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Selecting a Reel for a New Rod - Balance

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Just picked up a St. Croix 9' Legend Elite 5 weight and I am trying to match a reel to it.  This rod is quite light at 2.8 oz so I had assumed that it would match up with a very light reel.  Not so fast. 



I have read a number of articles on balancing rod and reel and it seems that the consensus is the rod should balance (be horizontal) at the fulcrum where your index (and some say middle) finger is placed on the grip during a casting stroke. An article suggests that a loaded reel should generally weigh 1.5X the swing weight of the rod.  According to it, the swing weight equals the weight of the rod (2.8 oz.) plus maybe 0.2 oz for twice the rod length in line out of the tip. Therefore, according to this article, the loaded reel should weight about 3.0 oz X 1.5 = 4.5 oz.  

http://www.***********.com/a_question_of_balance.htm


Yet I am puzzled by "swing weight." According to Yellowstone Anglers, and their 2013 5 weight shootout results, this rod (and many more) has a swing weight of nearly 9 oz.!  Hmmm.

http://www.yellowstoneangler.com/gear-review/2013-5-weight-shootout-g-loomis-nrx-lp-loop-optistream-hardy-zenith-hardy-artisan-tom-morgan-sage-circa-orvis-helios-2-greys-xf2


So I tried each of three different loaded reels on it (6 oz, 7.0 oz and 7.7 oz) with about 18 feet of line extending for each out of the tip.  Under these conditions, the reel that balanced the rod at my index finger was the heaviest one at 7.7 oz. loaded (Colton CRG II for 5,6,7 - very pleased with this reel BTW).  The two lighter reels were too light as they caused the tip to dip. I was surprised by this result as I assumed I would be needing to pick up a Lamson Litespeed or some other feather weight reel. Am I doing this right?


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I think the balance for fishing is nice but balance for casting is not important. Balance is present when rod is stable or when rod is not rotated but when we cast we rotate rod and accelerate line so balance is gone. It is eye opening test to put reel to pocket and cast. Light weight feels strange at first but after a while casting feels better and accuracy gets better etc.

Yellowstone MOI measurement can not give accurate results because the length between the point on scale and the butt end is not the same for all rods :mad:

 

Edited by TimS
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I agree that balance is not important for casting, but nice for fishing. And since I try to fish more than cast, I like a balanced set up. I have a St. Croix Legend Elite 5wt. and hang an Abel TR2 on it, and love it.

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Ok to balance up the discussion. The whole gambit of trying to balance a reel with a given rod does not have a lot of value.

If you had to elect to go for the heaviest reel in the Colton then all you are doing is increasing the total swing weight of the rod. Static balance will vary depending on how much line and backing you have at any given point on the reel. We are talking a 5 wt rod and the tip down force is minimal and will not cause any grief to your wrist and forearms at all. The same is true of rods up to 10wts as well.

You are likely to find that electing for the very lightest reel you can find will give you a much better casting and fishing outfit.

You want your outfit to move effortlessly in your hand and by increasing reel mass to try and get a static balance all you will do is increase inertia and that is a force you will have to over come every time you make a stroke with your rod plus have to deal with increased inertia when you make both front and rear rod stops. This means its more effort to stop your rod and could cause you to open your wrist a tad and then your loops.

Very counter intuative to have a very light fly rod and then hang a large heavier than needed reel on it. To answer your direct question no you are not doing it right for the reasons given above. This rod reel balancing goes back to the very early days and its time it was put to rest for all time.:)

 

Mike

 

PS just thought of this to add. You can go even lighter with your reel by being a bit radical with you fly line and backing. If you are using a DT line you can cut in half and only put say 50 yards of 20lb micron backing onto a smaller reel. This is ample for the sort of streams that a 5wt fly rod will be fished in. If you fish a wf line then you can still probably go a reel size down by simply reducing your backing amounts. You don't need all the running line on a wf line so you can chop some of that off to.

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Ok to balance up the discussion. The whole gambit of trying to balance a reel with a given rod does not have a lot of value.

If you had to elect to go for the heaviest reel in the Colton then all you are doing is increasing the total swing weight of the rod. Static balance will vary depending on how much line and backing you have at any given point on the reel. We are talking a 5 wt rod and the tip down force is minimal and will not cause any grief to your wrist and forearms at all. The same is true of rods up to 10wts as well.

You are likely to find that electing for the very lightest reel you can find will give you a much better casting and fishing outfit.

You want your outfit to move effortlessly in your hand and by increasing reel mass to try and get a static balance all you will do is increase inertia and that is a force you will have to over come every time you make a stroke with your rod plus have to deal with increased inertia when you make both front and rear rod stops. This means its more effort to stop your rod and could cause you to open your wrist a tad and then your loops.

Very counter intuative to have a very light fly rod and then hang a large heavier than needed reel on it. To answer your direct question no you are not doing it right for the reasons given above. This rod reel balancing goes back to the very early days and its time it was put to rest for all time.:)

 

Mike

 

I usually don't agree with Mike ;), but I do here. "Balance" is overrated IMO. Ultimately, it comes down to how much weight you have to lug around and cast all day. Why hang almost half a pound off a little 5 wt rod?

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I have been thinking about the new Litespeed IV from Lamson, the 8/9.  Have a sage XI3 9wt. Currently have a Ross Evolution 4.  want to move this reel to another rod. I don't know much about Lamson products. I hear they make a quality salt water reel.


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agree with Mike, especially on a light rod like that I'd be inclined to use the lightest reel.



That said I do have some old fiberglass clubs of rods, where a Medallist makes the rod pleasanter to use than a lightweight..


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