Fly Rod Glossary
Action - A description of how the fly rod bends and recovers. Can be described in terms of speed of recovery (slow, medium, fast), where the rod bends (through action, medium action, tip action) and also in terms of how stiff or soft the action is. There terms are all related but each one means something slightly different.
AFTM - Association of Fishing Tackle Manafacturers. Defines the AFTM guide number which defines the weight of the rod.
Anti Slap Rings - Rings that are designed to hold the fly line away from the rod to reduce drag on the line when casting.
Back cast - The portion of fly cast that brings the line behind the caster.
Bamboo - A traditional rod building material still in use. Tend to be expensive, heavy and slow actioned. Still loved by many.
Butt - The base of the fly rod.
Butt over joint connections - A joint in the rod where the butt section goes around the outside of the next section above it.
Blanks - The hollow rod sections without ferrules, rings, handles, etc. Made by wrapping sheets of graphite around a tapered steel former called a mandrel.
Cane - Used interchangeably with Bamboo. (Bamboo is the plant, a Cane is stick of Bamboo)
Carbon Fibre - A composite material that uses fibres of carbon fixed in shape with a polymer resin. Creates strong, lightweight, long casting fly rods.
Casting - The process of projecting the fly line forward.
Casting Arc - the path that the fly rod tip follows when casting. Positions during the cast are often described in relation to a clock face.
Ceramic rod rings - Rod rings that have a low friction ceramic lining. Often just used at the butt ring of a fly rod.
Cigar Handle - A handle shape that doesn't flare outwards at either end. Shaped a bit like a cigar.
Cork - A traditional handle material that is made from rings of cork tree bark. A comfortable handle to use that doesn't get slippy when wet.
Delivery - an alternative term to 'covering' the term used to describe the action of casting the fly to a fish or into a promising-looking area of water.
Double haul - the term for the cast where the caster quickly pulls and releases the line on both the back cast and the forward cast. It is used to create greater line speed, enabling the caster to reach farther or cut through wind.
False Cast - A fly cast where the line is brought behind the caster and forward again without being allowed to land on the water.
Fast Action - A rod that straightens quickly when bent, imparting high speed to the fly line for longer casting. Fast rods tend to be stiffer to use and need accurate timing.
Ferrule - The joint in a fly rod. Used to be made from brass but now often designed into the rod blanks for a more continuous rod action.
Fibreglass - A composite material that uses glass fibres held in shape by a polymer resin. Cheaper than carbon fibre but less stiff so makes heavier rods with a softer action.
Flex - A similar concept to the rod action. Described how it bends and recovers in use.
Fly Casting - standard method of presenting a fly to a target using a fly rod and fly line; involves many different casts (see back cast, forward cast, false cast, roll cast, "S" cast, and shooting line).
Forward Cast - the front portion of the false cast or pick-up and lay-down, and a mirror image of the back cast.
Full Wells handle - A handle with Wells (flared bits) at both ends of the handle.
Graphite - Another name for Carbon Fibre.
Grip - the cork handle of a fly rod, generally made of cork rings shaped in several different ways, including a cigar grip, full-wells grip, half-wells grip, superfine grip.
Half wells handle - A handle with Wells (flared bits) at only one end, usually the Butt.
Handle - The handle of the fly rod. Also called the Grip.
Keeper Ring - a ring of thin wire near the handle to hold the fly while still connected to the tippet. Allows you to move around without dragging the fly and line along the ground.
Kevlar - A very strong man made material. Has been used in place of carbon fibre for fly rod manufacture but not hugely successful.
Line weight - the weight of the first 30 feet of a fly line, used as a way to standardize fly lines in matching them to fly rods of differing stiffness.
Loading the Rod - phrase used to describe the bend put in the rod by the weight of the line as it travels through the air during the cast.
Mandrel - The tapered steel former that is used to make the hollow blank sections of a rod.
Narrow Loop - term that describes what the fly line should look like as it travels through the air; a narrow loop can best be described as the letter "U" turned on its side; it is formed by using a narrow casting arc.
Open Loop - term used to describe what the fly line looks like as it travels through the air during a poor cast; caused by a very wide casting arc.
Pick-up & Lay Down - a fly fishing cast using only a single back cast. The line is lifted from the water and a back cast made, followed by a forward cast which is allowed to straighten and fall to the water, completing the cast.
Presentation - the act of putting the fly on the water and offering it to the fish; the variety of presentations is infinite, and changes with each fishing situation. The object is to present the fly in a manner similar to the natural insect or food form that you are imitating.
Reel Seat - the mechanism that holds the reel to the rod, usually using locking metal rings.
Reverse Wells Handle - A handle with a single Wells (flared bit) at the top section of the handle only.
Rings - The rings on a rod that the line slides through.
Roll Cast - one of the three most basic fly casts; allows a cast to be made without a back cast; essential for use with sinking lines, to bring the line to the surface so it may be picked up and cast in a normal manner.
Snake Rings - Open rod rings formed from a single piece of metal in an S shape. These create a larger opening for the line to pass through for lower resistance.
Spey rods - two handed rods for casting without a back cast using a modified roll cast. Named after the river in Scotland where it was developed.
Telescopic - A multi section fly rod where each section can slide into the one below it for transporting and pulls into place for use. Convenient for transporting but the sections do end up with a larger cross section which leads to the rods having a softer, slow action.
Through Action - A fly rod that bends along it's whole length, not just at the tip. More progressive to cast with so better when casting at short to medium distances. These tend to be slower to recover than fast (or tip action) rods so not the best for long distance casting.
Tight Loop - same as narrow loop (see "narrow loop").
Tip section - the top section of a fly rod, smallest in diameter and furthest from the rod grip.
Travel Rod - A rod that collapses down, usually into 4 or more sections, to make it a convenient length for travelling with.
Tube - A protective Tube for carrying the rod in.
Wells - The wells on a handle are the flared bits at the top or bottom of the grip. Handles can be Full Wells (i.e. at both ends) or Half Wells (at one end only).