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Fly Rods 

Why construction and materials matter more than ever – and how to choose the perfect rod for your chosen style of fishing. 
 
If you are looking to start fly fishing or wish to upgrade your current rod & have any questions ring us on 0044 (0)1752-334933, or email us : sales@snowbee.co.uk we will be glad to help. 

Fly Rods 

If you are looking to start fly fishing or wish to upgrade your current rod & have any questions ring us on 0044 (0)1752-334933, or email us : sales@snowbee.co.uk we will be glad to help. 
 
Why construction and materials matter more than ever – and how to choose the perfect rod for your chosen style of fishing. 
As with any sports equipment, fly rods have undergone a huge technological change in the past two decades. They have steadily evolved from early glass fibre rods, through the early days of carbon fibre to the highly technical carbon composites of today, including the very latest 'Graphene resin technology' incorporated into our new Prestige G-XS fly rods. 
Modern day carbon fibres are quite delicate, having little tensile strength in their natural state and epoxy resin alone is very brittle, once cured. However, encapsulating the fibres in an epoxy resin creates a composite of enormous strength and flexibility, further enhanced today by the incredible properties of Graphene – each essential requirements for the modern rod designer. 
Carbon fibres are first woven into a cloth, or mat, which is pre-impregnated with epoxy resin, to bond all the fibres together, giving the finished material incredible strength once cured. This 'pre-preg' as it is called, is then wrapped under pressure around a tapered steel rod, known as a mandrel and then baked in an autoclave oven, under high pressure to ‘cure’ the epoxy resin and help force out any tiny pockets of air. Once set and cooled, the finished carbon fibre 'tube' is removed from the mandrel and the work of turning this into a finished fly rod blank can begin. 
Fly Rod Actions
The next question is then ground or unground? When the raw blank is removed from the mandrel, the natural surface weave or ribbing of the carbon fibres shows through, giving a slightly rough outer surface. If a gloss finish rod is required, this is ground off and a coloured varnish applied. However, if a matt finish rod is required, this surface is left unground, as with our Spectre range of rods, providing a performance and action, closer to the original design concept. Snowbee currently produce four different ranges of fly rods from the entry-level Classic range, starting at under £70, to our top of the range Prestige G-XS models up to £500 and more. We are frequently asked... 'what’s the difference?' Fundamentally, this comes down to two things: 
Prestige G-XS fly
1) The rod fittings and fixtures: Clearly the basic aluminium alloy reel seat used on the Classic range is a lot cheaper than the hand-made, lightweight silver/gold hard anodised aluminium reel seats used on the new Prestige G-XS Graphene range, some featuring beautiful maple 
burl wood inserts, ensuring every rod is different and quite unique. 
2) The quality of the carbon fibre pre-preg and resin used: You will often hear or read about the 'modulus' of a carbon fibre rod. This is basically an abbreviation of 'Young's modulus of elasticity', which measures the resistance of a material to elastic (recoverable) deformation under load. A stiff material has a high Young's modulus and changes its shape only slightly under elastic loads (e.g. diamond). A flexible material however, has a low Young's modulus and changes its shape considerably (eg rubber). 
Clearly a fly rod blank needs to sit part way between these two extremes and this is where the good modern rod designer comes into his own. 
A higher modulus blank, will have a faster action, a faster tip “recovery” (the speed at which the blank returns to its original shape) and will generally be lighter. High modulus carbons are also more expensive to produce, so will generally be used for top-end rods, which will require a tip, or middle to tip action. 
At the other end of the scale, medium modulus carbon blanks are used for lower grade fly rods, where price is a consideration and a slightly slower, more forgiving action required. 
Most of the Snowbee range of fly rods, use a mix of different carbon fibre pre-pregs, to achieve the precise action required for that range. The Classic range uses predominantly, single 24 ton carbon. The Diamond² range uses a mix of 30 and 36 ton carbon, while on the Spectre RMX range, this is upgraded to a mix of 40 to 46 ton carbon. 
All our ‘multi-modulus’ blanks, use our well proven ‘Snowbee Tri-modulus carbon’ technology, where a subtle blend of different modulus carbons are used through the blank, to achieve the precise action we require. The new Prestige G-XS Graphene range, uses only 46 ton carbon, but significantly use Graphene nano resin throughout, which provides the incredible and unique properties these rods have. Graphene is an amazing new discovery and a real game changer where used, extremely light and reputedly 200 times stronger than steel! 

