The mystery of Orvis line weight ratings

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The mystery of Orvis line weight ratings

Post by Caneghost »

I finally added an 8 foot Orvis Battenkill to my rod rack, the 4 3/8 ounce variation with a 13 ferrule, and I have been very pleased with its casting and fishing performance so far. I am always a little amazed at their line ratings. My rod is rated (inked) for a DT7 or WF8 line. In my hand it casts beautifully with a Cortland Sylk WF6F line. I fished it once with an Airflo WF7F, which it handled, and I cast it with a DT5F that was decent though not great very close in, but I much prefer the six. That rod will cast everything from small dries to large wets or small streamers and feels "right" doing it with that WF6.

My experience with Orvis bamboo is limited. I have an 8 1/2' 2/2 Battenkill rated for a nine that is a great eight weight, at least for casting. I hope to swing flies for steelhead with that one one of these day, though I still have not fished it. Back when I owned a fly shop I had a 7 1/2' Orvis on consignment. I recall casting that rod with a four, five and a six. It didn't feel "right" to me with any of them.

The dealer I bought the 8 footer from also had a 4 1/8 oz. Battenkill that I cast. He described it as a weird taper. Rated for a six, I cast it with a five and, though it cast fairly well, it certainly didn't feel "right" either. The rod felt sort of unstable, not smooth, like the five line was really on the edge of overlining it. The dealer told me that those rods feel like they will break in the middle if you cast the rated 6 line, "some people like them, some don't". Strange taper indeed. I did not have a four with me. Maybe I should have tried that.

It has seemed to me that it is fairly common for guys to down line an Orvis bamboo, sometimes by more than one line weight, but who out there has one or more Orvis rods and what do you think?
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Re: The mystery of Orvis line weight ratings

Post by gadabout »

I also downsize by one line weight. I use a DT6 on 8’ 4-3/8 ounce rod, and a DT5 on the 7-1/2’ 3-7/8 ounce rod.

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Re: The mystery of Orvis line weight ratings

Post by Theroe »

Yet ANOTHER black hole to go down........!
“Time to go fishing”

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Re: The mystery of Orvis line weight ratings

Post by troutfisher »

I build my own rods from graphite blanks now but have owned several Orvis bamboo rods in the past. And having worked for two major tackle companies, I can tell you that every fly rod will handle at least three line weights. Matching a line to a rod can be difficult as manufacturers use different materials and tapers which effect the way the rod loads. Casting technique and the length of line beyond the rod tip do likewise. IMHO the only real way to choose a matching line is to try several which it looks like you guys have done. Use the line weight printed on the blank as a starting point.

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Re: The mystery of Orvis line weight ratings

Post by Skeet6 »

On my 7' 3-3/8oz rods (Madisons and Battenkills) I generally like a WF5 best. My 7.5' 3-7/8oz rods (also a mix of Madison and Battenkills) usually cast and feel best with the WF6 or DT5.
Both are rated as HDG, which would be a WF6.
Mike B

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