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Old 10-27-2012, 01:30 AM
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MagicJohnston MagicJohnston is offline
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Default Glass Vs Graphite rods

What are the differences between glass and graphite fly rods. I am looking to get my first rod setup soon, just starting to do my research now.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:22 AM
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overmywaders overmywaders is offline
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Fiberglass, Boron, and graphite rods are all Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) rods. The type of polymer, e.g., epoxy, that binds the fibers together may vary. As well, the type of skivs of fiber may vary in thickness and number. And the taper of the mandrel that the rod is formed on will vary.

Modern fiberglass rods seem to cost the same as graphite rods. However, towards the end of the "age of fiberglass" (late 1970's?) some of the finest rods were made. If you get a good rod from that era, although the materials may have changed, it will equal or surpass a fiberglass rod of today (this is the general view of fiberglass enthusiasts, I believe). You might want to check the fiberglass rod forum.

One of the finest casting rods I've ever cast was a Heddon "Black Beauty" 7'6" fiberglass - better than many cane rods at five times the price.

I don't have much experience with graphite - and none with Boron - but this forum has experts on graphite.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:54 AM
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Flyfish99 Flyfish99 is offline
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Originally Posted by MagicJohnston View Post
What are the differences between glass and graphite fly rods. I am looking to get my first rod setup soon, just starting to do my research now.
Simple answer: The average glass rod will have a slower action than the average graphite rod. Glass rods tend to be somewhat heavier. Glass is a bit more durable and less prone to breakage than graphite. There are few new glass rods on the market, some are quite expensive, and you likely won't find any at your local fly shop, although Cabela's has a reasonably priced glass rod, I believe that is a limited production run.

In short, there is no inherent advantage or disadvantage to either. Over the last 60 years, I have fished with tubular steel, cheap bamboo, cheap glass, good glass, good bamboo, and good graphite, in that order. My preference is graphite, but that's just me.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:55 AM
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wet_fly_action wet_fly_action is offline
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I'm curious why you are considering glass? I fish it 98% of the time, but it probably only 1 in 500 (or less) fly fishermen would even consider fishing anything but graphite.
Flyfish99 is right, most fly shops don't even carry it.
Older glass might be a little heavier, although some members on the fiberglass flyrodders forum have noticed that some of the better fiberglass rods (with fiberglass ferrules) weigh the same on a postal scale as their modern graphite counterparts (although this is not necessarily their listed weight).
Many feel that the modern boutique glass builders are building the best glass rods ever.
How good to be here, in the green, dark, cool, mountains, near a ruddy camp fire, with the loneliness and beauty of nature at hand, and in my ears the music of a murmuring stream!
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:10 AM
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waltryan waltryan is offline
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Hang out here:
and here:
for a while. Look around and ask questions in both places.
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:45 AM
Mountain Angler Mountain Angler is offline
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When graphite fly rods first hit the market they came with a lot of flaws, but over time the manufactures overcame the problems and graphite came to dominate the market and continues to do so today. The same was true for fiberglass rods. The first ones were pretty bad, but over time they became more popular than bamboo rods and drove them from the market. Over the last few years fiberglass fly rods have made a come back. I think that this may have been driven, for the most part, by nostalgia. However, the new glass rods are not your grandfather’s rod; they are lighter, stronger and cast far better than most of the old ones. The draw back is that, for the most part, they come with a hefty price tag; what doesn’t these days? By the same token old glass rods are becoming more collectable and the prices are beginning to go up all the time for the more desirable ones. However, it is still possible to score a good glass rod at a yard sale. Some of us remember when you could still find good bamboo rods at yard sales. Names to look for are Fenwick, Orvis, and Phillipson.
For the record and at the risk of sounding like a commercial, our shop stocks glass rods. At the moment we have rods from 3 different companies: Scott, Hardy and Diamond Back. We also have a couple collectable glass rods for sale as well. New rods range in price from $299 to $625.
I am fortunate enough to have a couple of Bill Franke glass rods that I fish with. One was made for me and the other is one of his old Timberline rods that I made from a kit years ago. Timberline rods were made in North Conway and both L. L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports carried them in their stores. If you are lucky enough to find one buy it!
Glass rods are a lot of fun to fish, but if you are just starting out I would recommend a graphite rod. There are quite a few good ones on the market for around a $100 to $150 that will get you in the game without breaking the bank. These rods cast well and come with lifetime warranties. Good luck in your quest, although I must warn you this sport is addictive.
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