The line weight of a Split Cane

How many line weights can be supported by a split cane fly fishing rod?

Actually this is question that can be related to each kind of fly fishing rods; so why most of the time we found some of those numbers on our rods?

8’ #4 or 7’ #3 or whatever….

I clearly understand that producers and rodmakers have to give as much informations as possible to the potential buyer; but,… are those informations correct or at least useful?

If you surf the net searching informations about this topic, a bunch of mathematic approaches can be easily found…they are aimed to define exactly the right line weight for a specific fly rod.


The results of these studies, as the info the producers and the rodmakers put on their rods, are for sure general informations that can give you an idea about the behavoir of that rod; unfortunatly they are often  faraway from the reality.

Three years ago, i was attending the Dutch Fly Fair show. Between the exhibitors there was also the booth of the European Fly Fishing Association (EFFA).  Sepp Fuchs is one of the EFFA guys and  he’ s also one the reknown casters not only in Europe.

We were casting on the field and i had with me a 7’ 2 pieces trout rod. I asked him to try the rod. He started casting the rod with the line (#DT3) i was using….he wanted to try the rod also with a #4, and then also with a #5.

When he finished to cast, he told me: “this is a rod that can easily cover a range line weights between 3 and 5”.

Well, i was quite sure about the 3 and the 4 but i didn’t push the limit until the 5, but he did it….and he was right.

Now, if we take that same rod for sure will find our own idea about the right line weight for that rod. This will be defined “in primis” by our casting skills and preferences, but soon after this a bunch of other variables could be considered.

Average of casting distances i need fishing this place, or another one. If i fish a small stream where i know that i don’t need to cast more than 10 meters, i’d probably would prefer an heavier line. This because it will make your cast working smooth and easy as soon as 2 meters of line are out of your tip top. Another fisherman (let’s say an italian one) will tell you that in those same conditions he’s gonna use a #2 or even a #1. This guy, in fact, will start to talk to you about lightness and fastness you couldn’t get with an heavier line.

Windy conditions? Again…someone will tell you that in those conditions they heavier lines, because fo the wind…probably the same italian guy will tell you exactly the opposite, he’d fish windy conditions rather with a lighter lines, cuase he can get more tighted loops to penetrate the wind.

Anyway, these are just a couple of examples that show how personal can be the choice of the right line weight for a fly fishing rod.

Are we in the world of anarchy?

Well, maybe not, but, a lot of variables should be fixed to get to a conventional point of view able to create a common sense of understanding.

So the question now should be: why these conventions have been created? (to be continued)

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