Figuring out Grain Windows - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Figuring out Grain Windows

I've been burned a number of times when following rod/line makers choices for rods. For example, I have Scott LS2 1307 which throws a Rage 450 grain line very nicely, yet the recommendation for the rod is for a 540. When I tried that the rod really felt sluggish.

Is there a formula to use to determine the grain window for a rod? I know rod action has to play into the equation somewhere.

Gene
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 01:17 PM
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I've been burned a number of times when following rod/line makers choices for rods. For example, I have Scott LS2 1307 which throws a Rage 450 grain line very nicely, yet the recommendation for the rod is for a 540. When I tried that the rod really felt sluggish.

Is there a formula to use to determine the grain window for a rod? I know rod action has to play into the equation somewhere.
Very much so! Most manufactures now either publish grain weight recommendations or have them right on the rod. Heck of it is the choice of the line will come heavily into play. Hit the RIO web site (spey lines) and see all the recommendations for hundreds of given rods.

Anyone else remember back in the day when all you could get was a full floater and you probably had to order that out of Canada or the UK? You wanted a sink tip, you cut off the end of a DT and made your own.

Fred Evans - White City, Oregon
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glcaddis View Post
I've been burned a number of times when following rod/line makers choices for rods. For example, I have Scott LS2 1307 which throws a Rage 450 grain line very nicely, yet the recommendation for the rod is for a 540. When I tried that the rod really felt sluggish.

Is there a formula to use to determine the grain window for a rod? I know rod action has to play into the equation somewhere.
There are a number of factors that come into play:

Casting stroke - broad and slow usually requires a heavier shooting head, short and quick (Underhand) takes a lighter one.

Skagit influencing Scandi - one of things I've run across, the predominance of West coast Skagit influences the Scandi suggestions. Someone who is used to casting a Skagit head will usually want a heavy Scandi head.

Beginner or below average caster - recommendations based on 'heavy is better for beginners'.

Confusing a Skagit rating as being the Scandi one - it happens.

Scandi and Skagit rating too close together - the usual difference quoted around here being Scandi is 80% of Skagit. It's a good rule of thumb for most people. I've noticed that the margin in recommendations these days is shrinking to 90% or more, which probably reflects the factors I've mentioned. For my usage, I'm usually around 75%.

In this case, how the Rage is used - some people think of it as a floater Skagit setup so it will be rated heavy. Others think of it as a thick tipped Scandi line and use it lighter.

And then there's casting differences between the guy writing the recommendation and you.

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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 02:09 PM
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Gene, one significant factor which is not printed on either the specific rod itself, nor in any list of recommended lines for different rods is the experience and casting style(s) of the user.

Some casters will like or prefer lighter head weights, and some heavier head weights than such published advisories about head weights or grain ranges for a given rod, as it suits their style and/or experience.

So, a rod with a given/recommended grain weight (or range of weights) for the lines/heads to be used are a good start, but an individual may modify this or stretch the boundaries - (see recent thread by peter-s-c)


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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 02:13 PM
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Because there is no standard to measure rod stiffness what manufacturers use doing test casting is one good way to go. The Common Cents System is more scientific and useful after you measure few rod stiffness which you know line weight you like to cast.

One rod manufacturer line ratings usually are not "true" between different models and there are big stiffness and action differences between different weights of same model of rods.

Rio recommendations are not very "true".

Esa
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 02:44 PM
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Just to add to this, Loomis PRO 4X rods have a clearly marked line rating, a Scandi weight and a Skagit weight, both in grams and grains. So for example, my 13' 8/9 has a Scandi rating of 520 and a Skagit of 580. These are the choices of the rod's designer, Steve Rajeff.

The Scandi rating assumes the owner is an average caster who is probably not using a classic Underhand casting stroke. We can't assume that every buyer is going to be an expert Scandinavian caster, so the rods are rated accordingly. Efficient Scandi casters can certainly drop line weight, probably reducing another 5% to 10% off of the Scandi rating. I'll normally use 450-480 on this rod. However that said, the rod will handle a Scandi head quite well at the suggested weight as these rods can handle a broad range of lines.

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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 03:48 PM
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Because there is no standard to measure rod stiffness what manufacturers use doing test casting is one good way to go. The Common Cents System is more scientific and useful after you measure few rod stiffness which you know line weight you like to cast.
The common cents system was designed to load the rod at 1/3 it's length using the first 30 feet of a standard overhead line. It does take a bit of practice to transfer this over to a Scandi or Skagit style setup. Knowing the rods IP (Intrinsic Power) is always a good place to start. This will tell you how many grains of overhead line it will take to properly load the rod.

