Pentagon vs Hexagon

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This topic contains 36 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Dark Waters 3 years, 9 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    I am curious and I have a question for all you boo guy’s. I know bamboo rods are made of different shapes, quad, pent, hex, octo. The quad and octo seem to be the less popular, so I just want to stick with pentagon and hexagon rods.

    I have read and seen videos on these subjects and the pentagon shape rods seem to have an advantage because they say the have reserved power, which could be useful on 5,6,& 7wt rods for bigger rivers. But for right now I just want a 4wt for the smaller streams and for a little more versatility when needed.

    I looked at my grandpa’s boo rods and noticed that the heavier (beefier) rod is a pentagon. And thats the rod he used on the Rio Grande & Arkansas. The other rod is smaller in diameter and is a hexagon shaped rod. This is the one he would use for streams and creeks. What weight these rods are, I do not know.

    So I was wondering, would a pentagon shaped rod be overkill for a 7.5′ 4wt rod. Or should I go with the traditional hexagon shape for the same size rod? They say that the two configurations even feel a little different when casting which I can see that it would. Is that true?

    Does it matter? Or is it just personal preference?



    I wouldn’t bother for a 4wt. The taper will give you any feel you want, and you have all the classic tapers to choose from.

    Not sure why your gramps needed much rod for the Arkansas? No big fish in that river to speak of. I use a med action 4wt.


    Dry Fly Guy

    I’m not sure where you are getting your info from Scotty, and I could certainly be wrong, but I think Quads are actually more popular than Pents, and second in popularity only to Hexes. But it really doesn’t matter in relation to your question which is more popular.

    In my opinion, the taper used is the real factor and the cross section is a secondary consideration. Furthermore, in my experience, bamboo being what it is, even the same taper will be a little different from one rod to the next. Differences in the structure of the bamboo (power fibers) heat treating/tempering, varnish thickness, glue joints, etc., etc. will all contribute to how the rod feels/performs, and there just isn’t the same consistency in the blanks that you’ll find in a graphite or ‘glass blank. So I am one that actually believes that even if you order a rod from a taper you’ve cast and like, and from the same Maker, it still isn’t going to be the same. It will be close, and it’s certainly a good starting point. But in bamboo, casting the rod you are going to buy, I believe, is truly the only way to know what you’re going to be getting.

    Having said that, many seem to think that a Pent has a little more power than a Hex. But a strong Hex taper will have more power than a wimpy Pent taper. So again, it isn’t the cross section, it’s the taper design that matters.

    As for being overkill…. A Pent taper designed for a 7′-6″ 4 weight isn’t any more overkill than a Hex taper designed for a 7′-6″ 4 weight. Done right, they are both designed to load with the same grain weight applied to them, and the cross section is irrelevant. So just get the one you happen to like the best.

    My own personal preference is to have a cross section that is “the same” for the forward and back cast. Which a Pent can’t provide. So I lean toward Hex and Quad cross sections (Octos just seem silly to me), and I think Hexagons are still my favorite. So I’m also likely bias as well.

    ~ DFG


    Scotty MacFly

    Oh believe me Creek, there’s a place in Canon City called “The Wall”, and I have seen submarines come out of there. I was there last year on my B-day, at that spot, and I saw a rainbow rise up in front of a rock the size of a beach ball next to the bank, and this fish’s head came out of the water to sip down something I couldn’t see. It was the biggest rainbow I have ever seen in person. Had to be close to 8, maybe 9 lbs. The head on it was massive, and the body was green as the grass with the darkest red streak going down the side I had ever seen.

    Right below 9th street bridge I have seen my best friends dad pull out a 26 inch brown.

    There are big fish inside the Canon City city limits. And very little fishing pressure. Everyone goes up the canyon by Cotopaxi. I believe that’s how it is spelled.

    Of course before I was born I don’t know where he used it. I know that a man in Monte Vista made it for him, because Monte Vista is written on the rod with my grandpa’s name on it. And that’s where my grandmother sent the rod to be fixed after I broke it.

    But like I said, I don’t know the weights of these two rods. The small one could be a 3wt. Thats the one he brought with him from Scotland. The bigger one looks to be a 5wt if I had to guess. Grandpa never got into spey casting. He said trout fishing you can get up close and personal. Of course he may have done some bass fishing with the larger rod as well. He did have bass plugs. I guess I’ll never know. Though my uncle may know what it is.

    All I know is that the bigger rod is the shape of a pentagon. 5 strips of boo glued together, and the smaller one is a hexagon shape, 6 pieces of boo.

