Rethinking Fly Rod Assembly: The Twist is Out

Everyone learns a number of fundamental sills at the very start of his or her journey in fly fishing. These are things like how to assemble the fly rod (most are in four sections); string the fly line through the guides after rod assembly; tying on a fly, basic knots, and how to grip a fly rod.

After a short time, most of these skills become second nature and other skills (including a number of casts) are learned – and generally, those initial skills not further questioned.

However, I’ve begun to revisit the first skill mentioned above: fly rod assembly.

Like the majority of others, I learned many years ago that the rod sections are put together at an 30-45 degree offset (where the guides on the two sections are not aligned), pushed until the sections are snug, and then twisted to alignment.

But a recent discussion on a forum has gotten me to rethink and change my approach.

First, a brief review of how rod sections are constructed. Sections may have a female or male ferrule (or both in the case of the center two sections). Most modern fly rods are “sleeve over ferrule” – in which a section fits over the tip of the one below it. (The other type is called “spigot ferrule” – where a separate piece is bonded to the lower section, and the top section joins to that).

There is a history of both types that need not be reviewed here. Suffice it to say that spigot ferrules, which are more labor intensive, were  common until manufacturing and technology allowed a continuous taper in the sections with the use of sleeve over ferrule, and are still used with some light line weight rods. All of my rods are sleeve over ferrules.

Now to the problem of assembly.

Twisting two sections that are snugly joined means that frictional wear will eventually loosen the fit between the two sections. That can result in breakage and a extended period with the rod maker for repairs. And at its worse could occur when fighting a fish.

So, I’ve adopted the following method (thanks to a well-respected person on the forum). I put the two sections together; and while the fit is still loose, I align the sections. Once aligned, I push the sections straight together until snug.

To be fair, I’ve still had to twist the sections very, very slightly – but much less than before. And like any skill, the more I do it, the less even that minor twisting will be needed.

Try it and see what you think.

Author: Tom

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