A Little Leverage
By Captain Paul Darby (QRRFISH1), Shalimar, FL

Well I guess its time to get a little leverage with your fly rod and leverage equates to control and power. More closely put, the power of the fly rod and your control of it. Of course to control it you need to understand it.

The fly rod is a lever yes, but it's a flexible lever and there by subject to the whims of other influences which are independent of its original design. Just as when I teach rod building I tell students that, "Everything you add to a rod blank changes the dynamic of the blank." So it is with a fly rod when you add line and reel you change the dynamic of the rod and change it again when you grip the rod.

How you and I grip the rod may be different and so your understanding and others interpretation of the same rod will in the end be somewhat different. There are however some basic truths that will help you to become more comfortable with the operation of the fly rod.

Let's look first to the power of the fly rod as a lever. When holding the fly rod straight in front of you more or less in line with you forearm, you have the lifting power of the forearm with the added length of the rod in front of you. If you were holding the line in your hand without the rod, and simply raised your forearm, to a vertical position you would move the line approximately two feet. However when you add the length of the lever, that same effort will be multiplied by the length of the lever, to more than twice the length of the lever.

How do I arrive at that thought? Well the line runs the length of the rod exiting at the tip, thus one-rod length to start with. As you draw the rod to the vertical, the line is drawn both upward and back till the rod is straight up. The line is draped down to the ground or to a point were it is supported by the surface of the water. Let us assume that you have made a 30-foot presentation with an eight-foot rod. Your first natural pivot point, the wrist, is 6 inches up from the bottom of the rod, so two times the active length is fifteen feet. Add in the height below the pivot, approximately five-feet. times two, another ten feet of line airborne.

Now what are we left with to finesse, at this point?

Well, really not much, because approximately 25 foot of line is already airborne. Leaving just five-feet of leader to be drawn off the water. Now just how much power can that take, to lift five feet of spider web off the water? This is, of course, just an academic exercise right, or is it? Let's face it guys, math, flyfishing and romance are not exact sciences and most of us are only good at one out of the three. So the ones who can't add up a column of numbers in their head are more likely the lucky ones. ~ Capt. Paul

Have a question? Email me! captpaul462@aol.com

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