C-Rod FAQ's


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The most common FAQ's about Compound Rods


There are quite a few questions here so the page is fairly long, but do take the time to read all the way through these questions and answers. You'll feel like an expert by the time you're done.

How did these rods get started?

It came as a result of sturgeon fishing on the Columbia River in Oregon.

Jerry found the common rod has no more sensitivity, or much more flexibility, than a 4 X 4 post. This is very detrimental to sturgeon fishing because they are very sensitive to any resistance on the food they try to eat. Jerry developed a rod that had an outstanding amount of sensitivity, so you could tell when something was working whatever was on the end of the line, but still had the strength to work the fish when it was hooked. The heavy duty E-glass rod, rated at 80 pound mono capacity, became the first Compound Rod. The rest were developed based on what was learned from that starting point.

What is a Compound Rod and what does it do?

Please refer to the page titled The TECHIE page for a technical description, but here's a simplified description: Because of the flexibility in the Compound Rod tip the rod loads for the cast with just a simple movement of the hand, instead of the full arm action in a "standard" rod.

What size C-Rod do I need?

Rod power, length and line ratings are specified on all C-rod models. The conventional line ratings can be used as a guide for selecting the spinning, bait-casting and stand-up rods. The range for lure weight is not specified but is typically greater than would be used with conventional rods of similar line rating.

Compound Fly Rods spec's also include the rod power, as well as length and line weights. The power has been added because C-Rods can be used with a broader range of line wts. and also have broader application. So when selecting a fly rod, consider both the power and line wts desired for your applications. For smaller fish and lighter lines, the Light and Medium are both good candidates. For stronger fish and heavier lines, the Med to Hvy are appropriate.

Obviously there are many options depending on the angler's expertise. Different users have taken everything from six inch brookies to greater than 20 lb salmon on the same fly rod; using all three Lt, Med, and Hvy models.

Since the C-Rod has so many applications, why aren't they more expensive?

Indeed, the prices are reasonable considering the C-rod performance. But that is one of the benefits of this concept, exceptional performance for a moderate price.

You claim your C-Rod casts easier. Why is this?

Analyses have shown the maximum advantage is gained when the bending action is centered near the rod-tip. The C-Rod is designed to load from the tip down, and to bend most heavily near the tip. (Primarily flexing in the top 25% of the rod.) That returns most of what could be gained from the mechanical advantage of a rod - the leverage. Consequently, it takes less effort to cast with a C-Rod than with one in which the action is centered more towards the butt.

How far can you cast with a C-Rod?

This involves a review of human factors and principals of physics that is beyond the scope of this section. However, the bottom line is that it typically takes less effort to cast a given distance with a C-rod so most anglers have been able to cast farther than they expect. (I've been known to cast a 5 WF floating fly line over 120'.)

How did Jerry figure out just what was needed?

Jerry was a retired aerospace engineer and he had a great deal of expertise in flex and torque. He also had a great deal of knowledge regarding graphite, and its uses, since it was developed for, and used widely, in the aerospace industry. Despite that knowledge it took several years to determine the "physical needs" of the makeup of a rod to get it to perform properly.

Once the heavy duty rod was finished, it became a matter of polishing those standards to apply to all of the various types of rods used in fishing. Since Jerry enjoyed fly fishing it was only natural that he would, eventually, get to producing fly rods. It took a multitude of attempts to determine the specifications on the graphite blanks to get it to work properly with the fiberglass tip. It has now taken the final step and become an "in-line" adaptation.

Hasn't somebody else already done this? There have been other attempts but, unfortunately, there was not the time spent with a calculator, graphs and measuring methods to polish it to this point. The bayonet model was the first method Jerry developed because it was the easiest way to create, then test, the results that were being sought. The adapter mount, with its unconventional appearance, was also a challenge in determining the size needed, where to mount it and how to get it to hold properly, without losing any of the strength and flexibility goals that had been set. That ""unconventional" appearance though has resulted in being able to test the best location for the adapter, try various lengths of Actiontips and to achieve the greatest level of performance for each rod.

In all of the fly rods we have now perfected, with about 2 years in testing, the "In-line" model that has a very conventional `appearance while still providing the very unconventional performance. Some of the bait and spin rods are also done as "in-line", but there are some that the structure requires they remain as the original "bayonet" mount.

Why haven't the well known manufacturers done this?

There are several conflicts with the Compound Fly Rod that keeps most of the manufacturers away:

First, because of the complexity of the rods, they aren't something that would be easy to do on a "mass" production line.

Second, the Compound Rods provide a much wider range of lines and that means that many users can get by with just one rod.

