Pentagon vs Hexagon

The Forum is Closed. Forums The Rodsmiths Pentagon vs Hexagon

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

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    Personally, i’m not fond of soft rods. They cast open loops. A lot of times on creeks I need to cast a tight loop to get under some obstacle. I like a med action, or even med-fast for that.

    Of course a med-fast rod in cane would still be a fairly soft rod compared to the average graphite rod.

    What you want is a rod that loads close, but can still cast tight loops.You can only determine this by casting the rod you want to buy. Don’t ever ever ever buy a rod without casting it, or at least have the option to try it, and send it back if you don’t like it. In the case of a cane rod. Don’t buy a rod that is just like the one you cast. Buy the one you actually cast.


    Scotty MacFly

    I was thinking about that today that a soft rod and being boo to boot, may be way to whippy, and I wouldn’t have tight loops, and the possibility of bad hook sets because the actual setting of the hook would take to long between the trout taking the fly and setting the hook. Did that make sense? Anyway, I have noticed that on really long ultra light spinning rods. I lost fish all the time because I wasn’t fast enough setting the hook.

    I believe a medium action would be perfect, and a medium fast would be as fast as I would ever want. I also was looking at different rod makers, and they are all very good craftsmen. But I absolutely do NOT want a rod so beautiful that I won’t want to fish it. If I am going to spend that much money, and the time it takes for me to save that much, I am going to use the rod as it was meant to be used. I keep hearing rod makers say they would rather build a rod that will be fished instead of having it in a show case in someones collection.

    And what you and DFG said makes perfect logical sense about casting the rods, and finding the one that suits me, and buying “THAT” rod.

    And you mentioned something else Creek. You mentioned that you have a hollow rod. So let me ask you,( and the rest of you are welcome to give your advice as always), what are the pros and cons of a solid vs. a hollow rod, besides that a hollow rod is physically lighter? Thats something I have not looked into yet.

    I do hope I am not driving all of you folks crazy with all my questions.



    A hollow cane rod is really nice when the rod gets to be 8′ and over. I’m not sure i’d like it on a shorter rod. It might feel too light, and be more like graphite.

    As for not wanting a fancy rod. I agree. I want all the time and money put into the blank. That’s what makes it cast good. All the expensive components is what makes a rod expensive. Especially, if engraving is done.

    I always tell a maker when they build a rod for me. Number one on my list is how it casts. Number two is how it looks. Number three is how much will it cost. I tell them if I have to sacrifice number two to get your best for number one. I’m fine with it. I won’t keep a rod that doesn’t cast well. No matter how good it looks.I have a set figure that I think a fly rod is worth, an d won’t pay more than that. Even if I could afford more. Value for your money is important to me. I don’t pay extra for someones ego.

    That’s me. Everybody is different.


    Dark Waters

    Builders who specialize in hollow building tend to design around that, then there are others who will hollow out a rod – you don’t always get the same result. A hollow designed taper will perform accordingly, and they are not so light that they feel like graphite, at least mine certainly don’t.

    For example, my 7’3″ 4wt pent balances out (to my preference) with a 5 oz. reel.

    Used is an attractive option, but might be hard to get your hands on to try, depends on the dealer. If I were from Colorado I’d want to try a Jenkins fly rod. At least at used prices, if you decided a rod isn’t for you, it’s not so hard to get most of your money back in a re-sale. Of all the rods I have, I’ve only paid full retail for 2 out of 5. Their still not cheap by any means but it helps.


    Scotty MacFly

    I just spent the evening looking at hollow rods and what they contribute in a rod. Not a bad thing at all. I read an article about how the smaller Eastern rods are solid, but out west people needed longer rods for controlling mends easier, and handling the wind and bigger rivers. If I remember correctly E.C. Powell started the hollow rod ordeal.

    I for one am looking for a physically heavier rod compared to graphite. I guess the best way to describe why is, as I am going into my back cast, I want to feel the rod pull the line as with my forward cast. Think of it as torque.

