modern fast or extra fast taper. So there is not only the love of slow, it is nostalgia and what lots and lots of guys got used to and sometimes those guys feel strange casting a modern, fast, stiff rod.


So , my main point would be that if you want a really light weight (always lighter than glass apples to apples) slow rod which transfers energy much better than glass , there are graphite rods out there for you .

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:21pm - Jan 4,15
Posts: 64
Location: southside

Post Posted: 02:53pm - Apr 17,15 
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i am going to weigh my tfo and the e glass rod,they are identical lengths and line weights. just checked the tfo is a few grams lighter.have you ever tried a modern glass rod?i think you are still referring to old glass or tthose crap composite rods that come as a package of line reel leader and rod for 40 bucks.the glass rod i have is not like anything from the past.it is more parabolic and roll casts much better than the graphite rod.the graphite rod only flexes so much and that is the limit of the energy that can be transferred forwardi can get a longer cast with a shorter backcast.i have broken many graphite rods fighting fish,some high end ones which was quite frustrating.a rod used for it,s intended purpose should never break at the first guide.especially one that costs a day's pay or more.for my panfishing i have switched back to glass rods that are parabolic ,i can cast small stuff farther and with fireline and nanofil i lose no feel and can easily set the hook at a good distance.for bass fishing or bigger i still love my graphite sticks.

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Chitown-Angler
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Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 05:06pm - Apr 17,15 
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There is no glass made that has the quality of graphite or its properties. There never will be. There is nothing that a glass rod can accomplish (positively) that a graphite can not top. Graphite is a superior material. I'm not sure how else to put it. Read the rod designer/maker's statement on graphite's strength vs bamboo or glass. And read his thoughts on what is a superior material. His subjective like to sometimes fish with small weight glass is totally aside from the quantifiable facts surrounding glass vs. graphite.
I am assuming that the two rods weighed are from different makers and different tapers ( not apples to apples...) and yet the glass rod is indeed heavier...
The smaller the rod (3 weight is small) the easier it is to overcome or ignore the added weight and more energy loss that comes with all glass. I own and have made tons of fly rods (and baitcasters and spinning) and own and sometimes fish a glass Hardy I made and three bamboo that I made. The Hardy is a 6 weight and rarely gets fished any more and the bamboos are a zero weight , a one weight and a two weight . They are fun to play around with for pan fish and it would be hard to get exhausted casting the lowest of the low modulus (bamboo) even if fished all day. In other words, every now and then I really enjoy low-tech, low performance fun. I get it.
But, they are not performance marvels and there is no way in hell I would want to cast a 6 weight bamboo all day and certainly not an 8 weight glass or bamboo all day or all of one of my week long Muskie trips. The tool for the job when high performance energy transfer, comfort and reliability is needed is graphite . The higher the modulus the better.
There are some very well designed glass rods today, and this would explain why your glass rod costs about the same as your graphite rod. I believe it is totally possible, if not probable that your s-glass rod is of superior design over your graphite. Design, but not material.
If the exact design , using the same mandrils, extraction of air, cellophane wrapping and baking were used , and the only difference was that one was made of s-glass and one of graphite, the graphite rod would be the superior rod . And it would be quantifiable . This is what I mean by apples to apples comparison.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:21pm - Jan 4,15
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Location: southside

Post Posted: 08:12am - Apr 18,15 
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dont how we went to bluegills to muskies,i dont have a glass rod in the heavier weights.i have several old bamboo wall hangers.cant imagine casting them at all.would like to see pics of the 1wt bamboo tho.i have landed a 20lb + grass carp on a 5wt graphite off brand rod and it did not break.it is a slower action rod and never really cast well for me.just a bad design but at the time the best i could afford .my point is my 3wt modern glass rod is the best tool for getting a bug in front of a bluegill and has survived a few large bass.didn't intend to start an argument here.i am sure at some point a material will come along to replace graphite as well.i still have and sometimes fish with my dad and uncles garcia conolons and mitchell reels.you know what i can still catch plenty of fish on em.they are beautiful pieces of equipment and who doesn't love the sound those reels make

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Chitown-Angler
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Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 09:33am - Apr 18,15 
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the hersh wrote:
dont how we went to bluegills to muskies,i dont have a glass rod in the heavier weights.i have several old bamboo wall hangers.cant imagine casting them at all.would like to see pics of the 1wt bamboo tho.i have landed a 20lb + grass carp on a 5wt graphite off brand rod and it did not break.it is a slower action rod and never really cast well for me.just a bad design but at the time the best i could afford .my point is my 3wt modern glass rod is the best tool for getting a bug in front of a bluegill and has survived a few large bass.didn't intend to start an argument here.i am sure at some point a material will come along to replace graphite as well.i still have and sometimes fish with my dad and uncles garcia conolons and mitchell reels.you know what i can still catch plenty of fish on em.they are beautiful pieces of equipment and who doesn't love the sound those reels make


The reason I went from blue gills to muskie was to make a point. When someone is defending glass over graphite (better) , I ask why.
Sometimes I get answers like " my glass Rod is lighter than my graphite" . And when we try to quantify that statement it turns out that the graphite is actually lighter . Always, apples for apples.
So when I am trying to list all the attributes of graphite over glass , the guys who fish muskie with a nice new modern graphite 8-10 weight and are really tired after casting a few hard days will take note of what it must feel like if that rod were not only heavier , but also wasted more energy than graphite. It makes the point more directly.

I also get answers like " I like the slow action of glass" . And then I explain that not only can you get a nice slow action with graphite, but that graphite will transfer energy more efficiently and be lighter.

So, I am absolutely positive that there are some glass rods built today that are better than some graphite rods today. But all things equal , the properties of graphite will always outweigh the properties of glass pertaining to performance.

And, as I said before, I understand sentiment and the use of non-high tech stuff. I'd love to be able to post pics of my rods here, but the site does not allow for posting directly from an IPhone, which is how I would have to post the pics.
There's nothing wrong with a debate at all. I consider this a slight debate and not an argument.

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