Third, the Compound Rods don't fit in the advertising information that has been used to promote the "regular" rods so it would require a whole new advertising program.

Let's look at these conflicts:

First conflict: The wide variances of guide placements, flex capacities of the blanks, various measurements of the action-tips and the need to test each rod to make sure it is correct make it hard to mass produce, and still maintain the quality we aim for.

Second conflict: Since you can have just one fly rod, such as the Medium 3-9 that covers most of your fishing needs, you only need to buy one rod. In the "regular" fly rods you would be best to buy a 3 weight, a 5 weight, a 7 weight and a 9 weight to do all you can do with just one Medium 3-9 weight Compound Rod. (Believe me, we aren't in this for the money. We are doing this to improve everybody's experience in fishing.

Third conflict: Because of the limitations in the regular rods to carry multiple weights of lines, it could be embarrassing for many to admit that there is a better idea. A whole new attitude would be needed to do the advertising for the Compound Rods and some just can't change.

These same conflicts hold true for the spin and bait rods. You won't believe it until you try it, but even with rods like the 80 pound mono rated E-glass rod you can feel the little 2-3 inchers pestering what's on the end of the line.

Just how does the Compound Rod work?

I'm not an engineer so I'll be honest and tell you, I can't fully explain it, but here's an attempt.

The Actiontip loads the rod for you and the graphite rod has the strength to load, handle, and deliver, the heaviest line weight it is rated for.

At the same time the Actiontip can handle the loading characteristics, and deliver the inertia needed for the casts, on the lightest lines. It also works like an amplifier and magnifies any action that takes place on the other end of the line. (Check out the "Techie" page for a real good description.)

On fly rods, if you have bayonet style tip, DO NOT remove the tip for heavier lines and just use the tip for the lighter lines. The tip STAYS on the rod with all casting, you just change your speed depending on the line weight. Lighter lines travel faster than heavier lines and, if the rod feels like it is overloading, ease up on the power you put into the cast.

That is a common problem for most users; casting like they are working a long distance cast for a 12 weight line when they are just casting a 5 weight. REMEMBER, the Actiontip loads the rod with minimal effort because it loads the rod from the top down.

The same holds true for the spin and bait rods too. About the only time you might want to remove the tip is when you are trolling a real active spinning mechanism. That tip will be so active you will think you have about a 12" hyperactive fish on the end of the line.

You say it casts easier than the other rods. What do you mean by that?

With any of the Compound Rods you find the same easy method of casting. In most cases a simple "flick of the wrist" will cast further than a cast involving the whole arm slinging a regular rod. In the fly casting, once you learn to relax your efforts, a 60', or more, cast is as simple as a 20'-30' cast on the "regular" rods of today. (Although many of the rods today can't cast less than 30' of line because they don't have the flexibility to load properly with that little amount of line weight.) At the same time, the Compound Rod is capable of working all of the different weight lines it is rated for in casts starting with the line-to-taper knot past the tip eye on the fly rod.

I fly fish, but Jerry got me to test cast a 5' (including tip) bait rod with level wind reel, 1/2 oz of weight and 6 lb mono line. I hadn't cast one of those since the last time I sturgeon fished in the early 70's, and that was with an 8 oz. weight.

Imagine my surprise when my first cast reached 89' and my 6th cast was at 127', and this with a simple overhand style cast.

For most of the fly casting I stand at a 45 degree angle to my line of cast and flip my hand back and forth like I was swatting flies. With this effort I cast in the 80' range and, with a little arm action added, have cast into the backing. The fun part about this is the fact I have actually cast into the backing on 3 weight line with not much more effort than a flick of the wrist.

We strongly recommend that, if you buy a bait or spin rod, that you put your favorite reel on the rod and run the line out, tie on the size of sinker to match the weight you usually cast and go to an open field and do some casting before you go fishing. A football field works well for this with the yardage markers making it easy to see your distances.) By doing this you will prevent the highly probable problem of over-casting, in distance, and ending up with your rigging hanging in the brush, instead of landing in the water, on narrow streams and casting zones. With the fly rods take the time to do a little practice, using about 25% of your normal effort, to get used to the rod. Most people overpower, and overload, the fly rods because of what they are normally required to do to cast a fly line. (Use the Casting Exercise to teach your muscles what they are supposed to do in fly casting.)

I was told that no fly rod can work that many line weights. How can you claim that range?

A group of people, all older guys that fished where I fished as a kid, said that "Those new fiberglass rods are just a gimmick. Gets too hot they'll go limp. Gets too cold they'll shatter. They'll never work!" Heard the same about compound bows too. Just a gimmick that'll never work and never make it on the market. Also, years ago, I had some auto "experts" tell me that front wheel drive cars would never make it in the U.S. (They knew about as much about the mechanical value of the front wheel drive as the person who told you that no rod can work that many line weights knows about the mechanics of the fishing rod.)

The Compound Fly Rods can actually handle a wider range of lines than they are rated for, it's just that the ratings are the easiest casting and the best response weights we have found. (It also lessens the chance of breakage from improper use.)

How well does that tip handle the bigger fish? Won't it break easily?

If you try hard enough you can break anything. Part of the development on the Compound Rod was to design the tip so it would transfer the stress into the main rod before it broke. Because of that ability to transfer the load, you work the fish based on the "spine" strength of the rod, while still enjoying the sensitivity of the tip when searching for the fish.

If you look closely at the card photo, at the top of each page, you can see that there is a great deal of flexibility in the tip, and the load is being transferred to the rod.

Do I have to learn a whole new casting method to use the Compound Rod?

Not really. For most people all they have to do is learn that it only takes about 25% of the same effort to accomplish the same cast they are used to. The Compound Rod Actiontip loads the rod from the top down instead of you having to load the rod from the butt up. Because of that the effort is reduced dramatically and the results of the effort are increased dramatically. Just ease up on your effort, practice for a little while and get used to the rod.

Just think about making a 15' cast with the "regular" rod and use that amount of force on the Compound Rod. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the results. (see the Casting Exercise for an easy way to improve your fly casting.)

What size of fish can I go after with a Compound Rod?

That's kind of like asking "How far can I walk before I get tired?." The ability of the rod to handle any size of fish depends on the ability of the user catching the fish.

What you can go after, on any rod, depends on your expertise in playing the fish, the water you are fishing, the type of fish you are catching and the size of the fish you are catching. Different types of fish have different abilities regarding speed and strength. The trick here is knowing how to use the rod properly, not the way you see on TV. The rod should never, and I don't care what type of rod you are using or fish you are after, be more than about about 20 degrees off the direction of the line when playing the fish, until you are ready to land it.

If you have fished for a while, and have caught more than just juvenile sized fish, you can actually go pretty big on what you can catch, and handle, on any of the rods. Personally, I've landed 20+ pound Brown trout in still water and 12+ pound Bull trout in fast moving water on the Medium 3-9 weight rod. I have also landed 8 pound Bass and about 9 pound rainbows on the Light 1-7 with no problem. I have also tangled with fish that broke 10 lb fluorocarbon on both the Light and Medium rods and never got to see their size.

So, what happens if I buy one of your rods and don't like it?

We sell every rod with a satisfaction guarantee. Try it out and see what you think after a couple of weeks. We can brag a bit and tell you that, so far, there has only been one rod returned because the buyer wasn't satisfied with the bait rod he bought. He said he couldn't feel anything with that rod. (honestly, it didn't appear to have ever been used!) Try out a rod and see what you think. If you really don't like it I'll do a refund, less the shipping and credit card expenses.

How did you get involved?

I was at an outdoor show at a mall in Bend, OR, assisting ODF&W, when I saw the early bayonet tipped rods down one of the halls. Being an old bamboo user I was totally disgusted with what somebody had done to the fly rods they had on display, but nobody was there yet so I tried one out. I knew immediately that I needed to learn more. Jerry and I got together a few days later.

Since that time I became Jerry's "tester" on the fly rods. He would develop one and give it to me to try out for a few days. I'd bring it back and tell him everything I thought was wrong with it. He'd take it back in the shop and tinker with it a few days then give me an "improved" one to try out. This went on for about 18 months and I watched as the current models were perfected.

That all led to my believing this is actually the finest level ever reached in "user friendly" rods. It also led to my getting a license to build the rods and help spread the word in their unbelievable value.

What if I have a question that isn't looked at here?

To get the answer, if it's not here and you've checked out all of the info, you can simply email me, with your question and I'll get back to you with the answer ASAP. If you have a really great question I may even add it to this page to help others find their answers. (Sometimes it may seem to take a long time to get the answer but that's usually because where I'm fishing makes it impossible to check my email and respond. If it takes more than a few days please send me the question using your email system and let me know you sent it earlier using the comments box below. I've had problems with that and will see what's wrong if this happens again.)

Send e-mail to flyfishingphil@ffpc-rods.com:

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The following are Trademarks/Copyrights of Sisters Compound Rods and licensed to ffp Compound Rods, Compound Rod, C-rod, Compound Fly Rod, Action-tip, Power-rod , Ferrule-Adapter

Trademarks/Copyrights of ffp Compound Rods:

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