April 03, 2019 2 min read

We’ve all done it at some stage. Attempted to find the spot at which a fly rod seems to balance on your finger.

It’s also a common question we get here when talking with customers about fly rods - or at least, what fly reel will balance a particular fly rod.

The short answer is none.

Perhaps that’s too literal an interpretation, but the whole fly rod and reel balance exercise is actually pretty pointless, after-all, when is the fly rod balanced? - standing in the carpark balanced on a finger with no line out?

What fly reel balances this fly rodIs this balanced?


Is the rig balanced fly casting 30 feet of fly line? - the prescribed length of line used by the AFFTA standard to measure the weight of a fly line ? 

At 10 feet?

At 40?

How to balance a fly rod
How about now with 30 feet of fly line out the tip?


Truth is the mass outside the tip is constantly changing - so the fly rod can never be truly balanced in a literal sense.

Another interesting aspect of the balancing act is that if you actually consider where you CAN statically balance a fly rod on your finger tip, this is nowhere near the point at which the rod rotates - the logical point of balance.

Given that the point of rotation is way back and up in the fly casters wrist it stands to reason that a very heavy fly reel would logically balance the rig far better than a light fly reel.

Balanced fly rod
The point of balance, if indeed there is one, should probably be way back here at the point the rod rotates

However - added weight anywhere on the fly rod, like adding a fly reel also increases swing weight.

A few reel manufacturers have looked at this over the years and engineered fly reels to move the point of balance back and closer to the point of rotation / the wrist. Most notable is probably Ari T Hart and more recently, Abel with their “Abel Arm”

So - the short answer to the ‘How to balance a fly rod’ question is - you don’t

And the answer to the what fly reel balances X rod is - it doesn’t matter, follow your bliss and go for a quality fly reel that you dig. Well, like one of these.


2 Responses

D J
D J

December 05, 2019

For a Euro Nymphing rig I would think that more weight toward the butt end would be less fatiguing than the weight toward the tip of those long rods over the course of a long day fishing. Like with a broom handle with a 5lb weight on it, it’s worse holding it up with the weight out on the end than down at where you grip the handle. Any thoughts? I know when I use my euro rig my arm feels like it wants to fall off a lot quicker than using my fly rod.

Rob Cole
Rob Cole

April 15, 2019

I always appreciate your no nonsense approach to articles, from the “what line matches the rod”, to the rod spine ideas, to this “balance” issue. Given the constant changes in conditions, even from cast to cast never mind the day to day or place to place differences, I think there needs to be more focus on the development of abilities of the caster to be able to make the subtle changes necessary consistently. I believe that the technologies behind the equipment, especially the technology in your rods, while able to help fishermen often is much better than the ones using it. 99.9% of the time the limiting factor is the one using it not the equipment, so be sure you pick up your rod and are critical of yourself in a way that you are constantly improving your skills as a caster and as an angler!

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