    What is your’s?


    Dark Waters

    I think a lot of it comes down to personal preference (doesn’t it always?) and taper. Of the couple dozen bamboo rods I’ve cast I’m still surprised at how different they can be and it’s all in the taper.

    I now have 3 pents, 1 hex, and 1 octi.

    The pent rods I have are 6’9″ 4wt, 7’3″ 4wt, and 7’6″ 5wt. They are all Sweetgrass rods.

    The 7’3″ and 7’6″ are more alike, with the 5wt having the extra power you’d expect from a 5wt but at the same time it is a very easy casting rod, very pleasant rod to fish. I don’t plan on having any bamboo rods bigger than this rod.

    The 7’6″ 5wt is noticeably heavier in hand than the 7’3″ 4wt, like you would expect from a slightly longer rod that’s a line weight heavier. The Sweetgrass pents are well balanced, I find that the tips on the pents are lighter than a same configuration hex rod, so they are actually less tip heavy and feel lighter in hand to me. The Pent tapers are steeper, meaning they go from fine tip to thicker butt more noticeably than a comparable hex.

    They definitely have a different feel than the hex rods. (In general, their pents tend to be more progressive, while the hexes I’ve had/tried/have are more mid flex, one almost felt like it had a hinge like effect while another was very full flex without the hinge feel at all. I have not noticed this in the pent rods.

    The reserve power in the pent is the back seam / glue line where on a hex you’d have another flat. If you flex the butt you will feel that it bends easier on the forward cast than the back (meaning you have more fish fighting leverage) but I don’t feel it in the cast, they are very smooth, accurate easy fishing rods. I’ll also go so far as to say that the glue seam on the back side aids in accuracy, but it just may be me, or again, taper. When I get in the groove with my 7′ 3wt hex, it drops flies right where I want them, but it probably would take a little adjustment in my stroke at first, where the pents are just right there.

    The 7’3″ 4wt is probably the sweetest of the three. If I only had one, and it was for dries and trout, this is the one.

    The 6’9″ is a stiffer tipped, more progressive taper, a great all around rod. I just fished this rod this evening and caught LM bass, bluegills, crappie, and pickerel with a small popper – it feels perfect for this, and still fishes dries exceptionally well, with a little less of the sweet touch of the other two.

    They will all cast a dry with delicacy with a few feet of line out of the tip or less, putting a loop in the leader. I’ve cast or owned quite a few of their hex rods, the only pents I’ve cast, I own. I guess that kind of tells you something about how much I like their 5 sided rods.

    The Octi is new, and it is just a whole different level of rod. In a way, it’s the best of the hex and pents rolled into one, still evaluating how to even describe this rod without gushing over it and just sounding silly.

    Those are my observations, hope that helps without sounding like an advertisement. Like Creek said, there are tons of great 4wt tapers out there, just need to find the right one for you.

    -and yes, Quads are very popular but I’ve not messed with them.


    Scotty MacFly

    DFG, hi, and glad your back. I got the info. from off the internet. And the one that really caught my eye was Sweetgrass. They had a link you could look at for the different styles if you wanted a quad or hex and so on. I know folks with boo rods and they are all hex or pents. I have never seen (in person) a quad or octogon rod. Saw a picture of a quad, and it looks funny to me.

    But I never knew till last week that boo rods came in all those shapes. I just knew about the hex and pents. Boo is new to me. I learned how to cast a fly with a boo rod when I was real little, but I never was able to own one. It’s time I did. I feel like I am missing out on something special.

    As for your advice about the tapers being the same, but because of the varnish, heat treating and glue joints, I never even considered that.

    And I agree that casting before buying is the only way to find a rod for my liking.

    Thank you for your expert advise. There’s a lot for me to consider when I pull the trigger on a boo rod.
    But when I do, you guy’s will be the first to know.


    Scotty MacFly

    DW, What you have stated about the reserved power in the pent rod is exactly what I have read on other web sites. And that a pent is more accurate.

    It’s at this moment I am asking myself what the heck have I gotten myself into? All these different tapers and rod shapes is like trying to work with a 100 renegade circus midgets.

    Might as well go wittle a willow branch.

    I think I’ll take the easy approach, and cast some boo rods and choose the rod that chooses me regardless of shape, taper, and maker. But I will store your advice away in my mind. Your 7’3″ 4wt sounds just like what I am looking for.

    Thanks DW


    Dark Waters

    Scotty, I felt the same way when I wanted to try bamboo. I put it off for years, there were so many choices, and I had no idea where to start. A local shop owner let me cast one of his rods and a few months later I went to a show and cast a few more.

    Jerry Kustich of Sweetgrass was there by himself and he spent a good 45 minutes to an hour with me on and off, letting me cast rods. I even cast a 7’3″ pent then and didn’t like it as much as the same length hex and quad, it didn’t feel like it loaded as easily, and he said that one was probably more of a 4/5 weight rod. The quad was a 3 piece and felt really heavy, but loaded well enough with the silk line I brought with me. (all of my rods are 2 piece)

    He did say he was surprised that I didn’t like it, because most people coming from graphite raved over them. (the pent tapers are Jerry’s creation) Figures now that is one of my favorite rods, mine loads best with a 4wt though.

    At the time the hex rod felt like what I expected a bamboo rod to feel like, and that’s the rod I ended up with. (the 7′ 3wt) A fella I fished with last year tried it (7’3″ 4wt pent) and he said it felt faster than he expected too, but I had a triangle taper on it, a full DT line would probably feel a little better at the distance he tried it at on grass, about 20 ft.

    The one thing that really struck me was how down to earth Jerry was and how he treated me. I was really impressed by it. Makes me think of the “attitudes” thread and maybe I will add something there later.


    Scotty MacFly

    I have heard the most wonderful praise about Jerry. I never met him or spoke to him by phone and The way people make him sound I just want to call him only to say “hi.”

    DW, I was thinking about it last night why I never got into bamboo sooner, set aside the price. When I accidently broke my grandpa’s rod it was effortless. At least it felt that way when we heard the snap. So I always believed that boo was way more fragile than glass or graphite, but I was wrong on that. (no surprise). So I just stuck with graphite because that’s what everyone was using. The Bible say’s “do not be conformed to this world”, how true. I feel as though I have missed many years of extreme fly fishing bliss not using bamboo or glass till recently when I got my F2.
    And in my teen years through my late twenties I power lifted. So the fear of buying a once thought fragile wooden rod that costs a lot of money just to have snap on me again. No way! But now I’m older and fat, dumb, and happy. And all of you with your knowledge has helped me and continues to teach me how ignorant I still am, and how much I still have to learn about bamboo, among other things as well. And all I have to say in return is a huge THANK YOU!!! You all have been really great sharing your experiences with me and that’s why I’m still here.



    Scotty…The Frying Pan is known for some large fish. A 4wt is still the recommended rod for that river.


    Dry Fly Guy

    DW: Would love to hear more about that Octo of yours. Like I said previously, it just seems “silly” to me to be planing more strips, and adding more glue joints to the equation. But perhaps I’m missing something, and the Octo is the ideal cross section for a rod. I do like the symmetrical aspect of it, and I’d imagine that it won’t have any of the “off axis” issues that some claim to feel in Pents and Quads. Even if for no other reason than the flats are going to be so “close” to one another that being off axis is likely a moot point.

    I’ll also chime in here with praise for the 2-piece rods. I know that there are a lot of fisherman that prefer 3 or more sections, and some claim they need them for travel. I am not one of them. Two piece is by far my preference, regardless of the material the blank is made from, but especially in bamboo.

    ~ DFG


    Dark Waters

    Scotty, there’s nothing wrong with a good graphite or glass rod either, a good rod is just that – a good rod. And honestly, when it comes down to it they are all just fish’n poles. Good luck with your search.

    DFG, funny we both used the word “silly” referring to the 8 sided rod. (Sweetgrass calls it an Octi) I didn’t see your reply until I’d already posted mine. I fished the rod for about 10 hours over the weekend so I got a really good feel for it. I will start a new thread about that when I get some time.


    Scotty MacFly

    Thanks Creek, good to know. Most of my rods that I have now are 4wts. I really don’t have a specific need to go any heavier than a 4 anyway. In Colo. 4wts seem to be the perfect weight rod for most situations. But there are a few exceptions.

    Thanks for all your help friends.



    Keep in mind i’m a dry fly fisherman. If I was slinging heavy nymph rigs, or streamers i’d use something heavier.


    Scotty MacFly

    If anything, thats the one thing I though of. LOL. I’m a pathetic idiot sometimes. But there’s nothing wrong with being fat, dumb, and happy.

    But as for now Creek, I want it for just dry flies for the smaller waters I fish where a 4wt may be the most I need. In the distant future I can save for something a little more stout if I choose to go that direction. But I have a serious feeling I will end up with both a soft action, and a medium action 4wt when I’m done. 4wts and dries seem to go hand in hand.

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