Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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I have used ultralights for years and I started out with the usual 5 footers. They work great and they surely have their place. However, the past year or so I have stepped up to rods measuring between 7 to 8 feet long. I feel that they have definitely improved my overall feel of the bite and control of the fish once they are hooked. In addition, they have greatly increased my casting distance when it is needed. Shoot, it also looks pretty cool to see that long rod bending down to the handle. What size rods do you guys prefer?

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Thanks Andy and interesting article.

Dave, love the definition. I see that relationship in terms of rod softness, The softer the rod , the more defined the curve. Noodle rods are a great example and almost any true UL rod since the curve is what protects the line. That's why steelhead guys can angle  24lb fish with 8# test.

It's weird because all the UL I have are just short and stiff sticks

It says right on em, "Ultralight," or "micro light" or some other jazzy sounding description... and they are anything but light action, let along ultralight. The only reasons they are useful at all is because they are normally coupled with a small spinning reel. They suck when it comes to casting really ultra light weight baits., in and of themselves.

This has been discussed often, in fact. What the industry defines as UL is most often short and stiff. It's a problem, really because the industry sets it's own definitions, like soft or fast, linear or parabolic, and it varies both with makers and over time.

To me it's the opposite. An ultralights only reason to exist is to deliver "ultralight" baits, either at a distance or close in. Maybe I think this way because I've spent too much time with fly rods in the last seasons. I dunno.

Dave

The two best UL rods I've used are the HT MicroMaster 54 inch and the Shakespeare Ugly Stik 4'8" SPL 1100. The MicroMaster bends more then it should with a medium sized bluegill and is a total blast. I'm confident that I'm going to blown that rod up at some point but in my mind , that's UL fishing. I pair both with an Shakespeare Alpha reel and 2# test. 

thats because they want you to buy more expensive graphite rods.the new higher graphite content rods are way too stiff for my liking.i have some very nice and expensive spinning rods i use for bass fishing and they are stiff but need to be to set the hook on smallmouths in current.with braid on them you can feel leaves on the bottom.find light whippy glass or composite rods.i get em used at flea markets and yard sales for 5 bucks.eagle claw feather lights are another nice rod in this class.they make a great little flyrod too.a 6'6 4/5 weight.about 30 bucks.they stopped making these for awhile but have started again.great little flyrod for panfish and smaller bass.there are rods out there.the old garcia ultralights were awesome rods but they are snatched up by collectors.i have sold 2 in the past year for over 100 each.

One thing I've learned is that a general TYPE works for me.
Long and limber. Short and stout. Etc.

It's probably more me adapting to a particular rod than then other way round.

in a fly rod-- i want a fast action in around a 9 foot.  since i roll cast most of the time-- its lot easier ;; its a leverage thing i guess,  and also since i use at times quill floats;; and roll cast with them;; for me makes a big difference.  in spinning rods;; a good 7 footer with just the right type action!  and like Dick Tabbert;;  dont know till i have my hands on it to check it out!

I am also largely a roll caster. Besides the ease of casting, it is safer if you don't have a clear area around you and if you are concentrating on a small area it keeps the fly in the water more of the time IME. Strip,strip,strip,roll versus strip,strip,strip, possible false cast, cast, possible roll because even with the false cast I still missed the &^%$#@ing spot I was aiming for... ;^>

I'm hoping to get the basics down this year on the fly rod with minimal wind knots ha ha and that roll casting I know I've herd it many times from you but I want to try that also so I may get back with you in the spring or early summer and be bombing you with questions.

My .02, keeping in mind that I am not the greatest but...

Full overhead cast - 80% or more wrist, ~15% elbow, 5% or less shoulder 

Roll cast - ~70% wrist, ~30% elbow, 0% or less shoulder

Some people with awesome technique use nothing but wrist. Casting heavy streamers in the surf is about the only time I see really good casters use their shoulder at all, but when I do a full cast I do let my elbow swing slightly back and forth. It's not perfect form but it works better for me. In fact, a better caster will probably come along and point out I should not be using as much "non wrist" as I do. But this is how it works for me; my joints are not the best...

Thanks Andy I'm sure you'll be hearing from me as I love to pick minds especially about things I know nothing about I'm always in learning mode.

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