    Thats the great thing about Colorado DW. Around where I am at there’s quite a few rod makers, and they are highly reputable. So I don’t have to drive far to test cast a rod or two. Just ten miles away in Lyons there is Mike Clark with South Creek. And he has like 80 used rods in his shop for sale. Schliske rods in Ft Collins. Brush Creek in Estes Park. And If I want to get spendy, ( which I don’t ), there is Bernard Ramanauskas in Montrose who also builds rods for Scott. Then there’s always a call to Sweetgrass. For some strange reason, Sweetgrass keeps popping up. They don’t make the prettiest rods, Which is absolutely fine with me, but I keep hearing how well they perform.

    And Creek, your three rules sound pretty good to me. I will apply them when I pull the trigger on a rod.

    As of right now, Brush Creek is the most affordable. The guy’s at my local fly shop speak highly of them, and they have never steered me wrong. Frank Drummond builds the rods, and I hear he is an honest down to earth man. And as you Creek, I don’t care how good something looks, it better perform to what I need it to. But I must admit, I do want one that’s medium flamed. The Blonde rods just don’t do it for me. I have seen nice one’s, but flamed rods ease my eyes.


    Dry Fly Guy

    I have done a fair amount of experimenting with hollow-building, and I will echo DW’s comments and state that Makers that have developed a hollow-built taper (meaning they are considering the “internal taper” and loss of material in the design) as well as the external taper, are far from some one that simply “hollows” a rod. Not that the rod that is simply hollowed can’t be a dandy. But that’s more a case of serendipity than a science or design. I’d call it a happy accident.

    I personally am not a fan of making hollow-rods, and that is because of a few reasons:

    1. You are unable to hollow the portion of the rod where it would have the greatest benefit in reducing the swing weight: The tip. So you are in essence redistributing the weight of the rod toward the tip. As such, often a heavier reel puts the rod back into a more balanced state. But the “weight” savings in hollowing the rod is then negated. The angler just put the weight into the reel, instead of leaving it in the blank.

    2. In all of my experimenting, I have been unable to successfully keep glue from being forced into the “voids” of a hollow-built rod. Anyone that has clamped a few pieces of wood together (or bamboo in this case) knows how the glue is compressed out of the joint and must be cleaned off. Removing this glue from the outside of the rod is a relatively straight forward process. But I have yet to devise a means of doing so “internally”, and every blank I have cut open has confirmed that glue does “migrate” to the internal voids when the blank is bound. This is just another variable (how much glue in each void) that I would rather have some control over. So I no longer choose to hollow-build rods.

    Now I’m sure there are those that will debate both of the above points, and they may have solved these issues. But for me and my abilities, I’d rather have the voids filled with bamboo than glue, and I’d rather have the weight distributed throughout the blank and not the “ends”. But that’s just me.

    ~ DFG



    DFG, how many boo rods have you built? I’d like to hear about them and see some pics. I’ve never cast a grass rod and thanks to the comments here, I’m starting to feel their gravitational force.

    But unlike many of you curmudgeons, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a rod too beautiful to fish. Too blingy to be seen in public, is another thing however. But I’d easily grab an Oyster engraved rod and take it fishing. I just wouldn’t rest it on rocks for grip & grin photos.

    I guess I want to enjoy things as they were meant to be used rather than through display case glass. Life is meant to be lived.




    I have a friend who builds rods for just his friends. He builds rods as good as any maker that I know of. A real craftsman, and a hell of a guy. All his rods cast beautifully. He especially likes hollow-built rods with his favorite taper being the Powell B taper. I have a couple of them.

    As an experiment he built two rods with the same taper. One hollow-built, and one solid built. Everything else exactly the same. He didn’t tell me what he had built, but handed both of them to me, and said….. go cast these rods, and tell me what you think.

    It was obvious that one rod was lighter. Both rods cast very good as all his rods do, but the lighter rod was sweeter. Lighter in hand, and it was less effort to cast it. Swing weight was more comfortable, and it had better balance overall. It put a bigger smile on my face. Given the choice I would always pick it over the solid built rod, and would pay extra for it.

    I have no idea how he builds a hollow-built rod as far as where the material is taken from. I felt no tip heaviness in the rod, which I would pick up right away as I don’t like it.

    Here is that hollow-built rod I tested. I wouldn’t give it back to him, and talked him into selling it to me.

    I forgot how to posts pictures. i hope this works.


    Dark Waters

    Scotty, those all sound like great choices.

    DFG, I wasn’t aware you were building rods? Would love to hear more about your experiences doing so.