Choosing a fly rod 

This is very much a personal thing, as one fly rod will not suit everyone. The first and most obvious consideration is budget – how much you want to spend on a rod which is often misconstrued by many fly fisherman. A more expensive rod, doesn’t necessarily make you a better caster! If your casting is a bit ‘rusty’ or could do with some ‘polishing up’, then better to spend less on a rod and spend the difference on some professional casting lessons with an approved instructor! There are also several free and very useful videos we have put together which many have now used to help improve their casting. We cover some of the simple techniques and pitfalls and there’s even one featuring the ‘double haul’. Click here to view..... 
You then need to take into account the type & style of fly fishing you wish to do. If predominantly small river work and short distances, then a slower action rod is ideal. We would generally call this a middle, or ‘through-action’ rod. Larger rivers & small stillwaters, will generally require a slightly longer rod, with a faster, middle, or middle to tip action. Large stillwaters & reservoirs, where distance casting is often required, will generally require rods, with a fast, middle to tip, or tip action.  
A fast action rod, will allow the caster to generate the higher line speed in the air and tighter line loops required for maximum distance casting. Bear in mind however, that the faster the action of a rod, the more ‘timing critical’ it becomes to cast and therefore requires more advanced casting skills to get the best from it. Boat fishing also makes up a lot of the Stillwater fishing activity. Here a longer rod is advantageous and again, actions are critical. These will generally have a slower action, as distance casting is not so necessary, but lighter, more precise presentation is of greater importance. 

Single-handed fly rods 

Follow these general guidelines for your fly rod length and line weight: 
Freshwater 
Small rivers and streams, for trout 7ft - 9ft #1 - #5 Wt. 
Larger rivers, for trout and grayling 9ft -10ft #3 - #6 Wt. 
Medium to large rivers for sea trout and light salmon 9ft -11ft #6 - #8 Wt. 
Small stillwaters for brown trout and rainbows 9ft -10ft #5 - #7 Wt. 
Large reservoirs for brown trout and rainbows 9ft -10ft #5 - #8 Wt. 
 
Saltwater 
UK saltwater and flats bonefish 9ft #7 - #10 Wt. 
 
Also take into account the rod action, as detailed above, which is an indication of the way the rod flexes in response to both casting and playing a fish. A fast action rod can generate higher line speeds required for extreme distance casting, allowing a talented caster to have great line and loop control. The faster tip ‘recovery’, when distance casting, will reduce ‘ripples’ down the line and improve the line’s flight through the air. Be aware though, as the stiffer tips are less flexible and can, especially with non-stretch lines, ‘bounce’ fish off the hook, so more care is required, when playing fish. 
Less able casters may find it hard to get the timing of their cast correct, with a fast action rod, so can be better rewarded with a rod of a more moderate action. For general small river and stillwater trout fishing, it is better to choose a rod with a middle to tip action, which can be less demanding to cast and better for roll casting and fishing at short range. 
Prestige G-XS Double- Handed Salmon Rod

Double-handed fly rods 

Very often, newcomers to salmon fishing, assume that a double handed rod is always required – it is not. There are many situations, on smaller rivers, fishing for sea-trout or grilse, where a single handed rod, of say 10ft #7 Wt., is more than adequate. 
As you move up to slightly larger rivers however, you are frequently in between the need for a single handed rod, or a full, double handed Spey rod. This is exactly why “Switch Rods” were developed on the North West coasts of the USA & Canada. A Switch rod is light enough to use single handed, but where required, can be used two-handed, for greater distance and control, or where bankside vegetation, requires a Spey casting style. 
As you move onto larger, more powerful rivers, double-handers come into their own. You often need to lift longer lengths of line, control and mend the line as it crosses the current and frequently fish with larger, heavier lines and flies. Over the past few years, as carbon technology has improved, we have 
seen the length of two-handed salmon rods reduce however, as greater power can now be achieved, with shorter, lighter rods and shooting head style fly lines. We therefore now only make the two most popular traditional models at 13ft #8/9 and the 14ft #9/10, which are more than adequate for most salmon fishing situations. 
Again, fly line consideration and fishing location are critical and for the travelling angler, a convenient multi-piece rod, like our 6-pce Spectre or new Prestige G-XS Salmon, or the 5-pce Switch rods, may well be a more convenient option than their 4-pce predecessors. 
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