We all need this.
Well for a start it stops us falling down!
Now if you read the last Coldingham Loch Report you will know I have just had a weeks river fishing in the Czech Republic. I had a great trip but it did bring up a couple of balance issues. The first was a confirmation that I would find it very difficult to fish a river these days without the use of a wading stick.
This enables me to fish a river without continually getting wet!
The other issue of balance was a tackle one. I was fishing the River Svratka which is about the size of the Whiteadder. Perhaps little smaller.
Now years ago I bought an 8 foot 2 weight rod with the idea of fishing some of the smaller streams around here like the Blackadder and the Dye Water and Monnynut but I never got round to it.
The Svratka is heavily tree lined and the fish on average are fairly small. This rod was perfectly balanced to the situation and the fish. A 7 inch Trout still bent the rod and a 10 inch Trout or Grayling put a real hoop in it.
Anything larger and there were quite a few and it was dance around the river time!
Wading stick forgotten!!
Now when I had the Tackle Shop by far the most popular fly rod I sold was a 10 foot 7 weight and I expect if you did a survey at the Loch it would probably out number all the other size of rods that are used there by a fair margin.
This would probably be true at any stocked Stillwater.
I suspect that most people may think that the rod rating system is just to balance the Rod to the Fly Line and to a slightly lesser extent the Reel. It is, however the first thing you should balance it to is the average size of fish you are liable to catch.
Stillwaters these days stock with fish around 2 pounds and a 7 weight is ideal for these. Obviously you can catch a bigger or a smaller fish on a 7 weight and the same applied to my 2 weight on the Svratka.
Other considerations on rod ratings and balance might be the stature of the angler. Youngsters and perhaps some Ladies might prefer a 5 or 6 weight.
Age or infirmity or perhaps an injury might call for a lighter set up.
You might also want to consider the size of flies and leader you wish to use. In high summer and again in winter for instance size 18 and 20 Dry Flies and Nymphs are very useful. These are best fished on thin leaders so a 5 weight or even a 4 weight might be used on Stillwaters.
Heavier rods and lines tend to snap fine leaders especially on the strike. Another balance issue.
Conversely if you were fishing for Mackerel from the shore you might want to go to an 8 weight or even a 9 weight.
This would be so you could cast further even though the fish will only be around a pound.
Mind you at the end of the day the fish neither know nor care what catches them!
If you only have 7 weight for a small river or a 4 weight for the Loch just give it a go.
Better to fish than not to fish.
However as with most things in life being balanced usually makes for a more enjoyable experience.
Especially not falling in!