    Brett, “too blingy to be seen in public” – that made me laugh, but yes, I’d fish one too for the same reasons you stated.

    In general,

    I would also say that most people that design hollow rods build them because of the taper, and casting abilities, I’m not so sure weight savings is even a concern, at least not with a lot of todays top hollow builders. It’s just another option, and I see that as a good thing.

    It doesn’t matter to me if a rod is hollow, solid, or if it has 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 or 24 sides to it, if I like it, I like it. I’m pretty particular about my rods (if you haven’t noticed) and for me it just comes down to how they fish. For bamboo, they have to have exceptional loop control, and be able to cast little to no line and put a loop in the leader, and be dead accurate. Mine all do this like they were born for it.

    I do have 1 solid rod, a PH Young Midge clone that is not fishable at the moment, I had a ferrule issue and decided to strip it down and start over. I do like this rod and it does all of the above as well. At the rate I build rods it should be fishable by about 2035.

    Some of the hex rods I’ve cast run the spectrum of slow, fast, stiff, heck one was so stiff it felt like you could spear a buffalo with it and then use the rod to rotate the beast over an open fire. Beautiful rod though and straight as an arrow. There is something out there for everybody.


    Scotty MacFly

    Well, all I know is I know very little, but have a lot of time to study up on this and listen to all of your advice heavily. Whether hollow or solid, it don’t matter now. What taper I want, doesn’t mean a thing now because that can change when I start casting rods. All I know for right now a 4wt would be an all around rod for like the RMNP and maybe the Poudre. Since Creek says a 4wt can handle the Frying Pan, I know it would handle the Poudre. So I’ll let the rod choose me and my casting style no matter who makes it, or what taper it is. I would like to try one of your’s as well DFG.

    It did hit me yesterday that (to me) bamboo rod tapers are known better by the names of the people who developed them like Garrison and Powell and Payne. Found it sort of interesting. And if I really enjoy the 4wt, who knows, I might get a heavier one for the Colorado River around Rifle and Eagle. The White River in Meeker would be a 5wt for sure. Tried a 4wt there, and in some areas, not a good choice.


    Dark Waters

    Creek that is a nice rod. Would be a lot of fun to compare rods like that.



    A 5wt is a good choice if the river has a lot of wind. The above rod is a 5wt.

    There was a time when a 6wt was considered a perfect trout rod. All depends on what feel you like. I find it harder to be delicate with a 6wt rod. As long as a rod has some strength in the butt it can land some big fish. The good part about a lighter rod is it does a good job of protecting small tippets.

    Personally, i’ll work harder in the wind to have a rod that handles light tippets, and small flies. As long as the rod has some butt strength to control the fish during the fight.

    Everybody is different, and have different needs.


    Scotty MacFly

    Yes, I agree, that’s a nice looking rod. Do you prefer a two section rod over a three? I always thought,( and this goes with any kind of rod ) that with a 2 piece rod the bend of the rod would put extra strain where they connect. And a three piece, the bend would be more in the center bending the bamboo allowing the natural material to handle the stress.



    I don’t notice a difference in casting a 2 pc or 3pc. As long as the maker knows what they’re doing.

    I like 2pc rods, because it’s one less ferrule to mess with. I don’t fly anywhere, so a 2pc is no problem to haul around.


    Dark Waters

    Some interesting observations while fishing one of my pents the other evening: I can feel the softer forward cast and the slightly more crisp back cast, when I think about it. I was fishing the 6’9″ 4wt and loading it up pretty good on the ponds near my house. Got some nice bluegill and a couple decent little bass.

    An interesting thing though, I realize I do on occasion rotate a rod and cast with the guides to the side to get the most even or straight cast, (regardless of material/shape/number of sides you still have the spline and guides to deal with) I know I’ve done this with just about every rod I ever owned at some point or another. I just never really noticed or thought of it before.

    One thing the pent also has is those other glue lines, and where I tend to cast at a 45 degree angle, and even cast the rod sideways, those other glue lines line up just right and you get that “reserve power” equally there. I believe this is what people talk about when casting on the corner of a quad and is supposedly not a good thing – I wouldn’t know since I’ve never fished a quad. One thing I can say, if you’ve never fished a pent, it’s worth giving it a try. Mine aren’t going anywhere!

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