Everyone knows that not much can be learned by wiggling a rod in a shop. Or so they say. In order to build experimental knowledge about stuff I usually just read about, I decided to take the wiggle test seriously.
It all began with a unwanted RX6 F906-4 blank from Batson, that landed on my desk out of the sheer lack of imagination of blank designers when it comes to blanks’ names. You’ve just designed that great 9′ carbon stick, 4 pieces, and CCSed it at 6wt. You did a good job, and now it needs a name. Will it be ‘Rainbow Warrior’*? ‘Reservoir Delight’? ‘A Summer on the Mataura’? Anything having to do with beautiful places you’d want to fish that 6wt? Or the fishes you’d like to put a bend in it?
No. You call it F906-4, like the lazy bastard you are. And you don’t give a shit if half the 9′ 6wt 4 pieces blanks in the friggin’ world bear that name. So while you set your brain back in power-saving mode after such a creative fit, my poor carbon dealer is making mistakes about which one of the bloody F906-4s I’m talking about.
But I digress.
Still waiting for some part before I build this blue babe (just for the heck of it), I found its straightest axis, spined it, and I leave it mounted all the time there, next to my desk. Just the bare blank. And I get to wiggle it quite a lot… when working, when watching a movie (gets the missus quite mad), when talking to my kids. I concentrate on the feelings, trying to memorize them in order to compare to what will happen next when I build a rod out of the blank. I’ll keep you posted as I proceed.
What I learned:
- You get what you paid for. It’s cheap, and certainly not the most amazing blank I’ve ever wiggled. Still, it’s a good blank: relatively straight, not heavy, responsive and in a beautiful blue.
- Back bounce. I expect the rod to send some waves in the bottom leg of the cast. When I wiggle the blank, I sense very clearly some energy going back and forth along it, making it hard to get a clean stop. I’m not sure how it’ll translate in the complete rod, even less in a rod+line system. This is one of the main things I’m trying to learn in the process.
- On the effect of the grip. When confronted with back bounce, a possible strategy is to switch to the ‘forefinger on top’ grip. It provides very good dampening, (mechanically) much better than the trick consisting in releasing the grip just after the stop (hard to do it right!). The problem is that I don’t think the top forefinger grip is very suitable for a 6wt (especially when going for distance).
*This one is really good, if I may say so myself. Remember, you saw it first on g0ne.