When selecting the right reel for your rod, contrary to popular belief, lighter is not always better. Today’s rods and reels are lighter than ever, and many anglers fall into the trap of matching up the lightest rods and reels they can find in hopes that the rod will feel as light in the hand as possible.
However, a well balanced ‘heavier’ setup will often feel lighter in the hand than an unbalanced setup that is substantially lighter in weight. How can that be? We’ll explain.
Take a reel that is too light for example. While holding the rod in a relaxed position, the weight of the rod is pulled towards the surface of the water. Therefore when its time to cast, you must first use your forearm muscles to lift the tip of the rod up to a point parallel to the surface of the water before beginning your cast. On the other hand, a reel that is well balanced is able to hold the rod level with virtually no effort. This may not seem like a big deal with your 7 foot 3 weight, but with larger salmon or saltwater rods, a well balanced setup can make quite the difference over the course of a day.
So why would you ever choose a reel that is not well balanced to your rod? Well, many anglers don’t consider a few variables when matching up there setup. Consider these the next time you’re looking for a new reel.
The goal when choosing a well balanced reel for your rod is for the rod to be able to rest in a level position when balanced on the part of the grip where the most pressure is placed during the cast.
However, this varies depending on your preferred grip. For example, if you prefer to cast with your thumb directly on top of the grip, most of the pressure is applied towards the front of the grip around your index and middle finger. Therefore, your setup should be able to balance at this point.
However, if you prefer to cast with your index finger on top of the grip, the desired balance point of the rod may be further down the grip, as that is where the most pressure is applied to the grip throughout the cast.
Reels with line weigh more than reels without line. So, don’t expect a reel to balance the same way on a rod out of the box as it does once loaded up with 200 yards of wet backing and 100 feet of fly line. In other words, a reel that might feel ‘just a little light’ in the shop, might be spot on once loaded up with line. Also, remember that the weight of the reel with all the line wound up is irrelevant. Casts are made with the fly line outside of the rod tip and it’s the weight of the reel with 30 feet or so of fly line out the guides that matters.
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- Reels for Bonefishing – 5 Things to Look For
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