Any rod you don't have to push. I don't care about the line weight as long as I can throw 80 feet with a light stroke. The lighter the stroke the easier it is for me to stay consistent, and tweek what I'm doing. Like open the loop, tighten the loop, throw aerial mends, etc.
A lot of this depends on the height and strength of the caster. For those 6' and taller, the 15' rod should pose no problem; however, if a person is 5'8" or shorter, a 15' rod is a chore to cast for longer than about 30 minutes for most folks in this height parameter.
For myself, I feel strongly that you need to practice with both your light line rods and your heavy line rods to be in best form. We all know there is a big difference between casting 7-9 wt 2-hand rods and casting 10-12 wt 2-hand rods. That is why I in my opinion, you need to practice with both your lighter line and heavy line rods.
my response is,heavier,,since i've been utilizing my 18's for the high water,well,this sunday whipped out ol' `thunder';16-12,felt like nuthin',i could really brutalize/torture the piece,of course i've figured out why i like `lumber',,over twenty five years ago i worked in a lumber mill,pulling green chain,and we used to `load' a board on the edge of the closest chain,then,kasproing!shoot the piece back up the `chain' to the guy that missed `offbearing'it in his pile of lumber that size,this revelation struck me last weekend;why i like a rod that `LOADS':hehe:
Practice with what you intend to either fish or what you are trying to get better at. Case in point- it took me several months of casting with cane and silk to get the timing down to be able to fish it, rather than burn it out of frustration. Just this past week I finally had a "bonding" moment with my Steelhead Sp. Have spent numerous hours casting numerous lines and have been nothing but dissapointed. Finally went really light on the rod- XLT 6/7. Worked it at all distances and several different casts. WOW- that line feels just like the XLT 7/8 on the Salar, but much quicker. Lazer quick: just as quick as the T&T 1409 (although an ounce lighter) but even better as the tip does not collapse and give the funky 'recoil shimmy' prevalent in the the blue sticks.
i go for heavy. i do it like interval training little and often. currently on domestic bliss holiday to make up for spring and summer of fishing last year and to come! i am practising with TT1510-5 with carron 10/11 intermediate line and grass leader. after 6 weeks i am doing 450 casts per day. i do variety right up double, then single and snake and reversed and then same with left up. i wear wrist weights so when i hit rivers in 2 weeks time it will feel like a wand! i also do dry casting at regular intervals. its the only way to get ahead of the youngsters!
I'm certainly no expert but IMHO it depends on whether you are practicing for fishing, distance or cleanliness - and of course they are all related but I believe you need a different approach for each.
If I want to practice up for a trip to the Thompson, I will be using an extended belly line and the rod that is matched for that line - the Thompson, Salar, Steelhead Specialists or the 1510 Custom or Expert. Lines from Grandspey XLT length down to Carron / Wulff length or best of all a custom speydriver borrowed from Dana. I would concentrate on being solid regardless of the bank and wind, only a switch cast here and there to get started but all else working casts with angular changes.
If I am going to be bush-whacking on the Sol Duc for natives I will be using stealthy short spey heads and Skagit lines and the Skagit Specialist, or my old standby the 1308SP Custom while I feel bad leaving the sweetie 1308 Expert in the rod case because it's so nice to cast and fish and doesn't get the respect it deserves for being such a fine rod. I wouldn't try to go lighter especially in early spring as I've wrestled with giants in that river with 7/8 wt rods and lost. But my point is to tune into the Ed Ward mentality to be best suited to the task.
For distance casting, which probably has the least to do with fishing of the three, I would go big and long, obviously. I am not prone to spend much time in this pursuit.
Most often I practice for cleanliness, technique, consistency. I would practice with intent to fish more often but since the 3000 mile relocation I am more prone to work on mechanics lift to finish, and aspire to be a clean caster well-rounded rather than a musto man. I certainly have work to do
I like to practice with all configurations but I enjoy a little cool-down period after casting big with a very light and gentle rod like the 1306 Expert and the Hardy 8/9 or the Rio WC 5/6. Fingertips only, finesse. It seems to improve my mechanics with heavy rods and lines afterward.
To me it doesn't make much difference, just practicing is the key. But if I want to practice with more than one rod, I find it much easier to cast the lighter of the two first, and then move to the heavier rod. Doing the opposite makes it much more difficult to get a feel for the second rod. But, this is just what works for me, I won't argue too much if someone disagrees.
I agree with Dr. Swing. I had first noticed it with myself a long time ago and then started to see it with the folks I'm guiding. I often fish (guide) with four or five rods rigged up with a variety of line configurations ready to go for varying water types. It's always easier to switch to a bigger rod than to switch to a lighter one, over powering a rod is the number one casting problem. Likewise, it's easier to adjust to a longer head than to a shorter one. I see it often enough that I consider it a fact.
Practicing is for developing muscle memory. Just as in golf, you go to the practice range to work on your swing so that when you're on the course you can concentrate on the shot. I carry this philosophy over to my fishing. Unfortunately, I'm a novice golfer and still have to think too much about my swing when I'm playing and I'm sure this is true for novice casters while fishing. For my practice, at this point, I practice the casts that I'm not as proficient at.
Basically, any practice is good practice except when practicing a bad technique. Then the poor technique can become muscle memory and will be that much more difficult to overcome when the proper technique is discovered.
One more thing to consider. As Paul Locke pointed out, if you're intention is to develope casting muscles rather than muscle memory then perhaps casting with the heavy rod would be best.
Juro, please excuse my ignorance, but what does IMHO mean?
The Spey Days went well enough I suppose, except I didn't get a fish this year. Mike more than made up for it though, by hooking and landing a beauty right in front of an egg tosser that stepped in eighty feet down stream of him. Proving once again that it's not necessary to get upset about other people's poor river ethics. When the fish first broke water it was only fifteen feet in front of him. Startled, the man began to curse vehemently and left.:hehe:
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