Q&A: How to Make the Right Rod Choice

Q: I’m looking for a second rod for stillwater trout fishing. My budget is around £250. At the moment I’m looking at either the Greys GR70 or Hardy Shadow. Any suggestions?

Craig Adams


Choosing a fishing rod is about as individual as having a suit tailor-made – so without seeing your casting style it’s difficult to advise. However, there are some pointers I can give you.

The first decision to make is what length rod to go for. Many bank anglers prefer a 9ft 6in 7-8wt rated outfit, whereas dedicated boat anglers often choose the slightly longer 10ft option allowing them to use longer leaders and longer line lifts.

Once you have decided on the length of rod, the next step is to decide on the rod action ie. how the rod flexes. Generally speaking, a middle action rod, which flexes midway along the blank, allows you to load the rod easily and also means the rod will do much of the work, resulting in an easier casting action.

With a fast action or tip action rod the tip section is doing all the work and is often preferred by competent, more experienced casters as they can generate high line speeds with tight loops. These type of rods really excel at distance and if you really know what you are doing you will be able to get the best out of these rods. On the flip side, the rod won’t give a novice or improver enough help and they will probably struggle.

The other thing to look at is line preference. Both stillwater boat and bank anglers often have quite a large selection of lines including floaters, midge-tips, intermediates and high density sinkers. So if you want a rod to handle all of these line types the rod you are choosing has to be up to the task.

If you plan to do a lot of sunk line work then the more powerful fast action rods are perfect for the job. But they might be considered ‘overkill’ for floating and midge-tip lines.

This is why you find some anglers have got a couple of rods with different actions, for example one with a slightly more forgiving action for top-of-the-water sport and something with a bit more backbone for fishing at depth with sinkers. To get the best rod for your casting action I would suggest you try before you buy.

I understand some people don’t have access to this facility but it is really important because it’s all about how the rod and line complement each other and how they feel in your hands.

If you are buying mail order try and find out if they have a ‘try before you buy’ option, or get yourself along to a game fair or tackle show where you can try various rods out.

There are a lot of rods in your price range out there so you will be spoilt for choice. However, you mention the Greys GR70 which is one of their latest models, and also the Hardy Shadow, which has been around for a while, and both of which I have reviewed. Of the two I would go for the GR70. Although it has a reasonably fast action it is very easy to handle and has a really great casting action. You have the choice of a 9ft 6in 7wt at £249.99 or a 10ft 7wt at £269.99.

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