Which Rod Should I Buy
814-742-8577  Vintage Series ~ Evolution Series ~ Emerger Series ~ Spruce Creek Fiberglass Series
The Rods
How to Order
Warranty
Which Rod Should I Buy
The McFarland Difference
Reel Seats and Woods
Pro Staff
The McFarland Philosophy
Contact Us
Home
A few words on rods, actions, and casting
by Mike McFarland
I love to cast. I believe that casting a fly rod should be fun. More so than with any other style of fishing, the act of casting is a major part of fly fishing. To increase your enjoyment of casting is to increase your enjoyment of the entire fly fishing experience. This fact has been kind of lost from the views of most modern fly fishers. A fly rod is more than just a means of getting the fly to the target. It is a major part of our sport that we are so passionate about. When I arrive at the stream and I am stringing up my rod, I am excited. Not just excited to fish, but excited to cast. Anyone who has fished with me will probably have noticed than I can never resist throwing even a few short casts right there at the vehicle before even heading to the stream. The feel of the rod loading, unloading, and throwing a beautifully formed loop of fly line is something special. Sure, some loops are better than others, but the art of the cast is an enchanting experience. My goal is for my rods to help you feel the same about the cast as I do. In order to do that, you must select a rod that suits your casting style. In designing any rod I focus on several factors; line feel and sensitivity, smoothness, lightness, and ease of casting. While I try to maximize all of these qualities in every rod, certain models excel more than others in certain categories. Just like a golfer wouldn't think of using a single club for every situation, even a great fly rod has limitations. The following descriptions are my best efforts of accurately describing the casting actions and best applications of each series.

Vintage Series (Slow to Medium Action)
The Vintage is a soft rod, softer than a lot of glass and bamboo rods, and is specifically designed for technical fishing situations, selective trout, and delicate presentations. The use of high modulus graphite and a high-tech carbon scrim results in an extremely lightweight rod with an unbelievable amount of sensitivity. Contrary to what you may have heard about the troubles of casting soft rods, the Vintage is NOT difficult to cast. In fact, it will just about cast itself with minimal caster input. People who may have trouble with the Vintage are those who are used to fast action rods, who overpower their rods, and those who have a very fast casting tempo. The major limitations of the Vintage (or any soft rod) for inexperienced casters is handling big flies, casting in the wind, and trying to cast long distances.
Available Line Weights: 2wt through 5wt
Optimum Scenario: Spring Creeks, selective trout, light tippets
Optimum Casting Range: 10'-60'
Greatest Attribute(s): Extreme lightness and sensitivity, smooth and delicate presentations

Spruce Creek Series Fiberglass Rods (Slow to Medium Action)
The Spruce Creek rods have similar properties to the Vintage Series. The major difference performance-wise is that the Spruce Creek is not quite as lightweight as the Vintage. The glass material used in the Spruce Creek rods has an inherent mass that is higher than the graphite used in the Vintage. This mass however is not all bad. It allows us to build short rods that load better than anything of graphite. For soft rods of 8' and under, the Spruce Creek is unmatched. There is also something almost magical about quality glass rods. The sweet smoothness and joy of casting a Spruce Creek is something that needs to be experienced. While these rods are soft, they are quite versatile and will easily throw tight loops at short to medium distances. We make these rods in progressive, parabolic, and dry fly (tip flex) tapers and in an almost endless number of configurations. They are not just great trout rods, but are also perfect for bass, steelhead and salmon.
Available Line Weights: 3wt through 8wt
Optimum Scenario: Anywhere fish live
Optimum Casting Range: 10' to 60' (varies depending on length/line wt.)>
Greatest Attribute(s): Smoothness, tippet protection, fun to cast

Emerger Series (Med to Med-Fast Action)
The Emerger may be the all-around perfect fly rod. It is light-weight, loads well in close, and has a sufficient amount of power to handle just about any fishing situation. In designing the taper for the Emerger, I kept in mind the caster who wants a light-weight and sensitive rod, but may not have the patience or "light touch" to their casting stroke that is required for the Vintage. In the lighter weights, the Emerger is capable of a level of finesse that approaches the Vintage in a more forgiving package. In heavier sizes, the Emerger has the inherent power and smooth performance to make it an ideal rod for bass, steelhead and even light saltwater use.
Available Line Weights: 3wt through 8wt
Optimum Scenario: Small to medium sized water, wide range of flies
Optimum Casting Range: 20'-70' (varies a little depending on length/line wt.)
Greatest Attribute(s): Forgiveness, great performance in a variety of situations

Evolution Series (Med fast to Fast Action)
The Evolution is my attempt at building a fast action rod for the fly fisher who, like me, doesn't really like fast action rods. This development of this taper started with my involvement in casting tournaments. I realized quickly that while I could get respectable distances with my soft rods, I needed something different in order to compete with the other guys using big powerful rods. What I ended up with is a rod that will easily launch 80' plus casts, but more importantly loads well at close range and has the lightness and sensitivity of a medium action rod. The Evolution is perfect for those who have a faster casting stroke and often make long casts or fish bigger water with lots of wind.
Available Line Weights: 4wt through 7wt (Fresh Water) 8wt through 12wt (Salt Water)
Optimum Scenario: Med to large water situations that require long casts and tight loops
Optimum Casting Range: 20' to 70'+ (varies depending on length/line wt.)
Greatest Attribute(s): High sensitivity and light weight for a fast action rod