How to Find the Backbone in a Fly Fishing Rod

How to Find the Backbone in a Fly Fishing Rod
Finding the backbone of a fly rod is part of the initial process involved when building a fly rod. As the rod blank is being made during the manufacturing process, a rigid side will form opposite a flexible side. The spine, or backbone, is located along this line where the rod is flexible. Determining the spine is important because this is where the line guides will be positioned when the rod is built. It is important to maximize the strength and flexibility of the fly rod blank for optimal performance while fishing.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly rod blank
  • Hard floor surface
  • Chalk
Step 1
Pick up a fly rod blank and hold it by the larger end. Hold the blank in the palm of your hand and extend your index finger forward so it rests along the fly rod blank.
Step 2
Extend the rod blank out in front of you and place the rod tip on a hard floor surface, such as wood, tile or linoleum. Do not use asphalt or concrete, to avoid damaging the tip of the fly rod.
Step 3
Press down on the rod so that several inches of the rod tip contacts the floor. Loosen your grip on the fly rod so that the blank can move freely and roll. Maintain slight pressure on the rod with your index finger as the rod continues to roll.
Step 4
Mark the inside, or soft side, of the rod with a piece of chalk. In most cases, the softer side, or inside bend, will be the location where you install the line guides.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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