columbus mt rod and reel tips

Read this before Buying Your First Fly Rod and Reel

So, you’ve heard that Yellowstone is an amazing spot for trout fishing and that, consequently it attracts tens of thousands of people each year who make fishing a way of life. Naturally, you want to know what all this fuss is about. Who could blame you? But before you hit the river, you should know your basics about your rod and reel.

Don’t worry; it’s not rocket science. But simply knowing the anatomy of your rod and reel can help you make the right choice for your first fishing gear. Why not come home like a champion from your very first fishing trip?

The Anatomy of a Rod and Reel – a Beginner’s Guide

The Anatomy of a Rod

First of all, please note the term: fishing rod, not fishing pole. The latter is made of cane and you can’t attach a reel to it, so it has no guide. A fishing rod is a bit more complex. Let’s take a look at its main parts:

Tip top: as the name implies, this is placed at the very top of the rod. While very small, it’s probably the most important part of the rod as it helps guide your line.

Tip: right next to the tip top, this is the most flexible part of your rod and the thinnest. Be careful with it; it’s easily breakable.

Windings: they help your guides remain attached to the rod. Windings are actually string with a protective coat of enamel over it.

Guides: the rings every rod has all the way down are called guides. As you might have guessed, their name stems from the fact that they literally guide your line. The number of guides on a rod varies — the higher its quality, the more guides it will have. A top quality rod has at least one for every foot (a 9-foot rod has typically 9 guides).

Butt guide: the last of your rod’s guides is placed on the butt section.

Ferrule: most top quality rods can be broken down in two or more parts. The joint where these parts fit together is a ferrule.

Butt: this is the thickest part of your rod and the closest one to its handle.

Keeper ring: also known as “hook keeper”, it provides a convenient place to store your hooks in order to avoid accidents when you are on the move.

Reel seat: this is the place where the reel is attached to the rod. There are various types of reel seats, but most of them have a hood mechanism.

Handle: made of cork or foam.

Butt cap: made of cork or rubber, this is the very end of your rod. You’ll feel it against your stomach when you’ll catch a big fish.

Types of Fly Fishing Reels

You may have heard that the reel is not such an important part of your fly fishing gear. We must disagree with this. You’ll see how important the reel is once you’ve caught your first big trout!

For now, let’s look at the major types of reels:

Single action reels: the spool makes one complete revolution for every complete turn of the handle. They are very lightweight and ideal for traditional fly fishing. Unlike spinning reels that are geared and complete more than one revolution per turn of the handle, fly reels are 1:1. This is why large arbor reels have gained in popularity, as the angler can take up more line per revolution of the reel.

Automatic reels: they use a spring tension-based device that you can activate with a lever. They automatically get the line back on the reel. They are ideal if you want to move fast, but you can also have unpleasant surprises with them, like inadvertent retrievals. These were more commonly found back in the 60’s. You don’t see them around too much anymore.

Now that you know what a rod and reel is supposed to look like, you have no excuse to postpone your first fly fishing trip. We’d love to hear about the gear you chose based on our suggestions and also how your first trip went. Don’t forget to drop us a line; we’re always here to help you with more gear-related advice.

By Stillwater Anglers Fly Fishing Equipment and Gear