COULD NEW RESEARCH CHANGE THE WAY FLY LINES ARE MATCHED TO RODS?
A new research and development company has discovered a process that it believes will lead to an industry-wide re-evaluation of the AFTA line and rod standards. The new methodology will, it says, resolve the age-old and increasingly difficult question of which fly line to buy for a particular rod. Opterus Research and Development Inc. is a new engineering firm dedicated to the analysis and design of fly rods and fly lines.
The company was founded by Dr. Tom Murphy, a leading innovator in the field of aerospace deployable structures. He is also a prominent composite materials scientist and holds two current IGFA records on fly.
Jim Murphy, former President of Hardy North America and long-time executive in the fly fishing industry is the company’s Business Developer and Strategic Planner.
Talking exclusively to Angling International, Murphy said the work will benefit manufacturers, retailers and anglers.
“The process has been designed to add a truly incremental data cache that leads to a more predictable product development process,” he explained. “The end result is better balanced tackle that performs in both the merchandising and the angling environments at a whole new level. Opterus has developed engineering tools that, for the first time, allow the rapid performance characterization and quantitative design and analysis of both fly rods and fly lines.”
The tools used by Opterus include a range of measurement systems, predictive analytical software and computer simulations. Importantly, they measure the compatibility of rods and lines to arrive at specific designs to enhance fly casting performance.
“This set of tools greatly accelerates product development cycles by automating and codifying the process of turning angler performance requirements into manufacturing specifications,” said Murphy. “Over time there has been a significant divergence from the AFFTA standards to measure and market both fly rods and fly lines.
The evolution of fast light rods has resulted in design of fly lines that load these rods with lines that are a quarter to three-quarters heavier than the AFFTA standard.
Also, the proliferation of density-compensated fly lines, shooting heads and new materials has further obscured the predictable compatibility of a fly rod and fly line.
This has become a significant merchandising challenge, making it more difficult for retailers to answer the question ‘what fly line is best for this rod?’ There is real frustration for both the retailer and the customer, who find this an obstacle to a retail transaction.”
Murphy stressed that the process is not the result of any purposeful actions on the part of rod or line manufacturers, but rather an evolutionary outcome over years of building new and better tackle by closely held and independent tackle designers.
Opterus offers “reconciliation” and engineering services on a confidential basis to help manufacturers address product development challenges, each to their own set of unique performance preferences. Dr. Murphey uses robust and validated tools to analyze and measure fly rod dynamics and fly line characteristics.
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