.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


Casting Flies on Yellowstone Streams (and most anywhere else
for that matter) - Part 3

How Fly Rods Are Made
I am sure you know that fly rods are not the only fishing rods made of graphite.
Other types of fishing rods are also made from graphite. A rod blank cannot be
a very expensive thing to manufacturer, or otherwise you wouldn't be able to by
a six foot long casting or spinning rod for less than ten dollars. In fact, graphite
fly rod blanks are not expensive at all from a material standpoint.. Here is my
over simplification of how fly rods are made.

Before I get started, lets get this out of the way. Fly rod modulus is a term you
will often see when you are looking at the rod manufacturers specifications or
information about the rod. Modulus is a very overused word. In layman's terms,
it is simply a measure of the graphite's resistance to bending. In other words the
materials stiffness to weight. Modulus is measured just before the graphite
breaks when bent.

Manufacturers start out with rolls of graphite material. The rolls have fibers
made of carbon that all run in the same direction. If you have ever broken a rod
you would have noticed these fibers that run the length of the rod. The higher
the modulus, the more a given amount of material will resist bending.

Manufacturers can make lighter rods that are still strong using high modulus
carbon graphite. You will see 50 to 80 million modulus graphite fly rods.
However, many other factors other than the modulus of the graphite come into
play. The answer to strong, light weight rods isn't just high modulus graphite
material. There is a lot more to it than the modulus of the graphite used.

You may also hear that the high modulus material cost more. Maybe so, but if it
does it probably means the graphite material in a fly rod cost a $1.25 instead of
a $1.00. Yes, I made those figures up but my point is the graphite material used
for the rods is not really a big price factor. In fact, the cost of a fly rod has little
to do with the cost of the material. It has a far more to do with the cost of the

Continuing along with cost, I doubt the fly rod's actual material and labor cost
equals anything near the cost of marketing the fly rod. Brochures, magazine
ads, fly show cost, rep fees, lifetime guarantee, 40% dealer profit and a lot of
other things go into the price you pay for a fly rod. If fly rods were expensive to
make how could some mail order companies sell a Scientific Angler's 5 weight, 8
foot, six inch long, graphite fly rod for less than thirty bucks. It is not exactly a
piece of junk either. It looks good and will cast flies sixty feet.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh