Parabolic rod design

The Forum is Closed. Forums The Rodsmiths Parabolic rod design

This topic contains 5 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  JohnMD1022 4 years, 8 months ago.

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    Dry Fly Guy

    At the risk of seeming even more ignorant here, I just have to ask…

    What truly is a “parabolic” taper/rod?

    I know they are supposedly “stiffer” in the mid and softer at the tip and butt, giving them a different “flex” profile.  But every “parabolic” I’ve cast… well… I’m not really sure what to say.  I’m just not getting it, and I can’t really seem to tell if a rod is a “true parabolic”. More and more this feels like a, “the Emperor has no clothes” kind of deal.

    So by all means, please enlighten me.  Specifics of what to look for (feel) when casting these rods would be helpful, and pictures (or a video) would be absolutely fantastic!

    ~ DFG



    No there is a very real difference but you have to cast a progressive and parabolic almost side by side to feel it…
    as you get deeper into the rod…. a parabolic at some point starts to flex much deeper than other rods then as it unloads on the forward stroke it gives a “kick” or a bit of “giddyup” as it makes the jump from the deep flex near the but to the stiffer mid section…..if you area traditional 10-2 kinda guy as you start the forward stroke about 1 there is just a subtle increase in the forward momentum almost like you hauled…. if you learn to time a haul to this exact moment a bigger parabolic (I have an 8′ 8wt on what I think is a paul youngish taper) it becomes one hell of a cannon into the wind or with big salmon/muskie/bass flies
    will try to shoot some camera video next time we’re casting at the fly shop……



    Sorry to bring this topic back up but just browsing the forum and the topic interested me at the moment. I too will have to admit I do not have much experience with rod actions. I do believe all of my rods are more of a progressive nature. Is it fair to say a parabolic rod would also give a person a more fish on feel due to the soft butt nature?

    This could also lead into an interesting poll. How many rods or maybe what percentage of your rods are progressive versus parabolic versus (a steel rod) …


    Eric Peper

    As we often do, Marty and I are 100% agreed here; the best way to understand the difference is to cast a progressive and a parabolic side-by-side.

    That said, I have two rods that are parabolic, and they are light years different in the hand. My Pezon Fario Club is kind of a “poster child” for parabolics, having been designed by Charles Ritz, perhaps the greatest single proponent of the design. That rod took me about 30 years to “understand.” Now I truly enjoy the taper. That “subtle increase” in speed on the forward cast is turbocharged in the Pezon, but you could eat a sandwich waiting for the backcast to load.

    My other parabolic (or said to be “semi-parabolic,” whatever that means) is a Thramer 8′, 5 weight, and in contrast it is simply a sweet casting rod, neither slow nor medium; just super smooth and very easy to enjoy.

    No, I don’t believe a parabolic gives a greater sense of the fish, at least not for me. A well-designed parabolic is IMO going to be a great help in fish fighting because of the strength through the center section of the rod.

    At the end of last season, I had the good fortune to cast (for quite a while) a parabolic and a progressive from the same maker (Joe Bradley), in the same length (7’9″), for the same line weight (4) side-by-side. To my great surprise, I came away absolutely loving the parabolic and merely liking the progressive. I can still feel the smoothness of those parabolic casts a month later.




    I have built and cast several parabolic tapers. Most were Paul Young tapers. They all have individual characteristics that you learn to recognize. As Eric and Marty have explained better than I could they are generally smoothe and in the hands of a skilled caster amazing casting machines.



    I have a Sharpes Eighty Three, a supposed parabolic action based on the Ritz designs. Great rod.

    When I was telling Walton Powell what I had in mind for a custom Hexagraph, and mentioned the Sharpes rod, he said “OK, progressive action”

    The result is a fabulous rod.

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