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Post Info TOPIC: Fixing issues with Ross FC and FS fly rods.

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Fixing issues with Ross FC and FS fly rods.

A few days ago I was notified that Cabelas was selling the Redington Vapen fly rod for 1/2 price.  I generally steer away from Redington based on my experience with their CPX line, however, on a trip to Pyramid Lake this year I met a gentleman from SoCal who was using a Vapen 7wt.  I liked the non-cork, golf grip on the Vapen and also the swing weight which is much better than the CPX.  Of course I bought one, but the point here is the grip!

After ordering the Vapen it occurred to me that I have a drawer full of tennis grips from the good old days when I had 2 healthy knees.  Interestingly, most of the grips and overgrips in the drawer had disintegrated with the mere passage of time.  The Wilson Pro overgrips, however, looked brand new.

One of the issues I have with the discontinued Ross FC and FS fly rods (still available for 70% off at STP) is that the grips are too small for my hands.  Unless your name is Donald Trump you'd probably have the same issue if you bought one of these in the 3-8wt size.  Another issue is the relatively high swing weight, particularly for the FS.  Problems aside, the Ross FC and FS rods actually cast quite nicely getting about 95% of the distance you get from a Sage/Loomis/Winston rod at about 10% of the price.  Based on the improved manufacturing of fly rods in general, distance and accuracy have largely become reliant on casting skill rather than the tool.

Putting these ideas together I tried wrapping an 8wt FC cork grip with the Wilson tennis overgrip.  Voila!  Not only is the size problem fixed, but now the FC grip feels better than cork and the connection with the rod feels more solid when casting.  These overgrips can be overlapped more or less based on how much material build up you want.  They could be applied to any cork grip and wrapped/stretched tighter to avoid grip buildup or overlapped to add more material.  They come in many colors, but I only had white in my drawer which will likely get stained quickly.

Additionally, I found that a silicone wine stopper fits almost perfectly on the fighting butt end of the Ross FC.  It was simple to find a couple of large stainless steel washers, insert them into the wine stopper and then pop this back on the butt end of the rod.  Previously, I balanced rods by matching them to heavier or lighter reels.  I was hoping I could use this rig to balance any handle B rod with any reel, but unfortunately these silicone wine stoppers only seem to fit the Ross lineup.  You can vary the qty of washers based on how tip heavy the rod/reel is.  The silicone wine stopper does not impede the usefulness of the fighting butt as far as I can tell.

For those who feel uncomfortable "hacking" their fly rods with a tennis grip, a company called Winn (the same guys who make the Vapen grip for Redington) sells overgrips especially made for fly rods, albeit at a higher price.  The Wilson Pro overgrips are only $2 ea while the Winn grips are about $12 ea, but feature a broader range of colors and might have other advantages.

While premium fly rods feel better in the hand and outperform the entry/intermediate level rods, the ridiculous pricing on the "more than adequate" Ross fly rods makes them an attractive buy for those of us who are not billionaires.  I generally fish with 3 or 4 rigs from a float tube or boat so if I only bought high-end rods I'd be paying over $3,000 (including reel and line) for each type of fishing.  Using a Ross FC or FS from STP ($50-$70), I cut that down to about $700 and with the above hacks will not miss out on much.

If you haven't tried the Ross FC or FS you should buy one from STP.  The FC is a better, lighter rod, however, the FS works well if you don't mind a little extra weight.  BTW, the Ross FW is also available and is a slight step up from the FC in performance and price.

-- Edited by iamamultitasker on Monday 4th of July 2016 11:25:35 AM

-- Edited by iamamultitasker on Monday 4th of July 2016 11:33:37 AM

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