For me personally, I find that (most of the time) a conversion factor of 7.4 supports my casting style/abilities. This means that if you have a 7wt rod that has an IP of 2,950 grains, the Scandi head I might want to start with would be about 400 grains (2950/7.4 = 398.6).

Of course, that is not taking into account the overall length of the line, the length of the body or the length of the front taper. These are all pretty important factors in determining which line you would want to be casting.

I'm not saying 7.4 is a good conversion number for you. But, it might be a place to start. I would think the best thing anyone can do is head out to your local fly shop with your rod/reel and dry cast some heads. I would hope that the owner of the shop would more than happy to help you out if you purchased the line from his/her shop.
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 07:30 PM
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For me personally, I find that (most of the time) a conversion factor of 7.4 supports my casting style/abilities. This means that if you have a 7wt rod that has an IP of 2,950 grains, the Scandi head I might want to start with would be about 400 grains (2950/7.4 = 398.6).
Thanks for this! I should go thru all my notes and see what my preference comes! First I used to cast heavier heads and when my casting got better heads I like became lighter and lately I have cast heavier heads again.

Also head lengths were first short, then longer and I'm back short again.

Esa
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Where do you find the IP number?

New term, have no idea who determines it or where to find it.

Gene
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 08:09 PM
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Gene,
Punch CCS into the forum search engine or Google Common Cents System.

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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 08:11 PM
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Gene,

The IP (Intrinsic Power) of any given rod is the amount of power (weight) it takes to effectively load a horizontally leveled (& mounted) rod such that the tip of the rod deflects 1/3rd its total length. This is one of the measurements the Common Cents method looks to record. A 9ft rod would need to deflect 3ft (36"), an 11'-6" switch rod would need to deflect 46", so forth and so on.

The IP coupled with the AA (Action Angle) can tell a person a lot about their rod choices and casting strengths/weaknesses. Again, it's just a starting point and a lot of times it comes down to what feels good in our hands. Sometimes though, it's nice to have a direction to travel before we begin the journey.
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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 08:12 PM
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Some of the information for the Common Cents System can be found here:

http://www.common-cents.info/
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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 08:58 PM
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I have used 18 inch distance between mounting "pegs" when CCS measuring double hand rods.
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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 04:06 PM
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Common Sense

Common Sense tells me the Common Sense System is fault in that it assumes all rods will derive their maximum power at 1/3 their total length. Were that true, all rods would have the same action. No fast rods. No slow rods. And we know for a fact that is not true. It also dictates line weight based on these false assumptions.

Many moons ago, when the choices were DT, Wind Cutter, or Accelerator, and the line designations made even less sense than today, I asked Jim Vincent why an Accelerator line for any given rod was so much heavier than a Wind Cutter line for the same rod. His answer was that in order to lift and cast the longer belly line, you needed to extract more power from further down in the blank. Be that as it may,,,,Even then, we had the 9140-4 & the 9140-3, two very different rod actions.

Fast forward to 2014. Not only do we have a plethora of rod actions from which to choose, lines and heads out the ying yang, but different casting styles as well. There still seems to be more than a bit of confusion concerning line weights when it come to Scandi vs. Skagit. Scandi casting is a dynamic cast based on the kiss & go anchor system. Where as Skagit is based on the sustained anchor system.

The Scandi cast utilizes the weight of the entire head to load the rod sufficient to cast the line & fly. The Skagit cast, however, discounts the weight of the sink tip, it being stagnant in the water. The Skagit head (let's assume 2X rod length) needs to develop enough energy to load the rod sufficient to rip the sink tip (assume 1X rod length) plus fly out of the water & send it on it's way.

The rod I use has a grain weight (determined by me) of 400/750. The 400 gr head utilizes a 13 ft tapered mono leader, smallish fly and kiss & go type (Scandi) cast. The 750 grain setup consists of a 540 grain Skagit head + a 210gr MOW tip and sustained anchor (Skagit) casts. These are special purpose line systems which I reserve for extreme conditions. I also have a Skangit setup that is somewhere in between.

I started out casting a 450 gr head on this rod and went from there. As I learned more about lines and casting styles, my own common sense system began to emerge.

I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.
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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 09:33 PM
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JD,

Excellent response,,,, thank you.

We also use the same ratio of Scandi vs. Skagit line weights however, most of the Scandi lines are cast with sustain anchor style still using lower hand power application. This loads the rod deeper and obtains longer casts with less effort.

I agree with your observations on the common cents concept,,, it is a static deflection measurement and has little relationship to actually casting a rod.

Regards,
FK
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